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Looking ahead to 2015

Looking ahead to 2015

2014 was a busy year for employment law changes. With the UK’s General Election in May 2015, and the period of pre-election purdah commencing on 20 March 2015, employment legislative change in the first half of 2015 is likely to be somewhat quieter in comparison.

In this alert, we briefly look at the key legislative changes due to take place in the first half of next year, before the General Election:

1 January 2015

Proposed rules on bonus clawback are due to come into force. Firms which are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will have to ensure that variable remuneration is subject to clawback for a period of at least seven years from the date on which it is awarded (for remuneration awarded on or after 1 January 2015).

10 January 2015

The Brussels I Regulation, which regulates EU jurisdictional issues, will be replaced by the “recast” Brussels Regulation.  Whilst the jurisdictional aspects pertaining to employment are similar to the existing Regulation, the recast Regulation contains important changes for non-EU employers, including the extension of the right of employees to sue non-EU employers in the court of a Member State. We will be circulating a news alert on these changes in the New Year.

April 2015

Managing sickness absence

A health and work assessment and advisory service will be introduced (“Fit For Work”).  It will provide occupational health assistance for employees, employers and GPs to help individuals stay or return to work.

5 April 2015

  • The new system of shared parental leave will be available to employees who are expectant parents of babies which are due (or adopters of children who are placed for adoption) on or after 5 April 2015.  The bulk of the regulations came into force on 1 December 2014. For more information take a look at our previous news alert on shared parental leave.
  • Several changes to adoption law protections will take place, including:
    • the removal of the 26 weeks’ qualifying service requirement before employees are entitled to adoption leave;
    • paid time off for adoption appointments, with protection against dismissal and detriment in relation to that time off;
    • employees will not be able to take paternity leave if they have exercised a right to take paid time off to attend an adoption appointment; and
    • the right to adoption leave will also be extended to individuals fostering a child under the “Fostering for Adoption” scheme.
  • Shared parental leave and pay will be extended to include couples who are adopting children from outside the UK.
  • The right to unpaid parental leave (currently available to those with children under 5 or 18 if disabled) will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years.
6 April 2015
  • The regulations for record keeping, returns and penalties intended to combat false self-employment through service companies (contained in the Finance Bill 2014) will come in to force (with the first return due by 5 August 2015).
The leading political parties in the UK have all made statements as to their proposed employment law changes should they win the General Election in May 2015. As expected, each party varies in its approach and aims, which could potentially include major reforms to the Employment Tribunal system if the Labour Party wins.  We will update you with these changes, so watch this space.