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23 March 2020 14:42

Universal Credit Legal & General United Kingdom

employee benefits

The new tax year begins on Monday, April 6 and brings with it a whole host of changes for those receiving benefits and pensions. Most people will be eagerly awaiting to find out if their payments will be increasing or not and there are already some positive changes involving National Minimum Wage and Universal Credit payments. Perhaps the most significant benefits change coming into effect next month will be the end of the benefit freeze. The freeze meant that payments have remained at the same value for almost five years - rather than increasing in line with the rising cost of living in the UK and was essentially a cap on benefits payments. Claimants receiving Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit will soon see payments increase by 1.7 per cent - in line with inflation.

employee benefits

From April 6, millions of pensioners should see a 3.9 per cent increase in payments in line with average earnings, which means that those on the basic state pension rate will receive a weekly boost of £5.05 as payments will increase from £129.20 to £134.25. Those entitled to the full new-single tier state pension will benefit even further with an extra £6.60 when their weekly £168.60 payment rises to £175.20. Almost 3 million workers are to benefit next month from a pay rise of up to 6.5 per cent. Parental bereavement leave is a new entitlement for bereaved parents to be absent from work, normally with pay at a statutory minimum rate, for up to two weeks. This offers a new legal entitlement to two weeks leave for employees who suffer the death of a child under 18 - as well as for those who experience a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

employee benefits

READ MORE: Universal Credit to rise in coronavirus crisis - how much is increase? Each year April offers changes to financial affairs across various sectors, in particular for those receiving benefits and pensions - who likely eagerly await news of whether payments will be increasing or not. Fortunately there are some positive changes coming into effect next month, including to Universal Credit payments and the National Minimum Wage. These aren't the only changes to benefits and welfare expected this year, with additional upcoming policies and increases scheduled for the coming months. Perhaps the most significant benefits change coming into effect next week will be the end of the benefit freeze.

The four-year freeze was introduced by the Conservatives in April 2016 and has affected most working-age benefits and tax credits. It meant that payments have remained at the same value for almost five years - rather than increasing in line with the rising cost of living in the UK. The freeze, which was essentially a cap on benefits payments, will come to an end next month as confirmed by the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2019. Claimants receiving the likes of Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit will soon see payments increase by 1.7 percent - in line with inflation. For example, those aged over 25 and on the standard allowance for Universal Credit will see their monthly payment increase by over £5 - equating to almost an additional £65 a year. Such critics note that this gap won't be resolved next month, as benefits will now rise in line with price - instead of increasing higher to make up for the past few years. (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto) The next change expected from the new tax year will affect those receiving the State Pension, whose payments are scheduled to increase by up to £343 a year. From April 6, millions of pensioners should see a 3.9 percent increase in payments in line with average earnings. It means that those on the basic state pension rate will receive a weekly boost of £5.05 as payments will increase from £129.20 to £134.25. Those entitled to the full new-single tier state pension will benefit even further with an extra £6.60 in their accounts - when their weekly £168.60 payment rises to £175.20. Over the next year, state pension holders will receive between £262.60 and £343.20 more annually - making it the biggest pay rise for pensioners in almost a decade. Almost 3 million workers are to benefit next month from a pay rise of up to 6.5 percent, which the Government dubbed the "biggest cash increase ever." Announced in December 2019, it means that those on the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage can expect bigger paychecks from next month when the next tax year commences. Workers aged 25 and over on National Living Wage will therefore be entitled to an extra 51p an hour - a 6.2 percent increase - which will take their hourly wage up to £8.72. According to estimates, itt means that such employees who work 35 hours per week would receive an annual increase of £930. Similarly, the National Minimum Wage will increase by between 4.6 percent and 6.5 percent an hour for young employees - depending on their age. The news rates, which are scheduled to be introduced next month, will mean employees can expect a: Next month will also see the introduction of the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay law - scheduled to come into force in April. This offers a new legal entitlement to two weeks' leave for employees who suffer the death of a child under 18 - as well as for those who experience a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.