From April 2017, the following legal changes are coming into effect. Make sure your business is prepared!

1. National Living Wage and other statutory payments will increase

From April 2017, the Government has announced that the National Living Wage rates will be:

£7.50 per hour for those aged 25 years old and over;

£7.05 per hour for those aged 21-24 years old;

£5.60 per hour for those aged 18-20 years old;

£4.05 per hour for those aged 16-17 years old; and

£3.50 for apprentices under 19 (or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship).

Statutory payments in relation to maternity allowance, adoption pay, maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay and sick pay are also set to increase in April 2017.

2. The Apprenticeship Levy will be introduced

Many employers operating in the UK will, from 6 April 2017, be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy. Employers of large companies who have a pay bill in excess of £3 million each year will pay 0.5% of their payroll into the levy - which is essentially a new tax introduced to support the Government's plan to fund millions of new apprenticeships by 2020.

3. Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements will come into effect

According to the Office for National Statistics' 2016 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, average pay for full-time male employees in 2016 was 9.4% higher than for full-time women. As a result, from April 2017, and each April thereafter, employers of large companies (with over 250 employees) will be obligated to (amongst other things) calculate and publish on their websites accurate "gender pay gap" information relating to the relevant pay period. Employers will have until 4 April 2018 to publish their first report.

4. Supplier settlement times reporting obligations will commence

In a Government effort to combat late payment of invoices in supply chains, large businesses will be obligated to publish through a Government web-based service public reports containing details of their payment practices and policies, including (amongst other things) how quickly they settle their suppliers' invoices and what percentage remain unpaid during the relevant reporting period.