Employment law – important updates for 2019

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, there are a number of key employment law changes which businesses need to be aware of and implement to ensure you are compliant:

Gender pay gap reporting – If you’re a private company with 250 employees or more you now need to produce a gender pay gap report, detailing the salaries of your male and female employees. This gender pay gap data must be submitted to HMRC’s website along with the statutory metrics. The information must also be published on your website.

National living wage and apprentice rates increases – The national living wage has now increased from £7.83 to £8.21 an hour. The minimum rate for apprentices has also increased from £3.70 to £3.90 an hour. Make sure you are paying your workers and apprentices correctly and keep adequate records to demonstrate compliance.

Changes to the rules on taxation of termination payments – From now on, all payments in lieu of notice are subject to both tax and national insurance. The rules are however complex, so contact your usual Beavis Morgan contact for further information and advice.

Sexual harassment in the workplace – Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees do not face harassment in their workplace. They have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to protect their employees and will be legally liable if they fail to do so. Read up on the Equalities & Human Rights Commission’s recommendations to better protect people at work.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – There are several steps businesses should take to comply with the new rules, including only keeping relevant, up-to-date information on individuals, making sure people know the difference between information they need to provide and information that is optional, training all your staff who handle personal data on their data protection responsibilities, and ensuring any personal data you process is kept securely. Also, be prepared for a rise in subject access requests.

Changes to information on payslips – All ‘workers’, including casual and zero hour workers, now have the right to receive itemised payslips. Payslips must now also include information about the number of paid hours the employee has worked. In order to facilitate this change, make sure you adjust your payroll setups. Our experts at Beavis Morgan are well versed in all aspects of payroll management. We also offer outsourced payroll services, whereby our specialist team provides a speedy and cost effective payroll solution for your business. Find out more.

New legal measures for the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) – The government has brought forward a review into the use of NDAs in the workplace, with a consultation currently underway to better understand how confidentiality clauses and the legal framework around them work in practice, and to assess what changes are required to ensure individuals are appropriately protected from their misuse. Click here to find out more.

Auto-enrolment contributions – The minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes have increased for both employers and employees who now have to contribute a minimum of 3 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Make sure you consult with staff before making any changes to the pension contribution scheme. We are also available to assist with the set up and administration of auto-enrolment. If you would like to know more, please contact your usual Beavis Morgan contact.

Increases to statutory and family related sick pay – Statutory sick pay has now increased to £94.25 per week. Statutory pay for family-related leave (maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave) has increased to £148.68 per week. Make sure you are up to date with the new statutory rates, and review policies and documents accordingly.

Changes to statutory redundancy pay – Statutory redundancy payments must be made in line with the new maximum weekly amount which is now £525. Make sure your calculations are in line with this change.

Increase to employment tribunal compensation limits – The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal has now increased to £86,444. It is therefore more important than ever to avoid tribunals where possible.

At Beavis Morgan, we can help you make critical decisions at each phase of your business lifecycle, from startup guidance to exit strategies, and everything in between, helping you navigate the challenges and advising on making the right decisions both now and for the future – for you, your family and your businesses.

If you have any concerns or queries relating to the matters discussed in this article, our Head of Human Resources, Lisa Robinson. Alternatively, please get in touch with your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.

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