Employment Law Legislation and Regulation UpdatesForum of Private Business Employment Guide 2017

We keep you up to date with the latest Employment Law Legislation and Developments, including proposed future changes in 2018 and beyond.

The Forum of Private Business Limited have taken every possible care to ensure that the information contained in our guides is accurate at the time of going to print, and the publishers of our guides cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions.  This is why we endeavour to keep our members up to date via our website and email communication.

2018

The government has confirmed it will be implementing the General Data Protection Regulation
The government have confirmed it will be implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies to all EU Member States from 25th May 2018, even though the UK is leaving the EU
Grandparental Leave
In March 2016, the government confirmed plans to extend shared parental leave to allow working grandparents to take time off to care for their grandchildren by 2018. This system will allow a mother of a new baby to share her leave with one nominated working grandparent only.

April 2018: Gender pay gap: first reports

Private and voluntary sectors in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees will be required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women in their workforce, based on a pay bill ‘snapshot’ date of the 5th April 2017, under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. the first reports must be published on the 4th April 2018.

Similar reporting requirements apply to larger public sector employees from the 31st March 2017 and the first reports are due by the 30th March 2018.

Provisions under the Northern Irish Employment Act 2016 mirror these, except they also include fines of up to £5,000 for non-compliance and a requirement to report on ethnicity and disability pay gaps, as well as gender.

April 2018: Termination Payments: Taxation

The government plans to make changes to the taxation of termination payments from April 2018. The proposals include:

  • removing the distinction between contractual and non-contractual PILONs (payments in lieu of notice) so that all PILONs are taxable and subject to Class 1 NICs
  • ensuring that the first £30,000 of a termination payment  remains exempt from income tax and that any payment paid to an employee that relates solely to the termination of the employment continues to have an unlimited employee NICs exemption
  • Aligning the rules for income tax and employer NICs so that employer NICs will be payable on payments above £30,000 (which are currently only subject to income tax)

The Government consultation on the above issue closed in October 2016

April 2018: Restricting employment allowance for illegal works

The government plans to introduce a further deterrent to the employment of illegal workers. From April 2018, employers will not be able to claim the Employment Allowance for one year if they have:

  • hired an illegal worker
  • been penalised by the Home Office
  • exhausted all appeal rights against that penalty

A consultation document containing draft regulations closed in January 2017

 

2017

6th April 2017: Gender Pay Gap Reporting

All private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees are required to publish information annually about the differences in pay between men  and women in their workforces under new Equality Act 2010 regulations, that came into force on the 6th April 2017. The information must be based on a snapshot of their pay bill on the 5th April 2017, and annually thereafter, and the first reports must be published on the 4th April 2018.

Similar reporting requirements apply to larger public sector employers, although these regulations are in force from the 31st March 2017 and the first reports are due by the 30th March 2018.

Regulations under the Northern Irish Employment Act 2016 are due by the end of June 2017, but there is no date yet for enforcement. Unlike the rules for England, this statute provides for fines of up to £5,000 for non-compliance and includes a requirement for the pay bands statistics to cover ethnicity and disability as well as gender.

6th April 2017: Apprenticeship Levy
An Apprenticeship levy applied from the 6th April 2017 to public and private employers with an annual pay bill for the previous tax year in excess of £3 million. All employers in this category, whether or not they actually use apprentices, will have to contribute 0.5% if their annual pay bill, calculated on the basis of all payments to employees (including wages, bonuses and commission) that are subject to employer class 1 NICs. Levied employers with apprenticeships will receive an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their apprentice costs.

6th April 2017: Compensation limits

Tribunal compensation limits increased from 6th April 2017. The new rates are:

  • Limit on guaranteed payments £27
  • Limit on week’s pay £489
  • Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment £14,670
  • Minimum basic award for unfair dismissal £5,970
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal £80,541
  • Minimum compensation for exclusion/expulsion from a trade union £9,118

6th April 2017: National Insurance Thresholds

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  • Class 1 lower earnings limit: £113 per week
  • Class 1 upper earnings limit: £866 per week
6th April 2017: Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory sick pay (SSP) increased to £89.35

6th April 2017: Immigration Skills Charge (Tier 2)

Organisations sponsoring non-EEA skilled workers under Tier 2 of the points-based system will pay a £1,000 immigration skills charge (£364 for smaller organisations and charities) per sponsored worker from 6th April 2017 (see the draft regulations). The charge was recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee and confirmed by the Government in March 2016. Workers in PhD-level occupations, those switching from Tier 4 Student Visas, and graduate trainees on Intra-company Transfer visas are exempt.

Also on this date:

  • The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 migrants rises from £25,000 to £30,000
  • The immigration health surcharge will apply to Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers
  • Tier 2 (General) workers in the education, health and social care sectors will need to provide a criminal record certificate for themselves and any adult dependants

For more details on immigration issues, you can refer to Employing overseas workers in the UK or refer to the Forum of Private Business Employment Guide Section 1 (member only)

6th April 2017: IR35 in the Public Sector

,/span>IR35 tax rules governing off-payroll working in the public sector changed on the 6th April 2017. Responsibility for deciding where the rules apply shifts from the worker to the public body, which will also be responsible for deducting relevant tax and NICs from the fee it pays to the intermediary organisation where appropriate.

For more details on IR35 changes, you can refer to Gov.uk

6th April 2017: Salary Sacrifice Schemes

From the 6th April 2017, only employer pension contributions, childcare benefits, cycle to work schemes and ultra low emission company cars can be provided through salary sacrifice arrangements. Schemes that were in place prior to the 6th April 2017 can continue to benefit from the tax advantages they provide until April 2018.  Accommodation, school fees and other company cars may be provided under salary sacrifice arrangements until April 2021.

For more details on Salary Sacrifice Schemes, you can refer to the Forum of Private Business Employment Guide section 2 and 3 (member only)

2nd April 2017: Family Friendly Payments
Statutory maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP) and shared parental pay (ShPP) rose to £140.98 a week

1st April 2017: Whistle Blowing

A prescribed person, the official organisations to who whistleblowers can disclose wrongdoing under the whistleblowing protection legislation, will be required from this date to make annual reports of those disclosures. The first reports are due on the 1st October 2018

For more details on Whistleblowing, you can refer to the Forum of Private Business Employment Guide Section 6 (member only)

1st April 2017: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

The following NLW and NMW hourly rates applied from the 1st April 2017:

  • Workers aged over 25 years: £7.50
  • Workers aged 21 to 24 years: £7.05
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 years: £5.60
  • Workers aged 16 to 17 years: £4.05
  • Apprentices under 19 years of age or in their first year: £3.50

All changes to NLW and NMW rates will now take place ever April.

1st March: Trade Union Act: important public services

The Trade Union Act 2016 came into force on the 1st March 2017 and sets out additional strike balloting for those working in important public services. For strikes in those services to be lawful, not only must 50% of those eligible to vote to participate in the ballot, but 40% must support the action proposed (as opposed to a simple majority of those voting, as required in strike ballots elsewhere).

Five sets of regulations specify the categories of public service workers covered by the additional 40% threshold and they are:

  • Hospital Services such and Accident and Emergency, intensive care, psychiatric and emergency midwifery services
  • Teachers of compulsory school age children, and those working in further education
  • Firefighters, and fire and rescue service personnel organising emergency responses
  • London bus, national rail and tramway personnel, including maintenance workers and air traffic control, airport and port security services
  • Border control, sea patrol and border intelligence personnel

Regulations on nuclear decommissioning services are to be produced at a later date.