A number of UK employment law changes have come into force in recent weeks. Employers should take careful note of these new rules and respond accordingly.
Increase in the national minimum wage
The new national minimum wage rates came into effect on 1st April 2019.
Employers must now pay workers at least:
- Aged 25 and over: £8.21 per hour
- Aged 21-24: £7.70 per hour
- Aged 18-20: £6.15 per hour
- Apprentice rate: £3.90 per hour
Fines can be imposed on employers who do not pay their workers the required minimum levels.
In 2018, the government published a list of more than 230 companies who had failed to pay the minimum wage. They were ordered to reimburse workers £1.44 million in wages and fined a further £1.97 million.
Increase in auto-enrolment contributions
At the start of the 2019/2020 tax year, auto-enrolment pensions contributions rose, both for employers and employees.
Employees are required to contribute 5% of their pre-tax salary while employers must contribute 3%.
Increase in statutory pay rates
From April 2019, changes to statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and sick pay took effect:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) increased to £94.25 per week
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) increased to £148.68
- Shared Parental Pay increased to £148.68
- Statutory Adoption Pay increased to £148.68
The EU settlement scheme is now fully open to all eligible individuals. Non-UK European nationals already living in the UK need to apply for settled status to remain in the UK lawfully after December 2020.
EU nationals who want to come into the UK from 2020 will have to apply through a new immigration system.
Changes to payslips
New rules mean employers must provide payslips to all employees paid on an hourly basis.
The document must show the amount of time an employee worked, any deductions and final take-home pay.
The new rules do not apply to freelancers.