As you may be aware there are going to be some big changes to employment law in 2019. This could have an impact on your wages. The changes will be hard on the heels of the imposition of gender pay gap reporting and the domination in the headlines of workplace sexual harassment.
Increases in minimum wages, changes due to Brexit, and changes to pension schemes will, amongst other changes, impact on the wage packet.
NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE
The Chancellor in his 2018 budget announced increases in both the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage as from April. The National Living Wage will jump from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 for workers aged 25 or over. At the same time we will see an increase in the National Minimum Wage for workers aged between 21 and 24 where the figure rises from £7.38 an hour to £7.70. 18 to 20 year olds will get £6.15 an hour instead of £5.90, and workers over the compulsory school age but not yet 18 will see pay rising from £4.20 to £4.35 an hour. Apprentices will see an increase from £3.70 an hour to £3.90 an hour.
These are going to change on 6 April 2019. From then onwards the legal right to a pay slip will include all those who are recognised as “workers”. Pay slips will have to show the total number of hours worked by those whose wages vary depending on how much time they have worked.
April will also see the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes increase for both employers and employees. At present employers have to contribute a minimum of 2 per cent of an eligible worker’s gross salary to their pension pot, with the worker putting in 3 per cent. From April employers will put in 3 per cent and workers will put in 5 per cent.
SUPERMARKET EQUAL PAY CLAIMS
The supermarkets are nervous going into 2019. During the year decisions are expected on Tribunal cases brought by workers at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys. The national law firm Leigh Day are representing the employees in these four cases. They are looking to get compensation mainly for female shop workers who feel they have been paid less than warehouse staff (who are mainly male) despite carrying out similar roles – they say this is an unfair practice. The results will give some clarity on the issue of equal pay. If the result goes the way of the workers it could pave the way for yet more claims from staff working in other employment sectors.
The Government has brought forward its review on the use of these agreements in the work place. A response is expected some time during the year. The gagging clauses in these agreements were originally designed to protect intellectual property so that employees moving from one company to another would not reveal what they knew about the company they had just left. The use of these agreements, however, has spread into other areas. Now they are often used to silence claims for bullying and harassment. There has been huge criticism of these efforts to stifle these egregious practices in the workplace, and the Government’s response may go some way towards deciding whether they should be banned.
You might have thought that microchipping was reserved for cats and dogs – but not so. Microchipping of employees is expected to become more widespread in the workplace in 2019. Should this be allowed? The fact is that our legal system hasn’t yet faced any challenge on this worrying subject. I fully expect there will be major challenges in 2019, and I expect the unions and employees to say it amounts to a gross invasion of privacy and will constitute a breach of data protection regulations.
THE FAT CATS
At one time one saw CEOs of companies earning in the region of 20 times that of the average employee. The gap has widened exponentially, and can now be hundreds and even thousands of multiples of the average worker’s pay. New legislation which we will see in force in 2019 will make companies with more than 250 employees publish the pay gap between executives and workers. Whether this will in fact be anything more than a damp squib remains to be seen. There is always a tremendous air of entitlement for some of these CEOs who really believe that their salaries should be counted in tens of millions of pounds – the result of very supine pay committees. However, you never know – companies may be shamed into shaving some of the fat off these very fat cats.
We wish every reader health, peace and prosperity in 2019. We look forward to being of service to our local community. Do contact us here at Busbys on 01288 35 9000 or e‑mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bude & Holsworthy