Need to Know – Employment Legislation Update for Housing Associations 2018 and 2019

We take a look at forthcoming employment legislation and changes for 2018 and 19. These are important employment law matters that Housing Associations (HA’s) should be aware of as well as considering the longer term impact of some forthcoming changes.

2018 

1st April – Minimum Wage 

From 1st April, changes to the following Minimum Wage rates will increase to:

  • Age 25+ – £7.83 per hour (National Living Wage)
  • Age 21-24 – £7.38 per hour
  • Age 18-20 – £5.90 per hour
  • Under 18 – £4.20 per hour
  • Apprentice – £3.70 per hour

HA’s should ensure they are complying with minimum wage rates and remain aware of the increase to overall staffing and salary costs. Altair’s Strategy and Change team are supporting reviews of service costings to lessen the financial impacts to HA’s.

1st April – Statutory family and sick payments 

From 1st April, rates to the following statutory payments will increase to:

  • Statutory maternity pay – £145.19 a week
  • Statutory paternity pay – £145.19 a week
  • Statutory adoption pay – £145.19 a week
  • Statutory shared parental pay – £145.19 a week
  • Statutory sick pay – £92.05 a week 

HA’s should again ensure compliance with minimum rates and update all relevant policies and procedures. If your family friendly policies have not been reviewed for some time, now may be the time to check that they are still fit for purpose. 

4th April – Gender pay reporting 

By 4th April, HA’s with 250+ employees must have published their Gender Pay Gap report on their website and the government website. For further details see our previous article. If the ‘The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017’ apply to your HA and you have not started preparing for this yet – this should be an immediate priority!

HA’s with 250+ employees should consider the impact of any clear gender pay divide (e.g. negative publicity, putting off potential job applicants etc.). Altair’s HR advisory team can support with gender pay reporting requirements. Clients may also wish to consider implementing or updating their pay equality policies.

Other draft legislation in progress requires listed companies to reveal pay ratios between the CEO and the average worker. There is a very clear push for pay equality standards to improve through all sectors and for organisations of all sizes. HA’s with less than 250 employees should still be considering their own pay equality standards. Altair’s HR team are skilled in conducting pay remuneration exercises and equal pay reviews, identifying areas of risks and recommendations for clients.

6th April – Taxation of termination payments (PILON) 

The Finance Act (2017) introduces a number changes in regards to the taxation of termination payments. Any payments made in lieu of notice (whether contractual or not) will be treated as earnings and will become subject to tax and National Insurance contributions.

If HA’s are discussing or planning terminations, it may be worth ensuring the date of any proposed terminations fall before 6th April to benefit from the existing tax treatment.

6th April – Pension contribution increases

Under autoenrollment law, minimum pension contributions increase over time. On 6th April 2018, the minimum level of employer contributions into pension auto-enrolment schemes increases from 1% to 2%. A further increase to 3% will take effect in April 2019.

HA’s should comply with minimum rates, again considering the impact to staffing costs. If HA’s have not reviewed their benefits packages for some time.

25th May 2018 – General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 

The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Act (1998) and builds on existing data protection obligations, but places additional requirements on EU organisations (including HA’s). In a brief summary, the regulations focus on:

  • Enhanced rights for data subjects – including obtaining consent, providing more detail to data subjects, a ‘right to be forgotten’, and the right to object to processing of data.
  • Stricter requirements around organisation accountability in processing data – including demonstrating compliance by maintaining an accountability record of processing activities, appointment of Data Protection Officers, data breach notification requirements (within 72 hours), and new obligations on ‘Data Processors’.

HA’s should already be preparing for this, conducting data audits, policy reviews, issuing privacy notices and carrying out third-party contract reviews (if data shared with outsourced companies). This should be another immediate priority area as significant fines (up to 4% of turnover) could be incurred by non-compliance. 

2019 (and beyond)

 6th April 2019 – Change to taxation of termination payments (National Insurance)

HA’s will be liable to pay employer’s National Insurance contributions on termination payments above £30,000. 

Grandparental Leave

In 2016, it was announced that the ability to share parental leave with the grandparents of a child would be in place by 2018. However there has been no clear direction on this policy by Teresa May – so a ‘to be confirmed’. 

Parental Bereavement Bill

Currently passing through Parliament, this Bill provides employees who lose a child (under the age of 18) with at least two week’s leave, paid at the statutory rate. The Government has proposed that the Bill will come into effect in 2020. 

Brexit 

With Brexit on the horizon, I’m sure there will be some longer terms changes to UK employment law, possibly with the repealing of some of the less popular EU legislation as a result of exiting the EU. However this will depend on exit arrangements. At Altair we will remain at the forefront of any employment law changes and will continue to update our clients. If you’d like a discussion about the longer term impacts of Brexit, our Strategy and Change team can help.

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Altair provides HR advisory services for housing sector clients across the UK and Ireland.

For HR advisory support and advice, please contact Kimberley Wallace directly on: kimberley.wallace@nullaltairltd.co.uk / 07585 954 218.