National Living Wage Goes Up (+7 Other Laws You Need to Know…)

By Andrew Willis
25 Feb 2019

In April 2019, new employment laws will force you to change how you work. You’ll face hikes in the National Living and National Minimum Wage, bigger pension contributions and a major overhaul to payslips.


Employment Law Changes

Here are legal changes you need to know about, and how to get your business ready in time.

1st April: National Living Wage goes up

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage go up by 4.9% for all age groups.

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over (up from £7.83).
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24 (up from £7.38).
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 (up from £5.90).
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged under 18 (up from £4.20).
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices (up from £3.70).

In 2018, the government named and shamed 419 businesses for paying below the National Minimum Wage (and forced them to pay out £2.54 million).

Don’t make that mistake in 2019—update your payroll in time for April. And remember to check that any pay deductions for uniforms or equipment don’t tip your staff below the National Minimum Wage. Or, you could end up with an unwelcome letter from HMRC...

4th April: Businesses must publish gender pay gap reports

Private sector businesses with 250 or more staff must have published their gender pay gaps by 4th of April (public sector organisations should have published their gender pay gaps by the 31st of March).

Last year, businesses paid women on average 8.6% less than men. This year, many hope to see this pay gap reduce. Bosses may face awkward questions from their staff if it doesn’t.

Need guidance on how to tackle your gender pay gap, without breaking the bank? Read our blog.

5th April: Consultation closes on redundancy protection for pregnant employees

This one’s not an immediate legal change, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

If the law comes into force, a woman will get protection from redundancy from the point that she informs her employer she is pregnant until six months after her maternity leave. It may also apply to adoptive and other parental leave. Find out what this could mean for your business.

6th April: Statutory sick pay goes up

The minimum sick pay that you need to give staff who are too ill to work increases from £92.05 to £94.25 per week.

You need to give your worker sick pay if they have been too ill to work for four days or more, and you need to pay it for up to 28 weeks.

6th April: Employment tribunal penalties balloon to £20,000

Tribunals can now force bad employers to pay a whopping £20,000 penalty for repeatedly breaking employment laws.

The number of employment tribunals in the UK has risen by 118% in recent years. So avoiding a claim is a higher priority than ever.

6th April: Pension contributions increase to 8%

Your employee now needs to put at least 5% of their pre-tax salary into their pension. And you have to put in an extra 3% (up from 2% last year).

Or, depending on the rules of your pension scheme (and if you’re feeling generous), you can pay the full 8% yourself.

6th April: Changes to payslips

You must give itemised payslips to all workers. Previously, you only had to give payslips to employees.

Itemised payslips break down workers and employees’ pay to show how much you’ve given and what deductions you’ve made. This must include the amount and method of any part-payment. For example, if you pay a worker £1,500 a month but they get £500 in cash and £1,000 in BACS then you need to put this on their payslip.

You must also include the number of hours worked if your workers’ pay varies depending on the amount of time they have worked.

If you don’t give your workers itemised payslips, a tribunal can declare that you have breached your workers’ rights and then force you to repay your workers in respect of any deductions made. And itemised payslips make it much easier for HMRC to spot and prosecute businesses that pay below the National Minimum Wage (which, as mentioned above, is increasing in April).  

Save yourself from a costly dispute and take the hassle out of updating your payroll processes. Read our new article on how to create an itemised payslip here.

7th April: Statutory pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave increases

The minimum pay you need to give staff on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave increases from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

The average earnings that an employee has to make to receive these payments also increases from £116 to £118 per week.


There’s still time to make a change

The clock’s ticking for you to make the changes to your business in time for April. But don’t worry. If you need support to modify your business practices, or you want a legal expert to check that you’re meeting the law, call Croner.

We provide a FREE advice service to help businesses adapt to big legal changes and avoid falling foul of the law. Speak to our friendly team of experts today and find out how to overcome whatever employment law issue you face. Call 0808 145 3003.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.





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