Here is a quick checklist of the key employment law changes coming into effect in April 2015.

1. Increased rates and limits for 2015/16

From 5 April - Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay (Ordinary and Additional) and the newly introduced Statutory Shared Parental Pay will be £139.58 per week.

From 6 April - Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £88.45 per week (from £87.55 per week).

New limits will apply for dismissals where the effective date of termination falls on or after 6 April:

  • The maximum amount of a week’s pay (for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims) will increase to £475 (from £464). 
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be increased to £78,335 (or 52 weeks’ pay, if lower).

2. Shared Parental Leave

The new rights of Shared Parental Leave (and Pay) apply to parents of babies due on or after 5 April. Similar rights apply to adoptive parents and to parents of children born through a surrogacy arrangement. See our previous e-update  for further details of the new regime.

3. Unpaid Parental Leave

From 5 April, the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of children under 18. The right currently only applies to parents of children under 5 (unless the child is disabled).

4. Adoption Leave

From 5 April, the rights of adopters will be brought into line with those of mothers taking maternity leave.  These will include the following:-

  • Statutory Adoption Pay will be enhanced to 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks for the “primary adopter”.  This is in line with Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • Adoption leave will become a “day 1” right.  So, there will no longer be a 26-week qualifying period.
  • Adopters will have new rights to time off for adoption appointments.

5. National Insurance

From 6 April, employers’ national insurance will not be due in relation to employees under 21. The exemption will apply to earnings up to the upper secondary threshold.  This is the same as the upper earnings limit which is currently £815 per week or £42,385 per year.  Employers must therefore ensure they maintain accurate records of the dates of birth of employees in order to ensure that the national insurance is processed correctly.

Employers should update their policies to reflect the forthcoming changes outlined above.