Employment Law Update – Quick fire December 2018
18 December 2018
Voluntary reporting on disability, payslips, mental health and wellbeing, interns and work trials, and new statutory pay rates for 2019 are all covered in this month’s Quick fire.
Voluntary reporting on disability, mental health and wellbeing
The Government has published a new framework, Voluntary Reporting on Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing, to assist and support employers. It is aimed at larger employers (250 or more employees), but can also be used by smaller employers who are seeking to improve transparency within their organisations. The framework recommends that employers produce a narrative to explain what actions they have taken to recruit and retain disabled employees, including the percentage of individuals who consider themselves disabled, and what actions have been taken to support the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.
The framework follows the recommendation in the 2017 Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, Thriving at work, that employers should report more information about their actions on workplace mental health.
The Government has published guidance on the new legislation in force from 6 April 2019, requiring all employers to provide payslips to all workers (not just employees), and to show hours on payslips where the pay varies by the amount of time worked.
The guidance makes it clear that payslips can be provided in either a physical or electronic format. For workers whose pay varies depending on the number of hours they have worked, the number of hours paid at that rate must be shown. For example, if they have a fixed salary but work additional hours of overtime for additional pay, the hours of overtime need to be shown on the payslip.
The guidance also includes a number of illustrative examples to show how the new right applies in practice.
Interns and work trials
A recent report has highlighted that many employers are continuing to offer unpaid internships. The Sutton Trust report, Pay as you go?, reveals that 70% of internships are unpaid, and over a quarter of graduates (27%) have completed at least one unpaid internship. Over half of unpaid placements were over four weeks in length and 11% were over six months. The report also reveals a significant amount of confusion on the part of both employers and individuals on the legality of unpaid internships.
Recommendations in the report include ensuring that all internships are advertised, rather than offered through informal networks, with fair and transparent recruitment practices based on merit. It also calls for interns to be paid at least the national minimum wage.
Meanwhile, the Government has revised its guidance on calculating the national minimum wage to include unpaid work trials. The revised wording is aimed at employers who use unpaid trial periods as part of a recruitment process to decide whether a candidate has the right skills for the job. The guidance sets out the factors that should be taken into account in deciding whether or not the trial should be paid, with a number of example scenarios. The length of the trial and the nature of the work carried out will be relevant considerations. In the Government’s view, an individual participating in a trail period of more than one day is likely to be entitled to be paid the national minimum wage in all but very exceptional circumstances.
New statutory pay rates for 2019
The Government has published its proposed new statutory pay rates for 2019/2020, which will take effect from April 2019.
The rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay, as well as the maternity allowance, will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 per week.
The rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will increase from £92.05 to £94.25 per week.
The lower earnings limit for the purpose of National Insurance contributions will increase from £116 to £118 per week.
In addition, the Low Pay Commission has published its 2018 report on its recommendations for increases to the National Minimum Wage, which were originally announced in the October 2018 budget.
From April 2019, the following rates will apply:
- Apprentices: £3.90 per hour (up from £3.70)
- 16-17 year olds: £4.35 per hour (up from £4.20)
- 18-20 year olds: £6.15 per hour (up from £5.90)
- 21-24 year olds: £7.70 per hour (up from £7.38)
- National living wage (workers aged 25 and over): £8.21 per hour (up from £7.83).
This article is from the December 2018 issue of Employment Law Update, our monthly newsletter on employment legislation and regulation. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. Law covered as at December 2018.
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The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at December 2018.