National Minimum Wage: adult rate increases to £6.50; 18-20-year-old rate increases to £5.13; 16-17-year-old rate increases to £3.79; apprentice rate increases to £2.73. HMRC’s publicity surrounding the 2014 increases stresses that employers who fail to meet their obligations to pay the national minimum wage will face fines of up to £20,000 per employee. The Labour Party announcing plans to raise the NMW to £8 an hour by 2020
Ante-natal rights for fathers and partners: employees and qualifying agency workers get the right to unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments. It’s capped at 6½ hours per appointment.
Equal pay audits: where an employer loses an equal pay case, tribunals will be able to order the employer to carry out, and publish, an equal pay audit.
Whistleblowing: there is an updated list of ‘prescribed persons’ who can legitimately receive whistleblowing complaints (subject to certain conditions) for qualifying disclosures post-1 October 2014.
Reserve forces: an employee who is dismissed because he or she is a member of the Reserves will not need to have accrued two years’ service before bringing a claim for unfair dismissal, and there is increased financial help for employers of reservists who are called out for service.
Corporate governance: the UK Corporate Governance Code has been updated to take effect from 1 October 2014. Changes include updating requirements in relation to disclosure and shareholder approval of directors’ pay. More information can be found at the Financial Reporting Council’s website.