Current RateRate from 6 April 2020
Apprentice rate£4.15£4.30
Age 16-17£4.55£4.62
Age 18-20£6.45£6.56
Age 21-22£8.20£8.36
Age 23 and over (National Living Wage)£8.72£8.91

Proposed increases to statutory pay

The Government has announced proposed increases to various statutory payments, including statutory sick pay (SSP), statutory maternity pay (SMP) and other family leave entitlements.

Subject to final confirmation and with effect from April 2021 (date to be confirmed but likely to be 4 April 2021), the payments will increase as follows:

Current rateRate from April 2021
Statutory sick pay£95.85£96.35
Statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, statutory paternity pay, statutory shared parental leave pay and statutory adoption pay£151.20£151.97

Employment tribunal statistics

The latest employment tribunal statistics have been published by the Ministry of Justice, for the period 1 July to 30 September 2020. It shows that the number of tribunal claims has risen to the highest level since 2013/2014 (prior to the introduction of tribunal fees). Single claim receipts rose by 13% (to 11,000) compared to the same quarter of 2019. Multiple claim receipts rose by 24% (to 19,000). 

The sharp rise in new claims has exacerbated the existing backlog of cases in the employment tribunals, with a 22% increase in outstanding caseload and the average age at disposal now 39 weeks – an increase of five weeks compared to 2019. The number of claims disposed of is 39% down on the same period last year. 

The increase in claims is most likely driven by the increase in unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put an increasing pressure on a tribunal system facing severe operational difficulties as a result of the national lockdown earlier this year and subsequent social distancing guidelines.

Extension to Furlough Scheme

On 17 December 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), now to 30 April 2021. It had previously been expected to end on 31 March 2021.

The Government will continue to contribute up to 80% of wages, with the intention of giving businesses and employees “certainty into the New Year”. The level of contribution was originally due to be reviewed in January but will remain unchanged. Eligibility criteria for the CJRS will also stay the same (see our previous article for more details). Employers will continue to be required to pay National Insurance contributions and pension contributions for those hours when a furloughed employee is not working, in addition to those hours worked by the employee.

In addition to extending the furlough scheme, the Government’s current COVID-19 business loan schemes will also be extended to the end of March 2021.

These articles are from the December 2020 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact Liz Stevens or another member of Birketts’ Employment Law Team.

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