With everything going on in the world of employment at the moment, from furlough to restructuring and redundancies, it can be easy for this year’s employment law changes to fall under the radar. Here are five key changes which come into force this month which all business owners and HR personnel will need to be aware of and the points of action you may need to take.


The long anticipated IR35 regulations came into force on 6 April 2021. The rules apply to off-payroll working within the private sector and have been introduced in a bid to reduce tax avoidance for contractors employed via personal service companies. Organisations hiring contractors are now responsible for establishing their employment status and determining whether the IR35 rules apply. Where the IR35 rules apply, an organisation is deemed to be the employer of the contractor and is liable for tax and national insurance payments.

Point of Action

If your organisation hires contractors, you will need to establish their employment status in line with the IR35 rules. You will need to review your contracts to ensure they are compliant.

National Living Wage

From 1 April 2021, the National Living Wage increased to £8.91 per hour. The National Living Wage is now available to 23 and 24 year olds, having previously only been available to those 25 and over. The rates for other bands of National Minimum Wage have also increased to £8.36 for workers aged 21 and 22, to £6.56 for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.62 for workers aged 16 and 17.

Points of Action

Review the salaries of all of your employees to ensure they fall at or above the new rate of National Living Wage. Pay particular attention to any employees aged 23 and 24 who may not previously have qualified for the National Living Wage but will now do so. Where necessary, increase the salaries of the relevant employees and inform them of the change to their wages in writing. Update employment contracts too.

Statutory Redundancy Pay

As of 6 April 2021, the maximum weekly limit for redundancy pay will increase from £538 to £544 for employees with two years of service or more.

Point of Action

Calculate redundancy pay in line with the new rates to avoid any costly claims in the Employment Tribunal.

Other Statutory Pay

There have been increases in statutory pay across the board. These are:

  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay has increased to £151.97 per week.

  • Statutory sick pay has increased to £96.35 per week.

Points of Action

You will need to ensure that going forward, any workers taking any of the leave mentioned above are paid the correct rate. If any of these rates are mentioned in your staff handbooks and policies, you will need to update them.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

This change applies to companies in the public, private and voluntary sectors with 250 employees or more. Compulsory gender pay gap reporting was brought in by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2016 in an effort to move closer towards gender pay equality.

It has been announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deadline to publish gender pay gap reports has been delayed until October 2021 (having previously been 4 April for private and voluntary sector companies and 30 March for public sector companies).

Point of Action

Despite the deadline extension, businesses are still being encouraged to submit their reports as soon as possible. Publishing your report sooner could protect your reputation with current and future employees, customers and competitors.

If you need legal advice on any of the employment law changes mentioned above, our specialists are on hand to help. We can also offer ongoing support in the form of our HR Advantage service offering you a bespoke employment law services package. Contact us on 0845 287 0939 or email us today for more information.