Five Employment Law Developments for 2018

1. GDPR comes into effect

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which updates and harmonises data protection law across the EU, will come into effect on 25 May 2018 for all EU member states, including the UK.  This directive will supersede the Data Protection Act 1998 and, as it is a directive, it will apply automatically.  While the concepts and principles of the GDPR are similar to those of the Data Protection Act 1998 there are some significant enhancements and new elements which will need to be adhered to.

The central idea to the GDPR is to allow people to have a greater say over how their data is used and makes data protection rules more or less identical all through the EU.

Even though the UK is leaving the EU the government have stated that it would be opting into the GDPR and have put forward a new Data Protection Bill in August 2017 which essentially replicates the requirements under GDPR. Once the bill is passed, it will help to clarify the regulations for protecting data once the UK leaves the European Union, by creating a British version of GDPR in all but name.

The new regulation places a greater emphasis on the documentation that must be kept to demonstrate compliance and accountability and greater transparency and individuals’ rights provisions.  This will include how an organisation is sharing personal data with partner/third party organisations.

For more information see our article titled General Data Protection Regulation.

2. First gender pay gap reporting deadline

From 2017, any organisation that has 250 or more employees must publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap.  The organisation must publish the pay gap data and a written statement and this gender pay gap report must be published on their public-facing website and on a government website.  For businesses and charities the publish date is 5 April 2018 and for specified public-sector employers the publish date is 30 March 2018 for the first report.

If the organisation has fewer than 250 employees, it can publish and report voluntarily but is not obliged to do so.

The reports will cover pay data from 2016 to 2017, including the differences in mean pay, median pay, mean bonus pay and median bonus pay between male and female employees.

Reports also have to set out the proportion of male and female employees in the pay quartiles of an organisation and the proportion of male and female employees who received bonus pay.

Currently, more than 350 employers have published gender pay gap reports on the Government site. Recent reports of inaccurate gender pay gap submissions highlight the difficulties organisations have in completing the calculations correctly.

For more information go to Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Overview

3. Minimum wage rates increase

The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase to £7.83 per hour on 1 April 2018.  Other national minimum wage rates will also increase, with rates rising to £7.38 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24, to £5.90 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and to £4.20 for workers aged 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age.

The apprentice minimum wage rate will rise to £3.70 per hour and the accommodation offset will increase to £7.00 per day.



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4. Statutory family pay amounts up rated

The current weekly rate of statutory maternity pay is £140.98, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate.

The rate of statutory maternity pay is rising to £145.18 from April 2018. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which in 2018 is 1 April.

Also on 1 April 2018, the rates of statutory paternity pay and statutory shared parental pay will go up from £140.98 to £145.18 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate).

The rate of statutory adoption pay will increase from £140.98 to £145.18.

This means that, from 1 April 2018, statutory adoption pay is payable at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, with the remainder of the adoption pay period at the rate of £145.18, or 90% of average weekly earnings if this is less than £145.18.

The rates normally increase each April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

The rate of statutory sick pay is also increasing from £89.35 to £92.05. This increase is expected to occur on 6 April 2018. To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit. The lower earnings limit is increasing from £113 to £116 in April 2018.

5. Preparations are underway for UK’s exit from the European Union

Employers and workers were relieved to hear last week of the Government’s initial agreement with the European Commission. The terms protect the rights of EU citizens who currently reside in the UK to live, work and study in the UK following UK’s exit from the European Union.

The announcement provides employers with more certainty as they continue to develop their contingency plans around UK’s exit from the European Union. The agreement does not relate to the ability of new EU workers to migrate to the UK to work after UK’s exit from the European Union.

As such, employers in sectors that rely on considerable inflows of European workers are still waiting for confirmation of immigration arrangements following withdrawal from the EU.

For more information on any employment issues, contact our employment lawyers in Bristol Christopher Brown and Liz Highams by calling their office on 0117 9235562 or email them at or

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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