Maxwell Stephens

UK employment law changes to look out for in 2019

Employment law is an ever-changing landscape, from gender pay gap reporting legislation to greater support for employees returning to work, 2018 has seen a number of significant developments. At the moment 2019 appears like it will be equally, if not more eventful in the world of employment law. With a variety of changes on the horizon, here are some of the key developments employers and employees alike need to be aware of…


Minimum Wage


As part of the 2018 Budget, it was announced that the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) would see an increase in April 2019.

  • Workers aged 25 and over: NLW increase from £7.83 to £8.21 an hour
  • Workers aged 21 to 24: NMW increase from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour
  • Workers aged 18 to 20: NMW increase from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour
  • Workers aged 16 to 18: NMW increase from £4.20 to £4.35 an hour
  • Apprentices (Under 19): Increase from £3.70 to £3.90 an hour

Settled status for EU nationals


We couldn’t have an article about employment law in 2019 without Brexit rearing its ugly head. With the end of the Brexit transition period being 2021, European Workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019. This status will allow EU workers to stay in the UK indefinitely following the end of the transition period. In order to be granted this settled status, proof is required to show the individual has been living in the UK for at least 5 years by the date of application. Those who do not qualify for this status will still be able to apply for temporary status which will allow them to remain in the UK until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status.


Auto-enrolment contributions


2019 will see an increase to the minimum contribution for auto-enrolment pension schemes for both employers and employees. As it stands, employers must at least 2% of workers’ pre-tax salary to their pension, with employees contributing 3% themselves. April 2019 will see the requirement for pension contributions increase for employers and employees who will have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.


NMW for sleep-ins


A 2018 Court of Appeal decision (Mencap vs Tomlinson Blake) has set a legal precedent whereby individuals working on sleep-in shifts (e.g. nurses, care workers etc), would not be entitled to NMW for time spent asleep in situations where they were ‘available for work’ yet not ‘actually working’


Following this decision, Unison lodged a request to appeal with the Supreme Court, with a ruling expected in 2019 which could obviously. have a huge impact on thousands of staff currently working sleep-in shift.


Gender Pay Gap Reporting


Private organisations with 250 or more employees will again be required to publish their gender pay gap figures by April 4th 2019.

Although this is the second year of such reporting, increased legislative and societal pressure on this issue means that figures are expected to be heavily scrutinised this year. This will help to determine whether efforts to reduce any significant pay disparity in 2018 have been successful.


CEO pay gap reporting


Similarly to gender pay gaps, 2019 will see new legislation introduced that will require companies with over 250 employees to publish figures on executive pay gaps.

Although initial reports on these figures are not currently expected until 202, business should calculate the necessary information throughout 2019 to show the total amount paid to their CEO and the average pay for an employee.


Microchipping employees


It may seem like an idea straight out of a Science Fiction novel, however it is expected that 2019 will see an increase in businesses micro-chipping employees. This developing trend may require further scruitny within the UK legal system, particularly when we consider the potential invasion of privacy and GDPR implications.

It is vital that businesses keep on top of potential developments in employment law and put appropriate plans in place to address these.


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