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Blog  »  Decemeber 2014  »  2015 - What’s in Store for UK Employers? - Blog
Dec 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

2015 - What’s in Store for UK Employers?

2015 looks set to be a busy year for employment changes. Some of the most significant changes that employers need to be aware of include:

1. Family Friendly Changes

a. Shared Parental Leave & Pay

This is brand new legislation which will apply to parents with babies due to be born/placed for adoption on or after 5th April 2015. These parents will have the flexibility to share leave in the child’s first year, something which historically only a mother/primary adopter could take. The mechanics of the new regime are complicated and employers are well advised to familiarise themselves with the regulations early. Further details are available here

b. Changes to Statutory Adoption Leave & Pay

From 5 April 2015 there will be no service requirement in order to be eligible for adoptive leave. Adoptive pay rates will also be increased in-line with maternity pay levels. Finally, primary adopters will now be entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments.

c. Rise of child’s age limit for parental leave

The current right to take 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave before a child’s 5th birthday is to be extended from 5 April 2015, so that leave can be taken up to the child’s eighteenth birthday.

2. New Fit for Work Service

The new service aims to assist employees on long-term sick leave back to work, with the ultimate aim of reducing sick leave levels across the UK. Due to be rolled out during the year, the Fit for Work Service will offer employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more. Employers will also be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.

3. Statutory Pay Rates

The usual shifts in statutory rates of pay are scheduled for 2015. Rates for statutory maternity, paternity, and adoption pay will increase from 5 April 2015, as too will statutory sick pay rates. Any changes to the national minimum wage rates will be effective from 1 October 2015.

With the general elections fast approaching in May there are a number of other topics which will either gain momentum, or possibly lose momentum over the coming months. Topics to watch out for:

1. Zero Hours Contracts

Employers should expect to hear more about Zero Hours Contracts in the press during 2015. Labour have promised that should they be voted into power in the May elections they will put in place further restrictions around the use of Zero Hours Contracts. Employers should definitely watch this space!

2. Apprenticeships

The current Government has plans to simplify the regulations surrounding apprenticeships. Further details are due; however whether this initiative will survive the May elections remains to be seen.

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