HR changes in 2018


With 2018 now upon us, we have highlighted the changes in employment law that are likely to affect your business, and how you look after your employees, in the year ahead and beyond.


Some of the changes are simply an update of statutory payments, others such as the implementation of new data protection rules will need a review of procedures to avoid possible fines and disruption.


Changes to employment Tribunal Fee Reimbursement

Estimated Timing
This is happening currently.

What Changes to expect 

  • The initial stage of the employment tribunal refund scheme is now completed.
  • Anyone can apply for a refund if they paid a fee to an employment tribunal or Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).
  • This applies to the dates between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017.

What this means for Employers
This will mainly be relevant if you paid a fee for:

  • Judicial mediation
  • A breach of contract counterclaim
  • An appeal to the EAT

If you were ordered to pay the fees of a claimant who brought a claim against you.


Changes to Salary Sacrifice

Estimated Timing
6 April 2018 (or April 2021 for those relating to cars, accommodation and school fees)

What Changes to expect
From 6 April, only the following benefits can be provided through salary sacrifice arrangements:

  • Employer pension contributions
  • Childcare benefits
  • Cycle to work schemes
  • Ultra-low emission company cars,

What this means for Employers

  • Schemes in place prior to this date can continue to benefit from the tax advantages they provide until April 2018.
  • Accommodation, school fees and other company cars may be provided under salary sacrifice arrangements until April 2021.

Therefore employers should assess the impact of the changes before the end of the above periods and communicate with affected employees.


Tax Treatment of Termination Pay

Estimated Timing
6 April 2018

What Changes to expect
The government plans to make changes to the taxation of termination payments from April 2018. The proposals include:

  • All PILONs (payments in lieu of notice), including both contract and non-contractible, are taxable and subject to Class 1 NICs
  • The first £30,000 of a termination payment remains exempt from income tax and that any payment paid to any employee that relates solely to the termination of the employment continues to have an unlimited employee NICs exemption
  • Employer NICs will be payable on payments above £30,000 (which are currently only subject to income tax)

What this means for Employers
Employer’s need to:

  • Plan ahead
  • Managing employee tax expectations on termination

Reviewing additional employer tax/NIC costs.


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Estimated Timing
25 May 2018

What Changes to expect
The new rules give individuals:

  • Easier access to their own data
  • A ‘right to be forgotten
  • A right to know when their data has been hacked.

What this means for Employers
Organisations will benefit from having:

  • A single set of data protection rules across the EU
  • One supervisory authority, rather than the current 28.
  • Notifications to supervisory bodies are also being scrapped. But companies may be required to:
  • Pay a fine of up to 4% of global turnover if they breach the new rules
  • Appoint a data protection officer in certain circumstances.

**Exemptions apply for SMEs for whom data processing is not a core business activity, and these employers may also charge a data access fee where requests are ‘manifestly unfounded’ or ‘excessive.’

The ICO has launched a new telephone advice service to help small organisations prepare for the introduction of the GDPR. To access the new service dial the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 and select option 4 to be diverted to staff who can offer support. As well as advice on preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, callers can also ask questions about current data protection rules and Freedom of Information.


New Statutory Payments from April 2018



Changes to parental bereavement 

Estimated Timing
Upcoming, government is aiming for this to be in force in 2020

What Changes to expect
The Bill is currently progressing through Parliament, will entitle employees who lose a child under the age of 18 to two weeks’ leave, paid at the statutory rate if they have 26 weeks’ service.

What this means for Employers
Currently employed parents only have a day-one right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent, including dealing with a dependent’s death.



Please contact us if you need more detailed information on this year’s changes or help with any other HR issue.