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Both employers and employees should be aware that there are a number of important employment law developments in April 2019.

National Minimum Wage increase

Following a review by the Low Pay Commission (LPC), from 1 April 2019, the National Minimum Wage rates for the following five categories of workers have increased:

  • Increasing rate for 16 to 17 year olds from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour;
  • Increasing rate for 18 to 20 year olds from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour;
  • Increasing rate for 21 to 24 year olds from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour;
  • Increasing rate for apprentices from £3.70 to £3.90 per hours; and
  • Increasing the accommodation offset from £7.00 to £7.55.

It is estimated that this increase will benefit around 2.4 million workers in the UK. The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 or above will also increase to £8.21 per hour.

Itemised Payslips

The requirement to provide itemised payslips will come into force on 6 April 2019. This introduces the right for all workers to be given an itemised pay statement and the ability to enforce this right at an Employment Tribunal. In addition, there will also be a requirement for itemised payslips to contain the number of hours paid for whena worker is paid on an hourly basis.

“Aggravated” Breaches of Employment Law

Further to the “Good Work Plan” that the Government introduced on 17 December 2018, the draft Employment Right (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 were published. They increase the maximum penalty for “aggravated” breach of employment law from £5,000 to £20,000.

The Employment Tribunal in discrimination cases on occasion order awards for “aggravated” damages, where it can be shown that the discriminatory behaviour has been particularly offensive. These can be awarded to provide compensation for mental distress or injury to feelings caused by the manner or motive with which a wrong was committed or by the respondent’s conduct.

This measure comes into force on the 6 April 2019, however, it is unclear to what extent the increased penalty will be used, considering that the penalty itself has rarely been used by Employment Tribunals since it was introduced.

Tribunal Awards and Statutory Payments

The new limits and caps to apply in Employment Tribunal remedies come into force from the 6 April 2019. The new compensation limits are outlined below:

  • Maximum limit on a week’s pay increased to £525;
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased to £86,444;
  • Maximum basic award increased to £15,750.

Please note that these limits are for cases involving dismissal and the new figures will apply where the effective date of termination falls on or after 6 April 2019.

Statutory Payments

On 7 April 2019, the statutory level of maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay increases to £148.68 per week. Statutory sick pay also increases to £94.25 per week from 6 April 2019.

For advice on any aspect of the April 2019 Employment Law update, or any other aspect of Employment Law, contact our expert Employment department led by Nick Smith, by calling 0191 281 6151 or emailing nsmith@mincoffs.co.uk.

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