The big employment law guide: What to expect in 2015

Health and Work service

This service will aim to tackle sickness absence. It was estimated that UK workers took in excess of 131m days sickness absence in 2013. According to the DWP, this costs Britain up to 13bn a year, with employers annually spending 9bn on sick pay.

Employees on sick leave will be helped to return to work by providing them with an occupational health assessment when they reach, or are expected to reach, more than four weeks sickness absence. Employees will normally be referred by their GPs. A resulting return to work plan will be shared with their employer and GP.

Although the service has already been launched, a nation-wide roll-out is expected by the end of May 2015.

Statutory pay rates

From April, statutory pay rates are set to change.

ACAS has announced that statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to 139.56 per week. Statutory adoption leave and pay will also no longer have the 26-week qualifying period, and adoption pay will be brought in line with maternity pay, which will be 90 per cent of normal earnings for the first six weeks.

Furthermore, statutory sick pay rate will increase to 88.45 per week.

Holiday pay

In May, the Lock vs British Gas Trading case took the UK by storm. One of the biggest changes to the employment law landscape in 2014 revolved around how employers would calculate holiday pay.

Michelle Tudor, a solicitor at law firm Barlow Robbins, explains that first of all and importantly the rule only applies to non-guaranteed, compulsory overtime, i.e. additional hours that, if offered, an employee (or worker ) is required to do. If an employee has the opportunity to turn down any offer of overtime, it is not affected by this ruling.

The European Court has similarly held that commission payments intrinsically linked to an employees performance should be included in holiday pay.

This is what is expected to be implemented by our domestic tribunal in February 2015.

Read more about holiday pay:

Agency Workers Regulations 2010

In the Moran vs Ideal Cleaning Services and Anor case, the claimants appealed against a ruling which stated that as they were not agency workers, they did not qualify for protection under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 when they were made redundant.

According to the report, the claimants had been employed for many years, one of them for 25 years, by the first respondent but actually only worked for the second respondent. They were made redundant and argued that they qualified under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010″ and so should have been afforded the same employment conditions as if they had been recruited by the second respondent directly.

Although the appeal was dismissed, that any open-ended assignment would fall as ‘temporary’ is due to be tested in the Court of Appeal .

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