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SMEs ADVISED TO UPDATE POLICY DOCUMENTS AHEAD OF APRIL CHANGES

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Alan Lewis

April 6th will see a raft of family friendly changes to employment law, including bringing the rights of adoptive parents in line with the legal rights to pay and leave as their biological counterparts.

Couples or single adopters will no longer have to fulfil the prerequisite 26 week qualifying period to access the benefits of adoption leave while employers will be obligated to make equal payments for adoption pay as those made for maternity pay.

The first six weeks of adoption leave will be the same as that paid for maternity leave at 90% of normal earnings while statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to £139.58 per week.

Alan Lewis, head of employment at Linder Myers Solicitors commented: “This is a significant change introducing greater equality in the workplace and further supporting all employees with parental responsibilities – be that through adoption or otherwise. The changes are fair and bring the law into line with modern society as more employees choose the adoption route.

“April also sees the extension of employees’ rights to unpaid parental leave, which will extend until the child(ren) are18 years of age.”

Other key changes impacting local business owners include:

• an increase in the limit on a ‘week’s pay’ when calculating statutory redundancy pay entitlement to £475 per week

• statutory sick pay sees a small increase to £88.45 per week

• an increase to the limit of a ‘week’s pay’ for calculating a basic award for unfair dismissal to £475 per week and an increase in the maximum compensatory award to £78,335

Lewis continued: “It’s a good time for employers to review their policies and staff handbooks to reflect the forthcoming changes.”

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