Posted on 20/01/2017 by Tim Craig
2016 was a busy year for changes to UK employment law and 2017 is also set to be a significant one for HR professionals. With so much going on in the year ahead we’ve put together a brief overview of the employment law changes you need to plan for in 2017.
National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage
The national living wage (for workers who are aged 25 and over) will rise from £7.20 to £7.50 on 1 April 2017. The national minimum wage for workers aged at least 21 but under 25 will rise from £6.95 to £7.05 per hour.
There are also increases to the rate for those under 25 and apprentices as follows:
- Workers who are aged at least 18 but under 21 will rise from £5.55 to £5.60 per hour
- The rate for workers aged 16 or 17 will rise from £4.00 to £4.05 per hour
- The apprentice rate will increase from £3.40 to £3.50 per hour.
- The accommodation offset will increase from £6.00 to £6.40.
Further information is available from the Acas website.
Gender Pay Gap reporting to commence
Subject to the approval of Parliament, employers’ duties under gender pay gap reporting are likely to commence on 5 April 2017. The reporting requirements will apply to employers with 250 or more employees in the private and voluntary sectors, requiring employers to publish information relating to the gender pay gap within their organisation.
An employer with 250 or more employees as at 5 April 2017 will have 12 months from 5 April 2017 (i.e. 4 April 2018) to publish the required information. Further information is available from the Acas website.
Changes to Statutory Pay
The Government plans to increase statutory sick, maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay from 2 April 2017 as follows:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – £89.35 per week
- Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and maternity allowance – £140.98 per week
- Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) – £140.98 per week
- Statutory shared Parental Pay (ShPP) – £140.98 per week
- Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) – £140.98 per week
Further information is available from the Personnel Today website.
Pensions auto enrolment
Many smaller businesses are likely to have their staging date in 2017 – the date by when they will need to have in place a pension for all employees. Last year The Pension Regulator warned that employers face £22m in fines between now and the end of 2017 because they are still unaware of their Auto-Enrolment responsibilities.
Further information is available from The Pensions Regulator website.
On 6 April 2017 an apprenticeship levy is to be introduced whereby large employers (those who have an annual wage bill of more than £3 million) will have to pay a levy of 0.5% of their wage bill to fund apprenticeships. From May 2017, the Government is introducing a co-funded scheme for smaller business so they can apply for apprenticeship training.
As such employers will need to consider their strategy for employing apprentices and how best to utilise the funding. The Government has produced a factsheet for further information.
Income tax allowances and thresholds
On 6 April 2017 the personal income tax allowance will rise to £11,500 and the higher rate of tax threshold will rise to £45,000.
Further information is available from the GOV.UK website.
Employers will need to prepare for significant changes to Data Protection legislation, which take effect in 2018. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed by the European Parliament with the purpose of harmonising data protection rules across the EU including the UK.
Although Brexit may change this, the Government has indicated that businesses should assume that GDPR will come into force in the UK, which will still be a member of the EU in May 2018.
Salary Sacrifice Schemes
With effect from April 2017 new rules are coming into force regarding Benefits in Kind (BiKs) where provided by salary sacrifice. So if you are using salary sacrifice with your employees then you need to familiarise yourself with the new rules.
Further information is available from the ICPA website.
If Article 50 is triggered by the end of March 2017 what will happen to the significant body of employment law that derives from Brussels?
Well the biggest issue initially is likely to be what is to happen to the free movement of persons and the labour on which the British economy relies. But perhaps less will change than imagined?
The truth is that nobody knows but this article from the CIPD – What will Brexit mean for UK employment law – is an interesting read.
Please note that the contents of this article is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as such.
Kirsty Craig Associates has over 50 combined years experience in delivering successful HR and people focussed solutions for its clients so for further information please email us now or call us on 0843 504 4653.