If you employ staff or have HR responsibilities, here are the key changes to look out for:
- The national minimum and living wages increased on 1 April 2019 to:
£8.21/hour for workers aged 25 and over
£7.70/hour for 21 to 24-year-olds
£6.16/hour for 18 to 20-year-olds
£4.35/hour for 16 to 17-year-olds
£3.90/hour for under 19s in the first year of an apprenticeship
- Statutory sick pay increases on 6 April from £92,05 to £94.25 and the low earnings limit rises from £116 to £118.
- On 7 April statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay rises from £145.18 to £146.68 per week.
- Any part of a termination payment over £30,000 will be subject to employer National Insurance contributions from 6 April.
- Changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, which come into force on 6 April, will require employers to include the total number of hours worked on pay slips where the pay varies according to the hours worked. Pay slips must also be given to all ‘workers’ not just ‘employees’.
- From 6 April the penalties for employers that repeatedly breach their employment law obligations will increase, giving tribunals the power to impose a £5,000 ‘aggravated breach’ penalty on employers losing cases, with a maximum limit of £20,000.
- Tribunal compensation limits will increase from 6 April as follows:
Limit on guaranteed payments – £29
Limit on a week’s pay – £525
Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay – £15,750
Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal – £6,408
Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £86,444
Of course, the big change on the horizon is Brexit, although in practice much EU employment law has been brought into effect via UK legislation, so Brexit will have no direct impact on things like unfair dismissal, the minimum wage, parental leave, redundancy pay or flexible working.
In some areas, such as maternity rights and holiday pay, UK law actually goes further than EU legislation, so is unlikely to change.
In short, there are likely to be few changes to employment law as a result of Brexit, certainly initially.