There are a few things that you can guarantee in life. Death, taxes, and employment law changes. As we make our way further into the new year, it’s essential that as a business owner, you know exactly what’s coming, and how to prepare for it.

Do you think that you can just hope for the best and plead ignorance if you’re caught out? Well let’s be honest, you don’t really believe that’s an option!

You need to be compliant, and we’re here to help you. Let’s take a look at the changes that you need to pencil in your diary for 2017…

Gender pay gap reporting

For the first time, private sector, public sector, and voluntary sector employers with 250+ members of staff will be required to publish information relating to the gender pay gap, and how they are performing in terms of driving forward equality.

At the moment, the exact requirements are still being drafted, though it’s expected that the deadline for the first report will be 4th April 2018, based on data from 2016/2017. We’ll release more guidance on this once it’s available.

Changes to regulations surrounding employment of foreign workers

From April 2017, employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will have to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker. This will be reduced to £364 for small employers and charities.

In addition to this, the minimum annual salary threshold for ‘experienced workers’ applying for a tier 2 visa will be increased to £30,000. If you employ foreign workers, or plan to open up your recruitment channels in the near future you need to make sure you’re compliant.

National minimum wage and living wage changes to be aligned

The dates for changes to national minimum wage and national minimum wage will be brought into alignment, so the good news here is that there are less dates to keep track of!

From April 2017, the national living wage for staff aged 25 or over will increase to £7.50 per hour.

Changes to salary sacrifice schemes

If you are offering employees any salary sacrifice schemes you will need to review these as 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.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Although GDPR does not come into force until May 2018, the scope of the changes under the new Regulation means that preparing for the GDPR will be high priority for employers in 2017, even for those in small businesses.

Even organisations that have robust processes in place need to assess their systems, policies and procedures, as GDPR draws closer. This Regulation applies to all processing of personal data, from collection, through to storage, distribution, retention and protection of data, security and cross-border data transfer.

As the GDPR will come into effect before the UK exits the EU, organisations that are not compliant by May 2018 risk fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is higher.

Apprenticeship levy introduced

The apprenticeship levy is being introduced on 6th April 2017 but employers with a paybill of £3 million or less will not be liable to pay it.  Those not liable to pay the levy will be able to receive government funding towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment.

All things considered, there’s plenty to think about in 2017, and plenty that you need to plan for. And of course, there’s the tricky issue of Brexit…

There’s still a grey area over what we should really expect, though things are likely to become clearer in the coming months. As always, make sure that you keep an eye on our updates for practical, no-nonsense guidance on what you really need to know.

If you need help ensuring that you’re compliant with the upcoming and changes and legislation we can help.

Get in touch via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call 0203 627 7048 to chat about your HR needs.

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