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Key areas for employers to keep an eye on in 2015

With the New Year just beginning, it’s time to look at some changes in store for employers in 2015.

Family friendly changes

The regulations governing such leave came into force on 1 December 2014 but apply to eligible parents whose children are due to be born or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.

The idea is that parents will be able to share leave, eligible parents will be able to take up to 50 weeks of shared parental leave and 37 weeks of shared parental pay, provided that the leave is taken within 52 weeks of the birth or placement. The leave can be stopped and started, taken by both parents (if eligible) either at the same time or staggered between them.

Changes are also planned for adoption leave to bring it in line with statutory maternity leave. The 26 weeks’ service required before employees can take adoption leave will be removed from 5 April 2015 and the first six weeks of statutory adoption pay will be at 90 per cent of average weekly earnings rather than at the statutory rate if this is lower. Primary adopters will also have the right to paid time off to attend adoption appointments to meet the child they intend to adopt.

The current right to take 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave before a child’s fifth birthday is also to be extended from 5 April 2015, so that leave can be taken up to the child’s eighteenth birthday.

Holiday pay

The much reported case of Bear Scotland v Fulton might have answered some questions
regarding how holiday pay should be calculated, but many issues are still up in
the air. In particular what reference period should be used and what other types of payments should be included. Some clarification may come from the Leicester employment tribunal when it reconvenes in February to hear the case of Lock v British Gas, which is concerned with whether commission payments should be included in holiday pay calculations.

Zero hours contracts

These contracts received a lot of press and this year the government announced plans to prohibit employers from restricting those working under them from working for other businesses. The government also launched a consultation on the potential loopholes employers may use to try and avoid the proposed exclusivity ban. This consultation closed on 3 November and we are waiting for the governments’ response. The Labour party has announced that should it gain power in the May election, it will introduce new laws to protect zero hour’s workers.


The government plans to simplify the regulation of apprenticeships and this year has introduced the concept of an approved English version replacing the existing agreements under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (Wales will continue with the current arrangements). More details are to be set out in separate regulation in due course, and we don’t know exactly what will be involved yet or indeed if the proposals will survive the May election.LouiseAHeadShot

An interesting time, as ever, for employers. For help and advice on these or any other HR matters please contact the ProAktive employment team.

By Louise Addison

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