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Tag Archive

The top 10 landmark employment law changes over the past 10 years

We’re continuing our theme of top 10s to celebrate our 10 years in business.  This time we’ve come up with a top 10 of notable employment law changes.  As we all know, employment law is constantly changing and when we looked back, we found that there have been some quite ‘iconic’ changes in recent years.   

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How Do Employers Juggle Working Parents?

As the school holidays approach, working parents cross their fingers that their childcare plans hold. In this article I look at what employers need to consider when it comes to flexibility for working parents.

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Parental Bereavement Bill

MP Will Quince’s Parental Bereavement Bill passed the final stage in the House of Commons last month, seeking to allow parents time to grieve after the death of their child and gaining unanimous cross-party support. Quince proposed the bill along with Kevin Hollinrake, after Quince’s son, Robert, was stillborn at full term in 2014, suffering from Edward’s Syndrome.

Current legal position

While it is expected of employers to be compassionate and flexible when their employees face difficult times such as mourning the loss of a loved one, there is no legal requirement for employers to provide leave or pay to employees who are grieving the loss of a child.

Under the Employment Rights Act, employees do have a day-one right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off for emergencies such as making arrangements for the death of a loved one. However, this ‘reasonable’ threshold is highly subjective, and it is down to the discretion of the employer to make the decision as to what is deemed reasonable. The agreed length of time off will typically be agreed by the employer and employee dependent on the situation, and what is deemed most appropriate.

In a situation where the employee and employer are unable to agree with one another over what length of time is ‘reasonable’, the disagreement can be referred and dealt with through ACAS or via an Employment Tribunal.

The Bill

The Bill, dubbed ‘Robert’s Bill’ in honour of Quince’s son, guarantees bereavement leave and pay for those employees who have lost a child under the age of 18. Ensuring at least two weeks leave and pay for parents will become a legal entitlement. This bill will be a day-one right and employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous employment will be eligible for this statutory parental bereavement pay.

However, before the Bill will be officially passed and becomes legally binding on employers, it must undergo further scrutiny in the House of Lords. Quince said: “When members of the public, who in some cases have a bit of disdain for politicians, say ‘You MPs you do nothing, what do you do for us?’, well today we’re doing something for tens of thousands of bereaved parents up and down this country.”

This proposal is estimated to cost the government between £1.3m and £2m annually.

What to do until the Bill comes in

If an employer is unsure what procedure to following if an employee suffers a grievance, you can look to ACAS who have published good practice guidance on managing bereavement in the workplace.

If you need help and advice regarding managing bereavement in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Shared Parental Leave: in a nutshell

Much has been made of the new Shared Parental Leave (SPL) rights which will be available for parents whose child is either born or placed after the 5 April 2015. So the million dollar question is, what does it mean for employers and parents?

Many of you may be familiar with the current statutory and parental rights which are broadly made up of maternity, paternity and adoption rights and the unpaid parental leave regime. The new SPL rights will essentially allow mothers and fathers to share leave.

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New Right to Shared Parental Leave

The new Shared Parental Leave (SPL) right is touted as the final piece in the Coalition’s family friendly policy puzzle. This right which is due to come into force on 1 December will for the first time enable parents and adopters to share statutory leave and pay after the birth of their baby or after having adopted their child, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. The new system will be applicable to parents whose babies are due from 5 April 2015.

For health and safety reasons, mothers will still be required to take two weeks compulsory maternity leave, but the remaining 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay can be shared between parents. They will have the choice of taking leave at the same time and/or in turns to care for their child. Although the employer cannot refuse leave that can and may be taken in a continuous period, they are however entitled to refuse discontinuous periods of leave.

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Sharing the Load: Parental Leave Proposed Changes Published

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the administration of shared parental leave and pay, announcing that it will restrict the number of times that an employee is entitled to change his or her parental leave plans, in order to create certainty for employers.

The framework for shared parental leave and flexible working is set out in the Children and Families Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament; a target implementation year of 2015 has been applied to the draft provisions.

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BIS dates for the 2013 diary

In December 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the ‘Fifth Statement of New Regulations’ (‘the Statement’). This document sets out implementation dates for regulatory reforms in 2013.

The Statement sets out the timetable for, and estimated financial impact of, a range of measures slated for implementation next year. The reforms cover a wide range of areas of law, including energy, planning and development, agriculture, companies and transport. For the purposes of employment law the following dates should be noted in the calendars of all employers:

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