April will see the deadline for gender pay audits, rises in statutory pay rates and the National Living Wage and the end of Fit for Work assessments.
The Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Shared Parental Pay levels will rise to £145.18 per week (up from £140.98) from 9th April. Statutory Sick Pay will go up to £92.05 per week (up from £89.35).
The National Living Wage will rise to £7.83 for those aged 25 and above from 1st April. For 21-24 year olds it will be £7.38 per hour (up from £7.05); for 18-20 year olds it will be £5.90 per hour (up from £5.60) and for 16-17 year olds it will be £4.20 per hour (up from £4.05). Apprentices aged 16-18 and those over 19 in their first year of apprenticeship will get £3.70 per hour (up from £3.50).
The redundancy cap will also increase to £508 per week and the cap on compensation for unfair dismissal will go up to £98,922.
In addition Fit for Work assessments will cease. The Fit for Work referral service provided free access to an occupational health professional for people who were off work for four weeks or more. It was scrapped due to low uptake by employers.
By 4th April, all organisations employing more than 250 staff will need to have completed their first gender pay audit. There is currently no obligation for companies to explain the gender pay gap, nor any duty to address it if a company is complying with the Equality Act, but it is recommended by employment law experts.
April will also be the last month to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect from 25 May 2018. It was introduced by the EU in order to strengthen data protection for all individuals within the EU, as well as addressing the export of personal data outside the EU. GDPR will be applicable in the UK despite Brexit. Companies can be fined up to 4% of their global turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher, if they do not comply with the regulation on protecting personal data.