2018 is over and it was a big one in the world of employment law, where things never seem to stand still. Rather than look back at the year that was, however, more than ever it is important to look to the future and what 2019 could bring – bearing in mind that things can (and no doubt will) change due to case law and a certain 'B' word.
With that in mind here are some of the key employment changes that lie ahead in the year ahead.
Increase in National Minimum Wage rates
Both the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates will increase in April 2019.
From 1 April 2019 the rates will be:
- Workers aged 25 and over - £8.21 an hour (from £7.83)
- Workers aged 21-24 - £7.70 an hour (from £7.38)
- Development rate for workers aged 18-20 - £6.15 an hour (from £5.90)
- Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17 - £4.35 an hour (from £4.20)
- Apprentice rate (workers under 19 or in the first year of apprenticeship) - £3.90 an hour. (from £3.70)
Settled Status for EU nationals
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 five years by the date of application. If individuals do not meet this requirement they can apply for temporary status. This will allow them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status.
Auto-enrolment pension contributions
Currently, automatic enrolment requirements mean employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary to their pension pot, with the individual contributing 3% themselves.
From April employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.
From 6th April 2019 onwards, the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’. Employers will also be obliged to include the total number of hours worked on payslips for employees whose wages vary depending on the number of hours they have worked.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
This was a huge talking point in 2018 and once again private organisations with 250 or more employees will be required to publish their gender pay gap figures on the 4th of April.
Although employers will be reporting for the second time, this year will be the true test as figures are expected to be heavily scrutinised in order to determine whether efforts to address any significant pay disparity highlighted in 2018 have been successful.
Get in touch
This is a quick overview of some of the big issues set to arise, but with case law always evolving and politics playing its part, employment law is ever-changing. If you need advice about any of these employment issues or anything else that crops up, it always pays to get in touch with a specialist employment solicitor.