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Employment law reform update

Employment law reform featured heavily in the Coalition Government’s legislative programme. We have already seen changes in relation to unfair dismissal claims and compensation, collective redundancy consultation, whistleblowing protection, TUPE, flexible working requests and tribunal reform, including the introduction of tribunal fees. And the new shared parental leave regulations came into force at the beginning of this month for babies expected to be born/children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.

Further changes anticipated are set out below.

1 December

  • Shared parental leave in force for babies due on or after 5 April 2015
  • Ban on employment agencies advertising vacancies exclusively in other EEA countries
  • Sickness absence: new independent assessment service

Spring 2015

5 April

  • Shared parental leave fully in force and abolition of Additional Paternity Leave
  • Right for those proposing to adopt to attend ‘adoption appointments’
  • Removal of a six-month qualifying period for adoption leave
  • Revision of Statutory Adoption Pay to mirror Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Extension of adoption leave and pay to surrogacy and ‘foster to adopt’ arrangements

Autumn 2015

  • ‘Caste’ to be a specific aspect of race discrimination (may be delayed to 2016)
  • Employer-supported childcare voucher schemes closed to new participants

Sometime in 2015

  • Regulation of zero-hour contracts including exclusivity clauses become unenforceabe
  • Whistleblowing: annual reporting by ‘prescribed persons’
  • Limited tribunal reform and penalties for non-payment of tribunal awards
  • Increased penalty for underpayment of national minimum wage
  • Repayment of public sector exit payments by those quickly re-employed
  • Repeal power to make recommendations for the wider workforce in discrimination cases
  • Apprenticeship simplification