Keep abreast of employment legislation with legislation updates

If you require detailed advice on a specific area of the Employment Legislation, please contact the Quest Employment Team for help. Alternatively, if you are interested in one of the Quest HR products, please contact our Sales and Marketing Team.

There are also some useful links below for checking current statutory rates and thresholds i.e. National Minimum Wage, tax and NIC, maternity, paternity and adoption pay; statutory sick pay.

Since the new Conservative Government came into power, there has been very little new employment legislation placed on the statute book. The EU referendum has also meant that it may be some time until we see a great deal of change to the employment law landscape.

However, whilst the post Brexit adjustments to employment legislation may well be far reaching, we may have to wait until 2018 or beyond for any substantial new provisions. With the next election not expected until 2020, we can though expect the Government to implement some key legislative initiatives to further regulate the employment framework before a possible change of government .

Employment Legislation

The changes to employment law are listed below

The Good Work Plan 2020 – Upcoming Changes

The changes under this plan will strengthen UK employment rights and employers must plan to prepare for this change, which is expected to come into force in April 2020. The plan focuses on fair and decent work; as part of that improving communication and certainty in the working relationship was key. Therefore, it will now be mandatory to include information about workers’ rights in the written statement of employment. The following points, in addition to the current mandatory information that must be provided, will be required in a written statement (commonly referred to as a contract of employment) issued to all workers (not just employees) on or by the first day of employment:

  • How long a job is expected to last or the end date of a fixed term contract.
  • How much notice an employer and worker are required to give to terminate the contract.
  • Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay.
  • Details of other types of paid leave e.g. maternity leave and paternity leave.
  • The duration and conditions of any probationary period.
  • All remuneration (not just pay) – contributions in cash or kind e.g. vouchers and lunch.
  • Which specific days and times workers are required to work.

Employee Flexibility

Employees will have the right to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks of employment. This is most likely to benefit casual or zero-hour workers.

Extending the break in continuous service from one week to four weeks to help employees who work irregular hours to qualify for more employment rights that require a particular length of service.

Agency Workers

Protecting agency workers – Agency workers are entitled to the same level of pay as a permanent worker after 12 weeks service unless the agency worker opts out of this right and elects to receive a guaranteed level of pay between their temporary assignments (Swedish Derogation). This opt out will be removed from April 2020 as agency workers are financially worse off when taking this route.

Holiday Calculations

The reference period used to calculate holiday pay will be extended from 12 weeks to 52 weeks, which is important for individuals who work variable hours.

Early May Bank Holiday 2020

Recently, the Government press release has confirmed the Early May Bank Holiday in 2020 will move from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day. If you require your employees to work on Friday 8th May, you must communicate and consult with your employees to inform them this will be a normal working day and provide them with an alternative day off.

Post Brexit Immigration Rule Changes

Regardless of whether UK’s exit deal is agreed the rules around the employment of EU nationals will change at some point. This means there will not free movement of EU nationals. The government has introduced a scheme where EU workers that ate already working in the UK can apply for ‘Settled Status’ to be able to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

However for recruiting EU nationals going forward they will be subject to restrictions the same as other foreigners living outside of the EU. Therefore employers would need to assess their recruitment strategy and review processes and policies for recruitment and retention.

Parental Breavement Leave - April 2020

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 provides for at least two weeks' leave for employees following the loss of a child under the age of 18 or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees with 26 weeks' continuous service will be entitled to paid leave at the statutory rate and other employees will be entitled to unpaid leave.

April 2019 – Important Payslip Changes

From 6 April 2019, new legislation under the Employment Rights Act 1996 will impact employers on how they provide payslips to their workforce. Under the new changes, employers are required to provide itemised payslips to workers under their payroll and not just employees. There are some limited exclusions from the right to receive a payslip such as members of armed forces or merchant seamen and women.

Timekeeping

Employers are required to include the total number of hours worked where pay varies according to the hours worked. For example, workers who are paid by the hour, day rate workers, overtime paid at additional rates, and zero hour workers. If an employee is contracted to 30 hours per week and they work an additional five hours, you would only be required to show the five hours on the payslip since the 30 hours pay would not vary. However, the total hours or a breakdown of hours may be shown if helpful to do so. The payslip must also show which pay period this refers to.

Alternatively, such cases may amount to pay varying due to a departure from the normal working and pay arrangement caused by unpaid leave or statutory sick pay. For example, a salaried employee receives pay in equal monthly instalments decides to take five days unpaid leave and the employer deducts these five days from the employee’s salary. There is no requirement for the employer to show the hours on the payslip since the pay does not vary depending on the hours worked but the pay has varied, due to a departure from normal working and pay arrangements.

Payslip information

What else must your payslips show?

