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With Easter holidays over and May suddenly upon us, already we can see the Summer Holidays on the horizon. Whilst we all look forward to the sunshine, school holidays often come hand in hand with rising childcare costs.

Childcare can have massive impacts on your family's finances, but did you know that 2017 will see the introduction of a new tax free childcare scheme?

When planning ahead for the new financial year, this may be something for your family and employees to consider!

What is the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme?

Tax-Free Childcare is a new scheme that will offer working families 20% support towards childcare costs, from early 2017.

The scheme will be open to almost two million families in the UK.

Who is the Tax Free Childcare Scheme for?

For the first time, as well as being for full-time employees, it will cover you if you are self-employed, working part time, on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or starting your own business.

The scheme will be available in Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

How will it operate?

This will operate through an online Childcare account, provided by National Savings & Investments (NS&I) and HMRC.

You will be able to pay childcare costs into this account and the Government will add their contribution.

The accounts will involve no fees and will allow you to build up credit for those crucial times when you need it, for example during the summer holidays!

Our consultants at Clearwater Brookes are up to date on all new legislation. To discuss how we can advise on your business needs call 0141 582 1474 or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Are you ready?
Spring may still feel a long way off but it is fast approaching and along with its arrival are the 2016 employment law changes commencing in April. Changes in employment law generally take place in April and October each year.
 
In 2016, employers will begin to feel the impact of the employment law reforms made by the first Conservative Government in nearly 20 years, with some controversial decisions affecting a number of HR areas.

Here are some of the key changes due to come in this year:

• The rates will remain the same for Statutory Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption & Shared Parental Pay at £139.58 per week.
• There will be a new single- tier pension replacing the five separate elements of the current pension provision. This is a drive by the government to simplify the    system.
• National Living Wage- A new, compulsory living wage is to be introduced as of 1 April with an hourly rate of £7.20 for anyone 25 or older.

The national living wage is separate to the living wage, a recommended rate based on the cost of living, used by the Living Wage Foundation.
Another change concerning minimum pay is the doubling of the penalty for failure to pay staff the national minimum.

• Sick Pay- the statutory rate of sick pay has been frozen at £88.45 per week for 2016/17.
The rates normally increase every year, but a fall in the consumer prices index has meant no uplift for 2016/17.
Statutory sick pay will also remain the same.

• Apprentices- the government is reducing the cost to employers of hiring apprentices by abolishing employer National Insurance Contributions for apprentices under the age of 25.
• Income Tax- the threshold for income tax will be increased as of 6 April so the personal allowance will be £11,000.
• Basic Rate Tax- this threshold is to increase to £32,000 as of 6 April.
• Gender Pay Gap Reporting- new Regulations set to come into force in October 2016 will see large businesses (more than 250 employees) in the private and voluntary sectors required to publish a report on pay to illustrate any salary gaps between genders.

However, further details of what this means for employers are yet to be disclosed, including the particulars that they will need to provide and where the information should be published.
It is expected that employers will be given time to get to grips with the legislation before the reporting requirements come into force.
How do we manage to do this?

As HR Practitioners, it is important that we are up to date as much as possible with changes in legislation.

To get your organisation on the right track call us now for an informal appraisal of your business needs on 0141 582 1474

Alternatively email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website for more information.

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 Personnel Today report that the League tables showing how well companies are tackling their gender pay gap will be published by the Government in 2018 under plans unveiled today.

Minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan said: “In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make ground breaking strides in tackling gender inequality. But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace.

Are men and women equal?

Gender equality in the workplace can be expressed in many ways and at many levels. In the first place gender equality, or the lack of it, is revealed in the attitude of the organisation towards the people in the workplace community. When there is gender equality in the workplace, the differences between and amongst women and men are valued and encouraged. Women and men are not quantitative representatives of particular quotas in various jobs and positions, but gender equality can be clearly seen as the resolute wish of the organisation’s leaders as a policy and as a goal.
 
This is in line with The Equal Pay Act 1970 and is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment.

Every organisation should incorporate equality into their core objectives, making every effort to eliminate discrimination, create equal opportunities and develop good working relationships between different people.

All individuals in their day to day work should be considered in shaping their policies and in providing their services. This is in line with the public sector Equality Duty introduced by the Equality Act 2010

Equality and Diversity

• Treat all members of the workplace with dignity and respect their rights and beliefs
• Challenge or report incidents of discrimination, harassment and bullying
• Respond positively and inclusively to individual differences
• Apply equality and diversity principles through everyday work activities
• Keep knowledge of the workplace equality and diversity policy up to date
 
Case Study
In the public sector, the issue of the gender pay gap has led to major battles between councils and their workers up and down the country. Women who worked as cleaners and school catering staff have taken hundreds of class actions to close pay differentials with men who had jobs such as refuse collector or street cleaner.
One council, Birmingham, has agreed to pay over £1bn to settle the claims of tens of thousands of women which go back over many years.
Ms Lauren Lougheed, an Employment Law solicitor for the organisation Leigh Day based in Manchester said that “the private sector had been slower to act and that this test case could prove a watershed”.
 
 
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