Date Published: 06-01-2017

2016 wasn’t exactly an easy year for the UK starting with a tough Budget in spring, then Brexit and David Cameron’s resignation and culminating in an Autumn Statement that we all had mixed feelings about.

Here are a few of the key points we’ve observed, both from our own research and through future legal changes that have been announced.

The Gender Pay Gap Shows No Sign of Closing

From data we’ve pulled together from our 2017 Salary Survey it appears that there is still a large pay gap between genders, with women in East Anglia on average earning £10,000 less than men. Recent reports have backed up our claim that there’s no sign of the gap closing, with one source saying it will remain until 2069 – that’s 52 years.

From April 6th, any employer with more than 250 employees will be required to publish information relating to the gender pay gap in order to attempt to tackle such issues.

Brexit Has Had Mixed Results and Feelings

Whilst some sectors such as manufacturers who export have enjoyed success from the weak pound, others have not been so lucky due to uncertainty. We’ve seen finance departments tighten their purse strings due to the government not announcing a solid plan for triggering article 50.

This uncertainty is set to continue into 2017, at least until we can be sure of the Government’s plan of action.

Government Cracks Down on Salary Sacrifice Schemes

Rules of value added tax benefits known as Salary Sacrifice Schemes are set to change in 2017 as in the Autumn Statement it was announced that the government is cutting down on what employees and employers can use to reduce their National Insurance Contributions.

Whilst pension contributions, childcare vouchers, ultra-low emissions vehicles and the cycle to work scheme are still allowed, employees can no longer use gym memberships, private medical insurance or mobile phones against their tax bill.

These changes could potentially make company benefits packages look less attractive, which is not positive for hiring in this candidate driven market.

The Apprenticeship Levy

The Government has announced their aims to train 3million new apprentices by 2020 and to address the decreased focus on employee training outside workplaces.

From April 2017 employers will be required to invest in apprenticeships; the size of the investment will vary depending on the size of the business.

How it works is that it will be mandatory for companies whose annual pay bill is above £3million to spend 0.5% of the total on the levy.

Once they’ve registered and paid the levy, they can then access funding through an online apprenticeship service account which allows them to get access to approved training providers.

Defining Employees

In 2017 there will be more talks and pressure on employers to define employees and to treat long term temporary and contract staff members exactly as they would permanent employees.

The UK could potentially follow Germany who recently introduced legislation that employers can only hire a temporary staff member for a maximum term of 18 months after which they must replace them or make them permanent.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about throughout 2017. Let us know what you think of the changes and what you predict on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.