20 May 2024, 10:10
By Jo Eccles Oct 01, 2014

FPB outlines upcoming legal changes for small businesses

Today sees the introduction of several key changes that small business owners should be aware of. To coincide with the October Common Commencement Date, Jo Eccles, business adviser at the Forum of Private Business (FPB), has outlined a summary of the key changes that small businesses need to be aware of in October, and  the key changes on the horizon for next year.

Fathers’ right to time off for antenatal appointments

The Children and Families Act allows fathers-to-be, and partners of pregnant women, to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the expectant mother.

Changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW)

With maximum penalties for non-payment of up to £20,000, and the possibility of being publicly named and shamed, it is worth making a note of these changes. The rates from today will be: 21 years and over – £6.50 per hour; 18-20 years – £5.13 per hour; 16-17 years – £3.79 per hour; and apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour.

Shared parental leave

Although this law change comes into effect in the next few months, it only affects parents of children born or matched for adoption on or after 5th April 2015. It is designed to allow parents to share care for the child in the first year from the date of the child's birth.

In essence both parents will be able to take shared parental leave and claim shared parental pay after the compulsory two-week maternity leave period. Before taking a block of leave (an employee can make up to three requests to take leave), an employee will have to provide the employer with eight weeks’ notice.

The scheme will also provide each employee taking shared parental leave with 20 KIT-style days. Further, provided that the employee has not taken more than 26 weeks' shared parental leave, he/she will retain the right to return to the same job.

In addition to legal expenses insurance, the forum helps small businesses negotiate employment law pitfalls via its helpline and comprehensive employment guide. The 2015 guide is to be published in October, and updates will be provided to members on a regular basis.

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