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7 Ways HR Will Change in 2017

16 Dec 2016

The world is a fast-moving place, with new technologies and new laws popping up left and right. It's sometimes a challenge just to keep your head above the water! But, with 2017 just around the corner, you've come to the right place... In this article, we'll be preparing you for the year to come by listing 7 ways HR will change in 2017. Although the New Year is almost upon us, most of these changes aren't expected until the new tax year in April 2017 -- so you have plenty of time to prepare!

1. Compulsory Gender Pay Gap Reporting

By April 2018, employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish reports detailing their annual gender pay gap and gender bonus pay gap So, why am I mentioning this now? Well, the information for these reports must be based on a specific pay period every April 5th, starting with April 2017. This information must be published on the employer's website and will also likely be published on a government sponsored website. Although a positive step forward for diversity, publishing an adverse gender pay gap report could have a negative impact on employee engagement and retention. To find out more about exactly how to measure and report a gender pay gap, click here.

2. Tax-Free Childcare

The tax-free childcare scheme is to be launched by the Government in early 2017. The scheme applies to families where both parents are working more than 16 hours per week and earning less than £100,000 per year. To help with the cost of childcare, the Government will pay 20% of yearly childcare costs (capped at £2,000 for each child). This means that for every £8 a parent pays towards childcare, the Government will pay £2. With the introduction of this new scheme, the current employer childcare vouchers scheme will be closed to new entrants from April 2018. So, HR departments should make employees aware of these changes in time for the New Year.

3. AI will assist the Hiring Process

It's predicted that 3.6 million company bosses are set to retire this year, so inevitably, a younger generation of managers will arise in 2017. Having younger, more tech savvy managers is likely to change many HR processes, such as recruitment. All HR workers know the pain of scrolling through tons of candidate profiles on LinkedIn, or sifting through application after application - but that's set to be a thing of the past.The future is here! Well, almost...For a while now, computers have been accelerating the way we organise and analyse pools of information. This is set to increase in the future with the rise of AI technology. AI is set to assist the hiring process by making it easier for HR managers to find the best candidates for the roles they are looking to fill.

4. English Language Requirement

This new requirement, introduced by the Immigration Act 2016 with an implementation date of 21st November 2016, is set to fully take off in 2017.  The aim is to help public authorities provide a higher quality of communication, health and safety and other services with the appropriate level of spoken English to be met by customer-facing staff. This new act requires at least one HR person per public sector organisation to familiarise themselves with new requirements and update policies (such as recruitment and complaints procedures) accordingly.

5. Immigration Skills Charge

Another factor of the Immigration Act that contributes towards improving business processes is the immigration skills charge. The charge is designed to address skills gaps and reduce reliance on migrant labour by incentivising employers to invest in training and up-skilling workers.  From April 2017, employers will be required to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per migrant, per year, with a reduced rate of £364 for small businesses and charities. 


6. Apprenticeship Levy

On 6th April 2017, the apprenticeship levy is expected to come into force. This change requires all large employers (with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million) to pay an apprenticeship levy set at 0.5% of their pay bill. This money will then be used to fund apprenticeship training and assessments.  This new levy also slightly changes the definition of the term 'apprenticeship'. The term apprenticeship will only refer to courses that have statutory training requirements. Courses where the training is not statutory will no longer be described as apprenticeships.  Additionally, apprenticeship targets will be set for public sector organisations with 250 or more employees.  The levy must be paid to HMRC through the PAYE process. For more on that, click here.

7. Trade Union Act

On 5th May 2016, The Trade Union Act 2016 was passed. However, the majority of the new provisions aren't set to be enforced until early next year. HR workers in unionised environments will have to get their heads around important changes, such as: 

  • Ensuring an industrial action goes ahead when there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%
  • Setting a 6 month time limit for industrial action
  • Creating a transparent process for trade union subscriptions
  • Giving a clearer description of the trade dispute and planned industrial action so members are clear on what they are voting for
For further information and to read a full list of the changes, click here to visit the government website. 

Final Thoughts

The only constant in life is change. But if you're prepared for change then you can embrace it instead of fearing it. By reading this article you've already got a head-start on the ways HR will change in 2017!
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