2018 was a fascinating year for employment law, with a variety of changes and landmark cases in employment rights.
2019 promises to build upon some of the big issues raised in 2018, with some big changes coming to workers’ rights and wages.
Employment status and the Gig Economy
There was a big shake-up of employment status in the Gig Economy in 2018. While not the only case, Uber fought numerous battles to have their drivers recognised as self-employed rather than workers. Ultimately, they lost their appeal in the Court of Appeal late in December, reinforcing that their drivers were in fact ‘workers’. They have already announced their intention to appeal to the Supreme Court in 2019.
This decision is likely to lead to further changes regarding the rights of their drivers in 2019.
Uber’s case is not the only one that will be felt in 2019. Some of the most significant decisions to come this year will be a decision on whether an Olympic cyclist was a ‘worker’ or ‘employee’ of Team GB and a decision on whether courier drivers can be classed as ‘employees’ of Royal Mail.
The full impact of these rulings will be dependent on the final decision - so look out for these cases!
There will also be a large overhaul of current employment law as a result of the Good Work Plan announced in December 2018. For a full rundown of the impact of the plan, see our article: Government to Overhaul Employment Law: Here’s What It Means for You
Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme
Assuming there is no dramatic turn of events, Brexit shouldn’t have too much of an impact on employment law, as the UK government has committed to keeping the majority of EU laws relating to employment.
The main point of concern for employers come Brexit is the EU settlement scheme, which was debated heavily in 2018.
Assuming there is a deal, EU nationals with 5 years’ residency by 31 December 2020 will be entitled to apply for ‘Settled Status’, those without 5 years’ residency may apply for pre-settled status. This system goes fully live from 30 March 2019 and workers will have until June 2021 to apply, although some individuals have already been granted early access.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the dates for the settlement scheme will change and a new immigration policy will be put into place with effect from March 2019, and rights to work will be largely be dependent on that.
Some practical steps you can take to prepare include reviewing your workforce now, providing additional support for any employees who may have to go through the scheme, and considering future recruitment and development plans.
Financial increases and changes to payslips
The minimum wage is set to increase in 2019. Those eligible for the NMW will benefit from a 4.9% increase, with hourly rates rising from £7.83 to £8.21.
Statutory sick pay is also due to rise, with per week payments increasing from £92.05 to £94.25.
From 6 April, workers will be entitled to payslips, whereas previously only employees had a legal right to them. Failure to provide payslips to workers will constitute a breach of their rights. Also, the number of hours worked has to be included on all payslips after 6 April where pay varies according to time worked.
To prepare for these changes, review your workforce for any individuals who are classed workers. Review your administrative payroll systems and ensure they are up-to-date. Communicate changes to your workforce, and ensure your payroll provider includes the number of hours worked on payslips, where necessary.
Need help preparing for the changes?
Speak to a Croner expert for help with any of the above issues, including pay gap reporting, changes to payslips, worker rights, Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme, on 0808 145 3376.
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