Although there will be comparatively few changes to substantive employment law this Spring when compared to previous years, there are still a number that are worth noting.
Immigration: Some significant changes to the UK’s immigration rules will take effect on 1 April, including updating the shortage occupation list. We explain more in this blog posting.
IR35: Changes to the IR35 rules for the private sector, originally due to take effect last year but postponed due to COVID, will now take effect on 6 April. The changes involve a major shift of the responsibility for tax compliance from workers’ personal service companies on to their end-user clients. For more information see this article.
National Minimum Wage: As well as the usual annual increase in the hourly rates, the age threshold to qualify for top NMW rate (also known as the National Living Wage) has been reduced from 25 to 23 years with effect from 1 April. For more information about the 2021 uprating of employment rates and limits generally, see our separate briefing here.
Shielding: Shielding ends on 31 March, which means people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are no longer advised not to travel to work and they will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay because they have been advised to shield. However, employers will continue to be expected to make adjustments for staff who are at particular risk of becoming severely ill from COVID, and in many cases this will also be required under Equality Act. In addition, the Government’s advice that people should work from home where possible is expected to remain in place until at least 21 June, despite the earlier lifting of many other lock-down restrictions.