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What All Business Owners Need To Know About Employment Law For 2017

March 21st, 2017

Amid all of the uncertainty from the results of the Brexit referendum, there are set to be significant employment law changes as a result. The HR agenda will be heavily dominated by gender pay gap reporting and large compliance projects for data protection, but employers will also continue to deal with new trade union balloting rules and the implementation of restraints to public-sector exit payments. At Lennons Solicitors, we understand that Employment Law can be challenging, so as well as offering our services, we’ve put together this guide on everything you need to know for 2017.

General Data Protection Regulation compliance efforts underway

Although the EU GDPR does not come into force until May 2018, the scope of the changes under the new Regulation means that preparing will be a top priority for employers. They will need to carry out audits of employee personal data and process it to ensure that it meets GDPR conditions.

Employers will also have to create or amend policies and processes on privacy notices, data breach responses and subject access requests, due to new governance and record-keeping requirements.

Reporting on gender pay gap begins

Private-sector, voluntary sector and public sector organisations with 250 employees or more will be required to publish gender pay gap information for the first time. Employers will release information relating to employee pay, as well as the number of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay distribution.

The first report is expected to be 4 April 2018, based on pay and bonus data from 2016/17.

Apprenticeship levy on large employers introduced

Employers with an annual payroll of more than £3 million will be required to pay a 0.5% levy on their total pay bill. Large employers will be able to access the levied amounts, plus a government top-up of 10%, to fund apprenticeships from accredited training providers.

Changes to rules for employing foreign workers

Employers sponsoring foreign workers with a Tier 2 visa will have to pay an immigration skills charge of £1000 per worker (£364 for charities and small employers). This will be in addition to current fees for visa applications.

Restricted salary-sacrifice schemes

Many salary-sacrifice schemes will be abolished, so employers may need to reconsider their benefit offerings. Schemes related to pension savings, childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected nor will flexible working hours

Alignment of national minimum wage changes

Cycles for national minimum wage increases, including the national living wage, will be aligned, with the next round of changes taking effect on 1 April 2017. The increase will see the national living wage for staff aged 25 or over rising to £7.50. National minimum wage for those aged 21 to 24 will be £7.05 per hour.

Restraints of public-sector exit payments still expected

Restrictions on public-sector exit payments are still expected, but their implementation dates have not yet been confirmed. They will be capped at £95,000 (pre-tax value) when public-sector employees leave their roles, including as a result of redundancy or voluntary exit.

Trade union balloting changes to be implemented

Employers are awaiting the implementation date for the new balloting requirements under the Trade Union Act 2016. Under the rules, a successful vote for strike action will require a 50% minimum turnout and a majority vote in favour of industrial action.

Rise in Statutory Benefits

In addition to the rise in the national minimum wage and national living wage, as detailed above; Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Shared Parental Pay will increase from £139.58 per week to £140.98 per week. Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £88.45 per week to £89.35 per week.

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