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Top 10 updates for 2017
Napthens - July 27th 2017
2017 has been an active year for employment law and we have outlined some of the current and anticipated changes for 2017:
- 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% of the median earnings by 2020, after which this will continue to rise in line with average earnings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 6 point plan for the Gig Economy, following the Taylor Review:
- Creating a "national strategy for work";
- Promoting technology that benefits the workforce, while ensuring a "level playing field" with other businesses;
- Creating a fairer tax system that contributes to "sound public finances";
- Initiatives that promote "a fair balance of rights and responsibilities";
- Creating a clear, legal distinctions between "employees", "workers" and the self-employed; and
- A more significant role for the low pay commission.
- The Trade Union Bill came into force on 1 March 2017 to include:
- Ballots require a 50% turnout to be effective;
- Ballots in "important public services" require an additional 40% support requirement;
- Information requirements in relation to voting papers and information are to be provided to members on the result of a ballot;
- Union supervision of picketing, including notifying police and displaying a visible emblem to show who is supervising the industrial action are required.
- Check-off in the public sector: the power to make Regulations to require unions to make a reasonable payment to employers for operation of a check-off system.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Large Private Sectors and Voluntary Sector Employers, must publish their First Gender Pay Gap Reports by no later than 4 April 2018.
- Caste Discrimination: following the Consultation paper 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. Consultation on this paper closes in July 2017.
For further information on any of these updates, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Employment & HR team.