From 1 October 2014, the following changes to employment law were implemented:
Time Off to Accompany a Pregnant Woman to Ante-Natal Appointments
An expectant father or the partner (including a same-sex partner) of a pregnant woman is now entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to two of her ante-natal appointments.
The time off is capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has produced guidance for employers on the new right in the form of frequently asked questions.
Increases in the National Minimum Wage
The following changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates came into effect:
- The adult NMW rate increased from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour;
- The NMW rate for workers aged 18 to 20 increased from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour;
- The NMW rate for 16- and 17-year-olds increased from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour; and
- The apprentice rate of the NMW, which applies to apprentices under 19 or over 19 and in the first year of their apprenticeship, increased from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour.
Equal Pay Audits
The Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 apply to Employment Tribunal (ET) claims presented on or after 1 October 2014 where the employer has been found to have breached the equal pay provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
The Regulations set out the circumstances in which the ET must order the employer to carry out an equal pay audit, the required contents of the audit and the timetable for ensuring compliance with the order.
The two-year statutory qualifying period for bringing a claim for unfair dismissal is removed for military reservists where the reason for the dismissal is the employee’s membership of the reserve forces.
The Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 also make changes to the amount employers can claim in respect of replacement costs incurred because of a reservist’s absence from work. In addition to the £110 per day available to employers in this respect, small and medium-sized employers will be entitled to receive a further £500 per month when a full-time reservist is absent for a full month. This sum is reduced pro rata for absences of less than a month or for part-time workers.