New year, new employment laws!

Posted: 3rd January 2017

HNYHere are three employment law changes lined up for 2017 that may change your day-to-day life in the UK.

Apprenticeships

From April, there is to be an apprenticeship levy on large employers to fund 3 million additional apprenticeships over the next five years. The rate for the levy is set to be 0.5% of an employer’s wages bill. Each employer will then receive an allowance of up to £15,000 to offset against their levy payment.

The levy will not affect the way you fund training for apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before 1 May 2017.

Gender pay gap

Gender pay gap is the average difference between men’s and women’s aggregate hourly rates. In 2017 reporting on gender gaps is to become compulsory for private sector and voluntary organisations employing 250 or more under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. These requirements will only apply to public sector bodies in England.

The term 'pay' includes holiday pay, maternity pay and bonuses. The first reports of this are likely to be due by the end of April 2018. Annual reporting will be required thereafter.

Childcare

Later in the year, 30 hours free childcare will be available for 3 and 4 year olds with working parents. This is provided for by the Childcare Act 2016 and doubles the current number of hours available.

It is important to note that this applies for 38 weeks of the year not 52. It is equivalent to school term times. In theory you may be able to spread the free childcare out over more than 38 weeks, but consequently you will receive fewer than 30 hours childcare each week.

There are qualifying criteria. When the scheme starts in your area in England, your child must be aged 3 or 4, you must work more than 16 hours per week and have an annual income of less than £100,000.

Several areas in the UK have been testing these programmes since September 2016. Please check your local council’s website for starting dates and further details.

Contact us for advice on all matters in relation to employment.