Welcome To Simplydocs

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Increased Rights For Employees Adopting Children from April 2015

New shared parental leave and pay rights apply to the parents of babies due, or children matched for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.  As of that date, eligible parents of children due to be born or adopted on or after this date, are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks’ statutory pay upon the birth or adoption of the child, which can be shared between both parents.What are the new rights for adopters?

 As a result of this, employees who adopt now benefit from increased rights.

These are:

• Removal of the requirement for 26 weeks’ service before employees become entitled to adoption leave – it becomes instead a ‘day one’ right for which there is no qualifying period

• Both single and joint adopters have the right to attend adoption appointments (paid time off for up to five adoption appointments for the main adopter and unpaid time off for up to two appointments for the secondary adopter) and will be protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed in relation to exercising that right

• Statutory adoption pay will be brought into line with statutory maternity pay –  the first six weeks will be paid at 90% of the employee’s normal earnings

• Some surrogate parents will become eligible for adoption leave

• Current adoption rights will be extended to couples adopting a child from outside the UK and couples fostering children as part of a Fostering for Adoption placement.

What does this mean for employers?

The changes in respect of legislation relating to adoptions are likely to have a significant impact on employers, who will be required to allow adoption leave in a greater range of circumstances and will also be required to pay their employees more during any period of adoption leave. It is, therefore, particularly important for employers to have detailed policies and procedures in place to deal with these situations fairly and consistently.

For Simply-Docs’ full range of documents for managing the adoption process please click here.

Changes to unpaid parental leave

At the same time as the introduction of Shared Parental Leave and enhanced adoption rights, legislation regarding unpaid parental leave was also changed in favour of the employee.

From 5 April, the right to unpaid parental leave was extended to the parents of any child under the age of 18 years (this was previously available up to the age of five; 18 years in respect of disabled children).

Again, this is likely to have an impact on employers who are now required to allow their employees to take unpaid parental leave for a longer period of time. For the employer, this can be managed more effectively through the use of comprehensive policies that outline the requirements and obligations for unpaid parental leave.

Click here for Simply-Docs’ range of documents on unpaid parental leave.

By Iain Mackintosh





Builders And Clients: Are You Prepared For CDM Regulations 2015?

The new Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 are now in force. Statistically there are more injuries and fatalities on smaller, previously unregulated building projects than on larger ones. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has decided to address this issue by requiring all projects to have someone overseeing health, safety and welfare in both the pre-start and construction phases.What does the Builder need to know?

From 6th April 2015, every job, including domestic work, will now require a CDM Principal Contractor (PC) who will take overall control for the day-to-day running of the project. This is the same whether you are a building company with in-house tradesmen or a one-man band that brings in traders as needed. Someone will have to be appointed by the client as Principal Contractor.

The builder – now called the Principal Contractor has a range of duties to fulfil on all projects, large or small, including:

•  The builder must prepare a Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan.The builder needs to be certain that the contractors they employ are competent, not only to do their job, but from a health and safety perspective as well. Price is always an important factor, but the Principal Contractor will need to be happy that the chosen subbie is able to carry out their works safely without making shortcuts.

• The Principal Contractor will need to make sure that someone responsible is on site at all times, for example, a trusted sub-contractor foreman. No matter who is left in charge – the Principal Contractor is responsible if they allow shortcuts to   be taken or the agreed procedures to be bypassed.

For more detailed information on the Principal Contractor’s duties please click here for our Simply-Docs information page on Construction (Design & Management) (CDM) Regulations 2015 for Builders.

What does the Client need to know?

Under the regulations, non-domestic clients will have much more direct responsibility than before.  In addition, some building works that you may have assumed would be regarded as “domestic” will now fall within the scope of the regulations. A “non-domestic client” is a person or a company who is having the works done as part of a commercial enterprise. That could be a business building, a new factory or office extension, or a residential or commercial landlord refitting some of their rental properties. Building an office at the end of your garden in order to work from home would make you a non-domestic client. As a rule: if the client will get a business income from the works, they are a non-domestic client.

The practical impact of these regulations is that non-domestic clients will now have even more legal duties in respect of health and safety on-site and more clients will fall into the non-domestic category.

The non-domestic client’s new duties include:

•  The client is now required to make sure that health and safety has been factored into the project, and that sufficient funding has been allowed in the budget for this.

•  The client must appoint, in writing, a Principal Designer (PD) to oversee the design and planning of the project, to put in place all the health and safety procedures, and to create (or at least organise) the Health and Safety File.

•  The client must ensure that both the PD and PC are competent to carry out their role.

If the client doesn’t appoint either a PD or PC, the duties of both will become the client’s by default, so it really is in the client’s best interest to surround themselves with suitably qualified professionals to help them through the process.

The client has many additional duties, for more information on these duties, please click here for our Simply-Docs information page on What Duties Does The Client Have Under The CDM Regulations 2015?

By Iain Mackintosh

Changes to Permitted Development Rights for Commercial Property

On 15 April The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 came into force, introducing new permitted development rights. The changes are designed to promote growth in the economy by allowing land and buildings to be put to the most appropriate use.

 What are the new permitted development rights?

The following changes of use may now be made without the need to obtain planning permission:

• A change from Class A1 (retail) to A2 (financial and professional services)
• A change from Class A1 or A2 to A3 (restaurants and cafes)
• A change from Class A1 or A2 to D2 (assembly and leisure uses)
• Until 15 April 2018, a change from Class B8 (storage and distribution) to C3 (residential).

Do any conditions apply to the exercise of these rights?

Whilst planning permission is not required for these changes, most of them are subject to conditions and require prior notification of the details to the local planning authority. So the right to make a change of use is by no means unfettered.

You can read more about the permitted use of land and buildings and how to change the use on our Property Information Pages here:


What do you think about these changes to the planning system? Will your premises benefit from these regulatory relaxations? Let us know your views.

By Iain Mackintosh