2017 has already been a very active year in employment law, with more changes to come. For employers, being prepared for these changes can make the process easier and ensures they are less likely to break the law.
- National Living Wage: Following the Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017, the National Living wage is expected to increase to 60 per cent of the median earnings by 2020.
- GPDR (General Data Protection Regulations): These will replace the current provisions in the Data Protection Act in 2018, and will enable the UK to maintain its ability to share data with EU states post-Brexit.
- Repeal of the European Communities Act: A Bill will be introduced to repeal the current Act in order to provide certainty for individuals and businesses post Brexit negotiations.
- 6 Point plan for the Gig Economy, following the Taylor Review: The plan includes promoting technology that benefits the workforce and to create a fairer tax system. There may also be a greater emphasis on increasing the rights of workers to bring them into line with employee rights.
- The Trade Union Bill came into force on 1 March 2017: It includes changes to trade union laws such as ballots that now require a 50 per cent turnout to be effective and union supervision of picketing.
- Personal Income Tax: The Government intends to increase the Personal Allowance Tax to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by 2020-21.
- Salary Sacrifices: Existing arrangements will remain protected until April 2018. For new schemes, as of April 2017, the only benefits that will receive a benefit from tax and NI relief include childcare vouchers, cycle to work equipment, ultra-low emission cars and enhanced employer pension contributions.
- 30 hours of free childcare per week: As of September 2017, the provision of free childcare (for eligible working parents) for children aged between 3 and 4 has increased to up to 30 hours per week.
- Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Large private sectors and voluntary sector employers must publish their First Gender Pay Gap Reports by no later than April 4, 2018.
- Caste Discrimination: following a consultation paper launched in March 2017 the Government proposes amendments to the Equality Act to include caste as a protected characteristic within the definition of race discrimination.
- Abolition of Employment Tribunal fees: We can expect a considerable increase in the numbers of claims to Tribunals.