Employment Law Update 2019

As an employer, are you aware of the latest Employment Law updates, which are due to come into force over the next 18 months? In this blog, we look at the various changes, which include increases to the Minimum Wage, Living Wage, Statutory Sick Pay and other family- related statutory payments, as well as payslip content and the holiday reference period.

Written Terms & Conditions of Employment

Employees whose employment is due to last for one month or more are entitled to a written statement of the particulars of their employment. Commonly, smaller employers will verbally agree the terms and, from the start date of the employee’s employment, then have a period of 2 months to issue the written particulars of employment.

There are particular items that must be included in the principal document; other terms can be provided in stages and in other documents.

A recent employment case Stefanko and others v Maritime Hotel Ltd was based on claims of automatically unfair dismissal due to asserting a statutory right. The Employment

Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that a waitress with 6 weeks service, which is less than the 2 months service required for a written statement, was entitled to receive compensation. The waitress had claimed automatic unfair dismissal for asserting a statutory right of not having a payslip or the written statement of employment particulars.

The ruling was that employees (not workers) who have been employed for more than one month are entitled to the written statement, even if they have not reached the 2 months’ timeframe, as stated in section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

From 6th April 2020, this will be repealed by The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and all new staff including employees and workers will have the right to a section 1 statement.

National Minimum Wage Increases April 2019

The National Minimum Wage is due to rise and will take effect from 1st April 2019, as follows:

  • Workers aged at least 21, but under 25, will see a rise from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • Workers aged at least 18, but under 21, will see a rise from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • Workers aged 16 or 17 will see a rise from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • The apprentice rate rises from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour
  • The accommodation offset increases from £7.00 to £7.55 per day

The hourly rate of the National Living Wage, which is the rate for workers who are aged 25 and over, increases from £7.83 to £8.21

Statutory Sick Pay Increases

From 6th April 2019, Statutory Sick Pay increases from £92.05 per week to £94.25 per week.

Family Related Statutory Payments Increase

From 7th April 2019, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Shared Parental Pay will all increase from £145.18 per week to £148.68 per week.

Getting the Payslip Content Correct

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018 (SI 2018/147) will come into force on 6th April 2019 and provides that, where an employee’s pay varies by reference to time worked, employers must include the number of hours for which the employee is being paid on his or her itemised pay statement.

The content must show:

  • The gross and net amount of the wages/salary due to the employee;
  • The amounts of any variable or fixed deductions and the purposes for which they are made;
  • The total number of variable hours worked (when workers and employees get a different wage depending on the hours they have worked).

The change is designed to make it easier for hourly paid staff to address underpayments and to ensure they are paid correctly.

Change to the Holiday Reference Period

Currently there is a 12-week reference period to calculate varying pay to identify what a week’s pay is when the worker wishes to take annual leave. This is due to increase to a reference period of 52 weeks.

Whilst not in effect until 6th April 2020, it is advisable that employers are aware of this significant change, so they are prepared in advance.

The change has come from the Government’s “Good Work Plan” and will allow workers more flexibility in choosing when to take their holiday, as well as how they benefit from their full holiday pay entitlement.

If you would like advice on any aspect of Employment Law, please call Jude Read-HR Consultancy on 01455 231982 or send an enquiry via our contact page.

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