Significant employment law changes come into play at the start of April, and it’s important for employers to be prepared.

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, looks at the changes that are coming and they impact they will have on businesses.

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will increase from the 1st of April. New rates will be:

  • Age 23+ from £8.91 to £9.50 (National Living Wage)
  • Age 21-22 from £8.36 to £9.18
  • Age 18 –20 from £6.56 to £6.83
  • Age 16-17 from £4.62 to £4.81
  • Apprentice rate from £4.30 to £4.81.

From 3 April, family friendly payments will increase to £156.66 per week from £151.97, including maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement pay.

Statutory Sick Pay will increase on 6 April from £96.35 to £99.35 per week as well as the Lower Earnings Limit, which is increasing for the first time in two years, from £120 to £123.

Another change is the increase to National Insurance by 1.25%. Whilst there is no legal requirement to amend pay slips until 2023, HMRC have asked employers to include a specific message on payslips issued between 6 April 2022 and 5 April 2023 to explain this.

The increase to statutory rates comes at a time when many are already struggling with soaring costs and record-high starting salaries, as well as the ending of the SSP Rebate scheme which provided a lifeline for SMEs in the midst of Covid-related absences.

However, it’s important to remember that employers must meet these statutory rates; failure to do so could lead to damaged employee relations and tribunal claims being raised. Your business is also at risk of ending up on the Government’s Name and Shame list if you fail to meet NMW payments, which can cause significant reputational damage.

The right to work checking process is changing for individuals who hold a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit; these checks can currently be completed manually but, from 6 April, will have to be done through the Home Office online checking service.

Whilst undertaking right to work checks is a legal requirement of businesses, they must ensure they do so in a fair and non-discriminatory way. Employers must not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK, or their immigration status in general, based on their nationality, race, accent, surname, or length of UK residence.

Job applicants can raise claims of discrimination to the employment tribunal if they feel the recruitment process discriminated against them, or if they were overlooked for a job opportunity due to incorrect perceptions of their right to work status.

And finally, gender pay gap reporting deadlines are also fast approaching. Large businesses (250+ employees) must report on their gender pay gap by 30 March for the public sector and 4 April for those in the private sector.