Considering recent events, we’re sure you’ll forgive us for being cautious with our predictions for 2017. If you went to the bookies for a punt on Brexit plus a Trump victory, you’re probably still celebrating! Though we would suggest you keep the celebrations quiet as he continues to shock the world.
As 2016 comes to a close though, it’s important that we look ahead to 2017, and the hopefully ‘pleasant surprises’ it could have in store for employers and business owners. This isn't an exhaustive list, things will no doubt change as we move through 2017.
Let’s start with what we know is coming:
Gender pay gap reporting. 5th April 2017
Have less than 250 employees? Don’t worry, this won’t affect you. Employers with this number and more though will have to calculate and publish the gender pay gap (difference in pay between men and women) present within their organisation. Even if you don’t have to report it, you should be paying male and female employees the same for work of equal value - or risk an equal pay claim!
The Immigration Act 2016 skills charge comes into effect. April 2017
This is the Act designed to push employers away from employing migrant workers, and to tackle the practice of employing illegally. Not all powers introduced by the Act commence on the same date. But the skills charge is due in April. From the commencement date, companies employing migrants under Tier 2 of the immigration points system will have to pay a sponsorship fee of £1,000 (or £364 for smaller businesses).
Statutory wage rises are brought into sync. April 2017
The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage will, from this date, rise together. Before, one rose in October and the other in April. By putting these dates together you’ll only need to look at this once a year, so the government might actually be saving you admin time here. Thanks government!
From April 2017, staff will no longer be able sacrifice some of their pay for employee benefits in kind and employers and employees that use these schemes will pay the same taxes as everyone else. However, child care, pensions, cycle to work schemes and ultra-low emissions company cars are excluded from the new restrictions.
National Living Wage
A rise is planned for the National Living Wage despite potential instability in the economy. So, in April 2017 prepare to pay your staff aged 25 and above a minimum of £7.50 p/h.
What’s on the horizon?
Brexit. Until we see the plan it’s hard to say how things will go in the field of employment law. And it is at least two years away. So we are very unlikely to see an immediate scrapping of any of our European led laws e.g. Working Time Regulations. What will undoubtedly change, is how the UK manages its migrant workforce, including people from overseas who are currently working in the UK.
The end of the gig economy?
Caught the Uber ruling? A tribunal judge recently awarded Uber’s drivers with ‘workers’ rights’, dismissing Uber’s claim that each driver is self-employed. Why is it so important? Because so many businesses use people on a self-employed basis, sometimes incorrectly. The ruling suggests the courts aren’t in favour of UK businesses by-passing their basic employment responsibilities. The government are currently carrying out a consultation which looks at this.
So there is a lot coming, but don’t worry! The HR Dept will be there throughout 2017 to keep you up to date.
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