Fathers gain right to time off for ante-natal appointments
The Children and Families Act 2014 provides protection against detriment or dismissal for exercising a new right to unpaid leave to attend up to two ante-natal appointments by the husband, civil partner, partner, or the father of an expected child. The right also extends to an intended parent in a surrogacy situation.
Tribunals given power to order equal pay audits
The Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 came into force on 1 October. There are important exceptions from an audit for micro-businesses and new businesses (which are defined in the regulations). There are also other circumstances when a business is exempt, such as where “the disadvantages of an audit outweigh its benefits”. Lawyers should look carefully at the exceptions in reg 3.
With the growth of reservists there are two pieces of legislation that affect both employers and employees. Employers now qualify for financial assistance for reservists who are absent because they have been called up for active duty. Similarly, employees who are dismissed while on active service are now exempt from the two year qualifying period (required to lodge a claim of unfair dismissal) if their dismissal stems from absence while on active service.
National minimum wage
The changes on 1 October saw a rise in the national minimum wage to £6.50 per hour for adults. Eighteen to 20-year-olds are now entitled to £5.13, 16-17 year olds are entitled to £3.79, and the apprenticeship rate rose to £2.73. According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, more than 1 million workers will benefit from the increases.