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Employment Law: Updates in April 2017.

Employment Law Update April 17

National Minimum Wage Rise

Further to the raise in minimum wage back in October 2016, on April 1st 2017 the minimum wage rose for all age groups once again. Most significantly, over 25s will now receive £7.50 an hour up from £7.20.

More: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

Gender Pay Gap

This has taken a fair chunk of the attention recently, with the Gender Pay Gap having been found to be wider than was first claimed. New legislation that has come into force requires organisations that have more than 250 employees to declare certain data regarding salary and bonuses.

Organisations which meet the criteria of the scheme must submit a report which declares the proportion of male and female worker in each sector, the pay gap between men and women across the company, and identify how many workers receive bonuses. The information must be gathered using a “snapshot” on a given date, with the exception of data regarding bonuses, which must be based on the entire 12 months previous to the report.

The dates for “snapshots” are as follows:

  • 31st March – Public Sector
  • 5th April – Private Sector
  • 5th April – Voluntary Sector.

Organisations then have 12 months  in which to upload the “snapshot” to a specific government website, and to publish it publically on their own website. In order to comply, the organisation must be sure that the “snapshot” has been taken on the correct date and encompasses all the data required.

 

Redundancy Pay Increase

On April 6th 2017, new rules came into force regarding Statutory Redundancy Pay. If an organisation makes an employee redundant who has been in the organisation’s service for more than two years, they must pay the employee a set amount based on the weekly pay they were receiving, length of service with the organisation and their age.

The weekly pay must not exceed £489 in order to qualify.

 

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships can be a fantastic way for organisations to find new workers and provide them with valuable experience and skills for a lower cost than a standard employee.

The government wants there to be 3 millions apprenticeships by 2020 and has introduced a payroll tax to help fund this, shifting the responsibility from training providers to employers.

Called “The Apprenticeship Levy”, employers with a payroll of more than £3million per annum will pay a monthly fee starting from the 6th April. However, from 1st May they will be granted access to a digital service through which they can apply for funding to offset the levy (this is also available for organisations which do not pay the levy).

How funding is applied for, arranged, and paid out will differ throughout the UK, although the levy applies universally across the UK.

Further to the introduction of the Levy, large public-sector organisations will have to meet apprenticeship targets.

 

Immigration Skills Charge

Under a new scheme to manage skilled worker immigration, employers will now have to pay a levy to sponsor any workers who fall under the tier 2 section of the immigration points-based system.

Larger employees will have to pay £1000 per sponsorship certificate per year, whilst small organisations and charities will pay £364 staring from the 6th April.

Further to the levy, workers entering the UK under tier 2 of the immigration points-based scheme will need to obtain criminal records certificates from countries they have lived in throughout the previous ten years. This applies crucially to posts in education, social care and the health sector.

Lastly, those who have successfully gained employment, are “Experienced Workers” and are under the general salary of tier 2 of the immigration points-based system will receive a salary of £30,000 per year as of the 6th of April.

 

Family and Sick related Payment Increase

On the 2nd April 2017, statutory parental pay (including shared, maternity, paternity and adoption) increased to £140.98 per week.

On 6th April 2017, Statutory Sick Pay increased to £89.35.

 

Pensions Advice Allowance

Those enrolled in hybrid and defined contribution pensions can now withdraw a tax free amount of up to £500 from their scheme in order to off-set the expense of seeking financial advice. Further to this, employer-provided pension advice which benefits from tax and NIC relief will see a value increase from £150 to £500.

These changes came into effect on the 6th April 2017.