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Five Anticipated Employment Law Changes for 2017

19 December 2016

Significant employment law changes are predicted for 2017, amid the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the Brexit referendum. We have provided a list of 5 anticipated law changes that will need to be addressed (if applicable) in 2017. Of course, some may be subject to change or approval, with many implementation dates yet to be confirmed.

1: Gender pay gap reporting

Employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish documents detailing their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap on a yearly basis, for the first time.

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.

Gender pay gap regulations for private and voluntary sector employers are still in draft form but the deadline for the first report is expected to be 4 April 2018, based on pay and bonus data from 2016/17.

Reporting requirements for public-sector employers are expected to mirror private-sector timelines and requirements.



2: Apprenticeship levy on large employers

Employers with an annual payroll of more than £3 million will be required to pay a 0.5% levy on their total pay bill starting on 6 April 2017.

Large employers will be able to access levied amounts, plus a government top-up of 10%, to fund apprenticeships from accredited training providers.

Smaller organisations that are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by contributing 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the Government paying the remaining cost.



3: Tougher immigration laws

As of the 6th April 2016, employees from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) looking to stay in the UK permanently will need to be earning more than £35,000 after their first five years of residence. This change was announced back in 2012 but only comes into force next year, and is likely to affect the education and healthcare sectors in particular.

If you have anyone working for you on a Tier 2 ‘skilled worker’ visa you will need to take this into consideration over the next year; as if you employ someone without a right to work in the UK, you can be liable for an up to £20,000 penalty. And that’s before we even think about the fears of skills shortages after this law comes into force, although there are likely to be some sector specific exemptions where there is a known skill shortage.



4: National Minimum wage changes aligned

The National Minimum Wage for employees aged 25 and over will be increasing this April to a new National Living Wage rate. This will be set at £7.20 per hour, rising steeply to £9 per hour by 2020, and if you fail to pay your staff the right amount you’ll be treated in just the same way as an employer who misses the Minimum Wage update each October; with a large fine and your company name on a public list of offenders.



5: Trade union balloting changes to be implemented

Employers await the implementation date for new balloting requirements under the Trade Union Act 2016.

Under the rules, a successful vote for strike action will require a 50% minimum turnout and a majority vote in favour of industrial action.

Industrial action in important public services will require a strike vote of 40% of all eligible voters.



At Datum RPO, we take legal compliance very seriously. There can be significant repercussions if specific laws aren’t met. If you are unsure of any of these laws, or would like to discuss these laws further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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