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Employment Law Changes in October - Minimum Wage and Antenatal Care

View profile for Katee Dias
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October 2014 brings yet more changes to employment law, including:

National Minimum Wage

On 1 October, the national minimum wage hourly rates increased to:

  • £3.79 (from £3.72) for those aged 16 and 17 years old;
  • £5.13 (from £5.03) for those who are 18 to 20; and
  • £6.50 (from £6.31) for those aged 21 or over.

Despite this recent rise, a campaign has been initiated by various influential business leaders for the hourly rates to increase at a faster rate in future. There are also calls from the Federation of Small Businesses to reform the wage setting process in order to give businesses more notice of any upcoming changes in the rates.

Time off for partners to attend antenatal appointments

Before 1 October, only mothers were entitled to take time off work to attend antenatal appointments. Now that right has been extended.

Therefore, employees (and in some cases agency workers) can now take time off work for two antenatal appointments of up to 6.5 hours each if they have a “qualifying relationship” with the mother or the unborn child. This includes the pregnant lady’s husband, civil partner or partner with which they have an enduring family relationship and also the unborn child’s father. Where the spouse/partner and the father are not the same person, each individual has the right to take the time off work. The time off can be unpaid and a request can be refused by the employer but only where it is reasonable for them to do so.

It should be remembered that antenatal care is not necessarily just medical appointments with doctors and midwifes but may also include parentcraft classes and relaxation classes where these have been recommended by a medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor.

This guide is for general information and interest only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice. If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact the author or call 020 7404 0606 and ask for your usual Goodman Derrick contact.