This year has been an extremely busy year in terms of amended employment law. From greater support for employees returning to work, gender gap reporting and employment tribunals to protect gig economy workers, there are no HR themes that have gone untouched this year.
And there’s no indication this trend will stop as we enter the New Year. According to Alan Price, Senior Director for Law Consultancy Peninsula – who wrote onworkplaceinsight.net – here are the top ten employment law changes to keep your eyes peeled for in 2019:
1. Increase in National Minimum Wage
The 2018 Budget announced an increase in both the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) in April 2019. Price wrote on workplaceinsight.net: “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 £6.15an hour and those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 will experience an hourly increase from £4.20 to £4.35.”
2. Settled status for EU nationals
Any European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019 which will grant them access to indefinitely remain after the end of Brexit’s transition period. Those who are eligible must give evidence that they have been living in the UK for five years by the time that they send the application.
3. Auto-enrolment contributions
As of April 2019, minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes with see an increase for both employers and employees. “At the moment, automatic enrolment requirements mean that employers are obliged to contribute a minimum of two per cent of “an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary to their pension pot, with the individual contributing 3% themselves,” Price wrote.
On April 6 2019, changes to the ways that employers issue payslips will come into force. Price says that the legal right to a pay slip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’. He explained: “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.”
5. NMW for sleep-ins
Following an earlier Court of Appeal Decision, a ‘precedent’ was launched that workers on sleep-in shifts such nurses wouldn’t be eligible for NMW for time spent sleeping when they weren’t actually working. And, the Supreme Court by Unison is expected to deliver a ruling on a previous case next year which will help shed some light on the rights of sleep-in shift workers.
6. Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Organisations with 250 or more employees will be obligated to publish their gender pay gap reporting figures by April 4 2019 like last year. He said that this will be a true test to see whether gender pay disparities have progressed successfully.
7. CEO pay gap reporting
In 2019, new legislation will come into play that requires companies with over 250 employees to publish executive pay gaps. This aims to highlight pay discrepancies in the same was as gender pay reporting.
8. Microchipping employees
With many media conglomerates reporting on micro-chipping employees in the future, Price says that it will be “interesting to see how a court decides to rule on microchipping staff given the potential invasion of privacy and GDPR implications”.
9. Non-disclosure agreement
Another expected response in 2019 is relative to the use of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace. These agreements were instilled to protect “intellectual property when employees moved from one company to another”. However, Price said that recent news coverage has highlighted that these agreements are frequently used to silence harassment and bullying claims.
10. Supermarket Equal pay claims
HR Grapevine have reported on numerous equal pay tribunals shrouding the likes of Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda which are fighting for equal pay for female shop workers who feel unequally paid to male counterparts. In 2019, Price said that the issue of equal pay may gain more clarity and encourage more disheartened employees to come forward.