Seven big changes to employment law in April 

Nicola Mullineux leads a team of employment law content writers who produce guidance and commentary on employment law, case law and key HR developments. She has written articles for national publications for over 10 years and regularly helps to shape employment in the future by taking part in government consultations on employment law change.

Next month, several changes will be coming into force which will alter current employment law, and with it, the way you’re currently doing things.

How much you pay to abide by the National Minimum and Living wage, how you issue payslips, and how much you contribute to pensions will all change in April, so it’s really important to act now for your charity to be prepared.

You can find an overview of the seven main changes below, but for further detail and tips, NCVO members are invited to attend a webinar which will explain these areas on Wednesday 27 March at 10.00 – register for the webinar here.

Monday 1 April: National Living Wage increases

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage go up by 4.9% for all age groups.

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over (up from £7.83).
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24 (up from £7.38).
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 (up from £5.90).
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged under 18 (up from £4.20).
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices (up from £3.70).

Last year, the government named and shamed 419 businesses guilty of paying below the National Minimum Wage, and forced them to pay out £2.54 million.

To avoid an unwelcome letter from HMRC and a potentially tainted reputation, you should take the time to update your payroll well in advance of April’s changes.

Remember to check that any pay deductions for uniforms or equipment don’t tip your staff below the National Minimum Wage.

Thursday 4 April: businesses must publish gender pay gap report

Public sector organisations should publish their gender pay gaps by 31st March 2019. For private sector businesses with 250+ staff, findings need to be published by 4th April 2019.

Last year, it was found that businesses paid women on average 8.6% less than men. This year, many hope to see this pay gap reduce. Having said that, the common issues driving current pay gaps may require a longer term view.

To understand your reporting requirements, or for assistance in putting a report together, call our NCVO member support line or visit here.

Friday 5 April: consultation closes on redundancy protection for pregnant employees

Under this proposed change, a woman would get protection from redundancy from the point that she informs her employer she is pregnant until six months after her maternity leave. It may also apply to adoptive and other parental leave.

Saturday 6 April: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) goes up

Currently, the minimum sick pay rate per week is £92.05. As of early April, this will increase to £94.25.

If your workers are eligible for sick pay, you must pay if they have been too ill to work for four days or more, and you need to pay it for up to 28 weeks.

Saturday 6 April: pension contributions increase to 8%

The minimum contributions you and your staff pay into your automatic enrolment workplace pension scheme increase to 8% from 6 April 2019.

Your minimum contribution as an employer is 3%, with 5% of your employee’s pre-tax salary making up the remainder, but you can pay more if you choose.

Saturday 6 April: changes to payslips

Previously, only your staff classed as employees needed to get written itemised payslips. You didn’t need to itemise payslips for any staff classed as ‘workers’.

Now the law has changed. As of April 2019, you’ll need to give itemised payslips to your employees and your workers. If you don’t, you’ll be breaking the law.

Sunday 7 April: statutory pay for maternity, paternity,  adoption and shared parental leave increases

The minimum pay you need to give staff on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave increases from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.

The average earnings that an employee has to make to receive these payments also increases from £116 to £118 per week.

Expert advice

Call the NCVO member support helpline on 0844 561 8133 and quote membership number 86544 to speak to an employment law advisor today.


This post was edited on 16 April 2019. The section on pension contributions originally said ‘your employee needs to put at least 5% of their pre-tax salary’ which was incorrect. We have corrected this to ‘Your minimum contribution as an employer is 3%, with 5% of your employee’s pre-tax salary making up the remainder, but you can pay more if you choose.’


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