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News in brief – November 2018

Is the government going to reintroduce Employment Tribunal fees?

The government has indicated that it wants to reintroduce fees for bringing employment claims at a level which strikes the right balance between access to justice and affordability.

Last year, the Supreme Court said that the government’s policy aims were legitimate, but the fees charged were disproportionate and denied access to justice to huge numbers of people who would otherwise have used the service. That rendered the fees unlawful.

Substantial increases to the National Minimum Wage will apply from April 2019

From April 2019, the National Living Wage (paid to workers aged 25 and over) will increase from £7.83 to £8.21.

Rates for the hourly NMW rates will increase:

  • By 4.3% for 21-24 year olds - from £7.38 to £7.70
  • By 4.2% for 18- to 20 year-olds - from £5.90 to £6.15
  • By 3.6% for 16-18 year olds - from £4.20 to £4.35
  • By 5.4% for apprentices - from £3.70 to £3.90.

The accommodation offset will increase by 7.9% from £7.00 to £7.55.

… and the independently set “Real Living Wage” increases to £9 an hour

The voluntary living wage increases today as follows:

  • Workers across UK (except London) – will receive an increase of 25p to £9.00 per hour
  • Workers in London – will receive an increase of 35p to £10.55 per hour.

This new rate is set by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated to provide enough money for people to live on. Unlike the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, it does not vary depending on the age of the worker. Instead, workers receive the same rate unless they work in London to reflect the higher costs of living in the capital.

Employers who are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation must implement the rise as soon as possible but no later than Wednesday 1 May 2019.

Huge response to Government’s consultation on “trans” rights

Over 53,000 responses have been submitted to the Government's consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act which is now closed.

The Gender Recognition Act was a ground breaking piece of legislation when it came into force in 2004. It finally enabled trans people to receive legal recognition of their acquired gender through a process set out in the Act which is now considered out of date.

The consultation asked for views on a number of important changes.

Read more about the "trans" rights consultation.

EU votes to protect gig workers

The EU Employment Committee has approved draft legislation, which will give important employment rights to casual, intermittent and on-demand workers.

Government announces changes to the Apprenticeship Levy

From April 2019, employers will be able to transfer a quarter of their annual apprenticeship levy fund to another business in their supply chain.

The government has also said it will also invest an extra £5 million to help the Institute of Apprenticeships offer more training options to bridge some of the gaps and put more investment in apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Key Contact

Shazia Khan