This April looks like being a busy time for the HR team with lots of employment law changes coming into force. We summarise what you need to know.
- All rates of the national minimum wage will increase. Our previous article sets out full details of the new rates.
- The offence of wrongly advertising work as an apprenticeship takes effect. Training providers in England will be banned from using the word 'apprenticeship' except to describe a statutory apprenticeship. The offence also covers describing a person who undertakes such a course or training as an apprentice. The maximum penalty is a fine.
Statutory payments for various types of parental leave increase. The prescribed weekly rate of Statutory Maternity, Adoption, Paternity, Shared Parental leave Pay, and Maternity Allowance rises to £140.98 a week.
- The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 come into force and will apply to private and voluntary organisations with 250 or more employees (which is widely defined). Affected employers will be required to publish a gender pay report every year. Organisations can chose when they publish but the first report must be published by 4 April 2018. Our checklist provides guidance for employers on preparing their report.
Similar legislation for the public sector bodies in England is coming into force on 31 March; see our article for more details.
- The Apprenticeship Levy comes into force. UK employers with an annual pay bill of or over £3 million will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy at a rate equivalent to 0.5% of their payroll costs. The levy must be paid through PAYE, alongside income tax and NICs. The levy is payable by all relevant employers regardless of whether or not they employ apprentices. Employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. Employers in England that pay the levy will be able to access funding through a digital service which is expected to open from 1 May 2017. Our article sets out ways steps employer can take to recover the cost of this new 'employment tax'.
- Beneficial tax treatment under salary sacrifice schemes will be removed for certain benefits. Pension contributions, pension advice, childcare, Cycle to Work and ultralow emission cars will be exempt and will continue as before. Salary exchanged for intangible benefits, such as flexible working or the buying of additional holiday will also be unaffected.
- Limits on compensation for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payments will rise. See our article for full details of the new limits.
- Statutory sick pay will rise to £89.35 a week.
- Various changes to immigration rules will take effect, including the introduction of the new immigration skills charge of £1,000 per year for each migrant worker sponsored under Tier 2 of the points based immigration system. For full details see our article.