2018 has been a busy year within employment law with gender pay gap reporting, issues over equal pay and harassment claims in the workplace. With 2019 just around the corner, we thought it would be beneficial to outline some of the key changes to employment law happening in 2019, as these may have a big impact on your business or any new jobs you move into. Make sure you keep yourself informed with changes to the law and the rights you/your business have.
Announced as a part of the 2018 budget, both the national living wage and national minimum wage rates will increase in April 2019. The minimum hourly rate that workers aged 25 and over are entitled to will increase from £7.83 to £8.21.
At the same time, the national minimum wage rate for workers aged between 21-24 will increase from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour and the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour.
The information that needs to be included on Payslips and who can receive them will be changing in April 2019 and must be in line with the following:
From April 2019 onwards, the minimum amount that both employees & employers contribute to auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase. Under the new requirements, employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively. It is important that employers allow appropriate time to consult with staff before making any changes to their pension contribution scheme.
European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019, allowing them to remain indefinitely in the UK following the end of the Brexit transition period in 2021. To be granted settled status individuals must be able to prove they have been living in the UK for 5 years by the date of application. If this requirement the national can apply for temporary status, which will then allow them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status. This is crucial to provide security to those nationals worried about the uncertainty that Brexit brings.
In 2019, new legislation will come into force that requires companies with more than 250 employees to report on the executive pay gap, meaning the gap between the amount paid to their CEO and the pay to their average employee.
Companies will also have to again report on their gender pay gap figures, but 2019 will allow us to see if any changes from 2018 have made a difference and if any effort has been made to reduce the gap.
The government have brought forward a review into the use of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace, the response to their review is expected in 2019. The main issues that have arisen over this type of agreement are that they are being used to silence harassment and bullying claims.
In 2018 the Court of Appeal decided on the case of Mencap v Tomlinson Blake. This case set a precedent that individuals working on sleep-in shifts, such as nurses and care workers, would not be entitled to national minimum wage (NMW) for time spent asleep in scenarios where they were ‘available for work’ and not ‘actually working’. This decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court, the decision of which will be made in 2019 and could drastically effect thousands of workers currently doing sleep-in shifts.
The law is ever-changing, so we can surely expect more changes to come in 2019 but by keeping ourselves up to date with the latest news and developments we can stay compliant with any changes and stay aware of our rights.
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