April 2019 employment law updates

April is almost upon us, and that means one thing: easter eggs! More importantly however, changes to both the national minimum wage and national living wage come into effect following the annual review by the Low Pay Commission. There are also a couple of employment law updates to bear in mind.

Minimum Wage

There are the usual caveats in that while these rates apply to most workers, it is qualified by age and status as an apprentice. I like to take this opportunity to remind clients that you can be taken to court by HMRC if you fail to pay the minimum wage – so it’s definitely worth taking note of unless you relish that prospect.

Here’s a helpful video from ACAS explaining how the minimum wage works, in case you’re unfamiliar with it.

New rates from 1st April 2019

  • Â8.21 per hour for ages 25 and over.
  • £7.70 per hour for ages 21 to 24.
  • £6.15 per hour for ages 18 to 20.
  • £4.35 per hour for school leaving age to 17.
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices.

The new rate will apply to the next pay reference period that begins on or after the date:

  • a rate increase begins
  • an employee reaches a new age bracket.

Previous rates (for reference)

Date of rate 25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
From April 2017 to 

March 2018

£7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50
From October 2016 to 

March 2017

£7.20 £6.95 £5.55 £4.00 £3.40
From April 2016 to 

September 2016

£7.20 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30

Tribunal Compensation Limits

Tribunal compensation limits will increase on Saturday 6 April 2019. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £83,682 to £86,444. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards (including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal), also rises from £508 to £525. All the new limits are listed below:

  • Limit on guaranteed payments – £29
  • Limit on a week’s pay – £525
  • Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment – £5,750
  • Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal – £6,408
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £86,444

Payslip information & statutory updates

A couple of changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 come into force on 6th April and affect the way you handle payslips.

  • You must now include the total number of hours worked where the pay varies according the hours worked – so for example to employees who work variable hours or are on zero hours contracts.
  • Payslips must be given to ‘workers’ and not just employees.
  • Statutory sick pay rises from £92.05 to £94.25.
  • The lower earnings limit rises from £116 to £118 on the same date.

A day later (for some reason, not known to lesser mortals) other changes come into effect:

  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental pay rises from £145.18 to £146.68 a week.
  • The lower earnings limit rises from £116 to £118

As ever, if your eyes glazed over at any of that – or if you just want to talk something through, give me a buzz.

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