1 October 2014: a summary of this autumn’s changes in Employment legislation
From 1 October 2014, a number of changes to employment will take effect.
Below is a useful summary of what the key changes mean for employers: -
1) Fathers and partners can take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments
- Applies to a pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partners), the father or parent of a pregnant woman’s child and parents in a surrogacy situation.
- A “day one” right for employees; they do not need any qualifying period of service. Qualifying agency workers are required to have been doing the same kind of job for the same hirer for at least 12 weeks.
- Entitlement is for up to 2 appointments. The time is capped at 6.5 hours per appointment to cover travel, waiting time and attendance; however employers are free to offer more time if they wish.
- There is no express right for a father/partner accompanying a pregnant woman to be paid – any payment is at the employer’s discretion. (NB pregnant women do have the right to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments).
- Employees are entitled to bring a claim against their employer if it unreasonably refuses the time off. However, there is no guidance as to what would constitute a “reasonable” refusal. An Employment Tribunal can order compensation calculated as twice the hourly rate of pay for each of the hours that the person would have taken off if the right had been respected.
- Employees are also protected against suffering a detriment or being dismissed in relation to time off to accompany a woman to antenatal appointments.
BIS has produced an informative employer guide which can be accessed here.
2) Power to order equal pay audits
- Where an employer is found guilty of gender discrimination in relation to pay matters, Employment Tribunals shall, from 1 October 2014, have the power to order an employer to conduct an equal pay audit.
- An equal pay audit requires an employer to produce data on relevant gender pay, identify any differences, set out the reasons for any differences (including any reasons for a potential breach) and provide a plan to avoid future breaches.
- This will apply only in relation to equal pay claims presented on or after 1 October 2014. New businesses and micro businesses (as defined by the legislation) are exempt.
3) Increase to National Minimum Wage
The following rates will take effect from 1 October 2014: -
|Rate from 1 October 2014
| Age 21 +
| £6.50 per hour
| Age 18-20
| £5.13 per hour
| Age 16-17