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HR Employment Law Updateback to list
20 April 2017
General Data Protection Regulation compliance efforts underway
Although the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not come into force until May 2018, the scope of the changes under the new Regulation means that preparing for the GDPR will be high priority for employers in 2017. Employers will need to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect and process to ensure that it meets GDPR conditions for employee consent. New governance and record-keeping requirements mean that employers will also have to create or amend policies and processes on privacy notices, data breach responses and subject access requests. As the GDPR will come into effect before the UK exits the EU, organisations that are not compliant by May 2018 risk fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is higher. We will keep you informed on the progress of this change.
Gender pay gap reporting 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 be obliged to release information relating to employee pay and bonus pay, as well as information on the number of men and women in each quartile of the organisation's pay distribution. Gender pay gap regulations for private and voluntary sector employers are still in draft form but the deadline for 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 starting on 6 April 2017. Large employers will be able to access levied amounts, plus a government top-up of 10%, to fund apprenticeships from accredited training providers. Smaller organisations that are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by contributing 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the government paying the remaining cost.
Salary-sacrifice schemes significantly restricted
Employers may need to reconsider their benefit offerings as tax savings through many salary-sacrifice schemes will be abolished from 6 April 2017. Schemes related to pension savings (including pensions advice), childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected. Schemes in place prior to April 2017 will be protected until April 2018, while arrangements related to cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until April 2021.
Changes to rules for employing foreign workers
Employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will be required to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker (£364 for small employers and charities) beginning in April 2017. The immigration skills charge will be in addition to current fees for visa applications. In April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for "experienced workers" applying for a tier 2 visa will also increase to £30,000. New entrants to the job market, and some health and education staff will be exempted from the salary threshold until 2019.
Statutory rate increase effective from April 2017
- Maternity pay will rise from £139.58 to £140.98
- Sick pay will rise from £88.45 to £89.35
- National Living Wage will increase to £7.50
- Workers aged 21-24 will increase to £7.05
- Workers aged 18 to 20 will increase to £5.60
- Workers aged under 18 will increase to £4.05
- Apprentices aged under 19, or aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship will increase to £3.50