October 2014 brings yet more changes to employment law, including:
National Minimum Wage
On 1 October, the national minimum wage hourly rates increased to:
[pounds sterling]3.79 (from [pounds sterling]3.72) for those aged 16 and 17 years old;
[pounds sterling]5.13 (from [pounds sterling]5.03) for those who are 18 to 20; and
[pounds sterling]6.50 (from [pounds sterling]6.31) for those aged 21 or over.
Despite this recent rise, a campaign has been initiated by various influential business leaders for the hourly rates to increase at a faster rate in future. There are also calls from the Federation of Small Businesses to reform the wage setting process in order to give businesses more notice of any upcoming changes in the rates.
Time off for partners to attend antenatal appointments
Before 1 October, only mothers were entitled to take time off work to attend antenatal appointments. Now that right has been extended.
Therefore, employees (and in some cases agency workers) can now take time off work for two antenatal appointments of up to 6.5 hours each if they have a "qualifying relationship" with the mother or the unborn child. This includes the pregnant lady's husband, civil partner or partner with which they have an enduring family relationship and also the unborn child's father. Where the spouse/partner and the father are not the same person, each individual has the...