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2017 – a year of employment law updates

The Employment & HR team at Napthens solicitors is highlighting key legal changes introduced in 2017 – and beyond – which affect employers.

Among the areas of law which will see significant changes are income tax and salary sacrifice, free childcare and the National Living Wage.

Kimberley Barrett-St. Vall, partner in the Employment & HR team, said: “2017 has already been a very active year for employment law changes and there is much more we anticipate seeing before the year ends, or during 2018 and beyond.

“Some of these will mean major changes for employers to manage, and preparing well in advance can make the process smoother, and ensure employers are less likely to fall foul of the law.”

Ten of the top upcoming changes include:

  1. National Living Wage: Following the Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017, it was established that the National Living Wage is expected to increase to 60 per cent of the median earnings by 2020, after which this will continue to rise in line with average earnings.
  2. GPDR (General Data Protection Regulations): This will replace the current Data Protection Act in 2018, in order to enable the UK to maintain its ability to share data with EU states post-Brexit.
  3. Repeal of the European Communities Act: A Bill will be introduced to repeal the current Act in order to provide certainty for individuals and businesses post Brexit negotiations.
  4. 6 point plan for the Gig Economy, following the Taylor Review. The plan includes promoting technology that benefits the workforce and creating a fairer tax system.
  5. The Trade Union Bill came into force on 1 March 2017. It included changes to trade union laws such as ballots now requiring a 50 per cent turnout to be effective, and union supervision of picketing.
  6. Personal Income Tax: The Government intends to increase the Personal Allowance Tax to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by 2020-21.
  7. Salary Sacrifice: Whilst existing arrangements will remain protected until April 2018, for new schemes, as of April 2017, the only benefits that will receive a benefit from tax and NI relief include childcare vouchers, cycle to work equipment, ultra-low emission cars and enhanced employer pension contributions.
  8. 30 hours of free childcare per week: As of September 2017, the Government proposes to increase the provision of free childcare (for eligible working parents) for those children aged between 3 and 4 for up to 30 hours per week.
  9. Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Large private sectors and voluntary sector employers must publish their First Gender Pay Gap Reports by no later than April 4, 2018.
  10. Caste Discrimination: following a consultation paper launched in March, the Government discussed amendments to the Equality Act to include an order to cover caste as an aspect of race discrimination and allow case law to develop naturally.

For further information on any of these updates, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment & HR team.


Kimberley Barret, employment lawyer