HR Expert: Preparing for April: Changes to National Minimum and Living Wage and Statutory Payments
My client has approached me asking what they need to know about changes that are coming in with the new tax year, and how that is going to impact their business costs. It’s been a while since the national minimum / living wage (NMW/NLW) changes were announced, and the changes to statutory payments too. I’d like to give my client a rundown of what the changes will be, where do you recommend that I start and what should I include?

Various increases will come with the 2022/2023 tax year. This is at a time of increases to the cost of living and will be welcomed by low-income earners. However, your clients are likely still recovering from the pandemic, and now the impact of disrupted supply chains, sanctions and other issues as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I suggest providing your client will the following information:

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage (NMW/NLW)

Age Rate from 1 April 2021 Rate from 1 April 2022 Percentage increase
Workers aged 23 and over (NLW) £8.91 £9.50 6.60%
21-22 £8.36 £9.18 9.80%
18-20 £6.56 £6.83 4.10%
16-17 £4.62 £4.81 4.10%
Apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship £4.30 £4.81 11.90%

 

It is important to check that your client is comfortable with the NMW/NLW bands, as, since 2021, there are five. Your client must keep up to date with important anniversaries, such as birthdays and apprentices moving into their second year. 16% of those ‘name and shamed’ by the government in December 2021 for failing to pay NMW/NLW gave the reason as failing to increase pay in line with entitlement.

Your client should also be reminded of when to apply the increase (the next “pay reference period” after the increase). This is the period within which pay is calculated. For example, if Wilhelm gets paid monthly on the 15th, the old rate applies until the pay reference period beginning on 16 April. Therefore, Wilhelm will get the old rate between April 1 and 15. To avoid any employee grumbles, it would be good to recommend to your client that they explain this to their staff.

Family friendly statutory payments
From 3 April 2022 family friendly payments increase to £156.66 from £151.97 (including shared parental, maternity, adoption, paternity, and parental bereavement pay). These apply to those away from work on paid family leave, from the date of the increase.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) and the lower earnings limit (LEL)
The LEL will increase for the first time in two years, rising from £120 to £123 from 6 April 2022. SSP will increase then from £96.35 to £99.35.

National Insurance (NI)
Another change is the increase to NI by 1.25% from April 2022. HMRC have asked employers to include the following on all payslips between 6 April 2022 and 5 April 2023: “1.25% uplift in NICs funds NHS, health and social care”, which will remind employees why this has happened. Making staff aware in advance, that it has been mandated by the government, and its impact, will allow them to prepare. Your client should be told there is no obligation to cover the difference in net pay.

Time to prepare
April is nearly upon us, and your client needs to act now to make sure they are aware of any workers that are getting a pay rise. As these increases happen on different days in early April, care will need to be taken to ensure everything is correct.


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