December Case Round Up – Shared Parental Leave and more
In the last e-news for 2014, we review what is in store for 2015.
Shared Parental Leave
The most significant change for businesses in 2015 in our view is the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) on 5 April 2015. Summarising, SPL allows eligible parents to share up to 50 weeks of maternity leave and 37 weeks of pay with their partner. Employees can take SPL in up to 3 separate blocks, and parents can choose how much of the SPL each of them will take.
To qualify for SPL, the child’s mother must be eligible for either:-
- maternity leave or pay;
- maternity allowance;
- adoption leave or pay.
The employee must also:-
- have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date;
- still be employed while they take SPL;
- give the correct notice and provide a declaration that their partner meets the employment and income requirements.
This means that a female employee can, if she chooses to do so, and provides the appropriate notice, return to work early, and her partner will be able to take the remainder of her maternity leave. This will have a number of implications for organisations in how to manage employees being away on extended leave, how to manage the notice requirements, and obtaining the appropriate evidence and record-keeping.
We will be considering the impact of SPL in more detail at our Workshop on 5 February 2015.
Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service
The Government plans to introduce a Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service to provide Occupational Health assessments to assist employees who have been absent for four weeks or more to return to work.
The purpose is to arrange case management for employees who have been off work for more than four weeks, to review employees’ progress, and provide advice to employers, employees and GPs, to facilitate their return to work. It is envisaged that the advisory scheme will provide definitive advice on return to work, timetable for return, and adjustments required.
USDAW v Ethel Austin Limited (in administration)
Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 states that there is an obligation to inform and consult employees whenever an employer proposes to dismiss 20 or more employees within a 90 day period at one establishment. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that the duty to consult applies irrespective of whether employees work at different establishments, which has far reaching impact on organisations, which have a number of different sites.
The Court of Appeal has referred this matter to the European Court of Justice, and a decision is to be expected next year.
The General Election
Finally, the General Election in May 2015 is bound to bring changes to employment law. It is difficult to predict the changes, as they will be dependent on which party is elected. The Labour Party has stated that it will reform the Tribunal fee system and has stated, “Affordability should not be a barrier to work place justice”. The Conservative Party is proposing to end the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. The Lib Dem Party is proposing to introduce a blind recruitment process in the public sector in an attempt to avoid discrimination; it has also intimated that it will increase the national minimum wage for apprentices by £1.
There are a number of interesting developments, which will have a significant impact on organisations. We will continue to provide updates as and when there are developments. In the meantime, the Employment Team at RadcliffesLeBrasseur wish all of our readers a prosperous 2015.
Please note our London office will be closed on 9 January 2015, re-opening on Monday 12 January 2015 from our new location at 85 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AE.
If you have any questions, then please contact Sejal Raja on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 227 7410.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.