Politics can affect all aspects of our lives; from which leisure activities are available in our area to even more international issues such as Global Warming. Jobs and employment are always at the front of many voters’ minds before they take to the polls.
It’s been almost 5 years since the Conservative party joined the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government. During this period, many changes have occurred and for the better for both employers and employees.
So with only days to go until the nation decides who becomes the next Prime Minister, we thought we would take a look back at some of the changes relating to employment since the last General Election in 2010:
The National Minimum Wage: Back in May 2010, the national minimum wage was set at £6.08 per hour. Since then it has increased by 42p per hour for those over 21 to £6.50. October 2013 was a particular highlight for changes to minimum wage for those in the agricultural and horticultural sector. Their separate provisions for minimum wage were abolished and employers had to start paying workers at least the national minimum wage rate.
Apprentices: In June 2010, the coalition governmentagreed a new minimum wage for apprentices to come into play in October of this year. For those who are aged under 19 and are in the first year of their apprenticeship, the rate of £2.50 an hour applies. Today, those who are under 19 are paid £2.73 an hour, however those who have completed their first year of an apprenticeship are now paid the national minimum wage for their age group.
Maternity and Paternity Leave: In 2010, the rules were different for new parents, the standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay was set at £124.88 per week. Now parents are also able to take ‘shared parental leave ‘this means you can choose how you would like to share your time at home with your new bundle of joy.
Adoption Laws: If an individual chooses to adopt a child, various changes in employment law since 2010 have made the process a little easier. In 2013, the ‘Children and Families Act’ outlined that the main adopter will be able to take up to 5 separate periods off work to attend any adoption appointments which may occur.
Sickness Pay: £79.15 per week is what you would except to receive during 2010 if you unfortunately found yourself to be unwell during this period. Also in April of that year, the system of having a ‘sick note’ would be replaced with the ‘fit note’ system instead. If you were to receive statutory sick pay today, you would except to receive £88.45 per week for all sickness periods lasting more than 4 days.
Study and Training Leave Requests: As of the 6 April 2010, employees had a legal right to make a request in relation to study or training. This right was modelled on the procedure allowing parents and carers to make a request for flexible working hours. Now staff can request time off for further study if it will enhance their skills at work and have been an employer at the company for more than 26 weeks. However the following law doesn’t apply to agency workers and those who are in the armed forces.
The Equality Act: The coalition government were the first government to bring in ‘The Equality Act’ in October 2010, before then there were three separate acts which covered any discrimination in the workplace. Two year later, it also becomes unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age unless the business is protected by an exception from ban, such as those establishments which serve alcohol.
Pensions: The end of 2014 saw a positive move in the way that pensions operated. From October of that year, it was expected that those employers with more than 350 members of staff must comply with the auto-enrolment into a pension scheme. From the start of this year, businesses who employ more than 58 members of staff will also be affected by this regulation.