Employment update!

Minimum Wage Increase – The minimum wage will increase as follows with effect from 1 October 2014:
£6.50 for workers 21 and over
£5.13 for workers 18-20 years
£3.79 for 16-17 year-olds
£2.73 for apprentices under 19 or 19 and over who are in the first year of apprenticeship

Antenatal Appointments – time off to accompany a pregnant woman
From 1 October 2014, an expectant father or the partner of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to two of her ante-natal appointments. The government has said that the aim is to achieve greater involvement of both of the child’s parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy.
Employees accompanying the expectant mother to her ante-natal appointments are entitled to unpaid leave for one or two appointments. The time off is capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.
It should be noted that the current position is that an employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the ante-natal appointments, such as an appointment card, as this is the property of the expectant mother attending the appointment. However, an employer is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of accompanying the expectant mother to an ante-natal appointment that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.

It should also be noted that this is a right to accompany, not a right actually to attend the appointment. It will always be open to the pregnant woman to refuse to have a person present.

Any queries, please contact Geoff Ford at our Paignton office, who will be happy to discuss these and any other areas of Employment Law.