There has been a number of changes to employment law, which came into effect from April 2011. The main ones are the changes to paternity leave, the removal of the default retirement age and changes to tax on termination payments.
Additional Paternity Leave
Parents of babies due on or after 3rd April 2011 (or adoptive parents notified of a match with a child for adoption on or after that date) now have the right to take up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave (APL),over and above the existing one or two weeks ordinary paternity leave entitlement.
Therefore, where both parents are working, once the mother goes back to work, the father can take up to six months additional paternity leave. The right can only be requested if the child’s mother returns to work without exercising her full entitlement to maternity leave.
To qualify, employees must have worked for at least 26 weeks (prior to the 14th week before the child’s expected birth week or the date the child is to be matched to the adopter). The employee must give 8 weeks’ notice of the intention to take APL.
Employees may be entitled to additional statutory paternity pay (ASPP) if they meet certain eligibility requirements. The number of weeks of ASPP they will be entitled to be paid for depends on how early their partner returned to work from maternity leave.
Default Retirement Age
The Default Retirement Age of 65 was abolished with effect from 6 April 2011. Employers can no longer issue notices of retirement to force an employee’s dismissal at the age of 65.
Tax on Termination Payments
From 6th April 2011 employers are no longer able to deduct only basic rate tax from termination payments made after the issue of a P45. 40% higher rate or 50% additional rate tax must be deducted from the relevant proportion of the termination payment at source by the employer, even where the termination payment is made after the issue of the P45.
New Statutory payments rates from April 2011
- Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay. The standard rate increased from £124.88 to £128.73. The weekly earnings threshold for these payments rose from £97 to £102.
- Statutory Sick Pay. The standard rate increased from £79.15 to £81.60, with the weekly earnings threshold also rising from £97 to £102.
- Maternity allowance. This increased from £124.88 to £128.73, with the earnings threshold remaining at £30.