How many Employment Law changes affect you?

A number of Employment Law changes brought in during 2014 are affecting Employees and Employers.

Keeping up with those changes is vital but can be difficult when you’re busy; which is why, when you’re a Milner’s client, we do the hard work for you. Here’s a round up of what you should already be aware of – for employees and employers – and what to prepare for.

If you or your business is affected by these issues, contact Jodie Hill – Milners for advice or more information.

If you are an employer signed up to our HR and Employment Law package you are already protected.

What changed in 2014….
January 2014

Pension auto-enrolment – Employers with 350-499 employees had to offer a qualifying pension scheme to their employees by the start of 2014.

March 2014

Spent convictions – A change to the period during which certain convictions need to be disclosed to potential employers. On 10 March 2014, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was amended to reduce the time that must pass before ex-offenders can claim to have a clean record. Consequently, ex-offenders are not obliged to inform prospective employers of spent convictions, even if asked a direct question on the point. Details of the new timescales are available here – Ex-offenders and employment – GOV.UK

April 2014

National Insurance Contributions Act 2014 – Entitling businesses and charities to an employment allowance. Allowing a £2000 reduction in employer National Insurance Contributions bills each year. Claimable from 6 April 2014. Employment Allowance Calculator is a useful tool.

Early Conciliation ACAS – Introduced on 6 April 2014, all disputes from claimants must be sent to ACAS who attempt conciliation and settlement before initiating proceedings through an Employment Tribunal. This FREE service enables businesses to settle their disputes with their employees avoiding extra costs.

Step by step:

1. Speak to an ACAS advisor 0300 123 1100.

2. They will advise you to complete the Early Conciliation notification form.

3. After submitting your form it will be automatically acknowledged by email if you have an email account or by post if not.

4. They will aim to contact you within two working days (occasionally longer at times of peak demand) and they will explain Early Conciliation, asking you some basic questions about your claim. This might cause you to reconsider or they might conclude that they can’t help.

5. If they cannot help… you may want to seek legal advice. Milners Employment Law specialists are ready to take your call 0113 245 0852.

Employment Tribunals Additional Financial Penalty – 6 April 2014 introduced a maximum fine of £5000 on employers found to be in breach of an employee’s employment rights.

Statutory Sick Pay – Increased by £0.85 from £86.70 to £87.55 from the 6th April 2014.

Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay – all increased by £1.40 on 6th April 2014 from £136.78 to £138.18.

Increased cap on employment tribunal awards – The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rose from £74,200 to £76,574. The limit on ‘a week’s pay’ rose from £450 to £464

June 2014

Flexible working – Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs. For example having flexible start and finish times or working from home. From 30 June 2014 flexible working was extended to cover all employees after 26 weeks’ service, rather than just parents with children under 17 years, or 18 in the case of a disabled child, and certain carers. Employers have to consider requests in a reasonable manner.

Examples of handling requests in a reasonable manner include:

· Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application

· Holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee

· Offering an appeal process

However employees are restricted to making a maximum of one application per year and employers still have the right to refuse requests on business grounds.

October 2014

National minimum wage – Increased to £6.50 for the standard adult rate, £5.13 for 18-20 year olds, £3.79 for 16-17 year olds and £2.73 for apprentice rate.

Right to unpaid Leave for Employed Fathers – Employed fathers’ right to unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments was introduced on 1 October 2014. This also extends to the mother’s partner.

December 2014

Shared Parental Leave – The Children’s and Families Act 2014 introduced a new parental leave system along with statutory shared parental pay. Regulations under this new scheme were introduced in December. Parental leave affects parents whose babies are due or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.

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