Stephanie Wilcox

+44 (0)1733 887720 sjwilcox@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Caroline Gumbrell

+44 (0)1733 887745 cmgumbrell@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Are you ready for the employment law changes this April?

Agriculture and rural business / 03 April 2017

KEY DATE

A number of changes are due to come in to force on 6 April 2017 which could affect you as an employer in the agricultural sector.

ISSUES

National Minimum Wage and Living Wage
Unusually, all rates will rise from 6 April 2017, to bring the timing of the annual uprating of the lower National Minimum Wage rates in line with the annual increase to the National Living Wage, which is rising to £7.50 per hour. A link to current NMW/NLW rates is available here.

Gender pay gap reporting
The new requirements for private and charitable sector employers with at least 250 employees to report their gender pay gap data will apply from 6 April 2017. As of 31 March 2017, similar requirements now apply to public sector organisations.  Read our previous briefing on the effect of the Regulations here.

Apprenticeships
The apprenticeship levy comes into force on 6 April 2017.  Employers with an annual pay bill of at least £3 million will pay an annual levy of 0.5% via PAYE in monthly instalments. Employers will be able to access funding for training and apprentices through a digital service.  This is expected to operate from 1 May 2017. Our previous update can be viewed here.

Salary sacrifice arrangements
Benefits-in-kind attracting tax and NIC advantages when they are provided under a salary-sacrifice scheme are to be limited.  This change is expected to take effect from 6 April 2017.  HMRC has published guidance on the changes to sit alongside the latest draft of the Finance Bill 2017.

Increase to a week’s pay
From 6 April 2017, the maximum amount of ‘a week’s pay’ (for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy payments and compensation for unfair dismissal) will increase from £479 to £489.  This means that for dismissals which take effect on or after 6 April 2017:

  • the maximum basic award and statutory redundancy pay will be £14,670 (previously £14,370); and
  • the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal be £80,541 (previously £78,962).

Immigration changes
A number of immigration changes are due to come into force on 6 April 2017 including the immigration skills charge of £1,000 a year for non-EEA migrants under Tier 2.  The charge will apply in relation to each worker under Tier 2, although there are some exemptions.

ACTION

Employers should take action on these developments as appropriate to their agri-businesses, including updating any working practices and relevant policies and procedures.  We will continue to keep you updated on future developments.

If you have any questions or would like some advice from a member of the Employment and Employee Benefits Team regarding the impact of these changes on your agribusiness, please contact Stephanie Wilcox on 01733 887720 or sjwilcox@greenwoods.co.uk

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