Ring out the old, ring in the new …employment law changes in 2018
As another year starts we are left questioning and reflecting on where have the last 12 months gone…?
In order to stay on top of employment law changes here are our top five things to look out for over the next 12 months.
18 months after the referendum that decided to take the UK out of the EU, we’re still not a lot closer to knowing what Brexit will really mean for the economy. The Government remains committed to Britain exiting in March 2019, so over the coming year we’re likely to start getting a lot more detail about how this will affect us. However, what we do know is that, whatever the final deal looks like, it will have massive implications for human resources – from plugging skills gaps, to recruiting and retaining the best staff and maintaining employee confidence. Make sure you follow developments closely and proactively plan for anticipated changes so that you’re in the best possible position to respond.
It’s pretty difficult to read an HR blog without seeing a mention of the forthcoming GDPR. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, the GDPR comes into force in May, and with fines for non-compliance reaching as high as €20m or 4% of global turnover (whichever is higher), it’s absolutely imperative that you’re prepared for it. Small businesses shouldn’t be fooled into thinking it won’t affect you – if you’re a business trading in the UK, you will be required to comply with the new regulation. For more information visit the Information Commissioner’s office website for their published 12 Step guidance.
Under auto-enrolment, minimum pension contributions increase over time. In 2018, employers may be required to increase the amount of their contributions into their automatic enrolment pension – currently, the minimum employer contribution stands at 1%, but this will increase to 2% from 6 April. The increase in minimum contributions should be simple to do, but you will need to make sure that you’re sufficiently prepared – pension scheme trustees and providers, and payroll providers, all have a key role in making sure the process runs smoothly.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 entitle all workers and employees to a minimum 28 days paid holiday every year. This can include bank holidays, of which there are usually eight per year. In 2018, Good Friday falls on 30 March while in 2019 it falls on 19 April, meaning that there is no Good Friday bank holiday within a holiday year running from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. As such, some employers will find themselves in breach of the regulations unless they provide an extra day’s annual leave. If the employment contract states an employee is entitled to ‘20 days plus bank holidays’ in the holiday year, then the employer would have to grant an additional day in this current holiday year ending March 2018. You should check your employment contracts and if in doubt contact HCHR.
In July, the Supreme Court ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful as they prevent access to justice and are indirectly discriminatory. Employers who were ordered to repay fees to a claimant will therefore be eligible to be reimbursed for those fees, just as claimants will be. There may be other related fees that employers can recover too, such as where they’ve paid for judicial mediation. Of course, the flip side is there’s also likely to be an increase in the number of tribunal claims being brought now that fees are no longer payable – this is likely to place additional burdens on HR departments so make sure you’re prepared.
This is just a snapshot of some of the more important changes to employment law that businesses will be facing in 2018.
If you think that your business may require additional HR support to rise to these challenges, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling the number below.
If you are looking for HR advice or information about workplace mediation, disciplinaries, employee handbooks, redundancies, recruitment, and much more, then don’t forget that HCHR offer a FREE ½ hour phone consultation to all interested parties.
Get spring off to a great start by making a quick phone call to HCHR to find out if you are on the right track.
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If we can be of help on any of the topics included in our newsletter or any other HR related matters, please call the team on 01792 234761.
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