2014 was a big year in Employment Law as the Bear Scotland holiday pay case made the headlines at the close of the year. As we head into the third month of 2015, here are a few developments you may need to be aware of:
At the end of 2014 the EAT ruled that employers should take into account non-guaranteed overtime when calculating holiday pay, so 2015 marks the start of big changes as employers comply with this ruling. Claims for underpayment made on or after 1 July 2015 will be subject to a two-year limitation wherein employees can only claim for underpayments made up to two years before the submission of the claim, hopefully saving employers from a tidal wave of unlawful deduction from wages claims.
Shared Parental Leave
Parents of children born or placed in adoption on or before 5 April 2015 may be eligible for Shared Parental Leave (SPL). The mother or adopter will still be eligible for 39 weeks statutory paid leave, but may be able to share this leave with their partner, thus allowing parents to share childcare as desired. Changes have also been put in place to give adoptive parents similar rights and pay rates to birth parents. Employers will need to ensure that they are properly prepared for what may be quite a complex change.
The auto enrolment scheme is progressing this year, with staging dates for companies with 50 to 249 employees wrapping up in April 2015 and staging dates for smaller companies starting this summer. The employer pension reforms came into force in 2012 and have since been rolling out across the country. Ultimately every employer will be required to enrol their employees into a pension scheme and make minimum contributions. Please see our earlier blog post for more info.
Fit For Work
The new Fit for Work service is being rolled out during the beginning of 2015. The initiative, which will include free, impartial advice and the provision of occupational health professionals for employees who are off sick for four weeks or more, is intended to help employees with health conditions return to work. Employers should consider how Fit for Work could affect their existing procedures and may wish to update their policies regarding sickness absence to refer to the scheme.
We can expect a shake-up following the election on 7 May 2015, as all the main players have made a number of big pledges relating to employment. Several parties have mentioned increasing the minimum wage and reviewing zero hours contracts, the Tories and UKIP have both pledged to replace the Human Rights Act (1998) with a British Bill of Rights and Labour is looking to reform the Employment Tribunal system.
Associate Employment Department
0113 2279 238