April 3, 2017

April changes for HR

April is often the time when the Government introduces significant changes to workplace law, and this year is no exception. For larger organisations, the two key changes are the introduction of gender pay gap reporting and the apprenticeship levy.

6 April 2017

The rules on gender pay gap reporting come into force for private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees.

The first report must be published by 4 April 2018 (and every year thereafter) on the employer’s website and uploaded to a designated Government website, with information on:

  • mean and median hourly pay rates
  • mean and median bonus pay
  • quartile pay bands
  • the proportion of men and women who are paid a bonus

Click here for our update on the gender pay reporting rules and here for our update on the guidance.

The apprenticeship levy will require UK employers with annual wage bills of over £3 million to pay 0.5% of their annual wage bill towards the cost of apprenticeship training. This will replace the current apprenticeship system.

Employers in England that pay the levy will be able to access funding through the Digital Apprenticeship Service from 1 May 2017. Different systems will apply in Scotland and Wales.

Another levy being introduced is the immigration skills charge. Employers that employ migrant workers under tier 2 of the points-based system of immigration will be subject to a levy of £1,000 per certificate of sponsorship per year. A reduced annual rate of £364 will apply for small and charitable sponsors.

Click here for our update on the changes to the immigration rules and guidance. 

Beneficial tax treatment under salary sacrifice schemes will be removed for certain benefits. The only benefits that will continue to have tax and NIC relief through salary sacrifice schemes are contributions to a registered pension scheme, pension advice, childcare vouchers, cycle to work schemes and ultralow emission cars.  However, existing arrangements will be protected until April 2018, or until April 2021 for cars, accommodation and school fees.

Increases in statutory rates

From 1 April 2017, all National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates increase, with the top rate for workers aged 25 and over (the National Living Wage) increasing to £7.50 (from £7.20).

From 2 April 2017:

  • Statutory Sick Pay increases to £89.35 per week (from £88.45)
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Pay increases to  £140.98 per week (from £139.58)

From 6 April 2017, the maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and the maximum statutory redundancy payments will be capped at £14,670 (increased from £14,370), and the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £80,541 (from £78,962).