9 January 2015: With an election looming in May 2015, it is more difficult than normal to predict what changes there may be to employment law in the year ahead. The main changes that are currently on the cards are likely to happen are:
In the family way: Shared parental leave and pay comes into effect for couples with a baby due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.
The Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will remove the 26-week qualifying period for adoption leave.
The Children and Families Act 2014 changes statutory adoption pay by setting it at 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, as per SMP.
There will be 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.
From 5 April 2015 people exercising the existing right to take time off for parental leave will be able to take it for children up to the age of 18 (rather than up to 5 at present).
Sick of Work: The new Fit for Work service should come into effect in England and Wales at some point, offering employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more.
According to reports, employers will also be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.
Rates of SMP, SSP, redundancy pay etc: The rates for SMP, statutory sick pay and statutory redundancy payments will be increased, but at present it is not clear by how much.
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