Employment Law Changes April 2019
As occurs every April, there are a number of changes to employment law, remuneration and workers’ rights which have been published and come into effect this month. This article covers the top six changes that all employers should be aware of.
Auto-Enrol Pension Contributions
Since auto-enrolment for pensions began in 2012, there has been a fixed minimum amount for both employers and employees to contribute. Until this month, that figure has been a contribution by employers of a minimum of 2% of an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary, with the employee required to contribute a minimum of 3% to their pension pot. From the start of April 2019, these levels have risen to 3% for an employer to contribute and 5% for the employee.
National Minimum Wage
From the 1st April 2019, all National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates increased. The top rate for workers aged 25 and over, has moved from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour. This is an increase of 4.9%. The amount for workers aged between 21 and 24 has increased from £7.38 to £7.70, an increase of 4.3%. For employees aged 18 to 20, the increase is from £5.90 to £6.15 which is 4.2% and for those aged over the compulsory school age but not yet 18, from £4.20 to £4.35, an increase of 3.5%. Apprentices have received the biggest percentage increase, with the hourly rate moving from £3.70 to £3.90 when the apprentice is under the age of 19 or is aged 19 or over but in the first year of their current apprenticeship. This is an increase of 5.4%.
Statutory Family-Related Pay, Statutory Sick Pay and Redundancy Pay
The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay increased to £148.68 for pay weeks commencing on or after the 1st April 2019. The rate of statutory sick pay rose for all eligible employees to £94.25 from the 6th April 2019.
For employees that are dismissed for redundancy, from the 6th April, with over two years’ continuous service, must pay an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The amount is subject to a maximum, ceiling amount of £525 per week.
From the 6th April, payslips are required to be itemised, stating the number of hours being paid and the rate per hour, where pay varies dependent upon the amount of time worked. This can be shown either as an aggregate figure or the hours worked as separate figures for different types of work, or rates of pay. The legal right to a payslip has also been extended to include those who are recognised as workers. To define the difference between a worker and an employee, workers are not considered employees if they are free, without penalty, to accept or reject any offer of work made to them.
Gender Pay Gap
Private organisations with more than 250 employees were required to have published their gender pay gap figures by the 4th April, to comply with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. All public-sector employers were required to have published their figures no later than the 30th March 2019. This requirement is for the second time of asking, enabling the government to review the efforts made to address any significant pay variances that were brought to light in their 2018 published figures.
Since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, it has been a legal requirement for commercial organisations with a total annual turnover of more than £36 million, to publish annual modern slavery and human trafficking statements. In 2018, 17,000 businesses were contacted by the Home Office with a reminder of their responsibilities to publish, with a message that ‘continued non-compliance will not be tolerated’. No strict timetable for submission has been set, but the government guidance recommends publication within six months of the end of the company’s end of financial year date.
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This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.