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2017-18 – a payroll, pensions and HR checklist

By Ian Holloway, head of legislation and compliance at Cintra HR & Payroll Services

This time of year is always a busy one for UK professionals. However, April 2017 will be the advent of so much change that it has been difficult enough to keep up with it, let alone digest it.

Therefore, for my sake as much as anything else, here is a list of some of the 2017/18 changes that you should be aware of. I make no attempt to explain them and do not claim that this captures absolutely everything that is happening. However, the below should form part of a good start-of-year checklist:


• Marriage and other allowance change. These are UK-wide
• Tax code uplifts
• Two UK tax regimes – Scottish Income Tax (SIT) and rest of the UK (rUK)
• Threshold changes
• Basic Earnings Assessment for childcare vouchers to use rUK thresholds

National Insurance

• No rate changes
• Threshold changes UK-wide
• Nothing too exciting!

Employment Allowance

• No change to £3,000 value
HMRC will be monitoring ‘abuse’ throughout 2017/18 though

Student Loans

• Plan 1 and 2 thresholds increased

Statutory Payments

SSP rates change effective 06 April
SMP / SAP etc change effective 02 April
• Employment law payments and awards Great Britain effective 06 April – e.g. a week’s pay for redundancy. Northern Ireland is a big question mark as to the effective date of changes to their payments and awards. Look out for announcements from the Department for the Economy (DfE)

Apprenticeship Levy

• New ‘tax’ for 2017/18 for eligible employers UK-wide at 0.5% of the employer’s paybill
• Levy Allowance £15,000 per employer for 2017/18

Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRA – aka salary sacrifice)

• Big changes to benefit and flexible remuneration packages – and last-minute ones as well. Look out for:
• Things that are not affected, e.g. childcare
• Things that have a grandfathering period
• Things that are affected, i.e. everything else!
• Key words
o The trigger point
o The relevant amount
• See Finance Bill 2017 and HMRC guidance

National Minimum and Living Wage

• New effective date for National Minimum Wage is 01 April – aligned with National Living Wage
• New rates payable for pay reference periods starting on or after the effective date

Off-payroll working

• In Public Sector Bodies (PSBs), as defined in legislation
• Certain people who were off-payroll now have to go on the payroll if the payment is being made on or after 06 April
• They are not employees or workers but their deemed employment payments are included in the value of the employer’s paybill
• Key information
o Income Tax – Clause 1 and Schedule 1 Finance Bill 2017
o National Insurance – The Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments No. 2) Regulations 2017
o The new Employment Service Status tool
o HMRC guidance
• I have a hunch that this regime may be extended to all employers at some time in the future. In quiet times, it’s probably a good idea to have a browse through all the off-payroll information to make sure you are prepared

Gender Pay Gap (GPG) reporting

• For private and voluntary sector employers in Great Britain and public sector England where:
o The ‘relevant employer’ has 250 or more ‘relevant employees’ on the ‘relevant date’ – do some research!
• Be aware that GPG obligations already exist in public sector bodies in the devolved nations (Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland)
GPG should come to private and voluntary sector employers in Northern Ireland and Regulations were expected in June 2017 (although goodness knows what will happen)


• Public Sector scheme rate amendments (LGPS, TP etc)
• Auto-Enrolment thresholds (QEBS) changes in Great Britain and corresponding values in Northern Irish legislation
• Pension advice allowance introduced
• Employer-arranged pensions advice introduced
• Lifetime ISA introduced (not strictly payroll-related but one to keep an eye out for)
• Monthly Data Collection for Teachers’ Pension mandatory from December 2017


• Official rate of interest reduced to 2.5%
• Cars and van changes
• Making good dates aligned (for non-payrolled benefits)

Plenty to be getting on with!

Posted on 6th April 2017 by Jerome Smail



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Are the new rates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage high enough?