Employment law and HR: What to look out for in 2019

In our previous update, we looked back at what we learnt in 2018 about employment law and HR - but what lies ahead in 2019?

Executive pay reporting

The Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 came into force earlier this month, amending the reporting requirements for some companies. This includes introducing mandatory reporting on employee and stakeholder engagement, and information on the ratios between CEO and average staff pay.

Brexit

Brexit will most likely dominate the headlines for the entirety of the year, but as things currently stand we are due to leave the EU in March (we just don’t know exactly on what terms we will be leaving). We should know more in the coming weeks.

April

April is always a busy time of the year for employers, and this year will be no different.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Employers in the private and voluntary sector with a headcount of 250 or more must again publish their gender pay gap report before 4th April 2019, based on data to 5th April 2018.

Auto Enrolment Pensions

The minimum contribution rates will increase to 3% for employers and 5% for employees.

Itemised Payslips

From 6th April 2019, workers must receive itemised payslips (currently this obligation applies to employees only).

National Minimum/Living Wage

From 1st April 2019, the National Minimum/Living Wage will increase to:

  • £8.21 for workers of 25 years and over
  • £7.70 for workers between the ages of 21 and 24
  • £6.15 for workers between the ages of 18 and 20
  • £4.35 for workers under the age of 18
  • £3.90 for apprentices under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship

Failure to comply comes not only with financial risk but also huge reputational damage. In addition to a worker’s right to enforce NMW entitlement, HMRC also has enforcement powers (including naming and shaming, financial penalties and criminal offences in some case).

Statutory Payments and Limits

There will also be increases to statutory payments:

  • Statutory sick pay will rise to £94.25
  • Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay will rise to £148.68 (or 90% of average earning if lower)
Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment will likely continue to be high on the agenda this year, and we may see some changes in respect of the use of non-disclosure agreements and/or the introduction of a Statutory Code of Practice. Recommendations were made by the EHRC last year, and we are expecting proposals to tackle some of these in 2019.

Cases to look out for

A number of high profile appeals are expected this year, including from the Court of Appeal decisions involving Uber (employment status of drivers), Morrison Supermarkets (vicarious liability of employers in respect of a data breach by an employee) and Royal Mencap Society (whether or not sleepover workers are entitled to the NMW).

Act now

2019 looks set to be a busy year for employers and HR teams. Employers of all sizes should be taking steps to ensure compliance with the changes coming into force this year. Since the abolition of employment tribunal fees, tribunal claims have increased by around 165%. It is more important than ever for employers to ensure compliance.

For more information about any of the above, please contact Jamie Meechan, or call 0141 303 1100 and ask to speak to a member of our specialist employment team.

Employment Law for Employers

Our Employment Group is the longest established specialist team in Scotland. 

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