Significant changes to employment law after Brexit
A significant portion of the UK’s employment law comes from the EU, including –
- discrimination rights,
- collective consultation obligations,
- transfer of undertakings regulations,
- leave, and
- working time regulations
On 6 March 2019, the government committed to ensure that UK workers’ rights remain aligned with EU employment after Brexit. Doubts have been raised as to whether the government is capable of doing this, because a government cannot make laws which bind future parliaments.
Equality & Discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 implements the UK’s laws against discrimination and is primary legislation, so would remain in force even after Brexit.
Although the government could repeal the Act after Brexit, it is difficult to imagine employers successfully arguing that they should be free to discriminate against people with the protected characteristics. Any change to direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and harassment seems unlikely.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) sets out minimal international standards for the protection of human rights. The UK ratified the ECHR in 1951 and it was largely incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998. The UK’s membership of the ECHR is unaffected by Brexit.
UK Changes happening in April 2019
Regardless of when Brexit is, and whether it is with or without a deal, the following changes will happen in the UK from April 2019 –
Increase in National Minimum Wage rates
Both the national living wage (NLW) and national minimum wage(NMW) rates will increase in April 2019. The minimum rate for apprentices will also increase, providing the apprentice is under the age of 19, or 19 and over but in the first year of their current apprenticeship.
|National Living Wage (per hour)
|Standard adult rate (per hour)
|Development rate (per hour)
|Young workers rate (per hour)
|Apprentice rate (per hour)|
|2019 – 2020||£8.21||£7.70||£6.15||£4.35||£3.90|
|2018 – 2019||£7.83||£7.38||£5.90||£4.20||£3.70|
Auto-enrolment pension contributions
From April 2019, the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers and employees. The amount is calculated as a percentage of a workers pre-tax salary.
|Employee Contribution||Employer Contribution||Total contribution|
Employers will be required to provide additional information in itemised pay slips. As well as information previously on a pay slip, an employer will now also need to include the total number of paid hours worked in those situations where pay varies in direct relation to the amount of time worked (e.g. in variable hours and zero hours contracts).
Personal Tax Allowance
This is the amount each individual can earn tax free – from April 2019 you only start paying the basic rate of tax once your earnings go above your tax free allowance of £12,500.
Income tax bands
This is the rate of tax you will pay once you have deducted your personal tax allowance from your gross wage
|Tax year||Basic rate (20%)||Higher rate (40%)||Additional rate (45%)|
Statutory family and sick pay rates
The amount for statutory family pay rates will increase to £148.68 per week for 2019/20. This rate will apply to maternity pay, adoption pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay and maternity allowance.
The weekly rate for statutory sick pay will increase to £94.25.
If you would like to know anymore about the upcoming changes in employment law, or you have an issue in your workplace, please visit the employment pages on our website by clicking here. If you want to speak to Jon Heath or Louise Roberts, our employment solicitors, please call 0151 480 5777 or use the contact form on the website.