April is traditionally a busy month in the employment law calendar. This year is no exception – here is what is on the list:
- Gender pay reporting. Regulations requiring employers with 250+ employees to report on their gender pay gap apply from 6 April with first reports due this time next year. Employers have to report their mean and median bonus gender pay gap, the proportion of male and female employees who receive a bonus and the proportion of male and female employees in quartile pay bands. 5 April is the "snapshot date" – it determines the relevant pay period for employees.
- National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over increases to £7.50 from 1 April; other national minimum wage rates increase at the same time, to £7.05 (for age 21-24), £5.60 (18-20), £4.05 (under 18), £3.50 (apprentices).
- Unfair dismissal compensation limits – the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,962 to £80,541, for dismissals where the effective date of termination is on/after 6 April. The maximum amount of a week's pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, goes up from £479 to £489.
- Family leave rates – statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay rises to £140.98 per week.
- Changes to benefits that can be provided on a tax favourable basis through a salary sacrifice scheme – going forward, only arrangements for employer pensions contributions and advice; childcare benefits; cycle to work schemes and ultra-low emission cars will attract relief from income tax and employer NICs when provided as part of a salary sacrifice arrangement. Salary sacrifice arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018 or (for cars, accommodation and school fees) until April 2021.
- Whistleblowing – from 1 April the various "prescribed bodies", to whom workers can make disclosures qualifying them for whistleblowing protection, are required to make annual reports of the disclosures they have received from workers.
- Pension auto-enrolment. All employers should now have a start date for automatic enrolment of eligible workers in a pension scheme – the last staging dates are on 1 April.