Authors
Shireen Shaikh

Shireen Shaikh

Senior professional support lawyer

Read More
kathryn clapp

Kathryn Clapp

Senior professional support lawyer

Read More
Authors
Shireen Shaikh

Shireen Shaikh

Senior professional support lawyer

Read More
kathryn clapp

Kathryn Clapp

Senior professional support lawyer

Read More

17 March 2021

Law at Work - 2021 – 6 of 6 Insights

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Extension to gender pay gap reporting

The government has now updated its website to confirm a delay to the enforcement of gender pay gap reporting. Employers now have until 5 October 2021 to report their gender pay gap information for the 2020/2021 reporting year (which uses a snapshot date of 31 March 2020 and 6 April 2020). No enforcement action will be taken if they report by then. Separately the EHRC has published guidance on including furloughed employees in gender pay gap reporting. 

Increase in statutory limits 

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2021 has been laid before Parliament and comes into force on 6 April 2021. In relation to effective dates of termination on or after 6 April 2021:

  • The limit on a week's pay increases from £538 to £544.
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £88,519 to £89,493.• The minimum basic award for certain unfair dismissals (including health and safety dismissals) increases from £6,562 to £6,634.

Budget at a glance: employment and immigration

Key points from the Chancellor's Budget delivered on 3 March 2021:

  • The CJRS (furlough) will be extended to the end of September 2021, meaning furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary. The government will require an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, with a 20% contribution being required in August and September. No other changes to the way CJRS works were envisaged.
  • SEISS (Self-Employed Income Support Scheme) -  a fourth grant will be available (for the period Feb to April 2021) on the same basis as before, that is 80% of three months' average trading profits, capped at £7,500. 
  • There will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering the period May to September 2021. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July. Further details will be published in due course. 
  • More funding for an existing work placements scheme will be made available; employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at £1k per trainee.
  • Payments for hiring apprentices will increase: £3000 for each new hire (currently the figure is £1500 for those over 24, or £2000 for those aged 24 and under). This is in addition to the current £1000 for all apprentices aged 16-18.
  • The SSP rebate scheme for small/medium business (those with fewer than 250 employees), introduced in March 2020, will remain in place for now. Essentially this allows for employers to claims a 2 week SSP rebate where the reason for the absence is Covid-19.

Back to the future? More immigration changes

Rishi Sunak's March 2021 budget unveiled “reforms to the immigration system [to] help ambitious UK businesses attract the brightest and best international talent”. Sound familiar? This language has been used repeatedly in recent years. Whilst as is always the case with immigration changes, we need to wait for specific details of the changes which will not take effect until Spring 2022, we can expect amongst other things:

  • A new highly skilled elite visa for those with a job offer (sounding rather like the defunct HSMP visa)
  • Within (1) a scale up stream offering fast track visas (targeting the financial technology market in particular) 
  • Welcome reforms to the Global Talent and barely used Innovator visa as well as a focus on Entrepreneur routes (removed in 2019)
  • A new Global Business Mobility visa for businesses newly moving to the UK (an update of the sole representative visa?)
  • More company support and a modernisation of the immigration system (which, after all, was only simplified in December 2020)

We will share more information with you when it has been published in due course.

The Pension Schemes Bill is now law

The Pension Schemes Bill, which we referred to in the January edition of Law at Work, has finally received royal assent.  As highlighted in that article, The Pension Schemes Act 2021 (as the Bill is now known) ('the Act') contains provisions that mainly relate to occupational pension schemes, especially those which provide defined benefits, but it may also impact employers in a number of ways, as highlighted in our January article.   Though most of the Act is not yet in force, we have some indication of when some of the key areas will become effective.  For example,  the new criminal provisions which will apply to certain actions taken in relation to defined benefits schemes are expected to come into force by autumn 2021, and on that subject we are also waiting for further guidance from the Pensions Regulator about how it intends to enforce that regime  Notwithstanding that timescale, companies that operate defined benefits pension schemes should still familiarise themselves with these and indeed the other relevant provisions in the Act to consider how they may affect those schemes and their business.  We will issue more detailed updates, where relevant, when further information becomes available but if you have any questions on this or the Act generally in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our pensions team.

Data protection – EU approves draft adequacy decision for UK

The EC has published a draft adequacy decision for the transfer of personal data to the UK which will effectively allow personal data to be transferred from the EU and EEA countries to the UK without the need for additional protections.

In this series

Employment, pensions & mobility

The Government's roadmap, vaccines and workplace testing

What does this mean for employers?

Briefing

by Kathryn Clapp

Employment, pensions & mobility

Speaking out or speaking inappropriately?

by Shireen Shaikh

Employment, pensions & mobility

Snooping by employees

Quick read

by Shireen Shaikh

Employment, pensions & mobility

Don't let your diversity training become "stale"

Quick read

by Kathryn Clapp

Employment, pensions & mobility

Hot topics

Quick read

by Shireen Shaikh, Kathryn Clapp

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