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family and employment law 2014

As it's the start of a brand new year, we thought it would be a great time to look back on 2014 to see what’s changed. New laws have been brought in, legislation has changed and Scotland almost left the UK. Here’s a complete roundup of everything that’s happened this year:

How Many Changes?

A record breaking number of changes to legislation have been brought in this year – 335 to be precise. That’s 95 more than last year and over 200 more than was seen a decade ago in 2004.  Many of these changes will have very little effect on the general public, however nobody will be completely untouched by these new laws which include:

Employment Law Changes

There have been several major changes to employment law during 2014, these will have an impact on both employers and employees. Some of the ones that you should be most aware of are:

•    Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment – there was talk of abolishing it entirely, but instead the policy has simply been adapted. Although the provision will be the pretty much the same, liability information now has to be provided 28 days before transfer and there must be an economic, technical or organisation reason for change of workplace location. 

•    Financial penalties for breaching employment rights – employers who breach employment rights will now face financial penalties of between £100 and £5,000 issued by tribunals.

•    Right to flexible working – all employees can now request the right to work flexibly – not just parents and carers – employers need to provide a justified reason for declining this request.

•    Abolition of statutory sick pay recording – employers are now allowed to keep all records, including sick pay, to what best suits their organisation.

•    Pre-claim conciliation- before an employee submits a claim they must take the details of their complaint to ACAS for a month of conciliation. If the conciliation is unsuccessful then they may lodge the claim with a tribunal.

•    Pension enrolment extension – now the eligible joiners into a qualifying pension scheme is six weeks, up from one month.

•    Overtime and holiday pay – overtime should now be considered when calculating holiday pay. Claims can be backdated to the previous three months from the issuing of this new law.

•    Commission and holiday pay – similarly to overtime, the European Court of Justice stated that an employee’s commission should be taken into consideration when calculating holiday pay.

•    Tribunal fees – early in 2015 we will have a decision on the Unison’s Judicial Review on tribunal fees. It is likely that this will be a topic talked about regularly in the political elections.

•    Shared parental leave – implementation of shared maternity/ paternity leave has been implemented, increasing the flexibility that parents can choose to distribute their leave. This is applicable for any child born or adopted after the 5th April 2015.

If you want to learn any more about what has changed in employment law then talk to Howells today, we provide specialist advice and helpful guidance for employers and employees alike.

Family Law Changes

Similarly there have been several amendments towards existing family law aspects, as well as bringing in entirely new laws. Things to be aware of include:

•    Streamlined court process for divorce and dissolution of civil partnership – the court is no longer required to consider the arrangement for children, making this process faster and simpler.

•    26 week time limit for completing care and supervision cases – this is designed to improve the timeliness of finding a permanent placement for children. It can be extended by 8 weeks at a time under the discretion of the court, in order to allow for proceedings to be resolved justly.

•    Restricting the use of expert evidence in children proceedings – any evidence not necessary to resolve the proceedings justly or reinforces information already given from parties already involved should not be used.

•    Reducing unnecessary admin work – there is no longer a need to renew interim care orders and interim supervision orders. This helps to speed up court cases and allows them to set interim orders in line with the case’s timetable.

If you are looking for a family law solicitor then talk to Howells today. As a firm we pride ourselves on keeping up with legislation changes in order to give our clients the best possible service during these turbulent times.


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