Changes Which Came Into Force On 1 October 2014

The national minimum wage rates for all workers have increased. The standard adult rate is now £6.50; the development rate is £5.03; the young workers rate is £3.72; and the apprenticeship rate is £2.68.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014, Employment Tribunals will have the power to order employers found to have been in breach of equal pay law to carry out equal pay audits in certain circumstances.

The statutory qualifying period for unfair dismissal where the dismissal is connected with the employee's membership of the Reserve Forces has been removed.  In addition provision has been made for payments to small and medium-sized employers of reservists who are called out for service.

Employees and agency workers now have a right to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom they have a "qualifying relationship" to up to two antenatal appointments, up to a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.  A Qualifying relationship is one of the following: the pregnant woman's husband or civil partner; someone who lives with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship and are not a relative of the woman; the expected child’s father; one of a same-sex couple who is to be treated as the child's other parent under the assisted reproduction provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008; or someone who is the potential applicant for a parental order under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 in relation to a child who is expected to be born to a surrogate mother.