Every year in April, a raft of new employment laws are introduced. They often include increases in various statutory pays but also usually include brand schemes which come into force.
This year we will give you our top 10 new employment laws coming into force in April. Some may affect you and some may not depending on your circumstances.
Top 10 New Employment Laws Coming Into Force in April
1. National Minimum Wage Increases
From 1st April this year the national minimum wage will increase to £7.50 an hour for over 25s. This is a rise of 30p compared with last year.
18-20 and 21-24 year olds will see smaller increases to £5.60 and £7.05 respectively.
2. Pension Advice Allowance Introduced
Workers who have defined-contribution and hybrid contribution pensions will be able to take out a tax-free £500 from their pension scheme to be used against pension financial advice.
This will take place from 6th April and it will be possible to combine that allowance with the Pensions Advice Allowance to allow workers to access up to £1,000 of tax-advantaged financial advice.
3. Statutory Redundancy Pay Increases
The weekly statutory redundancy pay maximum amount is increasing to £489 from 6th April.
Also from the same date, new limits on employment statutory redundancy pay come into force. 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.
4. Sick Pay Increases
From 6th April, weekly statutory sick pay will increase to £89.35.
5. Statutory Family-Related Pay Increases
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.
6. Tax Advantages Under Salary-Sacrifice Arrangements Limited
Benefits-in-kind attracting tax and NIC advantages when they are provided under a salary-sacrifice scheme, are to be limited.
This change is expected to take effect from 6 April 2017, with some exemptions.
Arrangements already in place are protected until April 2018, and until April 2021 for some benefits.
7. £2,000 Tax-Free Childcare Scheme
Set to launch on 28th April, the Government is introducing a new system whereby they will contribute 20p for every 80p that parents spend on childcare costs. It is being called ‘tax-free’ because parents will save the equivalent of the 20% tax many people pay on their wages.
Working families could receive up to £2,000 a year towards the cost of childcare for each child under 12 or up to £4,000 for children up to the age of 17 with a disability. This will be very welcome amongst families as currently they are spending on average £222.36 per week for full-time childcare and £116.25 for part-time.
8. Introduction of Immigration Skills 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. This will come into force from 6th April.
Also for employers that employ workers under tier 2, 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. Employers will need to obtain criminal records certificates from the countries that they have lived in over the last 10 years.
The tier 2 salary threshold will increase to £30,000 and will also increase for migrants who are “experienced workers”.
9. Apprenticeship Changes
From 6th April, employers will have to pay a new monthly levy via PAYE if they have a paybill of more than £3 million.
Employers in England that pay the levy will be able to access funding through a digital service. The new system of funding is expected to operate from 1st May. Employers that do not pay the levy will also be able to access funding for apprenticeships.
Also larger public-sector employers will have to meet apprenticeship targets.
10. Gender Pay Gap Reporting Starts
Companies employing more than 250 staff will have to report data about their gender pay gap, including bonus payments.
They will also have to report data on the proportion of male and female employees in different pay quartiles and those who receive bonuses.
These larger employers will have 12 months to publish the information on their own website and to upload it to a Government website.
If you found this blog on new employment laws useful, please see our other articles on Employment Law.