I attended the annual CIPD Employment Law Update last w eek. It is always one of the better attended meetings of the CIPD Midwest, the HR practitioners’ organisation. This year the presentation was give by Sinead Mullins of IBEC Midwest she stood in for a sick colleague from IBEC HQ. Sinead gave a very informative presentation.
There are three changes which might affect your company as of the start of January 2014: –
- State Pension
The first upcoming change is the raise in the State pension age from 65 to 66 as of the 1st January 2014. Further changes are planned in the coming years with a further rising of the State pension age to 68 years in the coming years. This means that those who turn 65 after that date will not be eligible for a pension and must wait until their 66th birthday to receive the State pension.
A company who has a retirement policy which states that the employee retires at 65 years of age, what should they do? If the company has a retirement age of 65 years of age nothing really changes the employee should still retire at that age. Most companies are planning to keep the retirement age the same and are waiting to see if there are further developments regarding this.
If you don’t have a retirement policy as a company what is the situation then. A company with no retirement age the employees themselves can decide at what stage of their life they wish to retire. If the company forces the employees out at the age of 65 or 66 they can bring a claim under age discrimination against the company.
- Maternity Benefit
Budget 2014 announced a standardisation of the rate of maternity / adoptive benefits to a reduced payment of €230 per week for all new claimants from 6th January 2014. Employers who top up the maternity benefit to normal pay could acquire an additional cost of up to €32 per week of paid maternity leave.
Company who don’t pay any payments during the maternity leave this change doesn’t directly affect their cost. However women on maternity leave will get less benefits during their maternity leave and this might put pressure to have the company contribute something to the maternity benefits. It could also put pressure on women to take shorter maternity leaves.
- Sick Pay
The number of waiting days for entitlements to illness benefit will be increased from three days to six days from 6th January 2014. An employee will not be entitled to sick pay benefit from the Department of Social Protection for the first six days of any period of incapacity for work.
Company who cover Sick pay for the first six days or more will be affected by this as there will be no social welfare benefits for the first six days coming to the employee and the company might be responsible for paying the first six days alone. Companies who do not pay for sick leave will be not directly affected by this change. However there will be more pressure from employees to organise some sick leave benefits.