On 1 October 2014 several important employment law changes came into force, a brief summary of these developments is set out below.

Right to accompany partner to prenatal appointments

The new right for fathers and partners to accompany a partner to prenatal appointments came into force on 1 October 2014.

Part 8 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) amends the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) to create rights for eligible employees and agency workers to take unpaid time off work to accompany a pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments. It provides for up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment (section 127, CFA 2014). Those who exercise this right will be protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed in relation to time off to accompany a woman to prenatal appointments.

Whistleblowing: new list of prescribed persons

Section 43F of the ERA provides that a qualifying disclosure may be protected where it is made to a person prescribed to receive disclosures about the matters concerned and certain requirements are met. The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 1999 (1999 Order) lists ‘prescribed persons’ for these purposes and has been amended on a number of occasions.

The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 came into force on 1 October 2014. It revokes the 1999 Order and replaces it with a new list of prescribed persons in England, Scotland and Wales to whom a whistleblower may, in certain circumstances, make a disclosure.

The 2014 Order applies to disclosures made on or after 1 October 2014 with the 1999 Order continuing to apply in relation to disclosures made before that date.

The new list of prescribed persons in respect of matters relating to healthcare services is as follows:

Click here to view the table.