With 2015 set to be a busy year in the world of HR here is a checklist of changes on the horizon. All are launched in April unless otherwise stated:
- Shared parental leave – OK not technically on the horizon as it was launched on 1 Dec 2014 but it does apply to babies expected or born after 5th April. This gives parents freedom to choose how they split childcare in the first year after birth. For more information go here.
- Managing sickness absence – A free service will launch for employees, employers and GPs to provide an occupational health assessment after four weeks of sickness absence.
- New statutory pay rates – Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will rise to £139.56 per week. Statutory sick pay will rise to £88.45.
- Statutory adoption leave and pay – The 26-week qualifying period will go. Adoption pay will match maternity pay (90% of normal earnings for first six weeks).
- Unpaid parental leave – On 5th April this right will extend to parents of any child below 18.
- Surrogate parents eligible for adoption leave – Surrogate parents will have the same leave and pay rights as ordinary parents. These include unpaid time off for two antenatal appointments.
- National Insurance payments for under 21s abolished – Employers will no longer need to pay NI for employees who are aged under 21. The employee will still pay NI contributions.
- Reservists’ exemption – Reservist employees will be exempt from the two year qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim, if it’s related to their service: timing to be confirmed.
- Young people – In England all must remain in education/training until aged 18.
- Jury service – The upper age limit will increase from 70 to 75 in England and Wales (there is no age limit in Scotland), launch date to be announced.
These changes are all before the General Election, there will no doubt be a raft of changes to Employment Law that will follow a change of UK Government in May! But we keep on top of it so you don’t have to.
To keep ahead and legal make sure you contact The HR Dept for updates to your staff handbooks and to ensure you have the right policies in place to protect your business.