An Overview

March 2019

Employment Law Update – April 2019

The situation regarding Brexit remains unclear but we do know that the government has introduced a scheme under which EU workers already in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in order to live and work in the UK indefinitely. The test phase of the scheme is open now but will open fully by 30 March 2019. Full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status .

Going forward, employers should be aware that the employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of other foreign nationals.

Away from Brexit, April is, as ever, a busy month from an employment law point of view. The changes coming into effect in April are as follows:

1. As of 1 April, the hourly rate for the minimum wage increases. The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on the worker’s age and whether or not he or she is an apprentice. Workers aged 25 or over are entitled to the National Living Wage; the National Minimum Wage applies to workers aged 24 and under.

As of 1 April, the National Living Wage increases from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour. The National Minimum Wage (for workers aged under 25) increases as follows:

  • From £7.38 to £7.70 per hour for those between 21 to 24 year olds;
  • from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour for between 18 to 20 year olds;
  • from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour for 16 and 17 year olds; and
  • from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour for apprentices. Employers should be aware that apprentices are entitled to £3.90 per hour if under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they are over 19 and have finished their first year of apprenticeship.

The accommodation offset increases from £7.00 to £7.55 per day.

2. As of 6 April 2019, the limits which apply to various tribunal awards and other amounts payable under employment legislation, including the maximum amount of a week's pay for the purpose of calculating the basic award for unfair dismissal and redundancy payments, increase to £525. The maximum amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £86,444.

3. Two important changes affecting itemised pay statements (pay slip) information come into force on 6 April 2019:

 

·         When an employee’s pay varies by reference to time worked, employers must include the total number of hours for which the employee is being paid on the pay slip. This will apply when, for instance, a worker is employed on a casual or zero hours contract. This change is intended to make it easier for hourly paid staff to ensure that they are paid correctly; and

 

·         The right to an itemised pay statement is extended to workers (i.e. not just employees).

4. Statutory sick pay increases from £92.05 to £94.25 per week as of 6 April 2019.

5. As of 6 April 2019, the maximum penalty that an employment tribunal can order for an aggravated breach of a worker's rights increases from £5,000 to £20,000.

6. From 6th April 2019, the minimum contributions into auto-enrolment pension schemes will rise to 3% for employers and 5% for employees to produce a total minimum contribution of 8%.

7. As of 6 April 2019, the lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases to £118 per week.

8. From 7 April 2019, the rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory shared parental pay increase from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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