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2015 what does it hold for employers?

12 January 2015 #Employment


2015 Timeline

1st January 2015

In the financial sector, firms approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority will be required to ensure that variable remuneration (e.g. bonuses) vesting after 1st January 2015 (for the period of 7 years after vesting) can be clawed back in cases of employee misbehaviour or where the firm suffers a material failure of risk management.

5th January 2015

Ban of “overseas only” recruitment by employment agencies took effect, amending the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

4th February 2015

Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd and others – employment tribunal hearing on whether UK domestic legislation can be interpreted in line with the ECJ’s decision and, if so, the level of holiday pay to which the claimant is entitled.

5th February 2015

The Advocate General’s opinion in the Woolworths case on collective redundancy is due to be released.

30th March 2015

Dissolution of Parliament and pre election purdah period prior to general election.

5th April 2015

New system of shared parental leave (applicable from 1st December 2014) for parents of children due to be born or placed for adoption in or after 5th April 2015.

5th April 2015

Changes to adoption leave:

  • Requirement to have 26 weeks continuous service before being eligible to take statutory adoption leave will be removed
  • Statutory adoption pay will be changed to mirror statutory maternity pay
  • Adopters will have the right to time off to meet a child who might be placed with them for adoption
  • Those who are in a surrogacy arrangement will be entitled to take statutory adoption leave

5th April 2015

Extension of parental leave so that it can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday. At present parental leave has to be taken by the child’s 5th birthday (18 if the child is disabled).

6th April 2015

The amended record keeping, returns and penalties provisions under the Finance Act 2014 intended to combat false self employment through service companies will come into effect (first return due 5th August 2015)

May 2015

Proposed date of implementation of the “Fit for Work” Service (previously proposed to be called the “Health and Work Service). This is an advisory service for employers, employees and GPs aiming to reduce long term sickness absence. The website and telephone service is now in place. It is not yet known when the referral service for employees who have been absent for 4 weeks or more will be available, although the website states that a phased roll out will take place “over a period of months”. No timetable of introduction has been published to date.

7th May 2015

General Election

1st July 2015

Two year cap for unlawful deduction of pay claims comes into force (including in respect of holiday pay).

Autumn 2015

New tax free childcare scheme to be introduced.

Data Protection

Section 56 Data Protection Act 1998 was previously due to come into force on 1st December 2014 but has now been delayed. It is not currently known when it will come into force.

Caste discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 has been amended to require the government to make further regulations making caste discrimination unlawful. In the meantime the EAT in Chandok and another V Tirkey UK EAT/0190/14 has found that the definition of “race” in The Equality Act already includes caste.

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014-15

The second reading of the bill in the House of Lords took place on 2nd December 2014. The following proposals may or may not be implemented.

Zero Hours - The government plans to prohibit employers from restricting zero hours workers from working for other businesses. It is believed that regulations will not be made before the 2015 general election.

Employment tribunal awards - The government plans to introduce financial penalties for respondents that fail to pay Employment Tribunal awards on time (50% of the amount awarded, with a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5000).

Postponements – proposals to limit the number of postponements or adjournments a party may apply for in an employment tribunal case and require consideration of a cost award. Consideration also being given to a “naming and shaming scheme” for employers.

Public Sector exit payments – proposals for recovering exit payments from individuals earning over £100,000 leaving the public sector and then returning to work for the same organisation or another organisation within the same subsector within 12 months.

Whistleblowers – prescribed persons to be required to produce annual reports of the disclosures of information made to them by whistleblowers on an anonymous basis.

National Minimum Wage – the maximum £20,000 to apply in respect of each underpaid worker rather than each employer. 

Election Manifesto Proposals:

Conservative Party

  • Abolish exclusive zero hours contracts.
  • Introduce minimum 50% voting threshold for industrial action ballots.
  • Replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.

Labour Party

  • Reform employment tribunal fees
  • End exploitive use of zero hours contracts
  • Increase National Minimum Wage to £8.00 per hour by 2020
  • Require companies with fewer than 250 employees to publish gender pay figures
  • Equal rights for the self employed

Liberal Democratic Party

  • Flexible working to be the norm
  • Fathers to have a further 4 weeks paternity leave
  • Require companies with fewer than 250 employees to publish gender pay figures
  • Independent review to consult on setting a “living wage”
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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