Share parental leave

Statutory payment rates confirmed for new tax year

The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2018 has now been published in draft form, and points out a number of statutory payment rates that employers are going to need to consider. Most importantly, it states that:

  • The standard weekly rates of statutory adoption pay (SAP), statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory paternity pay (SPP) and statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) are set to rise from £140.98 to £145.18 from 1 April 2018 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if that is less than the statutory rate)
  • From 6 April 2018, the weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) is set to rise from £89.35 to £92.05

As well as this, the Social Security (Contributions) (Rates, Limits and Thresholds Amendments and National Insurance Funds Payments) Regulations 2018 has also been published in draft form. It confirms that, from 6 April 2018, the lower earnings limit (LEL) will increase from £113 to £116 per week. Employees below the LEL do not qualify for SMP, SAP, SPP, ShPP and SSP.

For plain-English, expert advice on any of the above you can contact Alison here.

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Update – Parental Bereavement Leave

On 19 July 2017 the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill was introduced to Parliament. The Bill is expected to have a second reading in October with the hope that it will become law in 2018.

Summary

  • This aims to establish a new right for employed parents to paid leave to grieve on the death of their child.
  • It is likely that the amount of leave will be at least two weeks and attract the same rate of pay as other types of family leave such as maternity, adoption paternity and shared parental leave. This is currently the lower of 90% of an employee’s gross weekly earnings and £140.98 per week.
  • At present (except in relation to stillbirth or miscarriages in respect of which maternity or paternity leave may still apply), the law only allows for “reasonable” unpaid time off to deal with an emergency relating to dependants, including his or her death, and it is down to each employer to determine what is ”reasonable” in the circumstances.

ACAS has published a good practice guide on Dealing with Bereavement in the Workplace (available here).

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Five key employment law changes in April 2017

April is a busy month for employment law with several changes coming into force over the next few weeks. We’ve put together a summary of five of the main things to look out for this month and how they will affect employers.

Gender pay gap reporting rules come into force

The Gender Pay Gap guidance is a huge topic this month and is one that we will dedicate a separate blog to but in summary, every year large employers will have to report data about their gender pay gap, including any bonus payments. All details about the proportion of male and female employees in different pay quartiles and those who receive bonuses. For more information you can read our blog here. [Link to blog]

Apprenticeship levy is introduced

At the beginning of April the apprenticeship levy cam into force, meaning that employers with a paybill or more than £3 million will pay the levy to fund apprenticeship training. Employers in England that pay the levy will then be able to access the funding through a digital service, currently aiming to be in operation from May. Employers that do not pay the levy will also be able to access funding for apprenticeships and while the levy applies across the UK, different arrangements will exist of how apprenticeship funding will work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Immigration skills charge

Any employer that sponsors skilled workers under tier 2 of the immigration points-based system will have to pay a levy of £1,000 per certificate of sponsorship per year. This levy will come into force for each worker under tier 2, although there are some exemptions.

National minimum wage increases

This month the national minimum wage will increase, despite a relatively recent increase in October last year. It is happening now so that the timing of the annual increase in the national living wage rate for workers aged 25 or over will fit with the other national minimum wage rates. From this month the rate for workers aged 25 and over increases from £7.20 to £7.50.

Statutory family-related pay and sick pay rates increase

Also happening this month is an increase in the weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay. This is moving up to £140.98 for pay weeks commencing on or after 2nd April 2017. At this time the weekly rate of statutory sick pay will increase to £89.35 from 6th April 2017.

For more information, visit http://79.170.40.162/enlightenhr.com or contact Alison Benney:

alison@enlightenhr.com

Tel: 01803 469466

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Sex discrimination: policy on enhanced shared parental pay

Snell vs National Rail ETS/4100178/2016

An employment tribunal awarded £28,321 to a National Rail employee (Snell) over his employer’s policy of giving a period of full pay to mothers and primary adopters on shared parental leave, but only paying statutory shared parental pay to partners and secondary adopters. It has lead to questions about whether it is discriminatory to pay a male parent taking shared parental leave less than a female parent taking maternity leave.

What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced in April 2015 to allow mothers to share their maternity leave with their partners. This Shared Parental Leave can apply to same-sex couples, couples who are adopting, co-habiting couples, and couples bringing up a child together even if the child is from a previous relationship.

How is Shared Parental Leave being paid?

It has been found that not many partners have opted to take up Shared Parental Leave. It has been suggested that this is because many employers are paying fathers taking Shared Parental Leave statutory parental pay. This is in comparison to many mothers who are receiving enhanced maternity pay.

Is it discriminatory for male parents taking SPL to receive less than a female parent?

In the case of Snell vs National Rail, both Mr (Claimant) and Mrs Snell were working for National Rail, the Respondent. They opted to take Shared Parental Leave, Mr Snell taking 12 weeks SPL and his wife taking 27 weeks. They were told that Mrs Snell would receive full pay during her SPL but Mr Snell, the Claimant, would only receive statutory parental play. He raised a grievance stating his lower payment was sex discrimination. National Rail rejected this.

The Claimant then brought the indirect sex discrimination claim to the Employment Tribunal. The ET agreed that the payout was discriminatory and awarded Mr Snell over £28,000. National Rail has now changed its policy so that both men and women receive statutory pay.

In a nutshell

The decision made by the ET in this case shows that the Tribunal do not look favourably on male and female parents being paid differently during shared parent leave. Although it has not reached the EAT, it is worth considering your policy as the payout to Snell in this case was high and discrimination awards are not capped.

For more information, visit http://79.170.40.162/enlightenhr.com/or contact Alison Benney:

alison@enlightenhr.com

Tel: 01803 469466

Mobile: 07967221595

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