April 2017 sees a number of changes in employment law - we highlight the main ones below:
National minimum wage ("NMW") - the annual increases to the NMW hourly rates will come into effect on 1 April 2017 and are as follows:
- 25+ to increase from £7.20 to £7.50;
- 21 – 24 to increase from £6.95 to £7.05;
- 18 – 20 to increase from £5.55 to £5.60;
- Under 18s to increase from £4.00 to £4.05.
The minimum hourly rate for apprentices will increase from £3.40 to £3.50. This rate is applicable to apprentices aged under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship.
Statutory rates - the rates of certain statutory payments increase this month including:
- statutory maternity/paternity/shared parental and adoption pay which will increase on 2 April 2017 from £139.58 to £140.98 per week; and
- statutory sick pay which will increase on 6 April 2017 from £88.45 to £89.35 per week.
Tribunal awards and statutory redundancy pay - the annual increases in the limits on certain tribunal awards and other payments made under employment legislation will come into effect on 6 April 2017 including:
- the limit on a week's pay which, amongst other things, is used to calculate statutory redundancy pay and will increase from £479 to £489; and
- the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal which will increase from £78,962 to £80,541 (provided this is lower than the additional cap on the compensatory award of 52 weeks' pay).
Gender pay gap reporting - the regulations requiring employers in the private and voluntary sectors with 250 or more employees to publish details of the differences in the pay of male and female employees will come into force on 6 April 2017. Broadly, the regulations require employers to report by 4 April 2018 on the relevant pay data at or around the "snapshot date" of 5 April starting 5 April 2017 and annually thereafter. Similar regulations will apply in relation to public sector employers.
Apprenticeship levy - from 6 April 2017 the apprenticeship levy will be collected through PAYE at a rate of 0.5% of an employer's pay bill to the extent that it exceeds £3 million. Apprenticeships can then be funded by levy paying employers accessing their digital apprenticeship service account which the Government will top up. Funds in the account can be used for approved training providers and assessment of apprentices. Funds not used within prescribed timescales will be lost.