A number of employment law changes come into force today including the annual increase in national minimum wage rates, new rights for fathers and partners to take unpaid time off to attend antenatal appointments and new powers for a tribunal to order an equal pay audit. For more information please see our employment law calendarwhich also contains dates of forthcoming webinars.

Recent figures also divulge that employment tribunal claims have dropped by 71% in quarter 2 of 2014 from April to June. Clearly fees are having a significant impact on claimants’ decisions to pursue cases. But these figures are also the first to be published since early conciliation became optional in April and then mandatory in May this year. The new system encourages employees to avoid lodging claims by attempting conciliation, a form of mediation, before a claim is raised. In recent years both tribunals and the government have been eager to encourage those involved in workplace disputes to consider mediation to resolve their differences.