Humans are not elephants. Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh!” But there’s a reason we’re highlighting the obvious and the reason is simple: elephants never forget, which is a slightly weird and long-winded way of saying, “HUMANS DO FORGET!”
We’re not saying humans forget everything. Like you probably remember your eldest child’s name, and how to get to work, and what your favourite sandwich is. But there are some things you’ve probably forgotten, like when your wedding anniversary is, whether you put the bins out, and what new rules affecting our normal lives were introduced last year. So, to jog your memory: you got hitched on May 21st, you didn’t put the bins out, and the new rules included things like passport renewals changing, new car tax rules being brought in, Universal Credit getting a few tweaks, and Employment Allowance bits being changed. Basically, 2018 was busy.
And 2019 is gonna be no different.
In fact, here are six or seven new rules-slash-laws being brought into effect in 2019 that will affect workers and businesses in some way, meaning they’re probably quite handy to know about.
So, let’s get down and boogie with them, shall we?
1. National Living Wage Is On The Up
Ladies and gentlemen, entrepreneurs and employers, one of the reasons you need plop 1st April 2019 into your cat calendar in thick red pen is because the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are set to increase on that day.
For employees aged 25 and over, the new minimum wage is going from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 per hour.
For those humans aged 21-24, it’s going from £7.38 to £7.70 an hour.
As for those aged between 18 to 20, this figure is jumping from £5.90 an hour to £6.15.
And for those whippersnappers of school age (but under 18), their money is set to go up from £4.20 an hour to £4.35.
It’s probably also worth knowing about the changes coming to the world of apprentices too, who will see their minimum rate go from £3.70 to £3.90 an hour -- that’s as long as they are a) under 19 or b) over 19 but in the first year of their current apprenticeship. There. It’s a lot to remember, but that’s what we’re here for.
2. Pension Contributions Are Rising
Pensions are like the James Brown of the working world in that they’re proper groovy. It’s about looking after our employees so that they can look forward to relaxing in the Costa Del Sol on the day they turn 65 -- and then never leaving. Of course, right now, the existing rules mean employers must contribute a minimum of 2% of a worker’s pre-tax salary, with the worker contributing 3%. But the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes are going to increase for employers and employees as of April 1st 2019 (yup, it’s a busy day). Anyway, the new rules mean that employers will now have to contribute a minimum of 3%, and employees will have to put aside 5%. Simple.
3. What Do We Want? Payslips!
In case April 2019 wasn’t already chock-full of change, there is another rule being brought into play on the 6th, and it’s all about granting non-employees (you know, contractors and freelancers and stuff) the legal right to a payslip. And that’s not all. Employers will also be obliged to pop the total number of hours worked on the payslips of any employees whose wages vary depending on how much time they’ve put in.
4. Pay Gaps Are Getting Exposed
The pay gap thing has become big news over the past year or so (which we think is some right good, Tim Henman-style fist-pumping news). There shouldn’t be a gap in pay because someone’s a dude and someone’s not a dude. As such, on April 4th 2019, new legislation will come into play that requires any private organisation with 250+ employees to (again) publish their gender pay gap figures. Go society.
5. NDAs Have Been Naughty
Once upon a time, NDAs (also known as Non-Disclosure Agreements) were used for protecting things that needed protecting, like intellectual property and stuff. But then people starting getting a bit naughty and using NDAs to silence claims of bullying and harassment and bad things like that. Well, this year, there’s gonna be a review into all this and, hopefully, it will make NDAs great again #theyarenotgaggingclauses.
6. VAT Is Getting Revamped
Holy-moly, April is a solid month for new rules - and this time it’s all to do with VAT. To give it to you in a nutshell, all VAT-registered businesses that have a taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold will have to start keeping VAT records in digital form, and then file their VAT returns using digital software. Don’t worry, though -- we can handle all of that nitty-gritty stuff for you without breaking a sweat. It’s what we do (alongside a load of other great stuff).
Basically, this year, you might want to try and be a little more elephant or, failing that, get a bookkeeper that will blow your socks off with their organisational skills and industry knowhow [cough-Accounts-Done-cough].
Thanks for reading! For more bookkeeping-slash-accountancy-slash-finance advice, and a few weird-thoughts, please do follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and then tell all your businessy friends to do the same.