April is always a period in the year when a range of statutory rates are reviewed. The National Minimum and National Living Wage rates will increase on the 1st April 2017, details of the new rates can be found here.
Remember it is against the law for employers to pay workers less than the minimum wage or to falsify payment records. There are hefty penalties for those who don’t comply.
National Minimum Wage changes are being aligned with the statutory rate changes, the alignment will mean a further increase on 1 April 2017 for workers below the age of 25, on top of their October 2016 increase.
There are also changes to family friendly statutory payments such as maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay, shared parental pay and statutory sick pay, details of the changes can be found here.
Large employers (with an annual payroll of more than £3 million) will be required to pay 0.5% of their total bill starting on 6th April 2017. Smaller organisations who are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by making a contribution of 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the Government paying the remaining costs. For more information on the Apprenticeship Levy click here.
Employing foreign workers
There are also some significant changes to the rules for employing foreign workers. In addition to the current fees for the visa application, if you sponsor foreign workers with a tier 2 visa, you will be required to pay an immigration skills charge of £1000 per worker. If you are a small employer or a charity, this is reduced to £364. From April 2017, applicants applying for a tier 2 visa will have a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 for “experienced workers”. An exemption to the minimum salary threshold will apply to new entrants to the job market and some health and education staff until 2019.
Salary Sacrifice Schemes
It was announced in the autumn budget statement last year, that the Government were introducing major changes to so called salary sacrifice schemes. In brief the main changes are that many tax free schemes will now be taxed. Certain benefits are exempt such as Pension, childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission car schemes. Most schemes will become taxable from April 2018, those relating to cars, accommodation or school fees are tax free until April 2021. You must remember that if you are going to remove a salary-sacrifice scheme, you must follow due process.
EU General Data Protection Regulation or the GDPR as it is commonly known comes into effect on 25th May 2018, the aim of the new Regulation is to harmonise the current data protection laws in place across the EU member states. This imposes heavy penalties for noncompliance and broadens the area of data protection. We will be providing you with further information, in due course, on how these new Regulations will affect you and your business.
As always, at HR:4UK we will ensure that you are always legally compliant and keep you informed but if you have any queries or are in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us.