The Autumn Budget
It does not come as a surprise that an extension of the public sector off-payroll rules to large and medium sized private sector businesses has been announced. Although we are awaiting further details, in broad terms this is likely to apply to businesses employing 250+ employees or with annual turnover of more than £25m – the Government has at least listened to concerns about the burden that the change would impose on small businesses and left them out of the new regime. The change would make end-users responsible for assessing whether self-employed contractors they engage via a service company fall within the IR35 rules and for making tax and National Insurance deductions. The end-users would also be liable for any HMRC fines if they fail to assess their contractors correctly or fail to deduct the correct tax and National Insurance. Although the changes will not come into force until April 2020, businesses should start reviewing their use of independent contractors now, to avoid being caught out. Next month's newsletter will include a more detailed guide to auditing contractor use and forthcoming tax and NI changes.
Mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting
The Government has launched a consultation on introducing a system of mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting, to mirror the current gender pay gap reporting regime. The consultation is open until 11 January 2019.
Gender Recognition Act Closure
The Government's consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act has just closed. The consultation was seeking views on shifting to a system based on self-identification rather than the current certification regime. Concerns have been raised that the proposals would make current single-sex exemptions in the Equality Act 2010 more difficult to operate.
The Immigration Health Surcharge
The Immigration Health Surcharge, which allows non-EU nationals to use the NHS, is to double from £200 to £400.
Changes to the Immigration Rules
Further changes to the Immigration Rules have been announced and are due to come into force on 5 November 2018. One of the most helpful changes is that copies of supporting documents such as payslips, bank statements and so on, will now be accepted in lieu of originals.