Despite Brexit dominating the news, there are a number of employment law issues for employers to be aware of in 2019. Below are five of the key areas to keep in mind as we head into the new year.
Executive pay reporting
For financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019, UK quoted companies with more than 250 employees will be required to report on ratios between the CEO and employees’ pay and benefits in the directors’ remuneration report. The first tranche of reporting will start in 2020, but affected companies should gather their evidence in good time to calculate their ratios by the deadline.
National minimum wage increases
From 1 April 2019 the national living wage is due to increase to £8.21 per hour. Hourly rates for workers aged at least 21 but under 25 will increase to £7.70, and rates for workers aged at least 18 but under 21 will increase to £6.15. Workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age will increase to £4.35.
The right to an itemised pay statement will be extended to workers (in addition to employees) from 6 April 2019.
In light of recent controversy regarding the use of non-disclosure agreements, extra care will need to be given to wording in contracts of employment and settlement agreements regarding confidentiality and future conduct. Employers need to revise the wording of contractual documents and settlement documents to ensure they do not, deliberately or otherwise, prevent or hinder an employee from reporting alleged wrongdoing to appropriate authorities or from taking appropriate advice.
NIC charge on termination payments delayed
As of 6 April 2020, all termination payments above the £30,000 threshold will be subject to class 1A NICs. This measure has been postponed twice, but employers should be aware that it is due to be implemented next year.
Finally, while no wholesale changes to employment law are expected to come on 29 March 2019, Brexit will likely affect employees in an insolvency situation and will affect employers with European Works Councils. It is, however, unclear at this stage when such changes might take place and what the implications would be.