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Employment law updates for October 2014

Employment Law Changes for October 2014

Looking for information about employment law updates for October 2014?  Here are two key ones to look out for.

What’s happening?

National Minimum Wage rates will increase from 1st October.

Does it matter to me?

If you employ apprentices and pay them the apprenticeship rate or if you employ anyone at the minimum wage rate, you will need to ensure you increase their rate of pay accordingly.

Did you know?

In 2013/14, HM Revenue & Customs conducted 1,455 investigations relating to National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates.  In just under half (47%) of the businesses investigated, there were NMW errors, some of which were due to incorrect understanding rather than deliberate evasion. Areas of misunderstanding were internships, deductions from wages and unpaid time (such as training or travelling time).

Where can I get more information?

Download our guide to National Minimum Wage Rates October 2014.

What else is happening?

From 1st October, employees in England, Wales and Scotland who have a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman or her expected child, irrespective of their length of service or earnings, will have the right to take unpaid time off work to attend a limited number of ante-natal appointments as follows:

  • the unpaid time off is limited to two occasions of up to 6.5 hours on each occasion to accompany the woman when she attends an ante-natal appointment made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse.
  • the employer may require the employee to provide a signed declaration (this can be done electronically) confirming that the employee has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child; that the purpose of the time off is to accompany her to an appointment made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse; and the date and time of the appointment.
  • a “qualifying relationship” is a husband or civil partner of the pregnant woman; someone who is of a different sex or the same sex and who lives with the woman in an enduring family relationship but is not a relative of the woman; the father of the expected child; the parent of the expected child by virtue of section 42 or 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, or a potential applicant for a parental order under section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 in respect of the expected child.
  • the above also applies to an agency worker who has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child. Such workers are entitled to be permitted, by the temporary work agency and the hirer, to take time off during the agency worker’s working hours to accompany the woman when she attends by appointment at any place for the purpose of receiving ante-natal care.

Does it matter to me?

Previously, only the pregnant employee was entitled to time off for ante-natal care.  This case does affect any employee whose partner is pregnant and who wishes to take time off to attend ante-natal appointments.

Did you know?

  • Employers who unreasonably refuse time off may face an employment tribunal claim: the tribunal may award twice the amount of pay that the employee would have received in respect of the time off that was refused.
  • Employees are also protected against being subjected to detrimental treatment or being dismissed for using these rights.
  • Similar rights to time off for adoption appointments will apply to employees who adopt a child, as from 5 April 2015.

For additional information relating to these or any other changes, give us a call today on 01487 815720.

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