2019 Changes to Employment Law

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With 2019 just around the corner we at Advanced People Management wanted to give you a ‘Heads Up’ around upcoming changes, events and issues in the Employment Relations environment so that you can prepare yourselves.

Flexible Working
The Government is set to consider in 2019 whether to place a duty on employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and to make that clear when advertising the job.
The government will further consider whether to allow employers to legally make temporary changes to a contract of employment when flexible working requests come in from employees. Although employers currently do make temporary changes to contracts when dealing with flexible working requests, these short-term changes could easily be challenged because after 4 weeks, 1 month or 3 months periods the employee has to resort back to the previous working arrangments. Ultimately, this could be interpreted as a refusal but without a reason for refusal. Under the current legislation, all refusals have to be accompanied by a reason for the refusal. Asking an employee to resort back after a temporary period is not strictly legal at present…lets to see what happens with this during 2019!

Disability Discrimination
2018 has continued to see increased scrutiny of mental health issues at work. For people involved in Employment Tribunal litigation work, it has become increasingly more difficult not to concede disability when faced with a disability claim connected to mental health. Therefore, in 2019 if you are faced with an employee who has been off work with a longterm illness connected to mental health make sure you deal with the situation properly and in line with all the legal requirements. This includes (not an exhaustive list): good medical evidence, consultation with the employee and consideration of reasonable adjustments.

Wages
In April 2019 the National Living Wage (people aged over 25 years) will rise from £7.83 to £8.21. The National Minimum Wage will also see rises. People aged between 21 – 24 will see their wages rise from £7.38 to £7.70, people aged between 18 – 21 will see a rise from £5.90 to £6.15.

Wage Slips
April 2019 will see changes to the way wage slips are given to people at work. People who have ‘worker status’ will be legally entitled to an Itemised Pay Slip. Further, for those people who do not work fixed hours in a week/month in your company, the wage slip will have to outline how many hours the person has worked during the pay period.

Brexit connected
In 2019 current EU nationals will be allowed to apply for ‘Settled Status’ as long as they have been living in the UK for 5 years when they make their application.

Pensions: Auto-Enrollment
April 2019 will see minimum employer contributions go up to 3% and minimum employee contributions go up to 5% (pre-tax salaries).

Gender Pay Gap Reporting
In 2018 companies with over 250 employees published gender pay gaps in the organisation. This will continue in 2019, however, the difference is that analysts will now scrutinise whether organisations have done anything to address any gaps that were discovered last year.

CEO Pay Gap Reporting
Start preparing your company for CEO pay gap reporting. These go live in 2020 but it will be a good idea to start preparing how you are going to comply with these provisions during the year ahead.

Ethnic Minority Pay Gap Reporting
Start thinking about this during 2019 because you know this is also on its way after the recent reports suggesting problems in this area also exist.

Non-disclosure agreements
The media have picked up on these during 2018 and have highlighted that they are being used by some employers as a way of gagging people after the employment relationship has broken down. The government intends to review the use of these agreements during 2019 so keep your eyes and ears open about changes to these.

Employment Tribunal
ET’s are considering the use of video hearings for prelims and simple ET claims. The government have made it clear that they intend to bring back Employment Tribunal fees in some form or another. Whether this happens in 2019 is questionable, but for employers, there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

ACAS Guidance
New ACAS guidance was published in 2018 on Employment References, Overtime and Religion and Belief make sure your managers are aware of the new guidance and implementing the changes at work during 2019.

The Good Work Review
Finally, don’t forget about the issues that were highlighted by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, which highlighted a number of matters including zero hours contracts, the definitions of workers, employees and self-employed. 2019 might see some further movement around these issues.[:]

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