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indexWell a Happy New Year to you from Team Evergreen HR.

It’s 2015 already and it’s an exciting time where you are probably thinking about your goals for the New Year and setting your priorities. To help you for planning ahead, here’s the low down on some of the key changes coming up in April 2015.

What’s happening in April 2015?

Managing Sickness Absence

A health and work assessment and advisory service is to be introduced, offering free occupational health assistance for employees, employers and GPs. The service can provide an occupational health assessment after four weeks of sickness absence.
New Statutory Pay Rates

Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will increase to £139.56 per week.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) rate will increase to £88.45 per week.
Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay

The statutory adoption leave will no longer have the 26-week qualifying period, and adoption pay will be brought in line with maternity pay, which will be 90% of normal earning for the first six weeks.

Parental Leave

The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years.

Surrogate Parents Eligible for Adoption Leave

Provided they meet the eligibility criteria parents who have a child through surrogacy will be permitted to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay. Both parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

Maybe it’s because I’m a pensioner…….

Don’t forget that Workplace pensions are not a nice to have, they are a compulsory legal requirement.

From 2012, employers were required to automatically enrol all eligible jobholders into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and to make minimum contributions into it.

Three parties are working together to implement these workplace pension reforms:

the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for the policy and legislation
The Pensions Regulator (tPR) will be responsible for ensuring employers’ compliance with their new duties
the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) is a new public body specifically established under the Pensions Act 2007. PADA is designing and introducing the National Employment Savings Trust scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for the policy and legislation. The plan is to stage in the employer duties over a period of time, starting with large employers, then medium and then small. The DWP have already published details of exactly when each employers staging date will be. Just follow this link to find out when yours is.

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/what-is-my-staging-date.aspx?gclid=CPbxkZSE2LwCFYYBwwodvh0AHg

To make sure that you get a pension in place which matches your business needs, you need to plan at least 9-12 months ahead. Don’t forget that the closer you leave it to the staging date, the less pension schemes may be available to you which could increase your costs.

You also need to know that you can suffer serious financial penalties for not having a pension in place at your staging date. For instance, if you fail to comply with an escalating penalty notice to set up your workplace pension, it could cost you up to £10,000 as a daily rate, depending upon the number of employees you have.

If you would like more advice on setting up workplace pensions then give us a call on 07951 356700.