Despite Brexit dominating the legislative agenda, there are a number of important changes taking place this year that schools and colleges should be aware of.

We set out those that have a confirmed start date and look at what is happening with others that have been on the back burner for a while.

Confirmed changes taking place in 2019

28 January - Immigration – illegal working

New changes will allow organisations to rely on online checks to establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty (in the event that they are found to be employing illegal worker), permitting short birth or adoption certificates to be relied upon when evidencing an individual’s right to work and bringing into force a revised Code of Practice.

29 March - Brexit

Proposed date the UK exits the EU.

30 March - Gender pay gap reports due

Date by which all applicable public authorities (including qualifying schools and colleges) must publish their gender pay gap data for the snapshot date of 31 March 2018.  

The report must be published on the government website and a searchable UK website that is accessible to employees and the public.

1 April - Increases to national living and minimum wage

The National Living Wage will increase from £7.83 to £8.21

NMW will increase as follows:

  • Workers aged 21 to 24 – from £7.38 to £7.70
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 – from £5.90 to £6.15
  • Workers aged over compulsory school age under 18  - from £4.20 to £4.35

Apprentices – from £3.70 to £3.90

1 April - changes to auto enrolment rates

The minimum contribution rates will increase to 3% for employers and 5% for employees.

6 April - itemised pay slips

Workers must receive payslips.

The payslips of workers and employees paid by the hour must clearly set out the number of hours they have been paid for.

6/7 April* - Increases to the statutory rates for maternity, paternity, shared parental pay, adoption and sick pay 

Statutory rates for everything other than sick pay will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 or 90% of average earnings if lower.

Statutory sick pay will increase from £92.05 to £94.25.

 *These changes usually come into effect on first Sunday of April, but the actual date has not yet been announced.

6 April - Increases in statutory payments and tribunal awards

The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissals taking effect from 6 April 2019 will increase from its current rate of £83,682 but the amount of increase has not yet been announced.

A week’s pay (used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims) will also increase from its current rate of £508 (gross) but the amount of increase has not been announced yet.

Other changes expected to take place in 2019

No date - Trade unions – check off provisions

Public authorities will be subject to restrictions in respect of deducting union subscriptions from wages.

No date - Trade unions – imposition of financial penalties

The Certification Officer will be able to impose financial penalties of up to £20,000 on trade unions if they fail to comply with certain statutory requirements.  These include: failing to ensure senior positions are not held by someone with a criminal record; breaching requirements for elections to senior positions and mismanaging political funds.

No date - Repayment of public sector exit payments

Qualifying individuals will be obliged to notify their new and previous employer where they propose to return to any part of the public sector (as an employee, self employed contractor or office holder) after they have received a public sector exit payment within the previous 12 months.

No date - exit payments

The government said it would introduce a £95,000 cap on exit payments made to public sector workers.

Need more information?

We're running a series of free update seminars across our offices in January to get your organisation ready for the year ahead. 

To find out when your nearest seminar is taking place, please contact Rachel Hetherington: Rachel.hetherington@irwinmitchell.com or Joanne Moseley: Joanne.moseley@irwinmitchell.com