Overview of October Law Changes National Minimum Wage The national minimum wage has increased, effective from the 1st October 2014. The following new rates apply: £6.50 for workers 21 and over £5.13 for workers aged 18-20 £3.79 for 16-17 year olds £2.73 for apprentices under 19 or are 19 and over but are in the first year of their apprenticeship Antenatal appointments Fathers and partners now have a statutory right to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with a maximum time of 6.5 hours per appointment. Employees are eligible for the new right from day one of employment but they have to be in a ‘qualifying relationship’ with the mother: either the baby’s father, mother’s husband, civil partner or partner, or intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement who are applying for a parental order in respect of that child. Equal Pay audits If an equal pay claim has been submitted on or after 1st October 2010, and the employment tribunal finds there has been a breach, the tribunal must order the employer to carry out an equal pay audit, unless one of the exceptions applies.These exceptions include whether or not a recent audit has been carried out by the employer which meets certain requirements and whether or not the benefits from the audit would exceed the disadvantages of conducting it. Qualifying disclosures A new updated list of ‘prescribed persons’ who can receive whistleblowing complaints now applies protected disclosures. A disclosure will only be a protected disclosure if it is made to one of these persons. Other criteria also applies. Reserve forces Employees who are dismissed due to being a member of the reserve forces are now able to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal from day one of employment, removing the two-year service requirement. Also, financial assistance for employers of members of the reserve forces who have been called up for service has increased. For further clarification please contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.