Government reforms (1): New Year, New Law!

Building on our new year Blog on 2019 Hot 10 Topics, we give you the dates of the most important employment law changes this year that we know of so far.   We’re sure to be covering many of these events in more detail in our Newsflashes and Newsletters so watch this space…

 

21 January 2019

Right to Work

Opening of EU settlement scheme trial (more information here).

 

28 January 2019

Immigration – illegal working

New changes will allow organisations to rely on online checks to establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty (in the event that they are found to be employing illegal workers), permitting short birth or adoption certificates to be relied upon when evidencing an individual’s right to work and bringing into force a revised Code of Practice. (For more information see here).

 

29 March 2019

Brexit

Proposed date the UK exits the EU.

 

30 March 2019

Gender Pay Gap reporting

Public sector employers to report their Gender pay gap before this

date (with a snapshot date of 31 March 2018).

 

1 April 2019

Increase in National Living and Minimum Wage

The new rates are as follows:

  • Age 25 and over:  National Living wage increase from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour;
  • Age 21 to 24 (inclusive): increase from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour;
  • Age 18 to 20 (inclusive): increase from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour;
  • Age 16 or 17 (inclusive): increase from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour; and
  • Apprentice rate:  increase from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

Changes to auto enrolment rates

The minimum contribution rates will increase to 3% for employers and 5% for employees.

 

4 April 2019

Gender pay gap reports due

Date by which all applicable private sector employers must publish their gender pay gap data for the snapshot date of 5 April 2018.

The report must be published on the Government website and a searchable UK website that is accessible to employees and the public.

 

6 April 2019

Itemised pay slips

The right to receive a written itemised payslip will apply to workers as well as employees.  The payslips of workers and employees paid by the hour must clearly set out the number of hours for which they have been paid.

All payslips must include:

  • the gross amount of the wages or salary;
  • net amount of wages or salary payable;
  • amounts of any variable or fixed deductions, and the purposes for which they are made; and
  • total number of variable hours worked (when workers and employees get a different wage depending on the hours they have worked).

Government guidance on this new right is available here.

 

6 April 2019

Increases in statutory payments and Tribunal awards

The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissals taking effect from 6 April 2019 will increase from its current rate of £83,682 but the amount of increase has not yet been announced.

A week’s pay (used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims) will also increase from its current rate of £508 (gross) but the amount of increase has not been announced yet.

 

6 April 2019

Increase in penalties for aggravated breach of a worker’s employment rights

Tribunals have the power to impose a financial penalty against employers that are in breach of employment rights where that breach has one or more aggravating factors.

The maximum compensation will increase from £5,000 to £20,000.

 

6 April 2019

Tax changes

The personal allowance will increase to £12,500 and the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000.

Class 2 NICs will be abolished.

 

6/7 April 2019

Increases to the statutory rates for maternity, paternity, shared parental pay, adoption and sick pay

Statutory rates for everything other than sick pay will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 or 90% of average earnings if lower.

Statutory sick pay will increase from £92.05 to £94.25.

 

April 2019

Apprenticeship levy

Employers may transfer up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain.

 

Jan – Dec 2019

New company reporting requirements

A number of new requirements to report about employees and pay take effect in 2019. The most relevant to HR teams are included here. The changes apply to financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019, so the first reports will be published in 2020.

  • CEO pay ratios: Quoted companies (i.e. those listed on the London Stock Exchange, an EEA exchange, the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ) with more than 250 UK employees will be required to report pay ratio information in their annual directors’ remuneration reports. The pay ratio information will need to compare the total remuneration of the company’s CEO with the remuneration of employees at the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles of the workforce, and provide an explanation of the ratios. Going forward, it is intended that the ratio information should cover a ten-year period.
  • Employee engagement: All companies with at least 250 UK employees will be required to report on employee engagement as part of their annual directors’ reports. The report will need to describe what measures were taken during the financial year to introduce or develop arrangements for providing information to employees and consulting with them about decisions likely to affect them. Directors will also need to explain how they engaged with employees and had regard to their interests, and how this has impacted on key decisions of the company.