In a year where there are likely to be many uncertainties and changes, it is imperative that employers familiarise themselves with the various changes that are coming up in employment law in 2019, four of which are set out below:
Changes to minimum wage rates
As set out in the 2018 budget, rates will be rising in April 2019. The National Living Wage for workers over 25 will be £8.21 per hour. The National Minimum Wage will also increase. For workers aged between 21-24, the new minimum rate will be £7.70 per hour; for 18-20 year olds, the rate will be £6.15 per hour and for workers over compulsory school age but below 18, the rate will be £4.35. The minimum rate for apprentices will rise to £3.90 per hour and will apply if the apprentice is under 19 or is over 19 but in the first year of their current apprenticeship.
Changes to statutory sick pay and family rates
In April 2019, statutory sick pay will be rising to £94.25 per week. In addition, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental payments will be rising to £148.68 per week. Accommodation offset will rise to £7.55 per day.
It is also worth noting that current government proposals include an intention to allow bereaved parents to take paid time off work within the 56 weeks following their child’s death. This could be in the form of one period of two weeks, two different periods of a week each or a period of one week. Although the proposed right is expected to be effective as of April 2020, it would be prudent to start preparing for this change in 2019.
There are two developments in this area.
Currently, only employees are entitled to an itemised payslip but, as of 6th April 2019, workers (including agency staff, casual staff and zero hours staff) shall be entitled to receive the same.
Secondly, if the pay for a staff member varies depending upon the number of hours worked, their payslip must contain the exact number of hours they have been paid for. It is hoped that this rule will bring more transparency around pay.
Gender pay gap reporting
Gender pay gap figures are required to be published for the second time by employers with 250 employees or more. Public sector employers will need to produce their report by the deadline of 30th March 2019 and the deadline for private sector and voluntary sector employers is 4th April 2019. The report will need to be shown both on the employer’s public-facing website and on the government website.
It is important for companies to be aware of and able to adequately address any increases in the pay gender gap as it is expected that the second round of reports will be closely scrutinised to calculate the effort made to amend any significant discrepancies regarding pay brought to light in 2018.