A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That.

In this bulletin, I look at a few recent interesting developments in employment law.

Firstly, the text of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay (Extension) Bill 2017-19 (a Private Members Bill) has been published and is due to have its second reading debate on 23 November 2018. The Bill would extend the concept of shared parental leave and pay to self-employed workers and also allow the mother’s statutory maternity allowance to be shared with her self-employed partner.

In addition, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 has received Royal Assent. It provides those employees who have lost a child under 18 a right to two weeks off work. The Government will now publish draft Regulations providing the detail of this right and anticipates bringing the Act into force by April 2020.

There were also some key employment announcements in the Autumn 2018 Budget:

  • Class 1A National Insurance contributions on termination payments over £30,000 have been delayed until April 2020 (this was due to be introduced in April 2019).
  • The public sector off-payroll working rules will be extended to large and medium sized-businesses in the private sector from 6 April 2020. Small businesses will still need to apply the existing IR35 rules.
  • National minimum wage will increase from April 2019 to the following rates:
    • Apprentices: £3.90 an hour (up from £3.70);
    • 16-17 year olds: £4.35 an hour (up from £4.20);
    • 18-20 year olds: £6.15 an hour (up from £5.90):
    • 21-24 year olds: £7.70 an hour (up from £7.38);
    • National living wage (workers aged 25 and over): £8.21 an hour (up from £7.83).

Finally, the Ministry of Justice has indicated that it may reintroduce fees for tribunal claims. Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton told the Commons Justice Committee last week that he thinks a fee scheme will be available “but we have not finalised it yet and there are no immediate plans to introduce one. I can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford them.” He will of course need to carefully balance the views of those who believe fees deny Claimants access to justice. Watch this space for further developments on this subject!

The contents of this update are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this update. © Mundays LLP 2018.

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