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April 2017: Key changes and points for employers to consider

07 April 2017 #Employment


April heralds the start of spring and often marks the start date for recently introduced legislation. Here is a whistle-stop tour of some of the most important changes in employment law this month will bring:

  • Gender pay gap reporting rules will come into force

After much anticipation, April will bring the introduction of requirements for employers to provide an annual report regarding the gender pay gap.  Employers with 250 or more employees will have to report data about their gender pay gap including bonuses.  Employers in the private and voluntary sector must use pay data for staff employed on a ‘snapshot’ date of the 5th April. Employers will have 12 months to publish the information on their website and then upload it to the government website annually.

This January, the Government published the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 which extended the duty to publish such reports to public sector employers also. For more information please see our previous Article ‘Gender Pay- the revised regulations and what to do now’.

  • Apprentice levy and targets introduced

An apprenticeship levy to fund apprenticeship training will come into effect on the 6th April 2017. Employers with a total annual payroll bill in excess of £3m (which accounts for an estimated 98% of all businesses) will pay a levy of 0.5%. Employers will pay the monthly levy by PAYE and will receive a 10% “top-up” of funds for spending on apprenticeship training and will add this top-up on a monthly basis.  Employers with fewer than 50 staff will not be required to pay anything towards the cost of apprenticeships offered to 16-18 year olds. For more information on this area please see our previous Articles ‘Government publishes guidance on apprenticeship funding’, and ‘Apprenticeship levy update’.

In addition to the levy, from 1st April 2017 public sector employers in England with at least 250 employees will be required to deliver against a target that 2.3% of their workforce must start an apprenticeship each year as the Government aims to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

  • Salary Sacrifice

As we reported in our Article ‘Autumn Statement’, from this month a removal of tax and NIC benefits will apply to certain benefits unless they are given on top of a salary. This means that employers will have to bear the cost of the benefit in order to avoid the income tax and employer’s NICs charges. Arrangements exempt from the removal of tax and NIC advantages include:

  • Enhanced pension contributions to registered pension schemes (and pensions advice)
  • Childcare benefits (childcare vouchers and employer-supported childcare such as the provision of workplace nurseries)
  • Cycles and cyclists’ safety equipment provided under the cycle to work scheme.
  • Ultra-low emission cars

Arrangements that are already in place will be protected until April 2018, with arrangements for cars, accommodation and school fees benefitting from protected status until April 2021.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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