Employment Law Changes This April To Be Aware Of
April is always a changing point for employment law and from 1st there are a number of key issues which come into force which employers need to be aware of, including:
National Living Wage. The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2017 will come into force on 1 April 2017. The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase by 30p to £7.50 an hour. The rates of other minimum wage bands will also increase.
The Institute of Apprenticeships. The Enterprise Act 2016 (Commencement No. 3) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/346) will come into force on 1 April 2017. The regulations bring into force sections 22, 23 and 25 of the Enterprise Act 2016, establishing the Institute of Apprenticeships and creating an offence which bans training providers in England from using the word “apprenticeship” except to describe a statutory apprenticeship (see Legal updates, Consultation on draft Strategic Guidance for the Institute for Apprenticeships 2017/18 and Offence of wrongly advertising work as a statutory apprenticeship comes into force on 1 April 2017).
Statutory payments. The Social Security Benefits (Up-rating) Order 2017 (SI 2017/260) raises the level of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay to £140.98. Statutory sick pay rises to £89.35 on 6 April 2017.
Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting. The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/172) will come into force on 6 April 2017. Large private and voluntary sector employers (defined as those with 250 or more employees on 5 April of each year) will be under an obligation to report their gender pay gap data.
Tribunal compensation limits. The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016 (SI 2016/288) will come into force on 6 April 2016. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,962 to £80,541. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £479 to £489.
Apprenticeship levy. The Income Tax (Pay as you Earn) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/414) were made on 15 March 2017. The regulations make provision for the calculation and payment of the apprenticeship levy through PAYE, alongside income tax and NICs due to take effect on 6 April 2017. Under the apprenticeship levy rules, 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. 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.
Immigration Skills Charge. The draft Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 are expected to take effect on 6 April 2017. The regulations introduce a charge for sponsors in respect to each skilled migrant that they sponsor in accordance with Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) categories (subject to some exemptions and transitional provisions). The charge is £1,000 a year for larger sponsors, with a lower rate for smaller sponsors and charities.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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