April 2015 Changes to Employment Law

The Government has recently announced several proposed changes to employment law for April 2015. Please see below for some of the important changes which may affect you.

1. Changes to statutory adoption leave and pay – 5th April 2015

The current 26-week qualifying period to be eligible to take adoption leave will be removed, bringing it into line with the eligibility requirements for maternity leave.

The Children and Families Act 2014 brings statutory adoption pay into line with statutory maternity pay by setting it at 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks.

A new right has also been introduced to allow staff to attend adoption appointments. The main adopter will be able to take time off to attend up to five appointments, while the secondary adopter will be entitled to take time off for up to two such appointments.

Our policy has been updated and a copy is available here: Parental Leave Policy and Procedure 

2. Statutory Sick Pay Increases – 5th April 2015

The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £87.55 per week to £88.45.

3. Statutory Pay for Parental Leave Increases – 5th April 2015

Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to £139.58 per week.

4. New limit for redundancy pay – 6th April 2015

The limit for a week's pay when calculating redundancy pay will increase to £475. Please note that some school policies calculate redundancy based on actual salary i.e. payments are not capped. Therefore it is important that you check your policy prior to starting any redundancy process.

5. Parental Leave extended to 18 years of age

Please note that Parental leave is separate to Shared Parental Leave.

Parental Leave is the statutory right to a period of unpaid leave that may be taken by a parent during the first five years of the child’s life (up to 18 for disabled children) or up to 5 years after a child is placed, in the case of adoption.

From 5th April 2015, the age limit for the child will increase from 5 to 18 years in all circumstances. Parents with sufficient qualifying service will have the right to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave up to the child’s 18th birthday.

6. New Rights for Surrogate Parents

Surrogate parents have previously not had rights to time off, however from 5th April 2015 they will become eligible for adoption leave. The leave will be available to employees who are, or expect to be, the parents of a child under a parental order, where the child’s expected week of birth begins on or after 5 April 2015.

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