As COVID restrictions relax further, this April sees a tidal wave of regulatory tweaks hitting employers across the UK.  Below FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee summarises the key ones to watch out for:

Minimum wage rates rising
From 1 April, the National Living Wage will increase to £9.50 per hour, whilst the National Minimum Wage will rise to £9.18 for 21‐22 year olds, £6.83 for 18‐20 year olds, and £4.81 for 16‐17 year olds. The Apprentice Rate will also increase to £4.81.

End of Red Diesel rebate
From 1 April the entitlement to use rebated red diesel will be removed from most sectors, including construction, which means it will be illegal to put red diesel into the tank of a vehicle or machine being used for construction work. If HMRC finds traces of red diesel in such a vehicle or machine, it will ask for evidence to demonstrate that it was put in before the rules changed and is still being used up. HMRC has confirmed it will take a pragmatic approach to enforcement in this situation but can seize the vehicle or machine and issue a fine of £250. To help members manage this significant change, Build UK has published a series of Frequently Asked Questions covering the transition from red to white diesel which includes a checklist of the steps to take.

Changes to PPE at Work Regulations from 6 April 2022
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations will be amended from 6 April 2022 to ensure that agency and temporary workers ‐ so called limb (b) workers ‐ are provided with the same PPE protections as employees. Those who have self‐employed status are not intended to be included, however employers are advised to check status and potential liabilities.  More information is available from the FIS here

New Sustainability Disclosure Requirements
Firms with more than 500 employees that are listed will need to disclose information related to climate change in their annual reports for the 2022/23 financial year.  This is to help investors to better understand the environmental approach of businesses in their portfolio.  Inevitably this is going lead to listed companies putting pressure on their supply chains to help them look good and encourage more projects to consider more sustainable options. More information here

New Plastic Packaging Tax
The Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force on 1 April 2022 and will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne.  If you manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging within a 12 month period, you may need to register for the tax. Further guidance is available from the FIS here.

Gender pay gap deadline
Companies with 250 employees or more have until Monday 4 April to report their gender pay gap information for 2021/22. Employers that fail to report on time or report inaccurate data via the gender pay gap service could face enforcement action.

Prompt payment threshold to increase from 1 April
From Friday 1 April, the prompt payment threshold will increase for suppliers bidding for Government contracts above £5 million per annum. More information here

The biggest change is yet to come as the Building Safety Bill looks set to receive Royal Assent this summer.