April is set to bring with it a fresh batch of employment law developments that employers must be aware of, and adapt to, in order to remain compliant. With that, Peninsula Group’s operations director and HR expert, Alan Price, offers some advice.
National minimum wage
National minimum wage (NMW) rates are scheduled to increase for all pay reference periods which start on or after 1 April 2019, meaning all minimum wage workers will be due a boost in pay. Those aged 25 and over will be entitled to a minimum of £8.21 per hour, whilst those who qualify for the different NMW age bandings will also benefit from increases. It will be important for employers to review and amend their pay practices ahead of time to ensure NMW staff continue to receive the correct rate for their age.
Statutory sick pay
The qualifying criteria for statutory sick pay (SSP) will change from 6th April 2019, as well as the amount of money staff will be entitled to earn each week. This means individuals will need to earn at least £118 per week in order to qualify for weekly payments of £94.25. Similarly, the rate of pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £148.68 per week from the 7 April 2019, which may mean employers have to amend their policies accordingly.
Employers will have to rethink their pay slip process from 6 April 2019 as both ‘employees’ and ‘workers’ will be entitled to receive itemised pay statements from this day onwards. Payslips will also need to include the total number of hours worked, where this influences pay, meaning payroll and HR departments will need to work in unison to ensure relevant staff receive their payslips in accordance with these new requirements.
Employers’ approach to pensions will need adjusting in 2019 as the minimum auto-enrolment contributions will increase from 6 April 2019. Employers and workers will need to contribute three per cent and five per cent of an employee’s pre-tax salary respectively each month and payroll departments will need to be on the ball to avoid reprisals from the pensions regulator.
The amount of money employees could be due for a successful tribunal claim will also increase from 6 April 2019. From this date, successful claims for unfair dismissal could result in a maximum compensation pay out of £102,194 which means employers will need to be extra careful in making sure their procedures are fair and appropriate when taking disciplinary action.
As April draws ever closer employers will need to be wary of these impending changes and it would be wise to dedicate time over the coming weeks to proactively prepare their business for these new requirements.
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