Employment Law Update April 2015
For the Veterinary Profession
It’s that time of year when the powers that be feel the need to further complicate our lives! There are no new major changes coming into effect this time, but you do need to be fully up to speed now with Shared Parental Leave, which came into effect in December 2014, as this is available to parents of children due to be born or matched for adoption on or after April 6th 2015.
So, a brief re-cap!
Shared parental leave is designed to give eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. They may choose to be off at the same time and/ or take turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.
■Employed mothers are still entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.
■The mother must still take at least the first two weeks off after the birth of her child.
■An eligible mother can opt to end her maternity leave early, with the remaining period becoming SPL. If both she and her partner/ the child’s father meet the eligibility requirements, they can decide how to divide their SPL and Pay entitlement.
■Two weeks of paid Paternity Leave will still be available to fathers and a mother’s or adopter’s partner, but Additional Paternity Leave has been replaced by SPL, so will no longer be available.
■As long as the mother has given notice that she will finish her maternity leave early, SPL for the father can begin while the mother is still on maternity leave.
As ever, the devil is in the detail, and SPL is quite complex, so do seek advice!
The following changes all come into effect from 6th April 2015:
■Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to £139.58 per week.
■Statutory sick pay will increase to £88.45 per week.
■Statutory adoption leave will no longer have the 26-week qualifying period, and adoption pay will be brought into line with maternity pay and be paid at 90% of normal earnings for the first six weeks.
■Parental Leave - the right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to eligible parents of any child under the age of 18 years.
■Parents who have a child through surrogacy will be entitled to adoption leave and pay, ordinary paternity leave and pay, and shared parental leave and pay, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Both parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.
■The limit for a week’s pay for calculating redundancy pay will increase to £475.
■The limit for a week’s pay when calculating compensation for basic unfair dismissal will also increase to £475. The maximum compensation award will increase to £78,335.
Fit For Work:
The Government’s new system to help manage long-term sickness absences (of four or more weeks) is due to be rolled out in 2015.
It is a free service, aiming to help employees stay in or return to work. Both employers and GPs can refer someone to Fit for Work, and the service is intended particularly to help small and medium sized businesses without their own Occupational Health Service.
There are two elements:
■An internet- based and telephone advice service providing health and work advice.
■A referral service providing an occupational health assessment and return to work plan for employees who have been, or are expected to be, off sick from work for four or more weeks.
The web & telephone advice is already available at fitforwork.org, but, as yet, there’s no clear indication of when the health assessments will be available.
Employers will be able to claim tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme, up to a limit of £500 of treatment for an individual employee per year.
The above is a brief, general outline of changes only, and is not intended as a substitute for specific, professional advice.
This article was kindly provided by Eight Legal: