2015 Employment Law Updates

Adoption Leave

From 5th April, a number of changes will be made that affect Adoption Leave, including :

  • The 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.

  • Statutory Adoption Pay is brought into line with statutory maternity pay by setting it at 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks.

  • Surrogate parents will also 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.

  • A new right to attend adoption appointments. The main adopter will be able to take time off to attend up to five, while the secondary adopter will be entitled to take time off for up to two such appointments.

Shared Parental Leave

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

Fit for Work Service

The new Fit for Work service is scheduled to be introduced in England and Wales over the next year, offering employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more. The service can also be used to provide more generalised open-access occupational health advice to employees, employers and general practitioners, regardless of the duration of any sickness.

Increases to Rates of Statutory Maternity Pay, Ordinary Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay

With effect from 5th April these will increase to £139.56 per week.

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