Employment Law Changes in April 2019
April is a busy month of the year for employment law changes. With Brexit negotiations still underway, there’s an element of uncertainty over what other new changes may occur in the coming months. However, there are a few set-in-stone updates you need to know about that come into effect in April. To keep you up to date, we’ve summarised the key employment law changes in April 2019 below.
Gender pay gap deadline
This is the second year that large employers have had to generate their gender pay gap report. If you’re an employer in England, Wales and Scotland and you have at least 250 employees, you will be required to publish data about the difference between the average earnings of men and women who work for your organisation. As a gentle reminder this report is due by 4 April 2019.
The gender pay gap report has to appear on the employer’s website in a publicly accessible manner and must remain there for at least three years.
Employer’s that have under 250 employees can also publish this information, however it’s not compulsory. Publishing this information can send a positive message about your business’s commitment to equality in the workplace and so even if you aren’t required to publish it, if you pride yourself on being an equal opportunities employer you can use the report to highlight this. Read our article asking: Should smaller organisations care about the Gender Pay Gap?
The consequences for not publishing a gender pay gap report when required to do so could result in court action, although it’s likely that public criticism will do companies just as much if not more harm in these times of pressure through social media and employer reputation.
You can find out more about Gender Pay Gap reporting here.
2. National Minimum/Living Wage change in April
The national minimum/living wage changes most years, and this year is no exception. The new rates come into effect from 1 April 2019.
The national living wage for 25-year olds and over is currently £7.83 an hour. This is increasing to £8.21 an hour.
The minimum wage for 21 to 24-year olds will increase from £7.38 to £7.70 and 18 to 20 year olds will increase from £5.90 to £6.15. Under 18s will increase from £4.20 to £4.35. Apprentices will have an increase from £3.70 to £3.90.
Ensure that you’re up to date with the new regulations, so as not to attract any fines or prosecutions for not complying.
3. Pensions auto-enrolment change in April
In April 2019 the minimum level of employer contribution into a pensions auto-enrolment scheme increases. This will increase from 2% to 3% while the employee contribution will increase from 3% to 5%. Not everyone is enrolled. Employees aged between 22 and 66, that earn more than £10,000 a year and work in the UK automatically opt in, however, they can also choose to opt-out. Anyone outside of those parameters is not automatically opted in to a scheme.
Take some time to identify who will be affected by the increase in your company, to ensure that you can meet the updated minimum employer contributions in line with the changes and remember to notify your staff of the increase to their contributions.
Firstly, employers must include the numbers of hours worked where the pay varies according to the hours worked. For example, if a worker has a fixed salary each month, but works overtime with additional pay at an hourly rate, the overtime hours should be shown on the payslip.
Secondly, both workers and employees are now entitled to a payslip. Previously only employees were legally entitled to them. For more information to assist you in defining worker/employee status, read our article: Employment status: employed or self employed.
5. Statutory Rates change in April
In April there are several new statutory rates that will come into force.
When making employees redundant, employers must pay employees with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. From 6 April 2019, the maximum amount for a week’s pay has increased from £508 to £525 a week.
The maximum amount that can be paid under a claim for unfair dismissal will increase to £86,444 from £83,682.
Statutory sick pay will increase to £94.25 per week from £92.05.
In April, statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase to £146.68.
No doubt you are keeping an eye on what is happening with Brexit. Although nothing is certain at this stage, it will be important to stay informed on any developments that may affect employment law rights to be prepared for any changes, and we will keep you updated.
If you’re an employer and you’re not sure about the employment law changes in April 2019 that we’ve listed above, or how they might affect you, please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01271 859 267.