New rights to attend
From 1 October 2014 eligible employees and agency workers
will have the right to take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to two
antenatal appointments if they are either: the baby’s father, the expectant
mother’s spouse, civil partner, or partner in an enduring relationship, or
intended parents of a child in a surrogacy arrangement.
6.5 hours’ unpaid leave is allowed for each appointment.
Employers will not be entitled to see the appointment card or letter but can
request a signed declaration from the employee containing certain prescribed
Employees will have legal protection from any detriment suffered
in connection with this right and any resulting dismissal will be automatically
unfair. Employers will need to adjust their maternity policies and make their
managers aware of the prescribed information.
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage will increase from 1 October 2014.
The standard adult rate will rise from £6.31 to £6.50 an hour. Increases will
also be made to the youth development, young workers, and apprentices’ rates,
as well as the accommodation offset.
Changes to Employment
From 1 October 2014 Employment Tribunals will have the power
to order equal pay audits where an employer is found guilty of gender
discrimination in relation to contractual or non-contractual pay matters after
this date. The audit will involve the investigation of any pay gaps between
genders and planning to close unjustified gaps.
From 1 October 2014, small and medium employers will be able
to receive up to £500 per month for each full month a reservist is absent from
work (which reduces on a pro-rata basis). This is separate from the direct pay
the reservists will continue to receive from the MoD while they are called up.
Furthermore, reservist employees will not need to fulfil the requirement of two
years’ employment to qualify for an unfair dismissal claim, provided that the
claim is connected to their reservist status.