Employment law changes for 2019
During 2019 there will be a number of Employment Law changes that employers will need to be aware of. These changes will range from wage increases to issues surrounding Brexit.
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Status for EU Nationals - Settled Status
Currently there is free movement within the UK, however, after 29th March 2019, this will no longer be the case.
Based on the current legal position around the Brexit deal, European Citizens that work in the UK will be required to apply for settled status in 2019. This would allow them to remain as a permanent resident after the Brexit transition period (ending in 2021).
For a person to be granted settled status, they must be able to prove that for 5 years prior to their application they have been residing in the UK.
Those who do not meet the 5-year mark can apply for a temporary status or ‘Pre-Settled Status’ until individuals have been here for the requirement. Once a person has been a resident for 5 years, they can then apply for Settled Status.
Following the 2018 budget, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will increase.
- The National Living Wage will apply employees over the age of 25;
- National Minimum Wage will apply to employees under the age of 24.
25 and over
Over compulsory school age but younger than 18
Apprenticeship (under 19, or over 19 and in their first year as an apprentice)
Gender Pay Gap
Private organisations that have more than 250 employees will be obliged to publish gender pay gap figures on 4th April 2019.
These figures will be heavily scrutinised as they are being published to determine whether employers are addressing any significant differences between salaries that were highlighted in 2018.
Pay Gaps for CEOs
Again, this will apply to private organisations with 250 employees or more. This is to show the gap that exists between the salary that is paid to a CEO and the average wage of the Company’s employees.
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Equal Pay in Supermarkets
Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are currently involved in tribunal cases regarding the issue of equal pay. The decisions are due in 2019.
The cases mainly involve female employees who are seeking compensation for receiving lower wages. They have argued that as shop workers they are carrying out similar roles as the warehouse staff (who are predominantly male), and therefore should be paid the same wage. The results of these cases will provide clarity on equal pay, and if the employees are successful, this could expose other companies for further claims.
Employees have a right to receive a payslip. However, this does not extend to people who are employed on a ‘worker’ contract.
Employers will now be required to provide itemised payslips so that they include the number of hours that have been completed by a worker (for example, a zero hours’ worker). This procedure will need to be discussed with payroll in order to amend the payslip format and ensure that this will be in place for the 6th April 2019 deadline.
Employers are currently required to auto-enrol eligible employees and make contributions to a pension scheme. The minimum payment employers must make is 2% of a pre-taxed wage with the employee paying in 3%.
However, under the new requirements, employers will need to contribute 3% while the increase for the payment made by employees will be 5%. It may be beneficial to consult with staff to ensure that they are aware of the changes that will be happening to their salary.
The Government are looking to review non-disclosure agreements and how they are being used in the workplace. These agreements are often referred to as ‘gagging orders’, and they were initially used to protect the use of intellectual property when an employee leaves the Company. However, there is now a concern that these clauses are being used to cover issues around harassment and bullying claims.
Therefore where a Company is using a non-disclosure agreement, it is essential that they are being used for the correct purpose and not to silence employees from making claims about workplace conduct.
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There have been stories in the press recently that US Companies microchipping their employees, and further articles have suggested that UK businesses may look to do the same. The purpose would enable a member of staff to access locked areas and even store medical data.
This has yet to be challenged by the legal system as it may potentially cause issues around the current GDPR and privacy regulations.
NMW for sleep-ins
Following the case of Mencap v Tomlinson Blake, staff that are nurses and care workers would not receive the NMW for the time that was spent asleep. This was due to the fact that while they were ‘available for work’ during a sleep-in, they were not working.
This decision has been lodged for an appeal, and a decision is expected in 2019 as to whether it will be reviewed any further.
Employers should make a note of the relevant changes that are due to happen in 2019, and it is advisable to plan in advance of the deadline to limit any negative impact on the Company.
About the author
James is on the Business Development & Account Management team at Neathouse Partners and regularly posts articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law, including case law & legislation updates. If you have a particular issue you would like addressed, feel free to drop James an email, and he will be happy to offer his assistance.
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