By David Leslie, Leeds Employment Law team
Most changes to employment law occur in April or October each year. In this article, we summarise the changes introduced on 1 October 2014.
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage has increased from £6.13 to £6.50 per hour for workers aged 21 and over. New rates also apply to those aged 18 to 20 – now £5.13 per hour; under 18 – now £3.79 per hour; and apprentices – now £2.73 per hour.
The minimum wage increases have been said to affect over a million workers. Employers should therefore check that wages are increased to reflect the new rates and that appropriate pay records are kept to show that the National Minimum Wage is being paid.
More protection from dismissal has been given to military reservists (formerly known as members of the Territorial Army). The right not to be unfairly dismissed for membership of a reserve force becomes a ‘day one’ right, meaning that employees will not have to accrue the usual two years’ continuous service before bringing a claim for unfair dismissal. The burden will, however, rest on employees without two years’ service to show that it was unfair to dismiss them for their membership of a reserve force.
There is good news for employers, too, in that they can now claim £500 a month from the Ministry of Defence when a member of staff is absent on military service. The regulations are here.
New rights have been granted to fathers-to-be and partners of pregnant women to accompany the expectant mother to antenatal appointments. The right is to unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments and forms part of the government’s plan to increase parental leave rights generally, with effect from April 2015.
Equal pay audit
Employment Tribunals now have the power to order an equal pay audit if an employer has breached equal pay law. The audit will be required to include details of pay, reasons for any difference in pay between men and women, and a plan to remove any inequality in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
We’ll cover the changes to parental leave rights and military reservist rights in more detailed articles to come. In the meantime, for more information on these changes or to discuss how they might affect your business, please contact David Leslie on 0113 368 7804or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org