Five employment law developments to watch out for in 2018

Employers will be keen to hear more clarification on employees' rights after Brexit
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/REX/Shutterstock

2018 sees a number of significant domestic employment law developments, including the response to the Taylor report, delayed as the Government focuses on Brexit negotiations. Qian Mou reports. 

Employers will carry on with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance and gender pay gap reporting amidst their own Brexit preparations. Annual statutory rates will be updated as usual in the spring.

1. GDPR comes into effect

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which updates and harmonises data protection law across the EU, will come into effect on 25 May 2018 for all EU member states, including the UK.

Organisations will be conducting data audits and policy reviews in the lead up to next May, to ensure that their data protection practices are GDPR compliant.

Many employers will need to issue new or updated privacy notices to employees and job applicants, outlining what data they collect and how the data is used.

Employers will also be conducting third-party contract reviews where they outsource data processing, for example to payroll and benefit providers, or to recruitment or consulting services.

Developing and implementing a GDPR compliance programme can be a resource-heavy undertaking. Accordingly, employers are encouraged to risk assess their compliance gaps and address the issues that pose the most significant risks first.

2. First gender pay gap reporting deadline

Private- and voluntary-sector employers with 250 or more employees have until 4 April 2018 to publish their first gender pay gap report.

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.

Employers must post their reports on their own website and on a Government website.

Currently, more than 350 employers have published gender pay gap reports on the Government site. Recent reports of inaccurate gender pay gap submissions highlight the difficulties organisations have in completing the calculations correctly.

3. Minimum wage rates increase

The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase to £7.83 per hour on 1 April 2018.

Statutory rates

Check current and future rates for statutory sick pay.

Other national minimum wage rates will also increase, with rates rising to £7.38 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24, to £5.90 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.20 for workers under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age.

The apprentice minimum wage rate will rise to £3.70 per hour and the accommodation offset will increase to £7.00 per day.

4. Statutory family pay amounts uprated

The weekly amount for statutory family pay rates will increase to £145.18 on 1 April 2018. This rate will apply to maternity payadoption paypaternity payshared parental pay and maternity allowance.

5. Brexit preparations underway

Employers and workers were relieved to hear last week of the Government’s initial agreement with the European Commission. The terms protect the rights of EU citizens who currently reside in the UK to live, work and study in the UK following Brexit.

The announcement provides employers with more certainty as they continue to develop their contingency plans around Brexit. The agreement does not relate to the ability of new EU workers to migrate to the UK to work after Brexit.

As such, employers in sectors that rely on considerable inflows of European workers are still waiting for confirmation of immigration arrangements following withdrawal from the EU.

Qian Mou

About Qian Mou

Qian Mou is an employment law editor at XpertHR. She is qualified as a lawyer in England and Wales, and Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining XpertHR, Qian worked as a private practice lawyer specialising in employment law and as an HR consultant at a national bank in Toronto.
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