  • the gross amount of wages or salary to be paid
  • the net amount of wages or salary to be paid
  • the amounts of any variable deductions
  • the amounts of any fixed deductions
  • a breakdown of how the wages will be paid if more than one payment method is used (e.g. cash and cheque)

If a worker thinks they have not received a payslip or lacks the information required, they are entitled to bring a claim before the Employment Tribunal.

Employment Law Changes 2019

Employment Tribunal Awards from 6TH April 2019

The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £83,682 to £86,444. Consequently, for any dismissals which take effect on or after 6 April 2019, the maximum cap on the compensatory award will be the lower of £86,444 or 52 weeks’ pay. The limit on a week’s pay used to calculate certain statutory payments and provisions will rise from £508 to £525. As a result, the maximum basic award / statutory redundancy payment will be £15,750. Employment Tribunal penalties- maximum penalties for aggravated breach increase from £5,000 to £20,000.

Statutory Pay

From 7th April 2019 Statutory maternity paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay rates increase from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

Statutory Sick pay increases from £92.05 to £94.25 per week.

National Minimum Wage

National Minimum Wage – From 1st April 2019 will see increases:

  • rate for 25+ year olds (the national living wage) from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour
  • rate for 21 to 24 year olds from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • rate for 18 to 20 year olds from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • rate for 16 to 17 year olds from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • rate for apprentices from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

Gender Pay Gap

Companies that have more than 250 employees need to provide a snapshot report on their ender pay gap annually, 31st March 2019 for public sector organisations and 5th April 2019 for private sector organisatuions.

Executive Pay Reporting

From 1 January 2019 mean that UK companies with more than 250 employees will have to report on the difference between the CEO and all employees' pay and benefits.

The report will be for January 2020, however, affected companies should gather their information ahead of time to be able to calculate their pay rations before the deadline.

April 2018 – Restricting Employment Allowance for illegal workers

The Government plans to exclude certain employers from claiming the Employment Allowance for a period of one year if:

  • The employer has employed individuals that were subject to immigration control (illegal workers), and
  • The employer has been penalised by the Home Office as a result , and
  • All appeal rights against any penalty arising from such actions have been exhausted.

To be confirmed – Shared parental leave for grandparents

The Government announced proposals in 2016 to extend Shared Parental Leave to allow grandparents to take time off work to help with childcare. No final details or date for implementation have yet been announced.

6 April – Apprenticeship levy

The Government is aiming to introduce an apprenticeship levy for larger public and private employers in the UK to help to fund up to £3 million new apprenticeships during the life of the current Parliament.

The proposals include setting a rate at 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill across all sectors of industry and commerce. The intention is that the levy will only be payable on a pay bill in excess of £3 million. Employers with an annual pay bill less than £3 million will not pay anything. However, a ‘levy allowance’ of £15,000 per year is also being proposed. This means that the total amount an employer will spend is 0.5% of their pay bill, minus £15,000.

April 2017 – Data collection and reporting of pay rates of male and female employees

All private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland who have at least 250 employees will be mandatorily required to publish information on any differences in pay rates between men and women in their employment.

The information will be based on the level of each relevant employee’s pay as at April 2017. Going forward, the rates must be reported at every subsequent April.


2017

April 2017 – National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

The Government announced in the Autumn Statement that the following increases to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage would apply

National Living Wage rate for workers aged over 25 years will increase to £7.50 per hour.

National Minimum Wage:

  • Rate for workers aged 21 to 24 years will increase to £7.05 per hour.
  • Development rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase to £5.60 per hour.
  • For 16 to 17 year olds will increase to £4.05 per hour.
  • Apprentice rate will increase to £3.50 per hour

Useful links

Rates and thresholds for employers 2015 to 2016 and also 2016 to 2017

Includes: PAYE tax and NIC, thresholds, rates and codes; NMW; maternity, paternity and adoption pay; statutory sick pay; student loan recovery; company cars; mileage allowance payments

www.legislation.gov.uk/

www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/

www.employmentcasesupdate.co.uk

www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

www.livingwage.gov.uk/

Notes:

In essence, Employment Law sets out with the responsibilities of employers alongside the rights of their employees. In the UK, there are three main sources of the legal principles that relate to employment

  • Common law – All employees in the UK work under a contract of employment with their employer. The principles of common law form the basis any legal analysis of the employer/employee relationship
  • Statute – A huge volume of employment protection legislation has been passed in Westminster in the form of relevant Acts of Parliament. These include the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Equality Act 2010, and many more. In addition, secondary legislation in the form of specific regulations can impact upon the employment relationship. In some areas, the legislation and regulation is supported by a Code of Practice. Although these have no direct legal effect in themselves, they can be taken in consideration by Employment Tribunals in reaching a decision in relevant cases.
  • European law – Individuals can currently rely on the various legal provisions arising from EU membership in the UK courts. The impact of the 2016 EU referendum may however ultimately change this situation in the future.

 

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