Key Employment Law changes from April 2018
1 April 2018
National living wage. The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (currently in draft form) will come into force on 1 April 2018. The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase by 33p to £7.83 an hour. The rates of other minimum wage bands will also increase (see Checklist, Current rates and limits for employment lawyers). The Low Pay Commission has already began to consult on the national minimum wage rates for 2019.
Statutory payments. The Social Security Benefits (Up-rating) Order 2018 (SI 2018/281) raises the level of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay to £145.18 on 1 April 2018 (with maternity allowance rising to the same rate on 9 April 2018). Statutory sick pay rises to £92.05 on 6 April 2018.
Public sector equality duties. The Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No 13) (Scotland) Order 2017 (SI 2017/403) will come into force on 1 April 2018. The Order brings into force the provisions in part 1 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), which impose duties on specified authorities in relation to socio-economic inequalities and require them to exercise them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from a socio-economic disadvantage.
4 April 2018
Mandatory gender pay gap reporting. Large private and voluntary sector employers (those with 250 or more employees) are required to publish annual information on their gender pay gap under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/172). First reports are due on 4 April 2018.
6 April 2018
Tribunal compensation limits. The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2018 (SI 2018/194) will come into force on 6 April 2018. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £80,541 to £83,682. The maximum amount of a week's pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £489 to £508.
Termination payments. On 6 April 2018, all payments in lieu of notice, including payments where there is no contractual PILON power, will be subject to income tax and class 1 NICs. Effectively, employers will be required to subject to tax that part of a termination payment equivalent to the employee's basic pay if and to the extent that notice is not worked. HMRC states that the new rules apply only where both payment and termination occurs on or after 6 April 2018 (section 5 of the Finance (No.2) Act 2017 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/257)). With effect from the same date, section 5 of the Finance (No.2) Act 2017 will also place payments for injury to feelings outside the exemption for injury payments (except where the injury amounts to a psychiatric injury or other recognised medical condition), and will grant powers to HM Treasury to vary the £30,000 threshold. Foreign service relief for UK resident employees (except in relation to seafarers) will also be abolished under section 10 of the Finance Act 2018.