2016 was certainly a year of extreme ups and downs, and one we’re not going to forget in a long time, so what’s next?
What should you be aware of in the next 12 months?
Yes, Brexit. A term we are now so used to hearing and something that isn’t going to disappear any day soon. Article 50 is expected to be triggered this March, setting in motion Britain’s exit from the EU. Should this happen as planned, there will be a number of changes that may affect employment law as many of the principles we currently follow have been derived from Europe.
Following the trigger of Article 50, Theresa May will need to reassure us, providing clarification on the status of the 3.6 million EU migrants currently living in the UK and whether or not low-skilled migrant workers will still be permitted to work in the UK once Britain completes the exit process.
On the 6th of April, employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million will be required to pay a 0.5% levy to help fund 3 million apprenticeships in the UK. However, each employer that pays in to help the fund will receive an allowance of £15,000 which is subtracted from the 0.5% total. Employers will start paying the levy from May 2017 so it’s important that companies identify whether the levy applies to them and if so, how they can use the available funds.
Modern employment practices
2017 will see a review into modern employment practices which will be led by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Arts. He is leading the review into employment practices in order to ensure the UK is keeping pace with modern business models. As part of the appraisal, he will also be addressing questions on issues such a job security, wage levels and employees’ rights.
Immigration skills charge
From April 2017, employers who sponsor a migrant worker for a Tier 2 visa will be required to pay an 'immigration skills charge' of £1,000 per migrant, per year. This is to encourage employers to recruit from within the UK whenever possible.
Gender pay gap
The gender pay gap reporting law requires large companies (250+ employees) to publish gender pay gap information on their websites as well as uploading the information to a government website. The first reports are due in April 2018 covering April 2017 to April 2018.
National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage
In 2017, there will be further increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW). Future increases of both the NMW & NLW will take place in April each year rather than October.
From April, the following increases will apply:
- £7.50 per hour - 25 years old and over
- £7.05 per hour - 21-24 years old
- £5.60 per hour - 18-20 years old
- £4.05 per hour - 16-17 years old
- £3.50 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship
Without a shadow of a doubt, 2017 is set to be a year bumper packed with change, so preparation and knowledge for businesses is key.
A blog by Emily Meredith, HR Advisor for Acorn.