Employment Law: what to expect in 2019

The start of the new year is a good time to survey the developments that stand to impact the employment law landscape in the year ahead:

Settled Status for EU workers

As part of the government’s post-Brexit plans European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status in 2019, allowing them to remain indefinitely following the end of the transition period in 2021. To attain settled status individuals must be able to prove they have been living in the UK for 5 years by 31 December 2020.  Meanwhile, those who fail to meet this requirement can apply for temporary status, allowing them to remain until they have accrued enough residency to be granted settled status. 

Increase in NMW rates 

National minimum wage (NMW) rates will again increase for all workers from 1 April 2019. As part of these new rates workers aged 25 and over, and therefore eligible for the national living wage (NLW), will benefit from an increase of 4.9 per cent, with hourly rates rising from £7.82 to £8.21.

Statutory sick pay and family friendly rates 

1 April 2019 will also see an increase to the lower earnings threshold and weekly pay for those who receive statutory sick pay (SSP). Individuals must receive average weekly earnings of £118 or greater to qualify for SSP which will then entitle them to payments of £94.25 per week. The statutory weekly rates for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will also increase at this time, rising from £145.18 per week to £148.68 (or 90 per cent of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is lower than the statutory rate).


Organisations will also need to review, and potentially change, the way they issue payslips in 2019 as from 6 April onwards the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’. Furthermore, a new requirement means organisations will be obliged to include the number of hours worked on payslips for staff whose wages vary depending on the amount of time worked.

Auto-enrolment contributions 

Additionally, from 6 April the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers and employees. Under these new requirements employers must contribute a minimum of 3 per cent of an eligible worker’s pre-tax salary to their pension pot, with the individual contributing 5 per cent themselves.

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