For busy managers of small businesses, there’s always lots to navigate, interpret and filter around employment law. This short digest will help you focus on some of the most relevant areas likely to affect your business over the first few months of 2018.
National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage Increases (April 2018)
The National Living Wage will increase to £7.83 per hour and the National Minimum Wage for 21-24 year olds will increase to £7.38 per hour; for 18 to 20 year olds to £5.90 an hour; for 16-17 year olds to £4.20 an hour and the apprenticeship rate will increase to £3.70 an hour.
Kay’s comment: Don’t forget that the National Living Wage still falls below the independently calculated voluntary ‘Living Wage’ of £8.75 per hour for workers over 18 years old, set by the Living Wage Foundation each year.
Statutory Rates Increase (April 2018)
Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £89.35 per week to £92.05 and Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Pay will increase from £140.98 per week to £145.18.
General Data Protection Regulation (25th May 2018)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this year. Even if the capture and processing of personal data is not a major part of a business, it will still have responsibilities regarding the personal data held on employees, workers, suppliers and customers.
Kay’s comment: Please let me know if you would like specific help and guidance regarding your compliance with GDPR. For general queries, the ICO have also set up a free GDPR helpline specifically for SMEs 0303 123 1113.
Changes to the Fit for Work Scheme (31st March 2018)
The government’s Fit for Work Scheme was introduced in 2014 to provide a free occupational health and assessment and advice service to employers, employees and GPs to help manage sickness absence. Due to the low rate of referrals the government will be closing the assessment services, but keeping open the website and helpline for sickness absence advice and support.
Pension Contribution Increases (April 2018)
Employer contributions to auto-enrolled pension schemes will increase to 2% and for employees to 3%.
Kay’s comment: Make sure your employees have access to sound financial and pension planning advice, as the contributions will be increasing again in 2019 to 3% for employers and 5% for employees. Recent surveys suggest that employee awareness of these increases is low and an increasing number are opting-out of pension schemes as they undervalue the longer-term benefits of employer contributions.
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Please Note: The information contained above is provided for your general use only. It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.