Employment Law – What’s Changed and What’s Changing In 2015?

Employment contracts, employment law, staff handbooksLast month we looked at what changes to employment law were introduced in 2014, this month we’re looking at what changes 2015 will bring to the way we employ and manage our staff. Following this year’s General Election, various planned changes were announced to employment law, many of these are outlined below.

Some of the key changes in 2015 include –

  • Changes to shared parental leave and adoption leave
  • Changes to minimum wage levels and fines for failing to pay minimum wage
  • The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Other highlights include –

  • In January Employment agencies and recruiters in the UK are banned from advertising jobs exclusively in other European Economic Area countries without first advertising them within the UK.
  • In March Section, 56 of the Data Protection Act (DPA) was implemented on 10 March, following its delay from December 2014. It is now an offence for an employer to require an employee or job applicant to use their DPA subject access rights to produce a copy of their criminal record.
  • In April, the new shared parental leave scheme began for parents whose babies were due on or after 5 April 2015, or who had children placed for adoption on or after that date. The shared parental leave rate from 5 April is £139.58, in line with other maternity, paternity and adoption allowances.
  • Again in April, the 26 week qualifying period for adoption leave was removed and statutory adoption pay was brought into line with statutory maternity pay; adopters can take paid time off for some ‘adoption appointments’.
  • April also saw the right to take parental leave was extended to parents of any child under the age of 18.
  • Changes to The Pension Schemes Act 2015 enables people with a defined contribution pension to access their pension more flexibly, again from April 2015.
  • On 26th May, a ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts came into force, along with a maximum £20,000 penalty for underpaying the national minimum wage, on a per worker basis rather than per notice.
  • In October National Minimum Wage rates will increase, the standard adult rate to £6.70, the development rate for those aged 18-20 to £5.30, the young workers rate for those aged 16-17 to £3.87, and the apprentice rate to £3.30.

SME’s should be aware of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. It contains provisions to improve gender pay gap reporting under the Equality Act 2010, introduce annual reporting on whistleblowing disclosures, limit employment tribunal postponements and penalise employers who do not pay an employment tribunal award, as well as provisions to prevent use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts and setting a maximum penalty for underpaying the national minimum wage on a per worker basis rather than per notice.

 

As you can see, 2015 is set to be a busy year in terms of employment law, with a number of big changes with regards to employing staff. Change can often be difficult to implement and having access to HR Consultancy Services can make the transition easier for you and your business.

 

As a HR consulting company based in the heart of Manchester we can offer advice and support in implementing any of these changes into your workplace, contact Triple Three Solutions today on 0161 300 1214 for more advice on the above.