Employment Law Overview - 2018
Detailed below are the key changes planned for 2018 within UK Employment Law for reference to provide you with insights for your business.
2nd February 2018 - Bridging the Gap - Gender Pay Gap Reporting Consultation
On this date an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) consultation which covers the measures to enforce the reporting of organisations’ gender pay gaps closed.
Instances of non-compliance with these regulations will be dealt with informally at first. If any organisation does not undertake the option offered to them of a written agreement on compliance organisations must prepare an action plan to fix the breach. Any failures to comply with this court order could have consequences, such as an unlimited fine.
There is debate from some legal commentators that gender pay reporting is out of the realms of the Equality Act 2010, as currently the regulations state that any breach is a breach of the Equality Act 2010. However, it is thought that any organisation who fails to comply faces the risk of reputational damage which is in fact much greater than enforcement action.
This is followed by the 4th April 2018 a requirement for first reports to be provided for those employees who have at least 250 employees, there will be a requirement to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women in their workforce.
7th February 2018 - Gig Economy - Change to Employment Rights
On the 7th February 2018 it was announced that a government sponsored review has recommended that firms with a “controlling and supervisory” relationship with workers, such as Uber and Deliveroo, should have to pay a full range of benefits, including national insurance contributions.
The Taylor review particularly focused on the so called gig economy which consists of part time and flexible workers. It said that all work undertaken in the UK economy should be classed as “fair and decent”.
The government says it is going further than the Review's recommendations by:
- Enforcing holiday and sick pay entitlements
- Giving all workers the right to demand a payslip
- Allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts
The quantity and quality of jobs in the gig economy will be monitored and steps will be taken to make sure flexible workers are aware of their rights.
The government is also asking the Low Pay Commission to consider a higher minimum wage for workers on zero-hour contracts, and says it may also repeal laws that allow agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.
Whilst the government says that nearly all the recommendations of the Taylor review will be adopted Unions have said however that the plans will still leave 1.8 million workers without key employment rights in comparison to typical employees.
Statutory Pay Rates - Changes
From 1st April 2018:
Workers aged 25 and over: £7.83 an hour (National Living Wage)
Workers aged 21 and over: £7.38 an hour
Development rate for workers aged 18-20; £5.90 an hour
Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17: £4.20 an hour
Apprentice rate: £3.70 an hour
Likely to be from 9th April 2018:
Statutory Maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP) and shared parental pay (ShPP) will rise from £140.98 to £145.18 a week from April
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is due to rise this month from £89.35 to £92.05
The lower earnings limit will rise from £113 to £116
6th April 2018 - Taxation of Termination Payments
From this date notice pay is to be treated as earnings and subject to tax and national insurance contributions (subject to a finalised Finance Bill).
6th April 2018 – Childcare Voucher Schemes – Closed To New Entrants
From this date the Childcare voucher salary sacrifice schemes will close to new entrants, they can continue for any existing users. There is a new tax free childcare payment scheme that started during 2017 following trials and does not involve any input from employers. With the new scheme parents set up accounts via gov.uk and for any children up to the age of 12 they receive 20% tax contributions from the government for their childcare costs.
April 2018 – Restriction on receiving the employment allowance for those working illegally
The government intends to introduce another deterrent for those considering employing illegal workers as from April any employer who does this will be unable to claim the Employment Allowance for one year if they have:
- Hired an illegal worker
- Been penalised by the Home Office
- Have no more appeal rights from that penalty
25th May 2018 – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
This regulation applies to all EU member states from this date onward.
- An expansion of individual data protection rights, including the right to be forgotten.
- Hardening the rule on individual consent when processing sensitive data.
- Reducing the time scale for responding to “subject access requests” from 40 days to one month, and removing the £10 fee
- Requiring organisations to report on any breaches in data which “risks the rights and freedoms of the individual” to the regulatory authority and, where there’s a high risk of this, to the individual affected as well.
Any breaches of this may lead to fines up to 20 million Euros or alternatively 4 per cent of global turnover, whichever is more. Enforcement of these rules rests with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
At PlusHR we are working with an external legal team to ensure that our service complies with the GDPR and will provide further updates on this in due course.