- Shared Parental Leave and Pay Begins
Couples with a baby due on or after April 5 2015 will be able to take advantage of the greater flexibility provided in how parents share the care of their child during its first year.
Both parents will be able to share the mother’s maternity leave and maternity pay, where available. The mother will still be obliged to take the first two weeks following the child’s birth herself but following this, the father may take the following 50 weeks, or the parents may share the leave.
- Changes to Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay
Following the introduction of the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014, significant changes have been made to the adoption leave provisions. Adoption leave will be brought into line with the eligibility requirements of maternity leave and the 26-week qualifying period will be removed. Like maternity leave, adoption leave will be able to be taken regardless of the length of time you have worked for your employer.
The Children and Families Act 2014 also brings statutory adoption pay into line with statutory maternity pay by setting it at 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks.
- Child’s age limit for parental leave raises to 18
Parental leave is the statutory right to a period of unpaid leave that currently can be taken by a parent during the first five years of a child’s life.
From 5 April 2015, this will change to allow parents to take parental leave at any point until the child reaches age 18. Parents must still have one year’s qualifying service to be able to take Parental Leave.
- New Fit for Work Service available to Employees with 4 or More Weeks of Sickness Absence
Due to be introduced over the next year, the Government’s new Fit for Work Service offers employees access to free occupational assistance if they have been off sick for four weeks or more.
- Defined-Contribution Pension Scheme Restrictions Removed
From April 2015, members of defined-contribution pension schemes aged 55 or over will be able to access their entire pension fund as they wish. This will allow greater flexibility and abolish the requirement to buy annuity.
- Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay Increase
The rate of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay increases from £138.18 per week to £139.58 per week. Statutory shared parental pay is also set at £139.58 per week.
- Statutory Sick Pay Increase
From 6 April 2015, the rate of Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £87.55 to £88.45.
- National Minimum Wage Rates
The Low Pay Commission consults on the national minimum wage to assist it in compiling its report for the Government on the national minimum wage, which is due by the end of February 2015. It is considering: the different national minimum wage rates and making recommendations on what they should be from 1 October 2015.
If you have any questions regarding the changes to Employment Law in 2015, contact a member of our Employment Team on 01279 755777.
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