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Employment Law Changes From 1 October 2014

When it comes to Employment Law the legislative landscape is one which is constantly changing.  Decisions made at Employment Tribunal (ET), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) often determine how existing employment laws need to be interpreted.  

In addition new and/or amended legislation dovetails into the legislative landscape throughout the year and this year is new different.  Several key employment law changes will be implemented on 1 October 2014 and these are summarised below:

National minimum wage

The national minimum wage rates for all workers will increase under the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2485) which were made on 14 September 2014. For more information, see Checklist, Current rates and limits for employment lawyers: National minimum wage. If you have downloaded the "at a glance" current rates and limits PDF, remember to download the updated PDF after 1 October.

Power to order equal pay audits

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2559), which were made on 22 September 2014, tribunals will have the power to order employers found to have been in breach of equal pay law to carry out equal pay audits in certain circumstances. With one minor and non-substantive change, the final Regulations reproduce the draft version which was considered in Legal update, Compulsory equal pay audits: draft regulations.

Reserve Forces Reform.

The Defence Reform Act 2014 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2370) will bring section 48 of the Defence Reform Act 2014 into force, which removes the statutory qualifying period for unfair dismissal where the dismissal is connected with the employee's membership of the Reserve Forces. The order also brings into force section 46 and Schedule 7 of the Defence Reform Act 2014, which amend the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to make provision for payments to small and medium-sized employers of reservists who are called out for service. The Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2410) set out how these payments will be calculated. 

Time off to accompany partner to antenatal appointments

Employees and agency workers will have a right to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom they have a "qualifying relationship" to up to two antenatal appointments, up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment. For a detailed explanation of the new right, see Practice note, Antenatal appointments.

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