The following key employment law changes will also be in force from today:
1. Husbands, partners and civil partners of a pregnant woman and the father of the expected child will be able to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to up to two antenatal appointments lasting no more than six and a half hours each. Furthermore, they will be protected from detriment and dismissal as a result of exercising this new right.
2. Employers who have lost an equal pay claim at tribunal can be ordered to carry out and publish an equal pay audit on any company website. As part of the audit employers will be required to identify any differences in pay between men and women, give reasons for the differences and set out their plan to avoid breaches continuing. An employer who fails to comply with an order may be liable to pay a penalty of up to £5,000. Employers of fewer than 10 employees and new businesses (as defined) are exempt from these provisions. A copy of the regulations can be found at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2559/introduction/made
3. The two year statutory qualifying period for the purpose of claiming unfair dismissal will be removed for armed forces reservists where the dismissal from employment is connected with the employee’s membership of the Reserve Forces. This applies to employees whose employment terminates on or after 1 October 2014.
4. Subject to certain conditions, including the production of required information, small and medium-sized employers (excluding public authorities) will be entitled to claim monthly payments of up to £500 from the Ministry of Defence for periods when their reservist employee is called out for service. For further details of the payments available, please see The Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2410/contents/made
5. Employees are entitled to ‘blow the whistle’ on workplace malpractice such as criminal offences or health and safety breaches and such disclosures are protected provided they are made to the employer or a prescribed person. The list of prescribed persons has now been updated to include the National Crime Agency and others such as the Housing Corporation have been removed. For further details please see the updated list set out in The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2418/schedule/made
For further information please contact a member of our employment team or call 01737 854 500 or email [email protected]
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.