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Eight Big HR Changes for April 2015 – Employment Law is continually changing. This month sees the introduction of shared parental leave but are you aware of the other changes taking effect in April 2015?
Here are eight of the major changes for this month:
- Shared parental leave takes full effect
The right to take shared parental leave and receive statutory shared parental pay applies to qualifying parents of babies due on or after 5 April 2015. Some employers will have received requests for shared parental leave already.
Mothers can return to work early from maternity leave, or give advance notice that they intend to do so, and share untaken leave with their partner. The critical point for employers is that employees can take their shared parental leave as discontinuous periods, interspersing periods of work with periods of leave. They can also take leave at the same time as each other.
Shared parental leave applies also to adoptive parents.
- Adoptive parents’ rights are enhanced
Adoptive parents’ rights are to be more closely aligned with those of mothers taking maternity leave.
Currently, to qualify for adoption leave, an employee must have 26 weeks’ service with the employer. From 5 April 2015, this continuous service requirement for adoption leave will no longer apply. Further, the amount of statutory adoption pay will increase and adopters will be entitled to paid
- Ordinary parental leave extended
With all the attention focused on the introduction of shared parental leave and pay, it is easy to forget that the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave (which applies to employees with at least one year’s continuous employment) is being extended.
Currently, it applies to parents of children under five unless the child has a disability, in which case the age limit is 18. From 5 April 2015, it will apply to parents of children under 18 in all cases
- Major changes to pension rights
There will be a significant increase in the flexibility around accessing defined-contribution or money purchase pensions savings. At present, in most cases, the only option for people in one of these workplace pension schemes is to purchase an annuity.
From 6 April 2015, individuals aged 55 or over will be able to access their pension funds flexibly, subject to their marginal rate of tax. There are different options in how they will be able to do this and it will still be possible to purchase an annuity or receive a pension from an occupational scheme, as under the current rules.
- Changes to national insurance
As announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2013 Autumn Statement, from 6 April 2015, employers’ national insurance will not be due in relation to employees aged under 21.
- Increased limits on unfair dismissal tribunal awards
- Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase
From 5 April 2015, the standard weekly rate of statutory maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay will increase
- Statutory sick pay increases
From 6 April 2015, the weekly rate of statutory sick pay will increase.
Consensus HR helps its clients to keep up to date of all the continual Employment Law changes. Matthew explains: “We ensure that our clients are fully informed and prepared prior to any changes to Employment Law. We help them to introduce the right systems to ensure that their business is continually adhering to the law and best practice.
Is your business ready for the range of law changes that are happening this month?
Call Consensus HR and arrange a no obligation meeting to discuss your company’s HR requirements. See how they can help you to grow your business, retain employees and operate to best practice and within the law. Contact Matthew via [email protected] or call 01462 621243.