Recent and upcoming employment law changes

Right to time off for antenatal appointments

From 1 October 2014, the husband, civil partner or partner of the pregnant woman is entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend two antenatal appointments for a maximum of six and a half hours each time.

Employees who are unreasonably refused time off can bring a tribunal claim and, if successful, will receive compensation of  twice the hourly rate of pay for each of the hours they would have taken off if the right had been respected.

Shared Parental Leave

From 1 December 2014 protection is granted to parents for dismissals and detriments that occur in respect of them taking and/or requesting shared leave. Parents of children born or matched for adoption on or after 5 April 2015will be able to share parental leave. Mothers will still take at least the initial two week following the childbirth. The remaining leave can be split between the parents.

Managing sickness absence

In April 2015 a health and work assessment and advisory service is to be introduced. This service will offer a free occupational health assessment.

Following the assessment a report outlining how best to enable a return to work will be issued. This report will be shared with the employee, employer and GP. The report will provide advice on whether the employee is able to return to work immediately, the likely timetable where more time is needed before return to work and adjustments that would help facilitate an earlier return to work.

Government experts anticipate that introduction of the scheme will save costs for employers and will result in 20-40% reduction in sickness absence duration.

Statutory adoption leave and pay

From 5th April 2015 the statutory adoption leave will no longer have the 26-week qualifying period and adoption pay will be brought in line with maternity pay which will be 90% of normal earnings for the first six weeks.

Parental Leave extended to 18

From 5th April 2015 the right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years.

For more information, please contact our Employment Law team.

Kasia Janucik