Five employment law developments to be aware of in April

office group of peopleApril is set to serve up a fresh batch of employment law developments that employers must be aware of in order to remain compliant. Alan Price explains.

National minimum wage

National minimum wage (NMW) rates are scheduled to increase for all pay reference periods which start on or after 1 April 2019, meaning that all minimum wage workers will be due a boost in pay.

Those aged 25 and over will be entitled to a minimum of £8.21 per hour, while those who qualify for the different NMW age bandings will also benefit from increases.

It is important for employers to review and amend their pay practices ahead of time to ensure that NMW staff continue to receive the correct rate for their age.

Statutory sick pay

The qualifying criteria for statutory sick pay (SSP), as well as the amount of money that staff will be entitled to earn each week, will change from 6 April 2019. This means that individuals will need to earn at least £118 per week in order to qualify for weekly payments of £94.25.

Similarly, the rate of pay for maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £148.68 per week from 7 April 2019, which may mean that employers will have to amend their policies accordingly. 


Employers will have to rethink their payslip process from 6 April 2019, as both employees and workers will be entitled to receive itemised pay statements from this day onwards.

Payslips will also need to include the total number of hours worked, where this influences pay, meaning that payroll and HR departments will need to work in unison to ensure relevant staff receive their payslips in accordance with these new requirements.

Pension contributions

Employers’ approach to pensions will need adjusting in 2019, as the minimum auto-enrolment contributions will increase from 6 April 2019. Employers and workers will need to contribute 3 per cent and 5 per cent of an employee’s pre-tax salary respectively each month, and payroll departments will need to be on the ball to avoid reprisals from the pensions regulator. (See our pensions auto-enrolment changes FAQs.)

Tribunal pay-outs      

The amount of money employees could be due for a successful tribunal claim also increases from 6 April 2019. From this date, successful claims for unfair dismissal could result in a maximum compensation payout of £102,194, which means that employers will need to be extra careful in making sure their procedures are fair and appropriate when taking disciplinary action.

As April draws ever closer, employers will need to be aware of these impending changes, and should set aside the time needed to prepare for them. 

About the author

Alan Price is Peninsula Group's operations director and HR expert. Peninsula offers HR, employment law and health and safety support services to businesses, as well as tax and payroll advice, employee assistance programmes and HR and health and safety training. 

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