One of the most important things for your business and employees to be aware of is the law surrounding employment and any changes in this area that may have a major impact on your business and its continuing success.

April 2017 was a busy month in terms of employment law changes. Therefore, this edition of my newsletter covers the main aspects employers need to be aware of.

Data Protection

When it comes to data protection, you should be aware that new standards will be introduced in 2018, so preparing for the changes is set to become a high priority for employers in 2017. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes with new requirements for consent when you collect employees’ personal details. In essence, you’ll need clear consent when it comes to collecting employee data that is separate from other matters and employees will need to sign separate declarations of consent for you to collect their information. Furthermore, employers will need to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect to ensure that they meet GDPR conditions. New governance and record-keeping requirements will also mean that employers must develop or amend policies and processes for privacy notices, data breach responses and subject access requests.

Rates of pay

When it comes to budgeting for your hiring in 2017, it’s important to bear in mind that on April 1st, employees National Minimum Wage and Living Wage increased as follows:

  • Apprentices pay will increase by 10p per hour to £3.50
  • Pay for 16 and 17 year olds will rise to £4.05, up from £4 per hour
  • Pay for 18 to 20 year olds will rise to £5.60, up from £5.55 per hour
  • Pay for 21 to 24 year olds will rise to £7.05, up from £6.95 per hour
  • Pay for workers aged 25 and up will increase to £7.50, up from £7.30 per hour

For the first time since April 2015, the statutory rates of pay for maternity, paternity, shared parental leave and adoption increased from 2nd April to £140.98 a week, as did the rate of statutory sick pay to £89.35 per week. It’s also important for employers to note that the statutory redundancy pay rate has increased to £489 per week.

Salary-sacrifice schemes

You may need to reconsider benefits you offer to employees as tax savings through salary-sacrifice schemes. Most schemes from April will become subject to the same tax as income, although arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018 or April 2021, depending on what they offer. The changes will affect different salary sacrifice arrangements in different ways, however only a few will continue to benefit from tax and National Insurance contributions relief. Schemes related to pension savings (including pensions advice); childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected.

Employing foreign workers

If you’re planning to employ or already employ someone from overseas, new changes will mean foreign worker with a tier 2 visa on the payroll will require you to pay an extra £1,000 per worker, or £364 if you are a small business or a charity, known as the “immigration skills charge”. In addition, any new foreign workers applying for a tier 2 visa will need to be earning a minimum of £30,000 per year. These changes are going to be a high priority for companies in 2017 and those who start preparing now will be better placed to effectively minimise any disruption to their business, particularly as failure to comply with these regulations could lead to legal penalties and fines.

For more details of how employment law changes will work, please contact me on 07880 207483 or email me at