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Employment law update 2018: impact and expectations

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There has been a series of updates regarding the amounts to which employees are entitled from their employers. The key changes have seen an increase in minimum wages and family friendly payments. There have also been changes to various aspects of compensation limits for employment tribunals. Will these changes really make a difference?

Why should I take note of employment law changes?

Employees / workers:

It is important to know your rights to ensure you are treated fairly and receive the amount to which you are entitled, whether this be in the ordinary course of employment or should a life event occur such as sickness or becoming a parent.

Employers:

Employers should also be careful to ensure their employment policies and contract reflect such changes to avoid potential claims being brought by its workforce.

How will the changes to employment law affect me?

National minimum wage increase

The table below shows a comparison between the old minimum wage structures and the updated version:

Age category of worker

Minimum wage from 1 April 2018

Previous minimum wage

New annual full-time wage for a year*

25 and over

£7.83 per hour

£7.50 per hour

£15,268.50

21-24

£7.38 per hour

£7.05 per hour

£14,391.00

18-20

£5.90 per hour

£5.60 per hour

£11,505.00

16-17

£4.20 per hour

£4.05 per hour

£8,190.00

Apprentice

£3.70 per hour

£3.50 per hour

£7,215.00

*based on a 37.5 working hour week

It is important for both workers and employers to remember that the national minimum wage is not a guide, these are mandatory rates which need to be applied with effect to all relevant staff. The changes for 2018 indicate a significant change which could see a full time adult worker earn up to £643.50 more per year.

Statutory payments

Many people will also benefit from the increased statutory payments. As these are not constant payments and only arise in specific situations, it would be easy for these to go unnoticed by employees and employers alike. It is therefore crucial to ensure you are aware of your rights.

Family friendly payments: what to expect if I’m expecting?

It is apparent that there have been smaller changes in this area, with statutory maternity and adoption pay entitlement still at a max period of 39 weeks. Paternity leave has stayed put at 2 weeks. There is however a minor increase in payments per week, amounting to a maximum of £145.18 per week, increasing from £140.98 in 2017.

What am I entitled to if I become sick at work and have to take time off?

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay has increased from £89.35 to £92.05, a minimal amount as with family friendly payments. It is again important for workers and employers alike to make sure that the statutory minimum rate is paid.

In light of the above, employers should review their policies and documents that mention the rates, such as sickness absence procedures and maternity procedures.

By Anna Blythe, graduate paralegal in the HR support and employment law department

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