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All change for employment law

Legal question time with Gardner Leader

Julie Taylor

Julie Taylor, Senior Associate in the employment team at Gardner Leader

Significant employment law changes are anticipated for 2017, amid the ongoing uncertainty resulting from Brexit, together with the usual changes such as the increase to the national minimum wage. Find out below what these changes might mean for you as an employee or to your
business.

1. Gender pay gap reporting begins

Private-sector, voluntary sector and public-sector
organisations with 250 employees or more will be required to publish gender pay gap information for the first time. The final draft of the regulations was published on December 6, 2016, and is expected to come into force on April 6, 2017, subject to
Parliamentary approval. The first gender pay gap reports for large private and voluntary sector employers will be due by April 4, 2018. Separate requirements will be
introduced for public sector employers.

What does this mean?

In short, employers will be obliged to release information relating to employee pay and bonus pay, as well as
information on the number of men and women in each
quartile of the organisation’s pay distribution.

Acas and the Government Equalities Office have jointly published guidance on the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The guidance sets out a step-by-step guide to
complying with the
regulations. It also encourages affected employers to go beyond the requirements of the regulations and implement an ‘action plan’ that aims to reduce the gender pay gap.

2. Apprenticeship levy on large employers introduced

The apprenticeship levy will require all UK employers in both the private and public sectors that have annual wage bills of more than £3m to pay 0.5 per cent of their annual wage bill towards the cost of apprenticeship training. This replaces the current system, enabling employers to choose and pay for the apprenticeship training they want. Smaller organisations that are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by contributing 10 per cent towards the cost of an
apprenticeship, with the Government paying the remaining cost.

The apprenticeship levy is due to come into force in April 2017. More details are expected in due course.

3. National Minimum Wage changes

On April 1, 2017, the rates for the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage change as follows:

October 2016 (current rate)
25 and over – £7.20
21 to 24 – £6.95
18 to 20 – £5.55
Under 18 – £4.00
Apprentice – £3.40

April 2017
25 and over – £7.50
21 to 24 – £7.05
18 to 20 – £5.60
Under 18 – £4.05
Apprentice – £3.50

The next increase will see the National Living Wage for staff aged 25 or over rising to £7.50 per hour.

4. Changes to rules for employing foreign workers

Employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will be required to pay an
immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker (£364 for small employers and charities) beginning in April. The
immigration skills charge will be in addition to current fees for visa applications.

In April, the minimum salary threshold for “experienced workers” applying for a tier 2 visa will also increase to £30,000. New entrants to the job market, and some health and education staff will be exempted from the salary threshold until 2019.

If you require any advice on the above or any other
employment query, please contact our employment team on (01635) 508080.

By Michelle Morgan and Julie Taylor, senior associates in the employment team at Gardner Leader solicitors in Newbury, Thatcham and Maidenhead. Follow @GardnerLeader or contact (01635) 508080 or www.gardner-leader.co.uk

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