top of page

Employment Law and HR Update May 2015

What are the proposed changes in employment law as detailed in the Conservative Manifesto?


Require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees.

Increase the proportion of public appointments going to women in the next Parliament, as well as the number of female MPs.

Aim to halve the disability employment gap: transforming policy, practice and public attitudes, so that hundreds of thousands more disabled people can find employment.

Human Rights

Introduce a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act 1998. The UK Supreme Court to be the ultimate decision maker of human rights matters in the UK rather than European Court of Human Rights.

National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

Increase the National Minimum Wage to £6.70 by autumn 2015 with a view to increasing it to over £8 per hour by the end of 2020.

Continue to encourage businesses to pay Living Wage if they can afford it. This is currently £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 in the rest of the UK (source: Living Wage Foundation)

Personal Tax Allowance

Increase this to £12,500 by 2020. It is currently £10,600.

Trade Unions and Industrial Action

Introduce a requirement for industrial action in health, education, fire and transport to have support of at least 40% of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots, as well as a majority of those who vote.

Employment Tribunals

It is unlikely now that any review of the Employment Tribunal fees will take place as it was being pushed forward by the Liberal Democrats. It is not mentioned in the Conservative Manifesto.

Work and Families

Increase entitlement to free childcare to 30 hours per week for 3-4 year olds with working parents.

Zero-hours Contracts

Stop exclusivity clauses. This is the clause that allows employers to prevent casual staff working for another employer, even though they are not guaranteed any work.

Will shared parental leave transform family-friendly working?

Shared Parental Leave-What you need to know

The new right to shared parental leave is intended to promote a major culture shift in the sharing of childcare responsibilities between men and women.

Shared parental leave has been hailed as one of the most transformative family-friendly policies to ate. Former Employment Minister, Jo Swinson, who oversaw its introduction, recently spoke of her hope “that the outdated assumption that childcare is only an issue for mothers will be firmly put to bed as shared parental leave becomes more established”.

Shared parental leave gives mothers the right to end their period of maternity leave early and share untaken leave and pay with their partner. The right applies to working couples with babies due on or after 5 April 2015, provided each parent qualifies for leave and pay in their own right. There are similar arrangements for adoptive parents.


Although it is early days for shared parental leave, it is understood that take-up so far been low, and will continue to be slow to increase over the coming year. Take-up is likely to be affected by the levels of shared parental pay on offer, as there is no obligation on employers to enhance shared parental pay.

Parents on shared parental leave can share up to 37 weeks’ statutory shared parental pay between them, at a flat rate of £139.58 per week from April 2015, or 90% of the employee’s earnings if this is less. The rate of statutory shared parental pay is paid at the same as the flat rate of statutory maternity pay.

The statutory shared parental pay can be claimed back through employees NI.

The Costs of Mental Illness to the Economy are Astounding

According to the Chief Medical Officer, mental illness led to the loss of 70 million working days within the UK during 2013, making it the leading cause of sickness absence from work in the UK. But those figures might be the tip of the iceberg.

Mental health specialists, recently commissioned research into workplace mental health which revealed that, 79% of the respondents without a mental health condition felt they wouldn’t be able to tell their employer if they did have one.

The first step would be to ensure there is a stigma free environment in the workplace, with acceptance and understanding of the condition.

This can be done by making sure your workforce understands how common conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety are, how to recognise the signs in themselves and their colleagues, and how stigma helps make the condition worse because employees don’t feel able to ask for help.

For help with this issue contact


Nichola Coulthard

Coulthard Human Resources

May 2015

Human Resources is our business leaving you to concentrate of yours

Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page