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2019 Employment Law Changes (Updated)

With 2019 fast approaching, what are the important upcoming 2019 employment law changes?

2019 Employment Law Changes

The 2019 employment law changes include the following:-

  • 1st January 2019 – Executive pay gap reporting comes into force, which requires UK listed companies with more than 250 employees to report the pay gap between their CEO and their “average” UK worker. The first annual reports will begin in 2020.
  • 29th March 2019- Brexit Day (otherwise known as ‘doomsday’ to some, or ‘independence day’ to others). The UK leaves the European Union (EU)
  • 30th March 2019 – deadline for gender pay gap reporting by public sector employers
  • 1st April 2019 – increases in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
  • 1st April 2019 – Government Equalities Office moves to the Cabinet Office. Move designed to increase its role and influence within Government
  • 4th April 2019 – deadline for gender pay gap reporting for private sector employers and voluntary organisations
  • 6th April 2019 – Increase in Statutory Sick Pay
  • 6th April 2019 – the right to an itemised pay slip will apply to all workers, and not just employees. Employers will also be required to provide additional information in itemised pay slips. Under The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018, as well as providing the information that previously needed to be included in an itemised pay slip, an employer will now also need to include the total number of paid hours worked, but only in those situations where pay varies in direct relation to the amount of time worked (e.g. in variable hours and zero hours contracts).
  • 6th April 2019 – the minimum contributions into auto-enrolment pension schemes will rise to 3% for employers and 5% for employees, to produce a total minimum contribution of 8%
  • 6tth April 2019 – since 2014, those employers held by an employment tribunal to have breached a workers rights where there are aggravating features, can be subject to an additional penalty of up to £5,000.00. From the 6th April 2019, the upper limit in terms of this penalty will increase to £20,000.00 under the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019
  • 7th April 2019 – increases in Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Adoption Pay, and Maternity Allowance
  • Expected in 2019: A Government review of ‘non-disclosure agreements,’ various court decisions in the supermarket equal pay claims, and the Supreme Court decision in the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake (i.e. whether the national minimum wage should be paid for time spent asleep during a sleep-in shift). There will also be a consultation on how the Apprenticeship Levy will operate post 2020.

Beyond The 2019 Employment Law Changes

The following is a list of changes which will occur beyond the 2019 employment law changes:-

  • 2020 – Annual executive pay gap reports are to be published for the first time
  • April 2020 – Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay starts. The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Act 2018 provides employed parents with 2 weeks paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18.
  • 6th April 2020: The taxation of termination payments: employer class 1A national insurance contributions, as well as tax, will now be payable on that element of a termination payment which exceeds £30,000.00. This change was originally due to take effect on the 6th April 2018, but the implementation of the NIC Bill was then delayed by a year until the 6th April 2019. It was then delayed again by a further year until the 6th April 2020 (see page 42 of Budget 2018). The rules relating to national insurance contributions on income from sporting testimonials were also due to change, but has likewise been put back until the 6th April 2020. The proposal to abolish Class 2 NIC for the self-employed was withdrawn on the 7th September 2018, for at least the duration of this Parliament.
  • 6th April 2020: Under the Government’s ‘Good Work’ plan, the ‘Swedish derogation’ rules which enabled businesses to opt out of equal pay requirements will be abolished, the reference period for calculating an average week’s pay for holiday pay purposes will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, and under Part 2 of Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, workers as well as employees will be entitled to a statement of ‘written particulars’. The latter will also become a day one right (as opposed to the current position of within 2 months).
  • By April 2020 – The extension of IR35 to medium and large sized businesses in the private sector, a change that has been described as potentially “catastrophic for the economy
  • 31st December 2020 – the transitional period relating to Brexit will finish

Other potential future changes beyond the 2019 employment law changes include:-

  • The extension of the right of shared parental leave to grandparents. This change was originally expected to come in to force in 2018, but was placed on hold in May 2018 whilst the Government carries out a review into the policy of shared parental leave, the results of which are expected in early 2019. 
  • New legislation has been promised by the Government to ensure that tips left by customers in restaurants are retained by staff in full, and are not either partially or wholly taken off them by their employers.
  • To prevent the disgusting and vile practice of the microchipping of employees by employers becoming more common, join our call for the practice to be banned by Government by writing to your MP
  • Ethnicity pay gap reporting
  • Final implementation of the Public Sector Exit Payment Cap
  • The Government is to consult on whether to require companies with more than 250 employees to publish details relating to their “parental leave and pay” policies.
  • The Government is considering “creating a duty for employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly.”
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