Employment law changes taking effect in April 2019

  • The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates will increase from 1 April 2019. The NLW for workers aged 25 or over will increase to £8.21 per hour, the NMW standard rate for workers aged 21 to 24 will increase to £7.70 per hour, the NMW development rate for workers aged 18 to 20 will increase to £6.15 per hour, the NMW young workers rate for those aged 16 and 17 will increase to £4.35 per hour and the NMW apprentice rate will increase to £3.90 per hour. 


  • The standard weekly rates of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 from 7 April 2019 and it will also increase the weekly rate of statutory sick pay from £92.05 to £94.25 from 6 April 2019. The earnings threshold, below which employees are not entitled to these statutory payments, will increase from £116 to £118 per week from 6 April 2019. 


  • Also to be increased will be the maximum amount of a “week’s pay” from £508 to £525 from 6 April 2019. A week’s pay is used to calculate statutory redundancy payments, the unfair dismissal basic and additional awards and payments to employees in the event of insolvency. From the same date, the limit on the unfair dismissal compensatory award also increases from £83,682 to £86,444 and it increases the limit on the daily amount of statutory guarantee pay from £28 to £29.


  • The earnings trigger, which determines when an eligible worker is entitled to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme, freezes at £10,000 from 6 April 2019. It also continues to align the qualifying earnings band with National Insurance contributions from 6 April 2019, so the lower limit of the band will increase from £6,032 to £6,136 and the upper limit will increase from £46,350 to £50,000. The qualifying earnings band is used to calculate contributions. In addition, the employer’s minimum contribution to a workplace pension scheme will increase from 2% to 3% from 6 April 2019 and the worker’s minimum contribution will increase from 3% to 5% from 6 April 2019.


  • From 6 April 2019 all workers (not just employees) will have the right to be provided with an itemised pay statement at or before the time at which any payment of wages is made to them. In addition, where the amount of wages the employee/worker receives varies by reference to time worked, the pay statement must contain information regarding the total number of hours worked by them for which they are being paid, either as a single aggregate figure or as separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay. These provisions apply in respect of pay periods that begin on or after 6 April 2019.


  • The maximum financial penalty that can be imposed on an employer for an aggravated breach of employment law fincreases rom £5,000 to £20,000 from 6 April 2019.


Finally, eligible EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK are now able to apply for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, following the scheme’s full launch on 30 March 2019.

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