2019 looks set to be another busy year for those working in HR, with pay featuring as a key issue. You can also expect to see the introduction of the first of the Government’s recently announced Good Work Plan reforms. Set out a below is a useful summary that can be enjoyed with or without your mince pies!
Pay Gap Reporting
On 1 January, new laws come into force requiring UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees to report annually on the pay gap between their chief executive and their average UK worker. First reports to be published in 2020. This is on top of the gender pay gap reporting for employers with 250 or more employees. Last year saw the first “gender pay gap reports”. Employers will need to do it all again in 2019 with reports being published by 4 April (30 March for public sector employers). For employers who identified a pay gap last year and set out an action plan to tackle it, your employees will be keen to see if the plan has been implemented and if it’s worked. If you identified a large pay gap last year and took no action now is the time to start thinking about it!
National Minimum Wage
On 1 April, there will be increases to the national minimum wage rates including the National Living Wage which will rise from £7.83 to £8.21 for workers aged 25 and over. The standard rate will rise from £7.38 to £7.70.
From 6 April, employers must include, in payslips, details of the total number of hours worked where pay is variable depending on hours worked (e.g. zero hours contracts).
Payslips will also need to be provided to ‘workers’ as well as employees.
The last year has seen the phenomenal march of the #MeToo campaign which has encouraged people to talk about sexual harassment. This has resulted in three independent reports which have all made consistent recommendations calling on the Government to place a legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and provide more support to victims of harassment in raising concerns and bringing tribunal claims. In view of this, changes to the law are likely if the Government can find any spare time outside of dealing with Brexit!
Good Work Plan
The Government’s Good Work Plan set out its proposals for achieving ‘fair and decent work with realistic scope for development and fulfilment’ for all UK workers. As part of the first reforms proposed, parts of the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 will come into force on 6 April 2019. This shall see the maximum tribunal fines that can be issued to employers for serious breaches of employment rights quadrupled from £5,000 to £20,000. Click here for details of the other reforms expected.
The Howes Percival employment team were again rated “top tier” by the Legal 500 this year. If you would like any further advice, please get in touch with a member of the team.
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