The annual Employment Tribunal award limit changes will take effect on 6 April 2019. The limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £83,682 to £86,444.
The cap on the compensatory award is the lower of the maximum or 52 weeks' pay (based on the Claimant's gross salary prior to dismissal including employer pension contribution but excluding benefits in kind and discretionary bonus). As always there are a limited number of exceptions where the cap does not apply. These are dismissals for whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety issues. In addition, there is no limit to the award that can be made where a dismissal is related to unlawful discrimination.
The limit on a week's pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal) will increase from £508 to £525 meaning the maximum basic award increases to £15,750.
INJURY TO FEELINGS AWARDS
The Vento bands, for injury to feelings awards, have been updated.
An award for injury to feelings is made to compensate for injury to feelings caused by discrimination. The award is separate from an award to compensate for financial loss and can be made even where no financial loss has been suffered. To assist Employment Tribunals, the Court of Appeal previously set out guidance for quantifying awards for injury to feelings, known as the Vento bands and these "Vento bands" have just been updated.
The new bands which will apply in all cases presented on or after 6 April 2019 are as follows:- • lower band (less serious cases): £900 to £8,800 • middle band: £8,800 to £26,300 • upper band (the most serious cases): £26,300 to £44,000.
Awards over £44,000 will only be made in the most exceptional cases. The bands will be reviewed again in March 2020.
NATIONAL LIVING WAGE AND NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE
The National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates changed as follows from 1 April:-
- NLW rate for those aged 25 years and older - increased from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour
- 21 to 24 year old rate - increased from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
- 18 to 20 year old rate - increased from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
- 16 to 17 year old rate - increased from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
- Apprentice rate - increased from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour
Apprentice rates apply to apprentices under 19 or 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship.
As of 7 April statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay and maternity allowance is to be increased from £145.18 to £148.68 a week.
Statutory sick pay is to be increased from £92.05 to £94.25 per week from 6 April.
Two new statutory instruments take effect from April 2019. The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment). Order 2018 requires all payslips to state the number of hours being paid where wages vary according to time worked.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2018 extends the right to a written pay statement to workers as well as employees and provides the ability to enforce that right before a Tribunal should an employer not comply.
GENDER PAY GAP REPORTING
4 April saw the second deadline for gender pay gap reports to be published by private and voluntary sector companies with 250 or more employees. Click here to find out why we think expectations of improvement should be kept in check. 5 April, is the snapshot date for collecting the 2019/20 data.
GOOD WORK PLAN
6 April will see the first of the legislation that has been introduced in the UK Government's Good Work Plan taking effect - specifically the increase in penalties for aggravated breaches of employment law from £5,000 to £20,000 as set out in the Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.
TAXATION OF TERMINATION PAYMENTS
Although it was initially thought that the requirement for employers to pay employer NICs on all payments above the £30,000 threshold (for non-contractual termination payments) would be implemented in 2018, this has been delayed through 2019 and is now due to take effect in April 2020.