18 Dec 2014

The year ahead: employment law developments to look forward to in 2015

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As an election year, 2015 is more likely to be full of promises and proposals than significant legislative activity. However, some key changes to employment law will come into force during next year, most importantly in the family friendly arena, along with some interesting cases which are due to be heard or decided.

In this alert we summarise the main dates to look out for in 2015.

1 January 2015 - Bonus clawback - Amendments to the Remuneration Code will mean that any variable remuneration awarded on or after 1 January 2015 to all employees caught by the Code must be subject to clawback for a period of at least 7 years.

4 February 2015 - Holiday Pay - Following the decision of the European Court of Justice in May 2014 that holiday pay must include commission where that is part of remuneration, the Employment Tribunal will hear the remitted case of Lock v British Gas in order to consider whether the Working Time Regulations can effectively be interpreted in accordance with the ECJ's decision and, if so, how much holiday pay will be due to Mr Lock.

5 February 2015 - Collective Consultation - It has been reported that the Advocate General of the ECJ will give his opinion on the "Woolworths" case on 5 February 2015. The main question for the ECJ to consider in the case is whether the words "at one establishment" in the UK collective consultation legislation are to be disregarded, meaning that an employer making 20 or more employees redundant would have to follow a full collective consultation process, even if those employees are spread across different establishments. Employers will no doubt be hoping that the ECJ disagrees with the Employment Appeal Tribunal when it finally delivers its decision - which need not follow the Advocate General's opinion.

30 March 2015 - Parliament will be dissolved and the pre-election purdah will commence.

5 April 2015 - Family friendly measures - Parents of any baby due (or child due to be placed for adoption) on or after 5 April 2015 will be entitled to Shared Parental Leave. The notification requirements and issues around shared parental pay are relatively complex, but the basic principle is that parents will be allowed to share up to 50 weeks of leave between them in order to care for their child.

There will also be several changes to the rights of adoptive parents, including the removal of the requirement for 26 weeks' service before employees are entitled to adoption leave, introduction of a right to paid time off for adoption appointments (including protection against dismissal and detriment in relation to that time off) and an extension of adoption leave to those who are "fostering for adoption"

Finally, the right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 (currently this is only available to those with children under 5 unless the child is disabled).

6 April 2015 - Self-employment - Measures introduced under the Finance Bill 2014 aimed at combatting false self-employment through personal service companies will come into force. Employment agencies will have to keep records and file quarterly returns giving details of any workers from whom tax has not been deducted and the reasons for that non-deduction. The first such returns will be due by 5 August 2015.

5 May 2015 - General Election

1 July 2015 -Holiday Pay - In order to limit costs for businesses and increase certainty for employers, the Government has announced that any claims brought after 1 July 2015 for non-guaranteed overtime to be included in holiday pay will not be permitted to look back further than two years."

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