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HR Update: April 2021 employment law changes

As April gets into full swing, it’s important to refamiliarise ourselves with the changes coming into effect – including the new National Minimum Wage and IR35.

Top tips for HR professionals and businesses alike for this month include…

1. Review your contracts for IR35 in the private sector

With new rules coming into force, the employment status of a Contractor must now be determined by the organisation for whom they are working. If it is decided that IR35 does apply, from a tax and national insurance perspective the organisation paying their fees is considered their employer.

2. Ensure workers are paid the national minimum wage

National Living and Minimum Wage amounts have now increased:

  • National Living Wage:   £8.91
  • 21-22 Year Old Rate:   £8.36
  • 18-20 Year Old Rate:   £6.56
  • 16-17 Year Old Rate:   £4.26
  • Apprentice Rate:   £4.30

Key things to remember:

  • Note that the higher bracket will now apply to those aged 23 years old and over, as opposed to the previous 25 years and over.
  • New staff who joined before April 2021 are now automatically entitled to receive the new National Minimum amount correct for their age-group.

3. Update your organisation’s statutory redundancy pay calculations

Employers that dismiss employees for redundancy must pay those with two years’ service an amount based on the employee’s weekly pay, length of service and age. The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount. This amount is £544 from 6 April 2021.

4. Increase statutory family-related pay and statutory sick pay

The weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay increases to £151.97 from 4 April 2021.

The weekly rate of statutory sick pay increases to £96.35 from 6 April 2021.

5. Report your organisation’s gender pay gap…if you can

Due to Coronavirus, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) delayed the enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting duty for the 2020/2021 for for six months, meaning it does not start until 5th October 2021.

Who needs to report – From 2017, any employer who has a headcount of 250 or more on their ‘snapshot date’ must comply with regulations on gender pay gap reporting.

6. The Government’s New Kick Start Scheme

Government’s new Kickstart Scheme provides funding to Employers to create job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers: –

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months;
  • Associated Employer National Insurance contributions;
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

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