Traditionally, April sees the introduction of new legislation affecting employment law. Here is a summary of the relevant changes this April:
Shared parental leave: Employees who meet certain requirements have a right to shared parental leave and pay after the birth or adoption of a child. Shared parental leave can be taken after a mother or main adopter gives up their right to take maternity or adoption leave. The remaining time can then be divided between them and their partner as shared parental leave. Similarly, maternity or adoption pay, or maternity allowance, can be given up and divided so that shared parental pay is paid to the mother or main adopter and/or their partner while taking shared parental leave.
Qualifying for adoption leave: Adopters no longer need to work for 26 weeks for their employer before they qualify for adoption leave.
'Fostering for Adoption' scheme: The Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 have extended the adoption leave rights to those fostering children. Adoption now includes foster children adopted under the 'Fostering for Adoption' scheme run by local authorities.
Adoption appointments: Employees and agency workers who are adopting have a right to time off to attend adoption appointments. Those adopting on their own are entitled to paid time off for no more than 5 appointments. This also applies if the employee or agency worker is the main adopter of a joint adoption. The other adopter is limited to 2 unpaid appointments. An employee who uses their right to take time off to attend an adoption appointment will no longer have a right to take paternity leave for that child.
Parental leave: The right to unpaid parental leave has been extended to parents of any child under the age of 18.
Unfair dismissal: The minimum basic award for unfair dismissal has increased from £5,767 to £5,807. The maximum compensation (cap) has risen from £76,574 to £78,335. When calculating compensation, the limit for a 'week's pay' has increased from £464 to £475. These rights apply if either the effective date of termination, or the payment itself, falls on or after 6 April 2015.
Redundancy: The maximum statutory redundancy pay has increased from £13,920 to £14,250.
Guaranteed pay: The statutory guaranteed pay (upper limit) has risen from £25 to £26.
National Insurance: The lower earnings limit for National Insurance purposes has increased from £111 to £112 a week.
Pensions: The maximum employee pension contribution remains unchanged from 2014/15 for 2015/16 (£40,000).
Statutory pay rates: The maternity, adoption and paternity pay has increased from £138.18 to £139.58. The new rate also applies to shared parental pay. Sick pay has increased from £87.55 to £88.45.