Firstly, a very happy new year to all of you.
I think it’s fair to say that 2019 is going to be a year like few which have gone before. So here, to try and make sure you are as prepared as possible, are a few of the HR issues to look forward to over the next 12 months.
Who knows how or where this will all end up. As it stands we are scheduled to leave the European Union at 11pm on March 29.
There will then be a transition period which can run up until December 31 2020, to get everything in place and allow businesses and others to prepare for life after the EU. During this transition period, free movement will continue and even though we will be able to strike our own trade deals, they won’t be able to come into effect until January 1 20121 at the earliest.
Other than that, the political situation is changing from day to day. Watch this space and let’s hope for clarity sooner rather than later.
National Minimum Wage
Here’s something we can be certain of, because it was announced in the 2018 Budget. Both the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will increase in April 2019 under the plans announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The new NLW hourly rate for workers aged 25 and over goes up from £7.83 to £8.21, whilst the NMW rate for those aged 21-24 will rise from £7.38 to £7.70.
At the same time the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase from £5.90 to £6.15 an hour and those over compulsory school age but not 18 will benefit from an increase from £4.20 to £4.35.
And apprentices will also see dome benefit from the changes, which will see their rate increase from £3.70 an hour to £3.90, as long as they are under the age of 19, or 19 and over but in the first year of their current apprenticeship.
Auto-enrolment pension contributions
Both employers and employees will see the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes increase from April. At the moment, employers must pay in at least two per cent and workers three per cent, but these rates rise to three and five per cent respectively under the new arrangements.
Payslip law changes
From April 6 new laws come into effect over the information employers must display on a payslip meaning all workers – including permanent, casual and zero hours – will have to be provided with fully itemised payslips.
The move has been introduced to make it clear what hours staff are being paid for as a result of the Taylor Review.
Pay gap reporting.
From January 1 UK listed companies with more than 250 employees must provide an annual report on the gap in pay between their average UK employee and their chief executive. The first reports are due in 2020.
EU settled status
European workers living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019, allowing them to remain indefinitely in the UK following the end of the Brexit transition period. They must be able to prove they have lived here for five years for permanent status, those living here for less can apply for temporary status.
Gig economy rulings
2019 will be an important year for landmark rulings in cases involving the gig economy. We can expect verdicts on cases involving Uber, Deliveroo and others, which should give some clarity over the distinction between self-employed staff and those who must be given ‘worker’ status and all the associated rights.
We are also expecting rulings on other long-running cases which should provide valuable insight and precedent in important issues of law. Several employment tribunals are due to hand down their verdicts on equal pay cases involving many supermarkets, whilst we should also hear whether individuals who are required to sleep in during a shift, should receive the NMW for the period they are asleep.