Various employment law changes will take effect from 1 October 2014:
- Antenatal appointments – there is a new right for qualifying employees to take time off to accompany a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments. It applies to employees and qualifying agency workers and allows them to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two ante-natal appointments with a pregnant woman with whom they have a “qualifying relationship” i.e. they are the husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partners) of the woman, or the father or parent of the pregnant woman's child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet certain conditions.
- National minimum wage – the rate for workers aged 21 and over increases from £6.31 to £6.50. The new rate for 18 to 20 year olds is £5.13, the new rate for those under 18 is £3.79 and the new rate for apprentices is £2.73.
- Equal pay audits – employers who lose equal pay claims can be required by an employment tribunal to carry out an equal pay audit in certain circumstances.
- Whistleblowing – the list of persons prescribed to receive qualifying disclosures has been updated.
- Armed Forces Reservists – new regulations will disapply the two year service qualification for claims of unfair dismissal from civilian employment where the reason or principal reason for the dismissal is, or is connected with, the employee's membership of a reserve force. There is also a new scheme of financial assistance to help small business where reservists are called up, with payments of up to £500 per month available.
For more information about these changes please contact: