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10 Employment Law Changes for 2019

2018 has been a landmark year for employment law with gender pay gap reporting and widespread claims of workplace sexual harassment dominating the headlines. It looks like 2019 will be just as busy with a number of legal changes on their way. Below we list just ten changes that employers will need to look out for.

Increase in NMW Rates

Both the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will increase in April 2019. Under the new NLW, the minimum hourly rate that workers aged 25 and over are entitled to will increase from £7.83 to £8.21. The NMW rate for workers aged between 21-24 will increase from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour; the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour and those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 will experience an hourly increase from £4.20 to £4.35. The minimum rate for apprentices will also increase 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.

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 5 years by the date of application. Those who do not meet this requirement can apply for temporary status, allowing them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status.

Increase to Auto-enrolment Contributions

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 new requirements, employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.

Payslips

Changes to the way employers issue payslips will also come into force on 6th April 2019 as from this date onwards the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’. Employers will be obliged to include the total number of hours worked on payslips for employees whose wages vary depending on how much time they have worked. It is important that employers work with their payroll departments to ensure the correct procedure is in place ahead ofof the deadline.

NMW for Sleep-ins

Following the Court of Appeal’s decision on Mencap v Tomlinson Blake, a precedent was set that individuals working on sleep-in shifts, such as nurses and care workers, would not be entitled to NMW for time spent asleep in scenarios where they were ‘available for work’ and not ‘actually working’. A request to appeal this decision was lodged with the Supreme Court by Unison and a decision is expected in 2019 as to whether this case will be analysed further. Any ruling in 2019 will be important in defining the rights of thousands of staff currently working sleep-in shifts.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Private organisations with 250 or more employees will again be required to publish their gender pay gap figures on the 4th April 2019. 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.

CEO Pay Gap Reporting

New legislation will come into force in 2019 that requires companies with more than 250 employees to publish their executive pay gap. Although the first reports are not expected until 2020 businesses should be calculating the necessary figures throughout 2019 to show the gap between the total amount paid to their CEO and the average pay for an employee.

Non-disclosure Agreement

The government have brought forward a review into the use of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace, with a response expected in 2019. These agreements were originally used to protect intellectual property when employees moved from one company to another. However, recent media coverage has highlighted the fact that they are often used to silence claims of harassment and bullying. Whilst these agreements remain legal, the government’s response may go some way to deciding how they can be used in the future.

Supermarket Equal Pay Claims

In 2019 we are expecting to receive decisions on separate tribunal cases on the issue of equal pay which involve Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. Predominately female shop workers who feel they are unfairly paid less than predominately male warehouse staff, despite carrying out a similar role, are seeking compensation. This will provide more clarity on the issue of equal pay and, depending on the result, may pave the way for further claims from staff working in other sectors.

Microchipping Employees

The act of microchipping employees may become more common in the workplace during 2019. The UK legal system has not yet been challenged in this regard, however it will be interesting to see how a court decides to rule on microchipping staff given the potential invasion of privacy and GDPR implications.

Whilst there are sure to be other new developments introduced throughout next year, employers would do well to keep a close eye on these particular topics and put plans in place to ensure their business complies with any new requirements.

If you need any help and advice in relation to employment law, please do not hesitate to contact me or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Emma Roberts

Trainee Solicitor at Sce Solicitors Ltd
Emma is a trainee solicitor at SCE Solicitors. Emma commenced her training contract in September 2018 and is currently working in the employment law department assisting director Samira Cakali. Emma also assists in the running of the firm’s myHR service where she can support you in the day-to-day management of your staff.
Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts

Emma is a trainee solicitor at SCE Solicitors. Emma commenced her training contract in September 2018 and is currently working in the employment law department assisting director Samira Cakali. Emma also assists in the running of the firm’s myHR service where she can support you in the day-to-day management of your staff.

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