April is the busiest month of the year for employment law legislative changes.
NATIONAL LIVING WAGE AND NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE
The NLW has increased from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour while the NMW has increased as follows:-
- 21 to 24 year old rate from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour
- 18 to 20 year old rate from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour
- 16 to 17 year old rate from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour
- Apprentice rate from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour
As of 1 April statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay and maternity allowance has increased from £140.98 to £145.18 a week.
From 6 April statutory sick pay is £92.05 per week (increased from £89.35).
The annual Employment Tribunal award limit changes took effect on 6 April 2018. The limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal has increased from £80,541 to £83,682.
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 including employer pension contributions but excluding benefits in kind and discretionary bonus). The cap does not apply for dismissals as a result of whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety reasons. In addition, the cap does not apply in the event that the dismissal is related to unlawful discrimination.
The limit on a week's pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal) increased from £489 to £508 meaning the maximum basic award increases to £15,240
TAXATION OF TERMINATION PAYMENTS
From 6 April all payments made in lieu of notice (PILON's) must be taxed irrespective of whether they are contractual or not. According to the February HMRC Bulletin, this change will apply to payments received on or after 6 April 2018 in circumstance where the employment also terminates on or after 6 April 2018.
GENDER PAY GAP REPORTING
4 April saw the deadline for gender pay gap reports to be published. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission are gearing up to take enforcement action against those who have not complied.
FIT FOR WORK SCOTLAND
The assessments service, which provides occupational health assessments for employees at risk of long term sickness absence in Scotland will end on 31 May 2018. The equivalent in England and Wales ended on 1 March 2018. Employers, employees and GPs will continue to be able to use the Fit for Work advice helpline, website and web chat services.
PUBLIC SECTOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC INEQUALITY DUTY
Following a consultation last year the socio-economic inequality duty - now known as the Fairer Scotland duty - came into force on 1 April. The duty requires listed public authorities such as councils and the NHS to take into account the reduction of poverty and social inequality when making major strategic decisions such as budget setting or when compiling economic development strategies.