What’s on the UK Employment Law Timetable

An overview of the legal changes you can expect in 2019

Previously all changes to UK employment law were introduced in either April or October. The Coalition Government abolished this set timetable and now changes to employment law take place at different months throughout the year.

Significant employment law changes are anticipated for 2018 and beyond, amid the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the Brexit referendum.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) Rates
April 2019 On Monday 29 October 2018 Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his Autumn Budget for 2018 and announced the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage rates that will apply from April 2019:

The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase from £7.83 to £8.21.

The National Minimum Wage rates will be increased from:

  • £7.38 to £7.70 for 21 to 24 year olds;
  • £5.90 to £6.15 for 18 to 20 year olds
  • £4.205 to £4.30 for 16 and 17 year olds; and
  • £3.70 to £3.90 for apprentices
Employment Tribunal Award Limits
April 2019 The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 will increase the compensation and weekly pay limits that are payable from 6 April 2019.

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 will bring in the following increases:

  • The maximum Unfair Dismissal “Compensatory Award” will rise from £83,682 to £86,444;
  • The limit on a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £508 to £525;
  • Guarantee pay will increase from £28 to £29 per day;
  • The minimum Basic Award for Unfair Dismissal, in cases where a dismissal is unfair in certain cases due to health and safety, employee representative, trade union, or occupational pension trustee reasons, will increase from £6,203 to £6,408.

The new rates take effect where the ‘appropriate date’ for the claim (such as the date of termination in an unfair dismissal claim) is on or after 6 April 2019. Where the appropriate date is before 6 April 2019, the old limits will still apply, even if compensation is awarded after 6 April.

Statutory Payments
April 2019 In a written ministerial statement, the government has announced the proposed new rates for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for tax year 2019/20.

The proposed revised rates are as follows:

  • The standard weekly rates of SMP, SAP, SPP and ShPP will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 – it is assumed this will be for payment weeks commencing on or after Sunday, 7 April 2019. The prescribed weekly rate of maternity allowance (MA) will also increase from £145.18 to £148.68
  • The weekly rate of SSP will increase from £92.05 to £94.25 from 6 April 2019
  • The earnings threshold, below which employees are not entitled to SMP, SAP, SPP, ShPP and SSP, will increase from £116.00 to £118.00 per week from 6 April 2019.

These rates are still subject to Parliamentary approval.

Payslips For Time-Paid Employees to State Number of Hours Being Paid
April 2019 The Employment Rights Act 1995 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018, which requires payslips to state the number of hours being paid for time-paid workers, was laid before Parliament on the 8th February 2018.

The Order requires payslips for time-paid workers to state the number of hours being paid, either as an aggregate number of hours or as a separate figure for different types of work (or rate of pay).

The Order will come into force on 6 April 2019.

This legislation follows the Government’s response to the Taylor Review, published on 7 February 2018, and is the first of a number of changes the Government has committed to making to clarify employment rights.

It is important that employers of time-paid workers ensure that their pay slips are correct and that from 6 April 2019 payslips for time-paid workers state the number of hours being paid (if they do not already).

Britian Leaves the EU (Brexit)
October 2019 It seems unlikely that the UK government will deviate from the employment rights that derive from EU law.

It also looks likely that EU nationals who are already resident in the UK will be allowed to stay. Future business-related migration, however, could be harder and may be brought into line with the process of bringing in employees from outside the EU. In the immediate aftermath of the Referendum, the government restated its commitment to science and research. This suggests that different immigration rules may be created to allow the continued free movement of scientists and academics from the EU.

If you employ EU nationals more generally, consider the potential impact of this on both your current and future employees. Put in place a robust workforce and contingency plan, particularly for key roles. If any grant funding agreements refer to individuals who have recently arrived from the EU as ‘key personnel’, seek to renegotiate.

Our advice is not to preempt any major changes to your employment contracts and handbooks until the post-Brexit employment landscape becomes clearer.

In the very short term check your employment policies and procedures are fully up to date.

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The Real Living Wage
November 2019 The Real Living Wage Rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, and are based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

The Real Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay payable to anyone aged 18 or over.

Return to the UK Employment Timetable Directory Read About The Plans For 2020 And Beyond
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