And finally a look forward to what’s happening in employment news for February
The Autumn 2017 Budget contained the following announcements on pay and benefits:
- the National Minimum Wage rates will increase from April 2018: for apprentices the rate will rise to £3.70 per hour (from £3.50); for 16-17 year olds to £4.20 (from £4.05); for 18-20 year olds to £5.90 (from £5.60); and for 21-24 year olds to £7.38 (from £7.05);
- the National Living Wage, for those aged 25 and over, will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour from April 2018, an increase of 4.4%;
- the tax free personal allowance will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 in April 2018. The higher rate tax threshold will also increase from £45,000 to £46,350;
- during 2018 the Government will consult on extending the IR35 reforms, introduced in the public sector in April 2017, to the private sector; and
- the Government also intends to publish a discussion paper on employment status as part of its response to the Taylor Review.
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the proposed increases to statutory benefit payments from April 2018. Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental pay and maternity allowance will all be £145.18 per week (up from £140.98). Statutory sick pay will increase to £92.05 (from £89.35).
After a phased introduction during October 2017, the Government has now rolled out in full the refund scheme for Employment Tribunal and EAT fees paid between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. The scheme is open to both claimants and respondents, including those who had to reimburse their opponent’s fee pursuant to an order. The scheme is also open to representatives and sponsors who paid a fee on behalf of a party to a claim. Most refund applications can be made online on the relevant form.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has updated its guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This contains more detail on several key areas including consent; the lawful basis for processing; automated individual decision-making; and documentation requirements. It also incorporates the guidelines on consent and transparency published by the Article 29 Working Party which are due to be finalised in early 2018 once consultation is complete. The ICO’s guidance and checklists will be regularly updated to help organisations prepare for the fundamental changes in data protection law from 25 May 2018 when the GDPR comes into effect.
Following extensive consultation, the Institute for Apprenticeships has published its final statement setting out the requirements for high quality apprenticeships. This will also be used as the basis for the development of its Quality Strategy with employers and other stakeholders. The statement includes an explanation of apprenticeships as well as details of the key indicators for high quality apprenticeships and how these will be measured.
The Government has announced that it will double the number of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas available to individuals in the digital technology, arts, science and creative industries from 1,000 to 2,000 each year. As now, these individuals must be recognised as existing global leaders or promising future leaders by one of five endorsing organisations: the British Academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Arts Council England and Tech City UK. The usual requirements of maintenance and English language proficiency do not apply to initial applications for this visa and successful applicants may be employed or self-employed, work for any employer and take up a position at any level.
29 Jan 2018