Legal Bulletin: July 2017

At Appointments, we believe that every business should have access to the latest legislative updates and legal news surrounding HR and recruitment. That’s why we’ve created a legal bulletin packed full of the most recent changes to employment law and related topics to keep you in the loop.

Read on to find out which recent or upcoming changes to UK legislation could affect your business.

Changes from April 2017

Statutory family-related pay and sick pay rates increased

The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay has increased to £140.98 for pay weeks commencing on or after 2 April 2017.

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay has increased to £89.35 from 6 April 2017

New Tax-free Childcare scheme

The Tax-free Childcare scheme enables parents who meet the eligibility criteria to receive a contribution from the Government of 20% of their childcare costs. This scheme has an annual limited up to £2,000 per child or £4,000 in the case of a disabled child. Parents can pay money into a childcare account and have the payments topped up by 20% by the Government.

Parents are able to open their own childcare accounts online and the scheme is not led or administered by employers.

Tax-free Childcare is now available from 21 April 2017 for parents of a child who will be aged under four on 31 August 2017 or of a child who is disabled (aged under 17). The scheme is being rolled-out during 2017 in relation to all children under 12 where parents meet the eligibility criteria.

New limits on employment statutory redundancy pay have come into force

Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ or more service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age.

The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount of £489 from 6th April 2017, an increase from £479.

Pensions advice allowance introduced

Members of defined-contribution and hybrid pension schemes are now able to take a tax-free amount of £500 from their scheme, to be used against the cost of financial advice.

The allowance was made available from the 6 April 2017.

Tax advantages under salary-sacrifice arrangements to be limited

Benefits-in-kind attracting tax and NIC advantages when they are provided under a salary-sacrifice scheme have now been limited.

This change took effect from 6 April 2017, with some exemptions. Arrangements already in place are protected until April 2018, and until April 2021 for some benefits.

On the horizon…

General Data Protection Regulations

In May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation will come into force in the UK. This will introduce significant changes to the existing data protection regime and increase the potential fines for non-compliance.

HR departments should take the opportunity now to prepare for the changes this year by carrying out an audit of employee personal data it holds to ensure it meets the requirements of the GDPR and review, amend or draft new policies and procedures on data breaches, subject access requests and privacy notices. Training relevant staff on the changes will also need to be addressed.

The regulation is due to come into effect in May 2018 and should become part of UK law at that point, but Brexit may change this, at least after March 2019 if Article 50 is triggered by March next year. The government has so far indicated that we should assume that the GDPR will come into force in the UK, which will still be a member of the EU in May 2018.

Shared parental leave for working grandparents

The consultation on shared parental leave for working grandparents was expected to start in 2016, but has been delayed due to the Brexit referendum. It was expected that any new rights would take effect in 2018, but this will now be delayed until a future date.

 

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