April 2017 – Key changes in Employment Law

April is always a significant month for employment lawyers as it is the month that changes to rates and limits (for things such as redundancy pay, statutory sick pay, and maternity pay) come into force. This year is perhaps even more significant than most as, in addition to the customary changes to rates and limits, April 2017 will also see the introduction of the long anticipated Gender Pay Gap Regulations and the equally anticipated Apprenticeship Levy. We summarise the key changes below:

1. Gender Pay Gap Regulations

On 6 April 2017 the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 came into force. This new legislation requires large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to report data about their gender pay gap, including bonus payments. Our Head of HR and Employment Law, Sara Ellison, has written in detail about exactly what the new legislation means for your business in this blog.

2. Apprenticeship Levy

The 6 April 2017 also marked the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy on UK employers to help fund new apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeship Levy is charged at 0.5% of an employer’s annual pay bill. However, under the scheme, employers have an Apprenticeship Levy allowance of £15,000 each year, meaning that only employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million will pay the levy.

The GOV.UK website provides some useful information as to when and how the Apprenticeship Levy will be applied.

3. Increase in Employment Tribunal compensation limits

From 6 April 2017 there were also new increased compensation limits for Employment Tribunal claims, which will included as follows:

  • The maximum compensatory award increased from £78,962 to £80,541;
  • The maximum amount of a week’s pay (used for calculating a redundancy payment and various other awards including the unfair dismissal basic award) increased from £479 to £489, with the maximum basic award or statutory redundancy payment increasing to £14,670; and
  • The minimum basic award for trade union, health and safety, working time representative, pension scheme trustee and employee representative dismissals increased from £5,853 to £5,970.

4. Statutory family-related pay and sick pay rates increase

With effect from 2 April 2017 the rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay increased to £140.98 per week.
From 6 April 2017, the weekly rate of statutory sick pay also increased to a rate of £89.35.

5. Increase in National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

Increases to the national minimum wage and the national living wage took effect on 1 April 2017, with the new rates as follows: The rates from 1 April 2017 will be (figures in brackets show the current rate):

  • Workers aged 25 and over (the National Living Wage): £7.50 per hour (increased from £7.20).
  • Workers aged 21 to 25: £7.05 per hour (from £6.95).
  • Workers aged 18 to 21: £5.60 per hour (from £5.55).
  • Workers under 18: £4.05 per hour (from £4.00).
  • Apprenticeship rate: £3.50 per hour (from £3.40).

We’re here to help.

If you are unsure about these changes will effect you or your business or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact one of our employment experts on 0114 272 1884 or by email at employment@taylorbracewell.co.uk

About Taylor Bracewell

Taylor Bracewell operates from offices in Thorne Road and Ten Pound Walk in Doncaster and Fountain Precinct in Sheffield. Specialist areas are: Family Law, Business Law, Personal Law (including Wills, Probate, Trusts and Conveyancing), Dispute Resolution, HR & Employment Law, Charity Law.

You can contact us at hello@taylorbracewell.co.uk or call us on 01302 341 414 in Doncaster or 0114 272 1884 in Sheffield.

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