Undoubtedly, everyone right now is focused on the roadmap out of lockdown. The possibility of getting life back to normal by the summer means you may lose focus on other important areas. April is always a busy time for employment law—2021 is no different.
Pandemic developments aside, here are some key things to be aware of:
April 2021 Changes
Return of gender pay gap reporting
If you have at least 250 members of staff, that means you’ve had to publish annual gender pay gap reports since 2018. However, the compulsory production of gender pay gap reports was paused in 2020 due to the pandemic. Reporting requirements are to return for this year from April.
These reports outline the differences in the average earnings between men and women in your company. Production of a report works by taking a snapshot of a company’s pay data on a specific date. For 2021 this ‘snapshot date’ will be 30 March 2020 for public sector companies. If you are a private company, then the 5 April 2020 is your snapshot date.
There are a number of things to bear in mind to produce a report this year. Make sure you are up to date with these changes in good time. Crucially, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has delayed enforcing the publication of these reports until 5 October 2021. The reason for the delay is the pandemic, and the difficulties currently being faced by companies as a result.
New IR35 requirements
From April 2021, you may be affected by the new IR35 requirements if your company is eligible. If you are, you’ll be responsible for assessing the employment status of contractors you engage through intermediary companies.
If workers are engaged through their own companies, certain responsibilities will fall to the private company, agency, or third party paying the workers’ company. These responsibilities include:
- Applying IR35
- Paying associated tax
- Paying National Insurance contributions (NICs)
This change has already been applied to the public sector.
These new rules were originally expected in April 2020 but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Increase to the minimum wage and other statutory rates
The government has confirmed that minimum wage rates are still to increase from April 2021. The National Living Wage is also to be expanded to include those aged 23 and over. The rates are to increase as follows:
National Living Wage (23+) £8.72 £8.91 - 2.2% increase
21-22 Year Old Rate £8.20 £8.36 - 2.0% increase
18-20 Year Old Rate £6.45 £6.56 - 1.7% increase
16-17 Year Old Rate £4.55 £4.62 - 1.5% increase
Apprentice Rate £4.15 £4.30 - 3.6% increase
Accommodation Offset £8.20 £8.36 - 2.0 increase
The family leave rate is also changing. Family leave includes maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement leave. This is set to increase from £151.20 per week to £151.97 per week.
Statutory sick pay is also set to increase from £95.85 per week to £96.36 per week.
The lower earnings limit, through which entitlement to family leave and sick pay is calculated, is to remain at £120 per week.
If you’re concerned about any of the upcoming changes in April, speak to one of our experts today for confidential, professional advice on 01455 858 132.
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