Legal Bulletin: April 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.

Hot topics this quarter

Apprenticeship levy introduced
Employers with an annual paybill of more than £3 million will be required to pay a 0.5% levy on this starting on 6 April 2017.

Large employers will be able to access levied amounts, plus a government top-up of 10%, to fund apprenticeships from accredited training providers.

Smaller organisations that are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by contributing 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the Government paying the remaining cost.

Changes to rules for employing foreign workers
A new ‘skills charge’ of £1,000 per worker is set to be introduced in April 2017 for employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa.

The intention behind the new charge – which will be in addition to the current fees for visa applications – is to encourage businesses to recruit and train UK employees and reduce their reliance on migrant workers. The minimum salary threshold for ‘experienced workers’ applying for a tier 2 visa is also expected to increase to £30,000.

National minimum wage increase cycle changed
The national minimum wage cycle is being aligned from 2017, so it that increases for all age groups to take place in April rather than October.

This is in line with the introduction of the national living wage – the minimum wage rate for workers aged 25 and over – in April 2016. While the rates for the lower age groups have traditionally increased
on 1 October each year, this will now change to 1 April. The alignment will mean a further increase on 1 April 2017 for workers below the age of 25, on top of their October 2016 increase.

Salary-sacrifice schemes significantly restricted
Employers may need to reconsider their benefit offerings as tax savings through many salary-sacrifice schemes will be abolished from 6 April 2017. Schemes related to pension savings (including pensions advice), childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected.

Schemes in place prior to April 2017 will be protected until April 2018, while arrangements related to cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until April 2021.

Key Recent Legal Dates

31st March – Gender pay gap reporting regulations (public sector) came into force.

1st April – National Living Wage rises to £7.50 an hour and NMW rates increase.

6th April – Gender pay gap reporting regulations (private sector) came into force.

6th April – Apprenticeship levy takes effect.

September – 30 hours’ free childcare to become available for 3 and 4-year olds in working families. Exact date to be confirmed.

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Filed Under: Employers, Legal Updates


Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.

Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.