1. The return of gender pay gap reporting
The compulsory production of gender pay gap reports was put on hold with the arrival of COVID-19 however, these will be returning soon. Organisations with 250 or more employees will be required to produce reports.
The last reports were done on 30 March 2020 by public sector companies and 5 April 2020 by private sector companies. If staff were furloughed on these dates and earning 80% of the normal income they were not included in reports.
This means that the figures companies end up publishing may reflect the actual situation and companies are required to outline this in the report.
2. New immigration law
From 1 January, free movement of persons ended and new immigration laws were introduced. All foreign nationals seeking to enter the UK will now use the ‘Skilled Worker Route’ and to do this they will need to meet specified criteria to earn a minimum of 70 points. Importantly a job offer from an approved sponsor needs to be in place.
Companies wanting to employ foreign workers will now need to apply for a license.
3. The end of the furlough scheme
The UK Government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended by a further 5 months until the end of September 2021.
Employers now need to think carefully about the direction that they’re going to take when the government’s support stops. If you’re considering redundancies, then we can assist you in looking at the alternatives so please get in touch.
4. New IR35 requirements
From April 2021, organisations using contractors through intermediary companies will be responsible for assessing the employment status of those contractors. The company paying the worker’s company will be responsible for applying IR35 when taking on workers who are engaged through their own company.
5. More companies to produce Modern Slavery statements
There are plans to increase the number of companies that produce a Modern Slavery statement. In this statement, you’ll need to set out the steps you’re taking to combat modern slavery. These steps must address your own operations and supply chains.
Now, public sector organisations with a budget of at least £36 million will be required to publish a statement. Statements will also be required to cover specific topics and be published on the government registry.
It has not been confirmed when the new requirements will come into force, but the registry is expected to be launched in ‘early 2021’.
6. Extended redundancy protection for pregnant employees
At present, an employee on maternity leave who is at risk of redundancy must be offered suitable alternative employment before other employees. This is to be extended, meaning that an employee is protected from the date that she informs her employer that she is pregnant to 6 months after she returns to work.
This will also apply to adoption leave and shared parental leave although, at the time of writing, a date for this has not been given.