2018 is likely to be a busy year for all employers and we know it’s easy to lose track of the upcoming changes when busy with the day to day running of a business. Here’s an overview of the key dates to be aware of this year.
Early 2018 – Government response to Taylor review
Matthew Taylor’s review on Modern Working Practices made wide ranging recommendations to amend current laws and practices. These included legislating to make employment status tests clearer, introducing a higher rate of minimum wage for those with non-guaranteed hours and introducing fines for employers who failed to follow tribunal judgments.
The government delayed their response to the review until ‘early 2018’. This response will be key to understand whether the government intends to adopt all, or any, of the recommendations.
February 2018 – Supreme Court to review status case law
The Supreme Court will be presented with the opportunity to review the current case law on employment status when they hear the appeal in Pimlico Plumbers v Smith. The employer is appealing against a decision that one of their self-employed plumbers was, in reality, a worker who was entitled to worker rights.
1 April 2018 – Minimum wage increases
The National Minimum and Living Wages will increase for all workers in April 2018. The National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over is increasing by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour. All other minimum wage rates will also rise, with the rate for 21-24 year olds rising from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour and the apprentice rate increasing to £3.70 per hour.
4 April 2018 – Gender pay gap reporting deadline
Large employers in the public sector are required to publish their gender pay gap report by the 4th April 2018. A small number of employers have already done so, but it is expected that there will be an influx of results being uploaded to employers’ websites and the government website close to the deadline day. Employers should consider using the voluntary narrative to explain the factors that have led to any gender pay gap, and can also set out the steps they intend to take in the future to reduce or remove this.
6 April 2018 – Auto enrolment contributions increase
The first increase to the minimum contribution rates for auto-enrolment will take effect in April. From this date, the minimum employee contribution will increase from 1% to 3% and the minimum employer contribution will increase from 1% to 2%.
April 2018 – Statutory rates increase
The Department for Work and Pensions has proposed increases to the current statutory rates. These include increasing Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Pay from £140.98 to £145.18 per week. Statutory Sick Pay will also increase from £89.35 to £92.05 per week whilst employees will have to earn the higher Lower Earnings Limit of £116 per week to be eligible for these payments. These rates are currently proposals but are expected to be adopted by the government.
25 May 2018 – GDPR comes in to force
The EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation will come in to force in the UK in May. Once in force, individuals who are subjected to data processing (i.e. employees) will receive greater rights, including the right to be informed of processing and the right to erase personal data. Those who process data (i.e. employers) will have to comply with greater restrictions and requirements as to how they carry this out. The financial penalties for failing to comply with the new data protection obligations are severe.
November 2018 – Autumn Budget 2018
The Autumn Budget sets out the government’s upcoming financial changes and targets for the coming financial year. It is likely the 2019 increases to minimum wage will be announced in the Budget, allowing employers to plan ahead, and funding for employment law initiatives may also be announced.
Sometime in 2018 – Caste discrimination to be introduced?
The government has been considering how to provide protection against discrimination on the grounds of caste. They have previously consulted on whether the current case law gives adequate protection or if a new protected characteristic should be included in the Equality Act 2010. The consultation closed in September 2017 and the government’s response is awaited.