April 2017: key employment law changes
With new employment legislation due to come into force in April 2017, this will be a busy time of year for HR professionals. There are several key changes affecting all employers, regardless of their size.
- Gender pay gap reporting rules come into force
Every year, employers with 250 or more employees will have to report data about their gender pay gap, including bonus payments.
They will also have to report on the proportion of male and female employees in different pay quartiles and those who receive bonuses.
Employers in the private sector must base their pay data on staff employed on a “snapshot” date of 5 April each year, starting from April 2017.
Organisations in the public sector must use 31 March as their snapshot date.
Employers have 12 months to publish the information on their own website and to upload it to a Government website.
- There will be an immigrations skill charge
Employers that sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the immigration points-based system will have to pay a levy of £1,000 per certificate of sponsorship per year (£364 for small employers and charities).
The levy will apply in relation to each worker under tier 2, although there are some exemptions.
The immigration skills charge is due to come into force on 6 April 2017.
Other changes affecting employers that employ workers under tier 2 are as follows:
From April 2017, the Government is planning to introduce a requirement for those workers coming to the UK under tier 2 for certain posts in the education, social care and health sectors, to obtain criminal records certificates from the countries that they have lived in over the last 10 years.
The tier 2 (general) salary threshold will increase to £30,000 from 6 April 2017, for migrants who are “experienced workers’’.
- National minimum wage increases
On 1 April 2017, the rates of the national minimum wage will increase, despite an increase in most rates on 1 October 2016.
This is so that the timing of the annual increase in the national living wage rate for workers aged 25 or over can align with the other national minimum wage rates.
The rate for workers aged 25 and over (the national living wage) increases from £7.20 to £7.50. The rates within the other age bands also increase.
4. Pensions advice allowance is introduced
Members of defined-contribution and hybrid pension schemes will be able to take a tax-free amount of £500 from their scheme, to be redeemed against the expense of financial advice.
The allowance is expected to take effect from 6 April 2017.
The value of pensions advice provided by employers on which there is tax and NIC relief will increase from £150 to £500.
- Statutory family-related pay and sick pay rates increase
The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £140.98 for pay weeks commencing on or after 2 April 2017.
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay will increase to £89.35 from 6 April 2017.
- Statutory redundancy pay increases
New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2017.
Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age.
The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. From 6 April 2017, this is £489, increasing from £479.
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Very useful, thank you – more time neededHR Administrator attendee
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