Key Employment Law Updates – April 2019

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour that most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law. The National Living Wage is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to by law. There are exceptions to these rates.

On 1 April 2019 the National Minimum Wage rates for the different categories of workers increased. The hourly rates as from 1 April 2019 are as follows:

  • £8.21 per hour for ages 25 and over
  • £7.70 per hour for ages 21 to 24
  • £6.15 per hour for ages 18 to 20
  • £4.35 per hour for ages 16 to 17
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices

‘Aggravated’ breaches of employment law  

Employment tribunals currently have the power to impose a maximum penalty of £5,000 for an ‘aggravated breach’ of employment law. The purpose of this is to penalise employers who repeatedly breach their employment law obligations. From 6 April 2019, the maximum penalty will increase from £5,000 to £20,000 as part of the government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ published in December 2018.

Itemised pay statements

From 6 April 2019 onwards, the right to receive an itemised payslip will extend to workers. Where pay varies by reference to time worked, payslips must also itemise the total number of paid hours worked. The number of hours must be given as a single aggregate figure or as separate figures for different types of work or rates of pay. This change will involve additional administration for those employers who currently do not provide payslips to all workers.

Statutory pay rates

From 6 April 2019 statutory sick pay will be payable at £94.25 per week. This marks an increase of £2.20 per week.

From 7 April 2019 statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay rates will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

All employers must act to ensure that, where applicable, the minimum amounts mentioned above (or more) are complied with.

Auto-enrolment contributions

All employers in the United Kingdom are required to automatically enrol eligible workers in a pension scheme. From 6 April onwards, the minimum contribution employers and their staff are required to pay will increase.

The minimum contribution that an employer must make will increase from 2% to 3% and the minimum contribution than a member of staff must make will increase from 3% to 5% (including tax relief).

Compensation limits for employment tribunal claims

On 6 April 2019 new increased compensation limits for employment tribunal claims will come into force.

The limit on a week’s pay for calculating redundancy and unfair dismissal basic award will increase from £508 to £525.

The maximum compensatory award will increase from £83,682 to £86,444.

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