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5 changes employers need to know about

Posted in Employers on Apr 21, 2018 by Keeley Edge

Employment law is always changing, making it difficult to keep up to date with what’s going on. This year there are some major changes that impact employers so we thought we’d give you a quick rundown of 5 changes that employers need to know about for 2018.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

At the beginning of April, employers with over 250 employees were required to publish data showing the difference in pay between men and women within their organisation. It’s been a hot topic in the media as there is a clear variance in pay. It is estimated that 78% of companies are paying men more than women.

This disparity has been attributed to several factors; more men in senior roles, more women taking time out of their careers to raise a family and certain industries still attracting more men. Whatever the reasons, it is raising questions about what can be done; conversations are taking place within businesses around the country.

What this means for you:

If you are a smaller business, you should not ignore this data. Companies that are addressing this disparity and working to create solutions will be viewed in a better light by candidates. If you want to attract the best talent, then you need to show that you are invested in your workforce and part of that is having a diverse team.

Having a diverse team at every level offers many advantages. A diverse team will know how to appeal to a diverse customer base. You benefit from more viewpoints, more ideas and a more engaged workforce.

If you work in a male-dominated sector or a female-dominated sector, how can you achieve greater balance to set yourself apart from the competitors?

Pension Contribution Increase

From April 2018 the total minimum pension contribution requirement is 5%. Employers are responsible for 2%. This doesn’t apply to employees who aren’t eligible for auto-enrolment or have opted out. It also doesn’t apply to defined benefits schemes or companies that already pay more than the minimum.

What this means for you:

For the majority of SMEs, the increases do apply and you need to ensure that the appropriate adjustments have been made. From April 2019 the amount will increase again to 8%, with employers being responsible for 3%.

This could be a good opportunity to evaluate any auto-enrolment schemes you have in place. Is your scheme providing the best solution for both your business and your employees?

Your chosen scheme impacts your employees’ financial well-being. A good pension scheme could help you attract and retain better candidates.

Minimum Wage Increase

From April 1st, the minimum wage was increased:

  • Apprentice £3.70 per hour
  • Young workers (16-17) £4.20 per hour
  • Workers aged 18-20 £5.90 per hour
  • Workers aged 21-24 £7.38 per hour
  • Workers 25+ £7.83 per hour

What this means for you:

It is important that employers make the relevant adjustments. If you forget to make the adjustment, then you may be forced to make back-payments in the future which could cause problems. You also need to ensure that adjustments are made when employees move into a higher bracket following a birthday.

Offering to pay above the minimum wage can help you attract more candidates and retain employees for longer. Following this recent increase, it is worth reviewing your pay structure to evaluate whether your salary packages are still competitive enough to attract the talent you want.

Statutory Payments Increase

Another increase that affects employers is the increase to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay. Many managers view it as inconvenient having to pay employees when they are not at work. However, looking after your employees during sickness or parental leave will create a more loyal and engaged team long-term.

What this means for you:

This could be a good time to review your sickness reporting policies and your return to work policies to ensure that you are supporting your employees sufficiently.

Having a good returner program for anyone returning to work after parental leave or long-term sickness will make the transition easier for you and the employee.

Can you offer flexible working options? Staggered returns, job share programs, work-from-home options or flexi-time are potential opportunities to improve the return to work journey.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

GDPR means that businesses must have a lawful basis for collecting and processing any personal data and be transparent about how they use that data.

This will affect many areas of your company including the way you process data about candidates. With the changes coming in to effect in May, it is a good idea to review your recruitment processes now to ensure compliance.

What this means for you:

CV’s and application forms contain a lot of personal data, so they need to be treated correctly. Only ask for details that you need. Create a clear statement about how you will use any data provided by job applicants and how long you will retain their data for.

Check what data you hold on previous candidates and if you don’t think a candidate will be suitable for any future roles within your organisation, then delete their data.

If you are unsure whether your recruitment processes will be compliant, then seek advice.

HR and recruitment are not the only areas of business that will be affected by GDPR but they should not be overlooked.

The information in this blog post provides a general overview and should not be considered legal advice. If you have a question about anything we have covered, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Next steps

If you have employees, then you need to ensure that any relevant payroll adjustments have been made and pension contributions meet the new minimum requirements. Now is also a good opportunity to review your HR policies and employee contracts. Are you offering your employees the best packages in terms of salary, benefits and support? Could you be doing more to attract and retain the talent you want?

Review your recruitment policies to ensure you are attracting diverse candidates. Make sure you are not discriminating against age, gender, race, religion or ability.

Check the way that you collect and process candidate data and ensure that you are compliant with the new regulations.

It may sound like a lot of work but attracting and retaining a loyal, engaged workforce will provide many benefits for your business. Employee engagement improves productivity which increases profits.

If you want the best from your employees, then you need to be prepared to invest in them.

How Key Appointments can help

As recruitment specialists, we understand how to attract the right talent. We can provide expert advice on any aspect of recruitment including attracting high-calibre candidates, putting together competitive salary packages and creating flexible working opportunities that benefit both parties.

As well as our recruitment services, we also have excellent business relationships with HR and Employment Law Specialists. We are more than happy to put you in touch with our trusted partners if you need help with any aspect of HR or Employment Law.

At Key Appointments, we believe that our role doesn’t end when a candidate accepts a position. We want to help our clients retain talent and ensure employees reach their potential. After all, having a strong team in place allows a business to grow and as you grow, you’ll need us to help you secure more great talent.

If you’d like to discuss a recruitment need or would like us to connect you with any of our expert HR or Employment Law contacts, then we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about our excellent services.

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