Top six employment law changes: April 2019

The top six employment law changes for April 2019.

1. New rates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

From 1 April 2019 all the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will increase, with the top rate for workers aged 25 and over going up to £8.21 per hour (from £7.83).

The National Minimum Wage will also increase for:

  • Workers aged between 21-24 from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour;
  • 18-20 year olds from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour;
  • Those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour; and
  • Apprentices from £3.70 an hour to £3.90 an hour (providing the apprentice is under the age of 19, or 19 and over but in the first year of their current apprenticeship).

2. Increased statutory family-related pay, statutory sick pay and redundancy pay

The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increases to £148.68 for pay weeks commencing on or after 7 April 2019.

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay increases to £94.25 from 6 April 2019.

Statutory redundancy pay will rise again from 6 April 2019. Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years' service an amount based on the employee's weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. This amount is £525 from 6 April 2019.

3. April 2019 payslip changes

From 6 April 2019, new Regulations will require payslips to be ‘itemised’ and state the number of hours being paid where pay varies according to time worked (either as an aggregate number of hours or as separate figures for different types of work (or rates of pay)). In addition, the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as workers.

For more information see our Q&A.

4. Pension contributions - auto enrolment 

From April 2019 the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers and employees. 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. However, under the increased requirements, employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.

5. Gender pay gap reporting

Following the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, private organisations with 250 or more employees will again be required to publish their gender pay gap figures on or before the 4th April 2019. Public-sector employers must publish their second gender pay gap report no later than 30 March 2019.

This will be the second time employers are reporting, and therefore a significant test to see if efforts have been made to address any significant pay disparity highlighted in the 2018 figures.

6. Modern slavery

The Modern Slavery Act was introduced in 2015. Since then, it has been a legal requirement for commercial organisations with a total turnover of at least £36 million per year to publish annual modern slavery and human trafficking statements.

In 2018, the Home Office wrote to 17,000 businesses reminding them of their responsibility to publish an annual statement and warning them that "continued non-compliance will not be tolerated".

While there is no strict legal timetable for publication, the Government's guidance recommends that statements be published within six months of the end of the organisation's financial year. For example, if your organisation's financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March, publication for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 is expected by 30 September 2019.

It appears that combatting modern slavery remains a priority for the Government which will continue to build profile over the coming months.

Amy Whitehouse (amy.whitehouse@weightmans.com) is a member of the Employment, Pensions and Immigration Team at Weightmans LLP and is based in Birmingham. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Amy or speak to your usual Weightmans advisor.

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