April Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

By Andrew Knorpel, Partner, Head of Employment.

April is known (according to various song titles) for Paris, fools, love, showers and storms. However, in the employment law genre, April (and particularly today) is known for its ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

Many of the increased rates (including national minimum wage, statutory sick pay, statutory family leave and a week’s pay for statutory redundancy payments) are set out in our regularly updated Facts and Figures. Please refer to this resource for more details.

In addition, the following issues should also be on your April radar:

Apprenticeship levy – all UK employers who have annual wage bills of more than £3 million will be required to pay 0.5% of their annual wage bill towards the cost of apprenticeship training from 6 April 2017; the Government has also published regulations allowing penalties to be imposed for the submission of inaccurate apprenticeship levy returns.
Gender pay gap reporting – as trailed in several of our previous bulletins, the publication of annual reports by organisations not in the public sector on their gender pay gap will soon become reality for employers of at least 250 staff (employees and workers) as at the snapshot date of 5 April 2017; the final regulations filled in some gaps in the draft legislation, but we are still urging employers to publish additional narrative to mitigate any reputational risk which may be engendered by the publication of bare statistics alone.
Extension of IR35 obligations – as from 6 April 2017, public sector bodies will become directly responsible for making statutory deductions under the IR35 regime from the payments made to workers supplied by personal service companies; we can probably expect this to be rolled out to the private sector organisations in due course
Modern slavery – the obligation to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement applies to all commercial organisations with a global turnover of £36 million organisations with financial years ending from 31 March 2016 onwards; therefore, every business caught by the rules (and those smaller organisations who see reputational and other good commercial reasons to take the plunge) should have either already published their statement or be in the process of finalising it so that it can be published as soon as possible after the financial year end to which it relates.
Salary sacrifice – from this month, the scope of benefits which can be offered through salary sacrifice arrangements (providing relief from tax and national insurance contributions) has been curtailed; the remaining benefits are now limited to enhanced employer pensions contributions, childcare benefits, equipment provided under the cycle to work scheme and ultra-low emission cars.
Please contact a member of the team if you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in our bulletins.

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