|What is coming into force?|
It is the Government’s second instalment of the 2006 employment legislation this Sunday. With effect from 1 October the following new legislation will come into force:
Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (please see Employment Alerts 116 and 123 for further details). Please note that the Age Regulations will also affect pensions, but the implementation of this part of the Regulations has been delayed until 1 December 2006 (please see the Employment and Pensions Alert of 8 September 2006).
National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2006. The new national minimum wage rate increases to £5.35 per hour for workers aged 22 or over; for those between 18 and 21 it increases to £4.45 per hour; and those under 18 it rises to £3.30 per hour.
Maternity and Parental Leave etc and Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (please see Employment Alert 122 for further details). Essentially these will remove the six month service requirement for being able to take additional maternity leave. The distinction between ordinary and additional maternity leave remains, but all employees will qualify for both from the commencement of employment. The amount of notice an employee must give an employer that she intends to return early from additional maternity leave will increase from four to eight weeks (this also applies to additional adoption leave). The Regulations will also introduce ‘keeping in touch days’.
The Statutory Maternity Pay, Social Security (Maternity Allowance) and Social Security (Overlapping Benefits) (Amendment) Regulations 2006; and
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) and the Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Weekly Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 2006. These two Regulations extend the period of statutory maternity and adoption pay to 39 weeks for mothers whose expected week of childbirth falls on or after 1 April 2007 or where the child is expected to be placed for adoption on or after 1 April 2007.
Although the new maternity and adoption regulations come into force on 1 October 2006, the amendments will only take effect in relation to employees whose expected week of childbirth, or expected date of adoption, is on or after 1 April 2007. Staff handbooks will need to be updated within the next 6 months to reflect these changes. Please contact us if you require assistance on this.