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Posted 24 September 2014
by Martin Laver

Changes from 1 October – are you up to date?

1 October is traditionally the second date in the year when new employment laws take effect. 2014 is no different and we set out below 4 things to watch out for.

National Minimum Wage will increase for all

The new rates are:

  • workers aged 21 and over, £6.50 an hour
  • workers aged between 18 and 20, £5.13 an hour
  • young workers rate (for workers aged under 18 but above the compulsory school age who are not apprentices), £3.79 an hour
  • Apprentices, £2.73 an hour
  • accommodation offset, £5.08 a day

Equal pay audits

Where a tribunal finds that an employer has breached equal pay law, the tribunal can order employers to carry out an equal pay audit.

An audit will require “publication of relevant gender pay information; identifying any differences in pay between men and women and the reasons for those differences; including the reasons for any potential equal pay breach identified by the audit; and set out the employer’s plan to avoid breaches occurring or continuing.”

Microbusiness (employers who employ less than10 people), new businesses and employers who have carried out an audit within the past three years will be exempt from this new order.

Time off to accompany partner to antenatal appointments

Employees and agency workers will have the right to take unpaid time off to accompany their wife/partner to two antenatal classes, up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.

Employees will be protected from any subsequent detriment and/or dismissal which arises as a result of the employee tying to exercise their statutory right to attend the classes and employees will be entitled to make a complaint to an employment tribunal claim if their employer refuses the time off.

Reserve Forces reform

The statutory two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal, where the dismissal is connected with the employee’s membership of the Reserve Forces, will be removed entirely.

Another change is that the Secretary of State will have the power to make payments to small and medium-sized employers who employ reservists for when they are called out for service. Employers will be paid an extra £500 a month from the Government, assuming that the employee is a full time employee and works at least 35 hours a week.

For more information please contact our employment team at Broadwalk House, Southernhay West, Exeter EX1 1UA. Call 01392 207020 or email



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About the author

Martin Laver

Partner and Solicitor

Partner in the commercial litigation team specialising in disputed trusts and Wills