Chancellor George Osborne issued his Autumn Statement last week setting out the Government’s financial plans. Although employment law was not at the focus of the statement, some announcements will be of interest to employers:
An apprenticeship levy will be applied to employers with a wage bill of £3million or more, at the rate of 0.5% of their wage bill, which is defined as ‘total employee earnings’ of every employee. This will fund 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. Employers will be given an allowance of £15,000 which they can offset against their levy. As a guide, the annual levy for an employer with a £5,000,000 wage bill will be £10,000;
Pension auto enrolment
The increase to the minimum contribution to auto enrolment pensions from 2% to 5% will be delayed from October 2017 to April 2018;
The Government remains concerned about the growth of salary sacrifice arrangements because of the cost to the taxpayer – salary which is sacrificed does not attract national insurance contributions - and confirmed it will consider if action is necessary. It will gather evidence from employers to inform its approach.
Employees with Disabilities
There will be an increase in funding for the Government’s Fit For Work service which supports people on long term sickness absence return to work; and the Government will also explore, in the New Year, the roles of employers to further reduce the disability employment gap and promote integration across health and employment.