Do You Know What the Latest Employment Law Changes Are?

April is the time of year when certain employment law changes come into effect. It’s important to ensure that your business is up to date with legislation. This can be difficult, especially if you don’t have an HR department. Highlighted here are some current and soon to be implemented changes that might affect your business.

Pensions and Auto-Enrolment Minimum Contributions

It’s important to remind your staff that this month, there will be a mandatory increase in contributions. Employers will need to contribute a minimum of 2%, and employees 3%, providing a total minimum contribution of 5% per month.

Statutory Rates

Most years, the Department for Work and Pensions proposes new rates for statutory payment in line with the Consumer Price Index. This year, 2018, the rates are as follows:

  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) – paid at a rate of 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, the remaining 33 weeks are paid at the statutory rate (or at 90%, whichever is lower). From 1 April 2018, the statutory rate increased from £140.98 to £145.18 per week.
  • Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) – will also increase from £140.98 to £145.18 per week.
  • Maternity Allowance – payable for those who don’t qualify for SMP payment, this will also increase to £145.18 per week.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – as from 6 April, the rate will increase from £89.35 to £92.05 per week. You can offer more if you have a company sick pay scheme, but you cannot offer less.

The amount that your employees must earn to be entitled to these rates is also increasing from £113 to £116 per week. Employees earning less than this will not be eligible.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates

As from 1 April 2018, the minimum hourly rates have increased slightly to the following:

  • NLW for employees aged 25 and over increased from £7.50 to £7.83
  • NMW for those aged 21-24 increased from £7.05 to £7.38
  • NMW for those aged 18-20 increased from £5.60 to £5.90
  • NMW for those ages 16-17 increased from £4.05 to £4.20
  • NMW for apprentices aged under 19, or over 19 but in their first year of apprenticeship, increased from £3.50 to £3.70

Changes to Tax on Payments in Lieu of Notice (PILONs)

As from 6 April 2018, an element of all payments received in connection with a termination of employment are chargeable to income tax as general earnings. Whereas previously, if you didn’t have a contractual right to make a PILON, any payment made in respect of an employee’s notice entitlement was regarded as ‘damages for breach of contract’ with the first £30,000 paid tax-free, with no NICs due. For further information on this, click here.

Employment Tribunal Maximum Awards and Limits

With immediate effect, the maximum amount of a week’s pay to calculate the basic award for unfair dismissal or a redundancy payment increases to £508. The maximum amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £83,682.

And finally, GDPR!

With all the publicity and hype around this topic, you are probably aware that the new GDPR – General Data Protection Regulations – come into effect on 25 May. To find out more about this from an HR point of view, read my newsletter here.

If you need advice on how any of the above relates to your business specifically, I’d be delighted to help. Do call me on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email me.

Are You Up to Date with Employment Law?

On 12 October 2017 we ran our latest Employment Law update workshop, to take our clients and contacts through the latest changes.

Here are some of the issues that we discussed, that you might need to know about for your business and employees.

Female managers earn less than their male colleagues. Data has been released showing that female HR managers earn on average £4500 less than their male counterparts. That’s a gender pay gap of 10% for doing the same job. Across all management roles, female managers earn £12000 less than their male colleagues – a gap of 26.8%. The new gender pay gap reporting rules require all companies with more than 250 employees do disclose the difference between average male and female hourly pay by April 2018. According to certain sources, so far only 77 companies have published their data – out of 7850 that will have to.

A new corporate offence of failing to prevent tax evasion came into effect on 30 September 2017. The offence covers organisations that fail to prevent instances when their associates, including employees, agents and service providers facilitate tax evasion. Organisations may be criminally liable if:

  • their client committed tax fraud
  • one of their associates deliberately and dishonestly facilitated the fraud or
  • the organisation failed to prevent its associate from facilitating fraud.

Organisations can defend themselves by putting in place procedures such as risk assessments, due diligence assessments and fraud prevention policies and procedures.

Tribunal fees have been reversed. The Supreme Court has agreed that it is unlawful to charge tribunal fees, so they are no longer payable by a claimant on bringing an employment tribunal. All those claimants who have paid fees since they were introduced are to be reimbursed – that means that £32 million will be repaid!

Injury to feelings. The Vento Bands used to determine levels of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases have been adjusted for claims issued on or after 11 September 2017 as follows:

  • Lower band – £800-£8400
  • Middle band – £8400-25200
  • Upper band – £25200-£42000 and exceptional cases over £42000.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR requires that personal data be processed according to many of the same principles as under the current Data Protection Act 1998. The GDPR also has new requirements:

  • that restrict the use of consent as a justification for processing data
  • on demonstrating compliance through the documentation of data processing activities
  • on adopting organisational measures for data protection such and policies and practices, and
  • on providing more information to employees and job applicants on the purpose and legal grounds for collecting their data and their rights in relation to their personal data.

There is still much to find out about GDPR and how it will affect your business, so we’ll cover this in more detail at our next workshop in 2018.

In the meantime, if you need any more advice on any of these topics, please do get in touch by calling 0118 940 3032 or emailing me here.