Nine Dates to be Aware of in April 2019

In April 2019, new employment laws will force organisations to alter the way they work. These changes include increases in the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW), bigger pension contributions, and a major overhaul to payslips. Below we have listed the various legal changes businesses need to be aware of, with advice on how to prepare for these changes.

1st April 2019 – National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage Increases

NLW and NMW pay rates will increase as below:

  • Workers aged (25+) = £7.83 to £8.21 per hour.
  • Workers aged 21-24 = £7.38 to £7.70 per hour.
  • Workers aged 18-20 = £5.90 to £6.15 per hour.
  • Workers aged 16-18 = £4.20 to £4.35 per hour.
  • Apprentice rate = £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

4th April 2019 – Gender Pay Gap Reports To Be Published

Last year, businesses paid women on average 8.6% less than men. This year, many hope to see this pay gap reduce. Therefore, going forward, gender pay gap reports for private sector businesses with 250 or more staff must be published,

5th April 2019 – Consultation Closes on Redundancy Protection for Pregnant Employees

Although this is not an immediate legal change, it is worth keeping an eye on. If the law comes into force, women will receive protection from redundancy from the point that they inform their employer they are pregnant until six months after their maternity leave. This may also apply to adoptive and other parental leave.

6th April 2019 – Statutory Sick Pay Increases

The minimum sick pay organisations must pay their staff who are too unwell to work will increase from £92.05 to £94.25 per week. This must be paid to staff who have been away from work unwell for four days or more, and it must be paid for up to 28 weeks.

6th April 2019 – Employer Tribunal Penalties Increase to £20,000

Tribunals can now force employers to pay a £20,000 penalty for repeatedly breaching employment laws. The number of employment tribunals in the UK has risen by 118% in recent years, so avoiding a claim must be a priority for businesses.

6th April 2019 – Pension Contributions increase to 8%

Minimum pension contributions businesses and their staff pay into their pension schemes will be increasing. Employees will see their contributions increase from 3% to 5%, whilst employers will see their contributions increase from 2% to 3%.

6th April 2019 – Cap on a ‘week’s pay’ for Redundancy and Tribunal Claims

The cap on a week’s pay for redundancy and tribunal claims will rise from £508 to £525 while the limit on the guarantee payment payable to an employee in respect of any one day goes up to £29 from £28. The limit on the amount of compensatory awards for unfair dismissal will rise from £83,682 to £86,444.

6th April 2019 – Changes to Payslips

Previously, only employees within an organisation were entitled to itemised payslips, however, from 6th April, Employers must provide itemised payslips to all workers (those with a contract or other arrangements which is not a Contract of Employment)

The new itemised payslips must break down workers’ and employees’ pay to show how much has been paid as well as what deductions have been made. This must include the amount and method of any part-payment. Additionally, a payslip must include the number of hours worked, if workers’ pay varies depending on the amount of time worked.

Failure to provide workers with itemised payslips may mean that a tribunal can declare that there has been a breach in workers’ rights, forcing a repayment to workers in respect of any deductions made.

It is worth bearing in mind that itemised payslips make it much easier for HMRC to identify and prosecute businesses that pay below the NMW, which, as mentioned above, is increasing in April.

7th April 2019 – Statutory Pay for Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave Increases

The minimum pay needed to give staff on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave increases from £145.18 to £148.68 per week. Furthermore, the average earnings an employee must earn to receive these payments also increases from £116 to £118 per week.

For further information on these payroll changes, please contact Priya Raja-Motala.