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The legal timetable for 2021-2022
18 March 2021
In the ever-changing world of Employment Law, we want to keep you up to date on any changes coming into effect in April 2021 and beyond. We’ve summarised the planned updates plus more detailed information on the extension to the Flexible Furlough Scheme, enabling you to prepare for the year ahead.
So, what’s changing in April 2021?
The National Minimum Wage is going up!
From 4th April 2021: The National Living Wage is now applicable to workers aged 23+ and over (a change from aged 25+).
Workers aged 23 and over: £8.91 an hour (National Living Wage).
Workers aged 21-22: £8.36 an hour.
Development rate for workers aged 18-20: £6.56 an hour.
Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17: £4.62 an hour.
Apprentice* rate: £4.30* an hour.
*Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either:
• Aged under 19; OR aged 19+ and in their first year of apprenticeship.
• Apprentices 19+ or over this age and have completed their first year of apprenticeship, will be entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage for their age.
Changes to Family Friendly Statutory Payments:
(SMP, SAP, SPP, ShPP) From 5th April 2021: £151.97.
Changes to Statutory Sick Pay:
From 5th April 2021: £96.35.
Other Compensation Payments:
• Failure to give written statement of particulars of employment: From 6th April 2021: £1,088 or £2,176 (two or four weeks’ pay capped at the statutory amount).
• Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal (unlimited for certain automatically unfair dismissals, for example, health and safety or whistleblowing): From 6th April 2021: £89,493.
• Maximum week’s pay for calculating redundancy and unfair dismissal basic award: From 6th April 2021: £544.
4th April 2021 – Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The return of gender pay gap reporting – This was paused due to Covid-19. Organisations with at least 250 employees by the relevant snapshot date are eligible to produce a report. For public sector companies, this date was 30th March 2020, and for private sector companies, it was 5th April 2020. If staff were furloughed on these dates, and therefore earning 80% of their wages, they won’t need to be included in the report.
This means the figures companies end up publishing may not be fully representative of the actual situation, so it’s important to ensure this is clearly outlined in the accompanied narrative. Private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees, are required to publish information about the differences in pay and bonuses between men and women in their workforce, based on a ‘snapshot’ date of 5th April each year.
6th April 2021 – IR35 Extension of IR35 to the private sector
The change to the rules on off-payroll working in the public sector are extended to the private sector. The end engager, agency or other third party are responsible for operating IR35, as opposed to the contractor being engaged.
30th June 2021 – EU Settlement Scheme closes to applicants
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021. The deadline for applications for settled status is 30th June 2021. If you have existing employees this relates to, it’s vital to ensure they apply for settled status before the deadline.
Any new hires from 1st January until 30th June will be subject to the current Right to Work checks in place, despite the significant change brought about by Brexit and ending the Free Movement.
Until 30th June 2021 – Job applicants can prove their right to work in the following ways:
- EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can use their passport or national identity card.
You can’t legally require EU, EEA or Swiss citizen applicants to show you their status under the EU Settlement Scheme until after 30th June 2021.
Post 30th June 2021
After this date, the full effects of Brexit will also translate to the Right to Work checks. Job applicants will no longer be able to rely on their EU passport or identity card to prove their right to work in the UK. They’ll have to provide proof of an appropriate visa or status under the EU Settlement Scheme. These options will be fully updated on the Government’s Right to Work checklist when the rules change, so we always recommend you use the latest version available to ensure you’re compliant.
You should note that the EU Settlement Scheme status is an electronic only status and individuals won’t be able to provide you with a physical proof. Instead, they’ll be able to share a code for you to check their status electronically on https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work.
Forthcoming changes where the effective dates are yet to be confirmed
- New law to increase break in continuous employment from one week to four weeks to be introduced.
- Redundancy protection for new parents to be extended (the right to be offered suitable alternative employment).
- New law preventing deductions from ‘tips’ to be introduced.
- Extension of shared parental leave to grandparents.
Update on Flexible Furlough Scheme – Extension to September 2021
April 2021 – June 2021
During this phase of furlough, the government pays 80% of furloughed employees’ wages up to a cap of £2,500 for hours not worked.
From 1st July 2021, the principles set out above apply, except the level of the government grant will be reduced and employers must contribute 10% towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages plus employers’ total NICs and pension contributions. The government will pay 70% of furloughed employees wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for hours not worked. Employees still receive 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.
August to September 2021
The principles set out above apply, except the level of the government grant will be reduced and employers must contribute 20% towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages. The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employees still receive 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough plus employers’ total NICs and pension contributions. The scheme ends at the end of September 2021.