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Employment law update 2019 - 2020

Here we summarise the latest employment law changes and legal updates.

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Recent and upcoming updates

January 2019: Executive Pay Ratio Reporting

From this date, regulations made under the Companies Act 2006 require UK listed companies with more than 250 UK employees to report annually on the pay gap between their chief executive and their average UK worker. 

The first reports are due in 2020 

April 2019: Pay slip changes

There are two important changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996, affecting pay slip information, which will come into force on 6 April:

  1. Employers must include the total number of hours worked where the pay varies according to the hours worked, for example under variable hours or zero hour contracts.
  2. Payslips must be given to 'workers' and not just employee

April 2019 : Flexible working introduced in the armed force

From April regulations will amend the terms of service of enlisted personnel who are not commission officers to allow for two types of flexible working. Part-time working allows personnel to agree days on which they are not required to be available for active service. "Service on a restricted separation basis" enables restrictions to be placed on the number of days on which personnel can be required to perform duties away from a specified place. The two types of flexible working are known collectively as "flexible service."

2019: The Government's proposed legislation following the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

The proposed new legislation will:

  • close a loophole by repealing the Swedish derogation - which currently allows agency workers to be employed on cheaper rates than permanent counterparts
  • extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers, going further to include detail on rights such as eligibility for sick leave and pay and details of other types of paid leave, such as maternity and paternity leave
  • quadruple maximum employment tribunal fines for employers who are demonstrated to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5,000 to £20,000
  • extend the holiday pay reference period from 12 to 52 weeks, ensuring those in seasonal or atypical roles get the paid time off they are entitled to
  • lower the threshold required for a request to set up Information and Consultation arrangements from 10% to 2%
  • the government is also committing to legislate to improve the clarity of the employment status tests to reflect the reality of the modern working relationships.

2020: Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 has now been passed by royal assent. It is expected to come into force in 2020 and will give all employed parents the right to 2 weeks' leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria

Updates 2018

October 2018: Abolition of Child care Vouchers

The workplace childcare voucher system, and the directly contracted childcare scheme (childcare provided by the employer), closed to new entrants from 4 October 2018. The schemes' closure, due on 5 April 2018, was delayed by six months, following a vote in Parliament.

May 2018: General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulations strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union. The primary objectives of the GDPR give citizens and residents back control of their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business. The UK government has confirmed that although it will be leaving the EU they will commit to the regulations

Updates pre 2018

December 2017 - March 2018: Fit for Work service

In England and Wales, the service stopped accepting new referrals in December 2017, but continued to deal with ongoing referrals until 31 March 2018. In Scotland, the service is due to end on 31 March 2018 though they may stop accepting new referrals before this date, though this is still to be confirmed.

In all locations, Fit for Work will continue to provide telephone advice, webchat, email service and online resources until March 2018.

April 2017: The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017

From April 2017 employers who sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the points based system have had to pay £1,000 per certificate of sponsorship.

Employers should confirm that they have checked that all their current employees have the right to work in the UK, and that they can prove that those checks have taken place. A paper trail will be essential.

April 2017: Gender Pay Gap Reporting

To address the gender pay gap, the Government has introduced a requirement for all large organisations to publish their gender pay gap. Employers will need to publish key wage information taken on a snapshot date each year. This will need to include the difference in hourly earnings as well as the gap in bonus pay.

Need further help? Acas offers Gender Pay Training.

April 2017: Apprenticeship Levy

Employers with a wage bill of more than £3 million per year now have to pay an apprenticeship levy. The levy will apply to all industry sectors, in both the public and private sector, for the purpose of raising money to meet the cost of apprenticeship schemes across the UK.

March 2017: Trade Union Act

The Act reforms the rules on trade union ballots for taking industrial action. The main provisions of the Act are:

  • 50% turnout threshold for there to be a valid ballot on industrial action.
  • Threshold of 40% support from all members in order to take industrial action in key sectors.
  • Four month time limit for which the ballot will remain valid to authorise industrial action.

Annual updates

April: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

Increases in hourly rates of pay for both the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. Details in the table below.

Need further help? Pay - Acas training and support

Statutory payments Current Rates and increases from April 2019

Weekly payments

From April 2018

From April 2019
Maternity/Paternity/Adoption £145.18£148.68
Sick pay£92.05£94.25
Lower Earnings Threshold£116£118
Hourly payments  
National Living Wage Workers aged 25 and over£7.83£8.21
National Minimum Wage 
Workers aged 21-24£7.38£7.70
Workers aged 18-20£5.90£6.15
Workers ages 16-17£4.20£4.35
Apprentice rate£3.70£3.90

Acas employment law update training

This Acas course, which is updated regularly, provides a solid grounding in the latest changes in employment and HR legislation and provides an update into future changes in the law that will enable your business to stay informed, legally compliant and well prepared.

You can view what courses are running and find a course convenient for you at Acas employment law update training

Acas provides a comprehensive range of other Training Courses, Workshops and Projects to equip managers, supervisors and HR professionals with the necessary skills to deal with employment relations issues.

What our delegates say about our employment law update training:  

"Another relevant, informative and useful workshop from Acas. The presenter successfully managed to condense a whole raft of Employment Law changes and proposals into a 2 hour session, with plenty of time for questions. Thank you for a very worthwhile presentation."

HR Co-ordinator, Scotland

"Excellent Employment law training session - best I have had from Acas! Aimed at the right level, covered the main topics, and left enough time for discussion and clarification. Thank you."

HR Operations Manager, South East 

"The course was set at the right level and really helped to bring you back to employment law basics as well as appreciating your own company policies and procedures. There was a mixture of HR personnel and managers attending; it was really useful to hear how other companies work and to get ideas."

HR Consultant, local council

"This short course on employment law was excellent value and covered as much as could be covered in 3 hours. The course tutor was excellent and encouraged questions and comment. I was given a large amount of things to read which I haven't yet gone through. I will definitely be recommending this course."

HR professional, HR consultancy 

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