Please note that there are some important employment law changes this April:
National Minimum Wage rates
As announced in the 2018 Budget, the National Living Wage, for those over 25, is due to increase to £8.21 per hour from 1 April 2019.
Other National Minimum Wage rates are also due to increase, with hourly rates rising to £7.70 for workers aged at least 21 but under 25, to £6.15 for workers aged at least 18 but under 21, and to £4.35 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age. The hourly apprentice rate will also increase to £3.90.
Gender Pay Gap reporting
Gender Pay Gap reporting moves into its second year, as employers with 250 or more employees on the “snapshot date” (31 March in the public sector and 5 April in the private and voluntary sectors) must report their gender pay gap annually within 12 months of that date.
That means that the deadlines for the next reports fall on 30 March or 4 April 2019. With increased scrutiny on issues such as discrimination, employers should be aiming to show that their gap is narrowing from year to year or be able to give a good reason for an increase.
Changes to payslips
As of 6thApril 2019, the right to an itemised pay statement will be extended to workers as well as employees.
What needs to be shown on the pay statement will also change. Currently, payslips must include the gross amount of wages or salary, the amounts of any variable elements and any relevant fixed deductions and the purpose for that deduction, and the net amount of wages.
However, employers will now need to state the number of hours for which they are paying the employee in cases where an employee’s wages vary according to how much they have worked or the type of work that they have done, this will apply to any pay period starting from 6thApril 2019.
Statutory redundancy pay/unfair dismissal compensation
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2019.
Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. This amount is £525 from 6 April 2019.
Employers should ensure that calculations for statutory redundancy payments are made on the basis of this maximum amount for redundancy dismissals on or after 6 April 2019, and it makes the maximum statutory redundancy pay £15,750.
The same ‘cap’ on a week’s pay applies to the Basic Award in Unfair Dismissal claims, and the maximum award for loss of earnings in an ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal claim rises to £86,444 or, if lower, 52 weeks’ pay.
Family-related pay and statutory sick pay
The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increases to £148.68 for pay weeks commencing on or after 7 April 2019.
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay increases to £94.25 from 6 April 2019.
Rights to work in the UK
Final changes to UK immigration and right to work laws are uncertain, as you may be aware. As things stand EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, or those who are their family members working in the UK on that basis, who currently have the right to work in the UK and are living here as of 29thMarch 2019 will be able to apply for ‘settled status’ or ‘pre-settled status’ (depending on a 5-year residency test).
The deadline for applications is at present 30thJune 2021 so essentially, there is no need to be concerned about any imminent changes. However, any employees who come under this should seek independent advice about their own situation.
From April 2019 the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers and employees. Currently, automatic enrolment requirements mean employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary to their pension pot, with the individual contributing 3% themselves. However, under the increased requirements, employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.