Employment law… coming up in 2015

This year’s general election may, once again, change the employment law landscape significantly.  We will not, of course, know the result until after 7 May.  In the meantime, here are some major current and up and coming developments in the employment law world. We will be providing further updates in future blogs.

Holiday pay
On 5 and 6 February 2015 the issue of holiday pay is back in the courts: Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd is one of a series of cases considering whether holiday pay should include more than just basic pay, and is particularly looking at sales related commission payments.
Employers are adopting a range of responses to these legal developments.  From February 2015, John Lewis will be including over time pay in holiday pay for its employees at an annual reported cost of £12M.   Some other employers are adopting a wait and see approach.
For an update on the current situation regarding over time and other payments see https://www.morrlaw.com/holiday-pay-claims-eat-decision/
We understand from twitter that the second day of the Lock hearing has now concluded and the Judge will be issuing his decision as soon as possible.

Shared Parental Leave
For eligible parents of children whose expected week of childbirth or placement for adoption is on  or after 5 April 2015 there is a new entitlement to Shared Parental Leave: the biggest change in family friendly leave for decades.
The rules are complex and for a summary see https://www.morrlaw.com/shared-parental-leave-who-will-be-holding-the-baby/
Initial views were that this was expected to generate as much interest amongst parents as additional paternity leave – i.e. not much.  However the tide may be turning. Employers will need to be aware of their employees’ entitlements and obligations and the range of other family friendly leave available when faced with applications for SPL.

Statutory Rate Increases
From 5 April 2015:  the following new rates of statutory payments are being introduced:-
Standard rate for Statutory Maternity Pay, the rate for Ordinary and Additional Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, and Shared Parental Pay will increase to £139.58 per week.
From 6 April 2015:
Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £138.18 to £139.58 per week.
We will be issuing our next Key Facts Leaflet setting out the new rates and providing other handy information for 2015/16, shortly. To request a copy please contact [email protected]

Occupational Heath Assessments
By end May 2015 the Government is launching its Fit for Work Service (FFW): which will provide occupational health assessments and assist employees returning to work when they have been off sick, or their GP expects them to be off sick, for 4 weeks or more.
Employees can be referred to FFW by their GP or employer for a telephone assessment by an occupational health professional. They will prepare a Return to Work Plan, which may include recommended reasonable adjustments, and which can be shared with the employer.  The key issue here is that the employee’s consent is required at all stages of this process. This scheme may be helpful to smaller employers who have limited occupational health resources.

Contact your usual adviser in the team if you have any queries on this or any other employment law matter. Click here to meet the team.


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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