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2017: An Employment Law Forecast

Posted On: 11/01/2017

 

We may only be one week into 2017, but businesses are already thinking about what is coming down the line over the next 12 months. While 2016 brought about a year of political and financial instability, 2017 is set to bring about a whole host of changes to employment law that employers must prepare themselves for. Here, the P3 People Management team breaks down exactly what businesses should be looking out for over the coming months.

Gender pay gap reporting

The gender pay gap has been one of the most talked about topics across the sector in recent years, and it seems that the government is finally taking action in an effort to address pay inequality between genders. From the 6th April, employers with more than 250 employees will be required to publish information relating to gender pay gaps in their business. Businesses will have 12 months from this date to publish their records. In particular, they must publish the difference between the mean and median hourly rate of pay paid to male and female employees, the proportion of male and female employees who receive bonuses and the relative proportions of male and female members of staff in each quartile pay band.

National minimum wage

From April, national minimum wage (NMW) is set to increase in the following rates:

Statutory sick pay

This is also set to increase to £89.35 per week.

Maternity pay

The flat rate of maternity pay will increase to £140.98 per week.

Apprenticeship levy for large employers

From the 6th April, employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3m will be required to pay 0.5 per cent of their NIC bill for the tax year on the apprenticeship levy. As a result, these employers will then be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a new digital apprenticeship service account, in which the government will contribute 10 per cent towards the cost of an apprenticeship.

Salary sacrifice

From April, tax saving through many salary sacrifice schemes will end. Only the following areas will be exempt:

Arrangements in place before April will be protected until April 2018 and until 2021 for cars, accommodation and school fees.  

Data protection

Data breaches are an increasing threat to businesses, and substantial changes to data protection will come into effect in 2018. Last year, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed by the European Parliament, leaving member states with two years to implement the changes before the 2018 deadline. Even if the UK has left the EU by 2018, it is likely that it will still adopt the new regulations. Therefore businesses must review their data processes and carry out audits of employee personal data to ensure the correct conditions are met. Employers who are not compliant with the new regulations by May 2018 could face a fine of either four per cent of their turnover or 20 million Euros, whichever is the highest figure.

Employing foreign workers

From April, companies sponsoring foreign workers with a tier two visa will have to pay a charge of up to £1,000 per worker. Also from this date, the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers applying for a tier two visa will increase to £30,000.

Brexit

Although there is still a great deal of uncertainty around Brexit, employers must prepare themselves for any changes that might occur once Article 50 is triggered, which is scheduled for the end of March. Brexit is certainly set to be one of the most anticipated and closely-watched events of 2017, and while it is unlikely that Brexit will trigger any major changes to employment law it is advised that businesses ensure they are well prepared.

If you would like to find out more about changing employment laws and how this affects your business, get in touch with a member of the P3 People Management team today by emailing info@p3pm.co.uk or calling us on 0161 941 2426.

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