Happy New Year from The Legal Spiel Team!

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Happy New Year from all at Legal Spiel!

2019-01-01 21:00:11
David Danagher
Legal Spiel blog

With the festivities almost over, diet plans firmly afoot and New Year resolutions already hanging in the balance, the team at Legal Spiel would like to take the opportunity of wishing you all the very best for 2019!

Well, 2018 certainly went out on a few ‘highs’ – quite literally, of course, with the recent drone activity at Gatwick airport.  This particular incident left thousands of passengers stranded in the UK and, for some, meant they weren’t able to spend Christmas with their loved ones across the globe.

So, what does 2019 hold in store?  Well, whilst that yet remains to be seen there are certainly a few changes in legislation which may impact on us in one way or another – especially when it comes to pay, taxes, pensions and benefits.

National Minimum Wage …

Firstly, the good news!  In 2019 the minimum wage is set to rise in April which means that anyone aged 25 or over can enjoy at least £8.21 an hour (as compared to £7.83 in 2018).  And for those aged between 21 and 24, the new rate will be set at £7.70 – a 32p increase per hour.

Income tax …

What’s more, the income tax threshold will also increase to £12,500 which means that those paid less than this amount will now be paying around £130.00 less a year.

There’ll also be an increase on the threshold for the higher rate of income tax, which will increase to £50,000.00 a year.  This means that all those earning more than £46,351.00 a year can also look to gain a further £730.00 in their pay packets.  That said, if you’re lucky enough to be earning over 100k a year then unfortunately there’s no change – quite literally.

State pensions …

State pension rates are also geared for huge changes during 2019.  In fact, those receiving the basic state pension will now receive an extra £3.25 a week, thus increasing the state pension from £125.95 to £129.20.  There will also be changes to the additional state pension rate which will increase by 2.4% from April, albeit with a cap on the maximum additional state you can earn – from £172.28 per week to £176.41 per week in 2019/2020.

Work pensions …

Whilst existing rules state that employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of a worker’s pre-tax salary (with the employee contributing 3%), new rules from April will mean that both employers and employees will now have to contribute a minimum of 3% and 5% respectively.

Drones …

In light of recent events at Gatwick, new drone laws quickly came into effect during November 2019 and new laws will now make it illegal to fly any drone weighing more than 250g without first having registered it with the Civil Aviation Authority – not to mention passing online safety tests.

Overtaking cyclists …

Whilst the Highway Code already states that cars should leave at least 1.5m between themselves and a cyclist, new changes in March mean that motorists could now be fined £100.00 for not leaving enough space – not to mention 3 points on your licence.  Not great news for your insurance policy really …

Learner drivers will get more experience …

Whilst motorists have previously only been allowed on motorways once they’ve passed their full driving test, they’re now permitted on them as part of their lessons – but only if they’re with a qualified instructor who has dual controls.

Anything else to look out for? …

Absolutely!  Decisions on separate tribunal cases on the issue of equal pay involving Tesco, Asda, Morrison and Sainsburys are all eagerly anticipated during 2019. 

There will also be a decision on the national minimum wage for sleep-in workers during 2019 – an appeal currently lodged with the Supreme Court by trade union, Unison.

And last – but by no means least – a review of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace is also expected to happen this year.  These agreements (more commonly referred to as ‘gagging clauses’) were originally used to protect intellectual property but have since been seen as a means of silencing claims against harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Suffice it to say, 2019 already promises quite a few legislative changes and as soon as we hear about them, rest assured – you’ll be first to know!

Happy New Year from The Legal Spiel Team!

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