6 changes to employment law in 2019

2019 is the year of change for employment law, with 6 big changes on the horizon ranging from post-Brexit immigration rules to national minimum wage increases to parental bereavement pay. It’s going to be a busy year for employers when it comes to all the new changes, so let’s make sure you’re fully prepared by taking a look at the 6 big employment law changes we can expect to see in 2019.

Changes to Immigration Statuses Post-Brexit

Brexit has dominated the employment law scene in recent months, and that isn’t set to change in 2019 with new immigration statuses being introduced post-Brexit. Once the UK departs from the European Union – deal or no deal – free movement of EU nationals will come to an end, complicating employment laws further.

Change won’t happen overnight, but it is nevertheless important for employers to prepare for the new rules surrounding the employment of EU nationals. EU workers will be able to apply for a ‘settled status’, which gives them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely if they have already lived in the country for a minimum of 5 years. EU nationals who haven’t lived in the UK for 5 years can apply for a ‘temporary status’ which allows them to live and work in the UK until they become eligible to apply for a settled status.

Going forward, employers need to be aware that the employment of EU nationals is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of foreign nationals is. Employers will need to adjust their recruitment processes to fall in line with new employment rules in order to be fully prepared for changes post-Brexit.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Increases

From 1st April 2019, both the national living wage and the national minimum wage rates will increase. The changes are as follows:

  • National living wage to increase from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour
  • National minimum wage (for those aged 21 to 24) will increase to £7.70 per hour
  • National minimum wage (for those aged 18 to 20) will increase to £6.15 per hour
  • Apprenticeship pay will increase to £3.90 per hour

Executive Pay Gap Reporting

UK companies with more than 250 employees will be required to report the pay gap between company CEOs and employees, as well as reporting any difference in benefits. Although reporting isn’t set to start until 2020, it is important for employers to prepare well in advance.

More information on executive pay gap reporting will follow the Remuneration Report.

Second Gender Pay Gap Report

It isn’t just executive pay gaps under examination in 2019, but gender pay gaps also. Companies with more than 250 employees will be required to report their percentage pay gap annually, on either 31st March or 5th April depending on the sector in which they operate (March for those in the public sector and April for those in the private or voluntary sector).

The second report aims to scrutinise those companies who have made no effort to address gender pay gaps in the last 12 months since the initial report.

If you’ve not done so already then you need to prepare to publish your gender pay gap report, which will be published on both your own website and the government website.

Statutory Family and Sick Pay Rates to Increase

On the 7th April 2019, statutory family pay rates will increase to £148.68 per week, and will apply to maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental pay and maternity allowance.

The weekly rates for statutory sick pay for employees are also expected to increase to £94.25 come April 2019.

Introduction of Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

The government also plans to introduce parental bereavement leave and pay for employees in 2019. The proposal will give employees the right to take paid time off work following the death of their child. Parents will be given 56 weeks from their child’s death to take bereavement leave.

Bereaved parents will be able to take leave in three different forms:

  1. A single two week period
  2. Two separate periods of one week each
  3. Or a single week

If you haven’t already introduced your own bereavement leave policy within the workplace, then you need to prepare for the changes in 2019.

With more employment law changes and developments in the pipeline, it is import that as an employer, you do the upmost to ensure all new laws are complied with, as well as notifying your employees to any changes to their employment rights. So keep your eyes peeled for these 6 big changes.

Fletcher Day