April 2019 brings higher tribunal compensation awards, itemised pay slips, National Minimum Wage increases and more to the world of Employment Law.
National Minimum Wage
Those aged 25 and over will see an increase in the minimum wage they are entitled to from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 per hour, with increases across all the different NMW age banding. The NMW rates will increase for all pay reference periods which start on or after 1 April 2019; for example, an employee paid on the 20th of each month will receive the new rate of NMW from 21 April on wards.
New payslip requirements will come into force on 6 April 2019, requiring itemised calculations for variable rates of pay and hours worked. In addition, the requirement for pay slips will be extended to include workers, not just employees, this will include those under casual or zero hours contracts. These amendments are intended to increase transparency, this means that variable-time employees will find it easier to establish whether they are being paid the national minimum wage by their employers. Employers will need to ensure their payroll is set up to collect and present the information required by the new regulations.
Maximum compensation awards in a successful unfair dismissal claim will increase to £86,444, up from £83,682, whilst the maximum amount of week’s pay used for calculating the basic award increases from £508 to £525.
The maximum level of penalty that an Employment Tribunal can impose on an employer who repeatedly breaches their employment law obligations will increase from £5,000 to £20,000.
Gender Pay Gap
For the second year, organisations with 250 or more employees must publish their annual gender pay gap report to the Government Equalities Office and these figures must be published electronically on their own website. These figures must be submitted by 4 April 2019 for the private sector. It is expected that these figures will come under increased scrutiny to see what improvements have been made by employers towards increased equality. Even where men and women are paid equal for equal jobs, if an organisation has more men in the higher-paid jobs there will still be a gender pay gap, as the figures will also show the distribution of men and women across different levels of the organisation.
Statutory payment rates
The qualifying criteria for Statutory Sick Pay will change from 6 April 2019, this means that individuals will need to earn at least £118 per week in order to qualify for weekly payments of £94.25.
Similarly, the earnings threshold for Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Shared Parental Pay will be £118 per week, in order to qualify for weekly payments of £148.68. This change will be implemented on 7 April 2019.
The minimum contributions into the automatic enrolment workplace pension scheme will increase from 6 April 2019. The new minimum employer contribution will be 3%, with minimum eligible staff contribution of 5%, making the total minimum contribution 8%.