In the past few years, it has been difficult to keep up to date with all the new changes to employment law, and unfortunately with a Brexit deal looming we don’t expect the employment law scene to quieten down over the next 12 months, so it may be wise to prepare yourself for some changes in 2019.
Whilst there have been a number of proposed reforms expected to come into effect in the new year, these are the 8 most significant changes to employment law to keep an eye out for as both an employer and an employee:
The National Minimum Wage will Increase
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately then this probably won’t come as a shock to you, but what you may not already know is how much rates are set to increase by in 2019. The 2018 Autumn Budget revealed that come April next year, The National Living Wage (NLW) rates for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.83 to £8.21.
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) will increase by 32 pence to £7.70 an hour for those aged 21 to 24 and increase by 25 pence to £6.15 for 18 to 20 year olds in 2019. The minimum pay for apprentices will also increase slightly to £3.90 an hour.
National Minimum Wage Change for Sleep-In Shifts
As the law currently stands, those working on sleep-in shifts are not entitled to national minimum wage for the time spent when they are available yet not actually working. Those in the healthcare sector often do sleep-in shifts, where they take time out of their long shift to rest but are actually available to work as and when they are needed.
However all that could change in 2019. It is expected that the Supreme Court will reach a decision regarding the relationship between sleep-in shift workers and their pay in the new year, following a request to appeal the court’s decisions.
A Change to Issuing Payslips
On the 6th April 2019, the legal rights to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’. The change to issuing payslips comes into force alongside a new reform which forces employers to disclose the total number of hours worked by the employee on the payslip. This is especially important for those who work on a freelance or zero hour contract basis. Both employer and employee should communicate with the payroll department to ensure that they are fully prepared for the April 2019 deadlines.
Workplace Pension Contributions to Increase
From 2019, both employers and employees alike will contribute a higher percentage of the employee’s monthly salary under auto-enrolment laws. Currently employers contribute a minimum of 2% of a workers pre-tax salary to their pension fund, and the individual contributes slightly more at 3%. However in 2019 employees can expect to pay a further 2% and employers a further 1%.
The Status of EU Nationals
One of the main concerns surrounding Brexit has been the change in status of EU nationals once the UK leaves the European Union. There are two different statuses individuals can apply for – settled or temporary.
EU workers can apply for a settled status – which will indefinitely allow them to live in the UK – if they have already lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 years. If however this is not the case, EU workers can apply for a temporary status which will allow them to live and work in the UK until they are eligible for settled status.
The Proposal of Micro-Chipping Employees
The trend has already taken off in Sweden and the US, and the UK could be the next to start micro-chipping employees for safety reasons. Media coverage has however drawn attention to such possibilities and individuals have begun challenging the legal system in regards to an invasion of privacy. Whilst micro-chipping employees may not be introduced as an employment law in 2019, we could perhaps start seeing some major UK corporations taking such extreme measures to protect both their assets and their members of staff.
Requirements to Report Gender Pay Gaps
From the 4th April onwards, private companies who employ more than 250 members of staff will be required to disclose their gender pay gap figures. The change to employment law comes into force following an initial report published by companies that met the criteria earlier this year. Private organisations will face scrutiny if efforts have not been made to close the gender pay gap since the first report.
Requirements to Report CEO Pay Gaps
It isn’t just the gender pay gap at the top of the agenda in 2019, but CEO pay gaps also. In the following year, companies with more than 250 employees will have to start calculating the appropriate figures so that come 2020, businesses can disclose their executive pay gaps. The report will focus on the pay gap between the average salary of a company CEO compared to that of an employee.
It is simply a waiting game until 2019 to see what other employment laws will take effect. However with these 8 changes in mind, it is important that your company does the upmost to ensure all new reforms and laws are complied with.
About Jude Fletcher
Fletcher Day are a Commercial Law Firm who have a main head office in Mayfair, Central London. They have provided their services for UK and International clients in countries such as Brazil, China, Malaysia, and Russia. We advise many different clients from large organisations, well-established businesses to individual clients on private matters. We have a distinctive business approach that sets up apart from our competitors, we are committed to understand your business and the markets in which you operate within, our passionate and dedicated teams of multi-lingual lawyers are here to help and work with you, to listen in order to reach the best possible legal solution to ensure you fulfill your goals.