Employment law changes in April 2019

United Kingdom

The advent of Spring brings with it longer evenings, (supposedly) warmer weather, and the annual changes to rates and limits in employment law.

1 April 2019

The national living wage applies to workers aged 25 and over. From 1 April this increased from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour, while the national minimum wage will increase as follows:

  • 21 to 24 year old rate from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour;
  • 18 to 20 year old rate from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour;
  • 16 to 17 year old rate from £4.20 to 4.35 per hour; and
  • apprentice rate from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour.

4 April 2019

Under the gender pay gap regulations, employers with 250 or more "relevant employees" must publish details of the differences in the pay of male and female employees on or before 4 April 2019 on the relevant pay data as at, or around, the snapshot date of 5 April 2018. 

For more information generally on this area, see our Gender Pay Gap portal (including our video on the five golden rules for gender pay gap reporting).

6 April 2019

Annual increases to the following statutory payments/limits take place from 6 April 2019:

  • statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay will increase to £148.68 per week;
  • statutory sick pay will increase to £94.25 per week;
  • a week’s pay will increase to £525 (for the purposes of calculating a basic award or a statutory redundancy payment);
  • maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal (provided this is lower than the separate cap on the compensatory award of 52 weeks' pay) increases to £86,444.

From 6 April 2019, workers (in addition to employees) will have the right to an itemised pay statement.

Additionally where a worker’s pay varies according to hours worked, the pay statement will need to include details of the number of hours worked which are being paid.

Introduced as a result of The Good Work Plan, the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 increase the maximum level of penalty available from £5,000 to £20,000 for aggravated breach of a worker’s employment rights.

In relation to pension auto enrolment, new contribution requirements apply. The minimum employer contribution is 3% and the overall contribution should be 8%.  If an employer only contributes 3% then the employee will have to contribute 5%, but if an employer contributes more than 3%, then an employee will have to make up the difference.