This year's increases in the limits for payments and awards to workers in employment rights cases in Northern Ireland have been confirmed. From 1 April 2021, the national living wage (NLW) will increase to £8.91 per hour and the age at which workers become entitled to it will reduce from age 25 to age 23. In addition, the national minimum (NMW) rate for workers aged 21 and 22 will rise to £8.36 per hour, the NMW rate for workers aged 18 to 20 will rise to £6.56 per hour, the NMW rate for workers aged 16 and 17 will rise to £4.62 per hour, the NMW apprentice rate will rise to £4.30 per hour and the accommodation offset will increase to £8.36 per day. In addition, the time period for which employers must keep NLW/NMW records will increase from three to six years.

From 4 April 2021, the standard weekly rates of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, parental bereavement and shared parental pay will increase to £151.97.

From 6 April 2021 the following changes occur:-

  • the weekly statutory sick pay rate will increase to £96.35;
  • the limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £88,693 to £89,669;
  • the maximum amount of "a week's pay" for the purpose of calculating redundancy payments in Northern Ireland will rise from £560 to £566.

The increased weekly pay limits are relevant to a number of employment rights including statutory redundancy payments, the basic and compensatory awards for unfair dismissal and the limit on guarantee payments made when employees are not provided with work.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.