Be Prepared for Changes in Employment Law in April

The start of the new financial year heralds a number of changes in employment law that business needs to be prepared for. All are effective from 6th April 2015.

Statutory pay rates

For maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave the statutory pay will increase to £139.59 a week.

For statutory sick pay (SSP) the new rate will be £88.45.

Parental leave

The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents with children under the age of 18.

Statutory pay and adoption leave

Entitlement for statutory adoption leave will no longer require a 26 week qualifying period and adoption pay will be brought into line with maternity pay at 90% of normal earnings for the first 6 weeks.

Surrogate parents

Parents of a child through surrogacy will be allowed adoption leave and pay, paternity leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay provided they meet the eligibility criteria. There is also provision for both parents to take unpaid leave to attend two ante natal appointments with the woman who is carrying the baby.

Compensation limits for tribunal awards

The maximum compensation in an employment tribunal award for basic unfair dismissal will increase to £78,335 and when calculating a weeks pay the limit will increase to £475.

Limit for statutory redundancy pay

In line with the above the limit for a weeks pay when calculating redundancy pay will increase to £475.

National Insurance Contributions

Employers will not be required to pay Employers National Insurance contributions for employees under the age of 21. This exemption applies to earnings up to the upper secondary threshold.

Pension freedoms

From April increased pension flexibility will allow anyone over the age of 55 to be able to access their pension savings subject to their marginal rate of tax. Previously required to purchase an annuity there are now a number of options available giving greater freedom for accessing defined contribution and money purchase pension schemes.