April’s new employment legislation


Gender pay gaps, itemised payslips and of course Brexit delays, April has ushered in some significant new and amended employment legislation.

Here’s the top changes to be aware of:

1. Itemised payslips

New payslip requirements came into force on 6 April 2019 requiring itemised calculations for variable rates of pay and hours worked.  At the same time, the requirement to issue payslips was extended to include workers, not just employees. 

This now means that all employees and workers, including those under casual or zero hours contracts, must receive correctly detailed written, printed or electronic payslips.

The greater transparency is designed to help employees understand their pay and see if they are being paid correctly.  It is also hoped that it will make it easier to identify if employers are meeting their obligations under the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage and to check that holiday entitlements are correctly applied.

2. Increased Employment tribunal awards limits

Also on 6 April, the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 came into force, increasing the limits for tribunal awards and other amounts payable under employment legislation for dismissals or relevant acts that occur on or after that date. 

The maximum amount of a week’s pay, for the purpose of calculating the basic award for unfair dismissal, and a redundancy payment increased to £525 (from £508), and the maximum amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased to £86,444.

In addition, the maximum level of penalty that an Employment Tribunal can impose on an employer who repeatedly breaches their employment law obligations increased from £5,000 to £20,000.

3. Gender Pay Gap Reports

For the second year, organisations with 250 or more employees must publish their annual gender pay gap report to the Government Equalities Office.  The figures had to be submitted by 4 April 2019 for the private sector and it’s expected that these will come under increased scrutiny to see what improvements have been made towards increased pay equality.

The Gender Pay Gap Regulations apply to all private, public and voluntary sector organisations with 250 or more employees, who must publish details annually of their gender pay gap, for both basic pay and any bonus payments.  The information must be published electronically on their own website and on a dedicated government website.

The aim is to measure differences between the average pay of men and women in an organisation, not just whether men and women are receiving equal pay for equal work.  The figures show the distribution of men and women at different levels across the organisation, highlighting whether an organisation is promoting or appointing women into more senior roles, or whether men are dominating the higher-paid jobs.  If so, then the organisation will have a gender pay gap, even if men and women are paid equal pay for equal jobs.

4. Brexit: settled status

And finally, while Brexit has been further delayed, there will be further applications from EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who have five years of continuous residence in the UK to apply for settled status, in anticipation of the UK’s eventual departure. 

This will enable them to continue to live here after the end of the Brexit transition. Those who do not meet this requirement can apply for pre-settled status, allowing them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status.

Until employees have been granted settled or non-settled status, employers should continue to check the right to work on current and prospective employees in the normal way.

This includes the changes introduced in January 2019 which allowed employers to rely on online checks to verify a person’s right to work in the UK.  The online right to work checking service covers those who hold a biometric residence permit or residence card, or status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme, as an alternative to viewing their passport or ID card.

Julie Taylor

Employment Law

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