UK Employment Law Changes - What’s Coming Into Force on 1 October?

    View Author September 2014

    A quick reminder of the employment law changes taking place on 1 October 2014.
    National Minimum Wage

    The National Minimum Wage rates applying from 1 October:

    • The adult rate for workers aged 21 and over will increase by 19p from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour.
    • The hourly rate for workers aged 18-20 will increase by 10p from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour.
    • The rate for workers aged 16-17 will increase by 7p from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour.
    • The hourly rate for apprentices will increase by 5p from £2.68 to £2.73.

    Time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments

    This new right will be available to employees and qualifying agency workers.  It applies to the pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partner), the father or parent of a pregnant woman’s child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specified conditions.

    The entitlement is to unpaid leave for up to two appointments, capped at 6.5 hours per appointment.  Employees will have the right to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal if their employer unreasonably refuses to let them take time off for this purpose.

    Employers can offer provision more generous than the statutory entitlement and also decide to make the leave paid, if they wish to do so.

    The Government has issued guidance for employers on the new right.  See also our comments on it here.

    A similar right for adopters will come into force in April 2015.

    Tribunals to have power to order equal pay audits

    Employment Tribunals will be able to order employers to carry out equal pay audits where there has been an equal pay breach.  Employers should note that the legislation includes a requirement that they publish the results of the audit on their website (unless they can show that doing so would result in a breach of a legal obligation) for a period of at least 3 years.