The Trade Union Act 2016 came into force on 1 March 2017 and means that there are now additional strike balloting requirements for those working in ‘important public services’. In order for strikes in those services to now be lawful, there is a requirement that 50% of those eligible to vote participate in the ballot, but also that 40% must be in support of the action proposed.

From 6 April 2017 an apprenticeship levy will apply to any public and private employer who has an annual pay bill in the previous year which is in excess of £3 million. All employers who meet this threshold will have to contribute 0.5% of their annual pay bill, whether or not they actually use apprentices. An employer’s annual pay bill is calculated on the basis of all payments to employees, which will include wages, bonuses and commission, that are subject to employer class 1 NICs.

Gender pay gap reporting requirements also came into force on 6 April 2017 for all private and voluntary sector employers with at least 250 employers, which requires such companies to annually publish the differences in pay between men and women within their workforce. The first reports must be published by 4 April 2018.

Finally, the new hourly rates for national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW) came into effect from 1 April and are as follows:

  • Workers aged over 25 years (NLW): £7.50
  • Workers aged 21 to 24 years: £7.05
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 years: £5.60
  • Workers aged 16 to 17 years: £4.05
  • Apprentices (under 19 years, or in the first year): £3.50