What will the latest Autumn Budget statement mean for HR, plus an update on changes in employment law in the past year…
While much of the budget statement from 22 November tackled the housing crisis in the UK, there were a number of changes that will be useful for HR folk.
First, Chancellor Philip Hammond declared that the National Living Wage was to increase – rising to £7.83 for employees aged 25 plus from next year. Also, the tax-free personal allowance will rise to £11,850 in April 2018, while the higher-rate tax threshold will also increase to £46,350.
Good news for HR and training departments was the announcement of an investment in skills development – more specifically digital learning – with the launch of a partnership between the Government, CBI and TUC. It is estimated that poorly performing managers cost the UK £84 billion in lost productivity, so an investment in professional skills can only be a good thing – it can also help to tackle the skills gap.
In terms of employment, the Chancellor also committed to future jobs, with a budget of £500m for projects covering fibre broadband, AI and 5G. The future of work for HR professionals is to ensure that skills in the digital arena are updated and we continue to train in soft and transferrable skills. Who knows what is the future of jobs! Ten years ago we did not have social media professionals, nor drone operatives! Read one of our previous blogs on the subject here. [Skills Crisis Ahead dated September 2017]
Updates in employment law
It’s important to keep up to date with employment law – there are always changes being implemented – and while we usually catch the major alterations, sometimes those ‘tweaks’ slip through without us noticing.
One set of changes that did receive a lot of press were the reforms to tackle the gender pay gap.
The Government introduced a new requirement, which means large organisations must reveal their gender pay gap by publishing key wage information. This will include the difference in hourly earnings as well as gaps in bonus pay.
Other reforms made in 2017 included:
Union action: The Trade Unions Act underwent a number of reforms relating to trade union ballots, including the necessity for a 50% turnout for ballots to be valid; 40% of members to support industrial action and a four-month time limit for a ballot remaining valid to authorise industrial action.
Apprenticeship Levy: Employers paying more than £3 million a year in wages will have to pay a new apprenticeship levy to help meet the cost of apprenticeship schemes across the country. More on the subject here. [See ACAS Apprentices]
The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017: Employers who sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the points-based system now must pay £1,000 per certificate. A paper trail should be in place to show that the employer has checked that this employee has the right to work in the UK. [See The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 on the legislation.gov website]
General Data Protection Regulations: From May 2018 employers will have to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect and process – see the ICO booklet: ‘Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations – 12 steps to take‘ [See the ICO website/Request for Publications].
If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we can help you manage your HR requirements, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited on telephone: 07767 308717 or contact us via our website.
Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.