Employment Law & HR Changes – What Lies Ahead For 2019?

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2018 and the festivities of the season may seem like a distant memory, but in 2019 employment legislation is also facing some key changes; here we look at what lies ahead for 2019.

1. Brexit and the employment of EU nationals

The UK employment market is made up of many EU nationals, so naturally there has been much speculation and concern as to what will happen to their rights to remain and work post Brexit – deal or no deal.

At the time of writing things continue to be very uncertain. However, leaving the EU and the end of free movement will undoubtedly place restrictions on the future employment of individuals from EU countries, much like the current restrictions affecting the right to work in the UK from countries outside the EU.

The Government has published guidance, Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families, that reflects the agreement on citizens’ rights.

Brexit deal agreed:

EU nationals living in the UK before 31st December 2020 will be eligible for ‘settled status’, this applies to those who have lived here for at least 5 years and will give them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely.

Those resident prior to 31st December 2020 but with fewer than 5 years’ continuous residence can apply for ‘pre-settled status’. This will give them the right to remain for a further 5 years from the date they obtain ‘pre-settled status’.

The scheme opens by 30th March 2019 with a deadline of 30th June 2021.

There is a fee of £65 to apply, some exclusions do apply.

Some employers are getting ahead of the game. It was reported on 5th January 2019 that CARLUCCIO’S will pay for its EU staff to apply for settled status in the UK after Brexit (read more).

No-deal Brexit:

Many EU countries have given assurances that the rights of UK nationals will be protected post Brexit, should ‘no-deal’ be reached.

In the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, the UK government have also pledged to uphold the rights to live and work in the UK for EU nationals. However, it is likely that only EU nationals who are resident in the UK by 29th March 2019 will have until 31st December 2020 to apply for either pre-settled status or settled status.

Updates will follow as the Brexit saga continues to unfold.

2. National Minimum Wage changes

With effect from 1st April 2019 the current hourly rates will change as follows for each age band:

  • 25 and above- from £7.83 to £8.21
  • 21-24- from £7.38 to £7.70
  • 18-20- from £5.90 to £6.15
  • 16 & 17- from £4.20 to £4.35
  • Apprentice rate- from £3.70 to £3.90

3. Other statutory pay rate increases

  • On 6th April 2019 Statutory sick pay increases from £92.05 per week to £94.25
  • On 7th April 2019 statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay increase from £145.18 to £148.68 per week

Remember these are statutory payments, there are no exceptions so get your payroll organised well in advance to avoid unnecessary fines and potential tribunal claims.

4. Payslips to include hours worked

Do you employ staff whose pay varies according to the hours worked, such as those working on varied hours or on zero hours contracts? If so on 6th April 2019 their hours of work must also be stated on their payslips.