HR - what you need to know for 2018!

2018 promises to be another interesting year in the world of employment law. It’s therefore essential that businesses are aware of these changes and leave plenty of time for planning and implementation.

Acorn’s HR Manager, Emily Meredith outlines the key changes to look out for below:

April 2018

National Minimum Wage Increases

From 01 April 2018, the following increases will apply:

  • £7.83 per hour - 25 years old and over
  • £7.38 per hour - 21-24 years old
  • £5.90 per hour - 18-20 years old
  • £4.20 per hour - 16-17 years old
  • £3.70 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship

Increases now take place in April each year; rather than in October.

Statutory Payments

Statutory maternity (SMP), paternity (SPP), adoption (SAP) and shared parental pay (ShPP) will rise from £140.98 to £145.18 a week from April.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) is due to rise this month from £89.35 to £92.05.

The lower earnings limit will rise from £113 to £116.

Pensions Auto-enrolment

On 6 April 2018, there will be an increase to minimum auto enrolment pension contributions for both employers and employees. As it stands, the current minimum contribution for both parties is 1% but this will increase to 2% employer contribution and 3% employee contribution from April 2018. There is then a further increase scheduled in 2019 for a 3% employer contribution and 5% employee contribution.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees have until 04 April 2018 to publish their first gender pay gap report. Employers must post their reports on their own website and on a Government website.

Similarly, specified public-sector employers with 250 or more employees are required to publish their first gender pay gap reports by 30 March 2018.

The reports will cover pay data from 2016 to 2017, including the differences in mean pay, median pay, mean bonus pay and median bonus pay between male and female employees.

Reports also have to set out the proportion of male and female employees in the pay quartiles of an organisation and the proportion of male and female employees who received bonus pay.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a consultation, closing on the 2 February 2018, on proposals to enforce the reporting requirements.

May 2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR is probably the most significant employment law change of 2018; strengthening existing Data Protection legislation. (GDPR) applies to all EU Member States, including the UK, from 25 May 2018.
Key changes include:

  • An expansion of individual data protection rights; including the right to be forgotten.
  • Toughening the rules on individual consent to processing sensitive data.
  • Shortening the time scale for responding to ‘subject access requests’ from 40 days to one month, and removing the £10 fee.
  • Requiring organisations to report any data breaches which ‘risk the rights and freedoms of the individual’ to the regulatory authority and, where there’s a high risk of this, to the individual affected as well.

Breaches of the GDPR may lead to fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4 per cent of global turnover; whichever is the greater. Enforcement of the new rules rests with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Further information can be found on the ICO website

Employment Tribunal Claims

In July 2017, employment tribunal fees were deemed to be unlawful and fees were abolished with immediate effect. Those people who paid tribunal fees are now able to apply for a refund. According to government data, there was a 64% overall increase in the number of employment tribunals in the two months since fees were abolished. Employers need to ensure that they avoid claims by always operating lawful, fair, consistent and reasonable procedures. In the event of a claim, employers need to understand the employment tribunal process and the role of ACAS.

We know planning ahead is key in HR, yet it’s easy to get overwhelmed with more pressing concerns – hopefully we’ve given you a bit of a head-start!

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Written by - Emily Meredith, Acorn Recruitment

Date - 18/01/2018