Changes to Employment from April 2015

Despite the coalition’s efforts to cut red tape, the government’s final months in office see the introduction of one of the most complex sets of regulations that employers have ever had to handle. The implementation of shared parental leave and pay, which provides greater flexibility for parents to care for a child throughout its first year is the most significant of the varied changes to employment law, which are being introduced in April:

  1. Shared Parental Leave and Pay
  2. Changes to adoption Leave and Pay
  3. New right to Attend Adoption Appointments – The Children and Families Act introduces a new right to attend adoption appointments as of 5 April 2015. The main adopter will be able to take time off to attend up to five appointments, while the secondary adopter will be entitled to take time off for up to two such appointments. The time off is “for the purpose of having contact with the child or for any other purpose connected with the adoption”.
  4. The right to take unpaid parental leave is extended to all parents of children under the age of 18 – The right to take unpaid parental leave currently applies to parents of children under five (or 18 if the child is disabled). As of 5 April 2015, this right is extended to the parents of any child under the age of 18. Please note that this form of unpaid parental leave is different to the shared parental leave mentioned in point 1 above.
  5. New rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and share parental pay is introduced
  6. Employer national insurance contributions tare abolished for workers aged under 21 – in order to encourage youth employment, employer National Insurance contributions are abolished for employees aged under 21, who earn up to the upper earnings limit. This change applies from 6 April 2015.
  7. New rates and thresholds for employers to consider
  8. Limits on tribunal awards and statutory payments increase –  from 6 April 2015
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £76,574 to £78,335
  • The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and other awards, such as the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, rises from £464 to £475