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March 2016 Budget: key points relating to employment law

  • Extension of Shared Parental Leave and Pay to grandparents: The government announced that it will launch a consultation in May 2016 on how to implement its commitment to extend Shared Parental Leave and Pay to working grandparents. The consultation will also cover options for streamlining the Shared Parental Leave and Pay system, including simplifying the eligibility requirements and notification system.

  • Termination payments: From April 2018, termination payments that are subject to income tax on amounts in excess of £30,000 will be subject to employer NICs. The government confirmed that the £30,000 exemption will remain and that the whole termination payment will be outside the scope of employee NICs.

  • In addition, legislation will be introduced to ensure that all payments in lieu of notice and certain damages payments are taxed as earnings.

  • Salary sacrifice: The government is considering restricting the range of benefits that may be offered through salary sacrifice schemes. It has confirmed that salary sacrifice for enhanced employer pension contributions, childcare benefits and health-related benefits, such as the cycle to work scheme, would be unaffected. However, the childcare voucher scheme will be closed to new entrants from April 2018.

  • Employee shareholders: A lifetime limit of £100,000 on CGT relief available for employee shareholder shares has been introduced. The change applies to shares issued as consideration for entering into an employee shareholder agreement after midnight on 16 March 2016. When the shares are disposed of, gains up to the lifetime limit will be exempt from CGT. Gains above the lifetime limit will be chargeable to CGT in the normal way.

  • Apprenticeship levy: Under the proposed apprenticeship levy, employers will receive a government payment equal to 10% of their monthly apprenticeship levy contributions that will be available for them to spend on apprenticeship training.

  • Loss of NICs allowance for employers of illegal workers: From April 2017, employers will be denied the NICs employment allowance for a period of one year if they are subject to a civil penalty for employing illegal workers.

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