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What employment law changes are happening in April?

Shared parental leave

The new system of shared parental leave will be available to parents of children due to be born or placed for adoption on or after 5th April 2015. The mother must take the first two weeks of leave after childbirth but the remaining 50 weeks’ leave (and 37 weeks’ pay) can be shared. Have a look at our earlier blog posts for more information.

More rights for adopters

  • Currently an employee must have 26 weeks’ service to qualify for adoption leave. This continuous service requirement is being removed from 5th April.
  • Statutory adoption pay will be brought into line with statutory maternity pay.
  • Adopters will have the right to attend adoption appointments and will be protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed in relation to exercising that right.
  • Current adoption rights will be extended to couples adopting a child from outside the UK and couples fostering children as part of a Fostering for Adoption placement.

Unpaid parental leave

The right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave is being extended. It currently applies to parents of children under five (or 18 if the child has a disability). From next week it will apply to parents of all children up to the age of 18.

New statutory rates

  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase to £78,335 (from £76,574). Consequently, for any dismissals which take effect on or after 6 April 2015, the cap on the compensatory award will be the lower of £78,335 or 52 weeks’ pay.
  • The maximum amount of a week’s pay will rise to £475 (from £464). This means that the maximum basic award / statutory redundancy payment will be £14,250.
  • Statutory sick pay will increase to £88.45 per week (from £87.55).
  • Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase to £139.58 per week (from £138.18).

All of these changes come into force this month. Please get in touch for more details or if you would like help with any policy changes.


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