April is a fairly busy time for HR professionals and business owners alike. Not only are you required to tie up any loose ends from the previous financial year… You also need to make sure that you’re fully prepared for legislative changes that could impact your business. This is a time when new employment law rules come into force, so you need to be prepared and you need to take action.
Here’s what you need to know:
Increase in National Minimum Wage rates
Both the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will increase in April 2019. Under the new NLW, the minimum hourly rate that workers aged 25 and over are entitled to will increase from £7.83 to £8.21. At the same time, the NMW rate for workers aged between 21-24 will increase from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour; the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour and those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 will experience an hourly increase from £4.20 to £4.35. The minimum rate for apprentices will also increase from £3.70 an hour to £3.90 an hour, providing the apprentice is under the age of 19, or 19 and over but in the first year of their current apprenticeship.
From April 2019 the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers and employees. Currently, automatic enrolment requirements mean that employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary to their pension pot, with the individual contributing 3% themselves. However, under the new requirements, employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.
Settled Status for EU nationals
European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019, allowing them to remain indefinitely in the UK following the end of the Brexit transition period in 2021. To be granted settled status individuals must be able to prove they have been living in the UK for 5 years by the date of application. Those who do not meet this requirement can apply for temporary status, allowing them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status.
Changes to the way employers issue payslips will come into force on 6th April 2019 as from this date onwards the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as workers. Employers will also be obliged to include the total number of hours worked on payslips for employees whose wages vary depending on how much time they have worked.
Parental bereavement leave and pay
The government has confirmed that it intends to introduce a right for bereaved parents to take paid time off work. Under the current proposals, bereaved parents will be able to take leave as a single two-week period, as two separate periods of one week each, or as a single week. They will have 56 weeks from their child’s death to take leave.
The new right is expected to come into force in April 2020, but employers should start preparing for it during 2019. You could decide to introduce your own bereavement leave policy if you don’t already have one.
CEO pay gap reporting
New legislation will also come into force this year that requires companies with more than 250 employees to publish their executive pay gap. Although the first reports are not expected until 2020 businesses should be calculating the necessary figures throughout 2019 to show the gap between the total amount paid to their CEO and the average pay for an employee.
This time of year is a fantastic time to carry out an audit of your policies and procedures, to make sure that you’re fulfilling your legal responsibilities.
With that in mind, pick up the phone and get in touch. We can arrange to have a discussion around the changes that you may need to implement in coming weeks, so you can move forward with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything is under control.