National Minimum Wage
Once again April heralds new employment law legislation, beginning with the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. The Living Wage will increase to £7.50 per hour with the other rates increasing as follows:-
• The rate for workers aged 21 to 24 rises to £7.05 per hour;
• The development rate (workers aged 18 to 20) rises to £5.60 per hour;
• The young workers rate (non-apprentices aged under 18 but above compulsory school age) rises to £4.05 per hour;
• The apprenticeship rate rises £3.50 per hour; and
• The accommodation offset limit rises to £6.40 per day.
Employment Tribunal Award Increases
The annual Employment Tribunal award limit changes will take effect on 6 April 2017. The limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,962 to £80,541.
The cap on the compensatory award is the lower of the maximum or 52 weeks' pay (based on the Claimant's gross salary prior to dismissal but excluding pension contribution, benefits in kind and discretionary bonus). As always there are a limited number of dismissals - including for whistleblowing, certain health and safety reasons and discrimination - where the cap does not apply.
The limit on a week's pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal) will increase from £479 to £489 meaning the maximum basic award increases to £14,670.
Family Friendly Allowances Increases
Increases to family friendly allowances will also take place in April. The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will be £89.35 (up from £88.45). The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay (SMP), maternity allowance, statutory paternity pay (SPP), statutory adoption pay (SAP) and statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) will be £140.98 (up from £139.58).
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The much publicised Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Reporting) Regulations 2017 will come into force in April. The Regulations require private and third sector organisations, with 250 or more 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 on 4 April 2018.
The UK Government also published the draft Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 in January 2017. These Regulations extend the duty to publish gender pay gap reports to listed public authorities in England with 250 or more employees. There are devolved powers for public authorities in Scotland and Wales, with listed public authorities with 150 or more employees in Scotland already required to report on the gender pay gap.
The Apprenticeship Levy is scheduled to come into effect from 6 April 2017. The levy, which is payable by those liable for employers' NICs, will be 0.5% of the employer's NICs pay bill for a tax year less an annual allowance of £15,000, although certain thresholds and exemptions will apply.