Employment law can be one of the trickiest legal areas to keep up with, as a result of its ever-shifting nature. Updates and developments are common, so it’s important for both employers and their employees to stay up-to-date. Some law firms are particularly adept at providing advice in this area, such as Tinsdills Solicitors. If you’re looking for a brief overview, however, you’ve come to the right place. Here we go over a few of the key changes in employment law across 2019, as well as a look ahead at what’s coming down the road in 2020.
Remember April 2019?
Every employer that has employees in an auto-enrolment pension scheme needs to make sure the minimum contributions are being paid into said scheme. On 6th April earlier this year, these minimum payments increased for both the employer and their staff. As an employer, you would now need to pay a minimum of 3%, a slight increase from 2%, whilst employees need to pay a minimum of 5%, up slightly more from 3%. Altogether this makes a total of 8% contributed.
Changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, which also took place on April 6th 2019, have put it into law that employers now need to give payslips to all ‘workers’, rather than just ‘employees.’ Additionally, if a worker or employee’s pay changes depending on their worked hours, then employers are obliged to include the total hours worked in a payslip.
National Minimum Wage & Other Payment increases from 6th April 2019
Sick Pay increased from £92.05 to £94.25
Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay increased from £145.18 to £148.68
The Lower Earnings Threshold increased from £116 to £118
National Living Wage (25 and overs) went up from £7.83 to £8.21.
National Minimum wage also increased at the following rates:
21-24 years old – £7.38 to £7.70
18-20 years old – £5.90 to £6.15
16-17 years old – £4.20 to £4.35
The Apprentice minimum pay rate has also increased from £3.70 to £3.90.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
As of the 4th April 2019, private businesses with 250+ employees on their payroll are supposed to make public their figures relating to the gender pay gap. Marking it 2 years running that employers have had to follow such a procedure, this is likely to continue going forward, in order to address any existing pay disparity.
Looking ahead to next year, the much-discussed Parental Bereavement Leave & Pay Act 2018 is expected to become law. Under this act, parents are given the right to at least 2 weeks of leave after losing a child under the age of 18, or if they experience a stillbirth after 24 weeks.
Case Law Updates
WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants – (vicarious liability)
This particular claim involved the controversial and increasingly relevant issues of data protection and the use of private information, leading to a breach of confidence and vicarious liability.
5,500+ employees of the mega supermarket Morrisons brought this claim forward, citing the misuse of their private information. In this case, a senior IT employee was tasked with passing over the payroll information to an external auditor, but instead, they copied the data and put it onto the internet. This person was convicted, as they had committed a criminal offence.
Despite this, after taking it to the Court of Appeal, Morrisons was found to be vicariously liable for the actions of the employee.
Hargreaves v Manchester Grammar – (withholding evidence)
The Claimant for this situation was a teacher with an unmarked professional career, until he was hit with the allegation that he had acted improperly by physically grabbing a student. The Claimant was let go and the Employment Tribunal (ET) found the dismissal to have been reasonable.
The Claimant spoke to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) contending that given the career-changing effect of the charge, the Respondent’s examination was lacking. He guaranteed that, specifically, the ET blundered in its way to deal with the Respondent’s inability to reveal to him and the disciplinary board explicit proof from potential observers.
The EAT held that the ET accurately guided itself with regards to the higher standard of examination required to be completed where the worker is possibly confronting career altering outcomes. Additionally, it found that the business acted inside the scope of sensible reactions where it retained from the disciplinary board proof of witnesses who might not have had an immediate perspective on the episode, and who had said they had seen nothing. It was likewise a significant point that the Claimant had not disagreed with this during the internal process.
It is advised that in similar cases, the investigator fully explains in the report the reasons behind this evidence not being used.
Employment Tribunal Statistics
Another additional note of interest is that during the period of April-June last year (2018), there was a clear year-on-year increase in the total number of tribunal claims. These increases translate as follows:
- Single employment tribunal claims lodged UP by 165%
- Multiple claims lodged UP by 344%
In short, this is just scratching the surface when it comes to employment law updates. Keep an eye out for more as this fascinating legal area continues to adapt and shift along with the world.