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Employee Benefits News

Latest News
08 Oct 2014

New Employment Changes: A Guide



With a string of UK employment law changes taking hold this October, a recent article on the HR Director website helpfully summarised what they are, and what rights they will give employees.

Minimum wage increase

Following advice from the Low Pay Commission, workers aged 21 and above will see their hourly standard rate rise from £6.31 to £6.50 an hour; for those aged 18-20 it will rise from £5.03 to £5.13; and for under 18s the increase will be £3.72 to £3.79 per hour.

Equal pay

Employers are under greater pressure to carry out equal pay audits; and those breaching equal pay legislation can be summoned by the Employment Tribunals to conduct one and make the results public.

The audit itself will be made at the discretion of the tribunal; but they are able to enforce a fine of up to £5,000 if they decide the employer has unreasonably failed to fulfil their obligations.

Employers are advised to take pre-emptive action and carry out a pay review, and to settle any gender pay claims early to avoid the time and cost of an audit.

Antenatal rights for partners

Under the new laws, partners will have the option to take unpaid time off work to join expectant mothers on up to two antenatal appointments (of up to six and a half hours each).

The legislation aims to encompass the nature of modern families, where the ‘partner´ may not necessarily be the child´s biological father. To be in a “qualifying relationship,” an employee could be the birth father – but also the pregnant mother´s husband or civil partner, one of a same-sex couple, or the applicant for a parental order of a child carried by a surrogate mother.

There are some limitations to this law – namely, that employers can refuse time off where they deem it “reasonable” to do so; yet the legislation does not define what might be considered “reasonable”. This also means that employees could bring a tribunal against an employee who unreasonably refuses them time off.

Copyright © M2 Bespoke 2014


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