There are various important employment law changes that will take effect this month commencing on 1 October 2014, which will include the following:

• the annual increase in national minimum wage (NMW). The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/2485 ratifies the largest increase in take home pay for low paid workers since 2008, as the rate for workers aged 21 and over increases from £6.31 to £6.50. The new rate for 18 to 20 year olds is £5.13, the new rate for those under 18 is £3.79 and the new rate for apprentices is £2.73;

• the introduction of the right for qualifying employees to take time off to accompany a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments. S.127 of the Children and Families Act 2014 amends the Employment Rights Act 1996 to introduce a new right for employees (and qualifying agency workers) to take unpaid time off work to attend up to two ante-natal appointments with a pregnant woman with whom they have a ‘qualifying relationship’. The right is available to a pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partners), the father or parent of the pregnant woman’s child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specified conditions;

• the introduction of equal pay audits. The Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/2559 require employment tribunals to order employers found in breach of equal pay legislation to carry out equal pay audits in certain circumstances. The Regulations apply in respect of equal pay claims presented on or after 1 October;

• an updated list of the persons prescribed to receive qualifying disclosures. S.43F ERA provides that qualifying disclosures to a prescribed person will be protected under the statutory scheme. For disclosures occurring after 1 October 2014, the relevant list is that contained in Schedule 1 to the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 SI 2014/2418;

If you require more information about any of the above matters please contact Richard Monkcom, Head of Employment and/ or Charles Avens, Associate, in Druces LLP’s Employment Team.

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