Commencing April this year significant changes will be made to employment law in the UK. Specific changes will apply to family leave. As an employer and an employee, here are the main main changes you will need to be aware of.
Shared parental leave
If you are expecting a child on or after the 5th April 2015, a shared parental leave and pay will be available. SPL enables the mother to take the first two weeks off after the birth. The rest of the mothers leave and pay can then be shared between the parents, either in turns or at the same time. This equates to 50 weeks leave and 37 paid leave available to be shared.
Additional paternity leave
Additional paternity leave has been replaced by SPL where the child is expected on or after the 5th April 2015.
Adoption pay has increased to match maternity pay. The main adopter will now receive 90% of pay for 6 weeks and then the basic rate for 33 weeks. Adoptive parents are no longer required to have 26 weeks service in order to benefit from adoption leave and pay.
A single adopter will also be able to attend up to 5 adoption appointments as payable. However with joint adopters, one parent will be able to attend up to 5 appointments with pay, whilst the other parent can attend 2 appointments unpaid. Each appointment can last up to 6.5 hours. Adoptive parents are also entitled to SPL.
Prior to this change, surrogate parents had no rights to any statutory leave or pay. However, from 5th April 2015, the main new parent in the surrogacy arrangement will be able to take adoption pay and leave. Both parents will also be able to take SPL. The birth mother retains the right to maternity leave and pay.
Extended parental leave
Parents with 1 year's employment are entitled to up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave, if the child is under the age of 18. This right also applies to adoptive parents.
Tribunal compensation limits have risen in line with inflation. The maximum compensatory award for an unfair dismissal is £78,335 or 52 weeks pay if less. Awards for a weeks pay for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payments will increase to £475. The maximum basic award or statutory redundancy payment will increase to £14,250.
Statutory payment rates
As from the 5th April, statutory adoption, paternity, additional paternity and shared parental pay will be £139.58 per week. From 6 April, statutory sick pay will be £88.45 per week.
If you would like any further information or advice regarding changes to employment law simply visit us online or call us on 0208 437 0731 to speak with one of our employment law experts.