Employers, don’t be an April Fool

March 8, 2018 11:15am Ellis Whittam News  Employment Law News  Employment Law Changes April 2017

Do you wish you could just stop the clock? As April draws closer, it’s probably one of those times.

Employment Law is always on the move, but more so at this time of year, so make sure you are familiar with all the changes coming up.

Fit for Work scheme

Parts of the Fit for Work scheme – a government-funded initiative, which offers free web and telephone health and work advice and a free referral for an occupational health assessment for eligible employees – will be abandoned. This is primarily down to the low referral rate.

As of 31st March 2018, assessment services in England and Wales will come to an end and as of 31st May 2018, the same will occur in Scotland. Although they stopped taking on new referrals on 1st March 2018. However, employers will still be able to use the helpline and website for health and work advice.

So if you were one of the employers using this service, it is important to rethink your approach and make sure that you are staying on top of absences. If you require advice to deal with employee’s sickness absences, speak to your Employment Law Adviser who can guide you.

Minimum wage

The National Living Wage (the rate for those who are 25 or over) will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018.

The National Minimum Wage (for those aged under 25), the hourly rates will increase as follows:

  • from £7.05 to £7.38 for those between 21 to 24 year olds
  • from £5.60 to £5.90 for between 18 to 20 year olds
  • from £4.05 to £4.20 for 16 and 17 year olds
  • from £3.50 to £3.70 for apprentices.

It’s important to make sure that if you hire students or young people to help you every Easter or summer, you are monitoring their age to ensure that you are paying them the correct minimum wage.

New statutory rates

The statutory weekly rates of pay for maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave are marginally increasing in April 2018. It will increase from £140.98 to £145.18.

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay will also rise from £89.35 to £92.05.

Gender pay reporting

Private sector and voluntary employers with 250 or more employees in England, Wales and Scotland are required to publish their first gender pay report by 4th April 2018. The public sector must do so by the 30th March 2018.

Compensation limits

There are various increases to statutory compensation limits occurring on 6th April. Amongst these changes, here are some key ones to note:

  • Guarantee pay will rise from £27 to £28 per day.
  • The maximum week’s pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments will increase from £489 to £508 per week.
  • The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £14,670 to £15,240.
  • The limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £80,541 to £83,682.

Taxation of termination payments

From 6th April 2018, there will be changes to the taxation of termination payments. In short, under the new rules, all payments in lieu of notice (known as PILONs) will be treated as earnings and be subject to income tax and national insurance contributions, although how you calculate what tax is due for non-contractual PILONs is rather complicated. HMRC guidance is awaited.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

We are now entering into the final countdown as the GDPR will come into force on 25th May 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced some useful guidance, including getting ready for the GDPR and 12 steps to prepare for the GDPR.  However, guidance on important issues such as consent and transparency are yet to be finalised.

To discuss the impact of these changes for your organisation, get in touch with your Employment Law Adviser who can give you guidance.

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