Our legal experts Baines Wilson guide you through the HR and employment law changes taking effect in April 2017.

It's that time of the year again where the world of HR and employment law sees a number of changes. Employers need to be aware of these changes before they come into force.

From gender pay gap reporting to the apprenticeship levy, we have summarised the main changes to be aware of below.

1. Gender pay gap reporting

The obligation for larger employers to publish annual information containing data on its gender pay gap comes into force on 6 April 2017.

Employers with 250 or more “relevant employees” will be required to analyse their gender pay gap each April, and publish information by no later than 4 April 2018 and annually thereafter, both on their own website and a government website.

The information must include the mean and median overall gender pay gap, information on bonuses and the proportion of men and women in each of four pay bands (quartiles). For the pay information, employers must take a snapshot of the data as at 5 April each year. The bonus information must be based on the preceding 12 month period.

The rules have now been extended so that the obligations also apply to public sector employers. The obligations are largely similar to those for private employers with the exception of the snapshot date and additional rules regarding the Public Sector Equality Duty.

2. Apprencticeship levy

The apprenticeship levy will become payable from 6 April 2017. It applies to employers with pay bills of more than £3 million. The rate of the levy will be 0.5% of the pay bill for the tax year less an annual allowance of £15,000 which is offset against the levy liability.

Each month, responsibility for calculating and paying the levy lies with the employer. New rules in the PAYE regulations set out the exact method of calculation, the information that the employer must supply to HMRC and the mechanism for payment as part of the monthly PAYE liability.

The government has also published draft regulations to apply apprenticeship targets to public bodies that have 250 or more workers, to be introduced in April 2017 to coincide with the apprenticeship levy.

3. National Minimum Wage

On 1 April 2017, the national minimum wage rates will increase. This will have the effect of bringing the annual increase in line with the increase to the national living wage, which applies to workers ages 25 and older. The national living wage also increases from £7.20 to £7.50.

4. Statutory payments

Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will increase to £140.98 for pay weeks commencing on or after 2 April 2017.

Statutory sick pay will increase to £89.35 from 6 April 2017.

From 6 April 2017, the cap on weekly pay for statutory redundancy pay purposes increases to £489.

5. Immigration skills charge

The immigration skills charge is due to come into force on 6 April 2017. The charge will be payable by sponsors in respect of each skilled migrant that they sponsor (subject to some exemptions and transitional provisions). The charge is £1000 a year for larger sponsors, and £364 for smaller employers and charities.

If you have questions relating to HR or employment law please call Joanne Holborn, Tom Scaife or Caroline Rayner on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.

Don't miss our final spring employment law update seminar on April 11 at the Swan Hotel, Newby Bridge. For more information click here .