2015: A look ahead at the expected significant Employment Law changes

As 2015 approaches, we are looking ahead at the expected changes to employment law and actions employers should take.

As discussed below, 2015 will bring with it a number of legislative changes as well as some important decisions from the Courts.

However, the General Election will be held on 7th May 2015 and further changes to employment law may be introduced as a result of the outcome of the election.

Shared Parental Leave (SPL):

will be available from 1st December 2014 to parents of children due to be born or adopted on or after 5th April 2015. Parents will be able to share up to 52 weeks’ parental leave and 39 weeks’ statutory pay between them, subject to eligibility.

Employers should be acting now to ensure that they are fully aware of the procedures that employees will be required to follow in relation to taking SPL and that they have effective policies and procedure in place.

Holiday Pay:

in November, the EAT handed down its decision in the case of Bear Scotland Ltd & Others v Fulton & Others which decided that holiday pay should take into account non-guaranteed overtime.

The EAT has granted permission to appeal and any appeal is likely to be heard in 2015 although it is not expected that the current decision will be affected.

Businesses should review their policies on calculation of holiday pay in light of the recent decisions.

Zero Hours Contracts:

the Government has announced plans to prohibit the inclusion of exclusivity clauses in contracts that seek to prevent employees from working for other businesses whilst not offering any guaranteed hours of work.

It is not yet known when the new provisions will come into force, however, businesses that make use of zero hours contract should remain alert to potential changes in this area.

Collective Redundancy Consultation:

earlier this year the Courts considered cases arising from the Woolworths administration and effectively changed the law on when the obligation to consult with staff collectively in relation to redundancies arises.

The case decided that the obligation to consult on a collective basis arises once an employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees, regardless of whether or not they are employed at the same location.

Previous to this decision, the obligation arose where there was a proposal to dismiss 20 or more staff in one location. The European Court’s decision on this issue is expected in 2015.

Finance Bill:

The amended record-keeping, returns and penalties provisions under the Finance Bill 2014 intended to combat false self-employment through service companies will apply from 6 April 2015 (with the first return due by 5 August 2015).

Childcare Scheme:

In Autumn 2015, the government plans to introduce a new tax-free childcare scheme under which working families will be able to claim 20% of qualifying childcare costs for children under 5.

The scheme is intended to replace the existing employer supported scheme.

Taylor Walton’s Employment Law team regularly runs free workshops on various employment law topics and issues – please see our website for more details: 
www.taylorwalton.co.uk/events

Nicola Smyrl is a solicitor in the Employment Law Department at Taylor Walton Solicitors, which has offices in Luton, Harpenden and St Albans and provides effective legal solutions to businesses and individuals across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and the South East. Nicola can be contacted on 01582 731161 or email nicola.smyrl@taylorwalton.co.uk

The information in this article was, at the time of publication, believed to be a correct statement of the law. However, readers should seek specific legal advice on matters arising, and no responsibility can be accepted for action taken solely in reliance upon such information.