The six employment law and tax changes you need to know about

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Picture: James Bass
For: EDP

Pile of paperwork/ documents / office / A4 paper / work / Picture: James Bass Copy: For: EDP Business Eastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

Changes to employment and tax law are coming into force today. Will you be affected?

1 Gender pay gap reporting period begins

From today an employer with 250 or more employees will be required to publish information relating to the gender pay gap.

They will be required to publish the difference between the mean and median hourly rate of pay paid to male and female employees; the difference in mean and median bonus paid to male and female employees; the proportions of male and female employees who receive bonuses and the relative proportions of male and female employees in each pay band.

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2 Apprenticeship levy

A levy for large employers comes into force today to help funding apprenticeships and workplace training.

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Employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3m will need to pay 0.5% of their total pay bill for the tax year towards the apprenticeship levy.

They will then be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a digital apprenticeship service account to which the government will apply a 10% top-up. Levy-payers will also receive a £15,000 annual allowance from government to offset their payments.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will also have access to the apprenticeship service.

Training providers said this week that 16 to 18-year-olds must not be left behind under the new scheme.

3 Salary sacrifice schemes

A cut-back of salary sacrifice schemes begins today. The government will now limit the tax and National Insurance advantages available to employees through a salary sacrifice arrangement to only include enhanced employer contributions to pension schemes, childcare benefits, cycle to work schemes and ultra-low emissions cars.

Existing arrangements in place before this date will continue until April 6, 2018, or until the same date in 2021 for cars, accommodation and school fees.

4 National minimum wage and other changes to pay

The national living wage for employees 25 and over increased to £7.50 on April 1, together with other increases to the national minimum Wage rates for all age brackets.

Statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay and sick pay rates also increased at the start of the month.

A report by KPMG released in November showed one in five employees in East Anglia was not receiving the voluntary living wage.

READ MORE: The government's minimum wage name and shame list5 Data Protection

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed by the European Parliament on April 14, 2016 and came into force on May 25.

Member states have two years to implement the GDPR which means that the latest date the UK can adopt the regulations is May 2018.

It is likely that the UK will still be in the EU in 2018 but, even if it is not, the UK will probably mirror EU regulation on this issue so that the UK can continue to trade and exchange data.

Read a Norfolk cyber security expert's tips for securing your data online.

6 Insolvency changes

Changes to insolvency legislation also come into force today as compulsory creditors meetings are abolished. Now, when a company goes into liquidation, at least 10% of creditors (or 10 individual creditors) will have to vote in favour of a meeting with insolvency agents.

Insolvency practitioners will also now be able to pay dividends to creditors without a creditor having to submit a proof of debt, but only where the debt is less than £1,000.

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