Employment Law in 2017 – Important Changes
2017 is expected to bring about a few important changes to employment law.
The most anticipated will be the Supreme Court’s decision on Brexit which is due soon. Whilst no immediate employment law changes will happen on the back of this, there will undoubtedly be much speculation as to how Brexit will affect employment law generally in the future.
Similarly, the 2016 Budget and thereafter the Autumn statement both confirmed that changes would be introduced to the tax treatment of termination payments. The government are consulting on the draft bill now with the changes expected to be implemented at a later date, namely in April 2018.
More immediate changes for employment law in 2017 expected are:
- The current weekly rate of statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental leave pay (which is currently £139.58, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate) is being increased to £140.98. This will take affect from 2nd April 2017.
- The minimum wage for workers over 25 will increase to £7.50 in April, an increase of 30p on the rate introduced last year. There will be smaller increases for 18-20 and 21-24 year olds, to £5.60 and £7.05 respectively.
- From 6th April, statutory sick pay (SSP) is also increasing from £88.45 to £89.35. This is, as usual, subject to minimum eligibility requirements.
- Gender pay gap reporting. Employers with 250 or more employees will be required to produce gender pay gap reports by April 2018 for the financial period 2016/2017.
- Large employers (with an annual payroll of more than £3 million) will be required to pay a 0.5% levy on their total pay bill, by 6th April 2017. Larger employers will then be able to access the fund (plus a 10% top-up from the government) to fund accredited apprenticeships within their business. Different rules will apply to smaller employers who are not required to pay the levy – in which case the government will fund the cost of apprenticeships if they contribute 10%.
- Salary-sacrifice schemes will start to be phased out with no new schemes to be introduced from April 2017 and the ones set up prior to this date will be protected until anywhere between 2018-2021 depending on the type of scheme in place.