A guide to a busy period of legislative developments, from our Business Support Helpline provider Croner
April 2019 brings several significant changes to employment laws that will require businesses to alter how they work—including increases to the National Living and Minimum Wage, new payslip rules and larger pension contributions. To help businesses prepare, here is Croner’s short guide to what to expect and when.
Monday 1 April: Living and Minimum Wage increases
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage go up by 4.9% for all age groups. The new levels will be: £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); and £3.90 per hour for apprentices (up from £3.70).
Last year, the government named and shamed 419 businesses guilty of paying below the National Minimum Wage, and forced them to pay out £2.54 million. To avoid an unwelcome letter from HMRC and a potentially tainted reputation, you should take the time to update your payroll well in advance of April’s changes. Remember to check that any pay deductions for equipment or uniforms don’t tip your staff below the National Minimum Wage.
Thursday 4 April: Larger businesses must publish gender pay gap reports
Last year saw the first round of gender pay gap reporting, revealing that businesses paid women on average 8.6% less than men. Private sector businesses with 250+ staff must publish their latest reports by 4 April, and reports from public sector organisations are needed slightly earlier, by Sunday 31 March. Croner’s Business Support Helpline can provide more advice about reporting and requirements.
Saturday 6 April: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) goes up
Currently, the minimum sick pay rate per week is £92.05. As of 6 April, this will increase to £94.25. Businesses must pay workers sick pay if they have been too ill to work for four days or more, and are required to pay it for up to 28 weeks.
Saturday 6 April: Pension contributions increase to 8%
The minimum contributions businesses and staff pay into automatic enrolment workplace pension schemes will increase from 6 April. As of this date, employees need to put at least 5% of their pre-tax salary into their pension, and businesses have to put in 3%.
Saturday 6 April: Changes to payslips
Previously, only staff classed as employees needed to get written itemised payslips. Businesses have not needed to itemise payslips for any staff classed as ‘workers’. Now the law has changed, and as of 6 April businesses need to give itemised payslips to workers too. If they fail to do so, they will be breaking the law.
Sunday 7 April: Statutory Pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave increases
The minimum pay for staff on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave increases on 7 April 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.
Croner’s Business Support Helpline is available to help with queries about these changes or other HR issues. Call 0844 561 8133 and quote the IPG’s special scheme number. For more about the Helpline and access, click here.