Our tracker highlights new domestic and EU legislation, key Private Members' Bills and Government consultations for legislative reform.



Immigration rules

Significant change to the rights of EEA nationals to work in the UK

Free movement rights for EEA nationals end on 31 December 2020, meaning they will no longer have an automatic right to live and work in the UK. EEA nationals already based in the UK prior to 1 January 2021 may apply for either Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status before 30 June 2021.

From 1 January 2021, EEA nationals (and nationals of other countries) wishing to come to the UK to work will need to be sponsored by a UK employer under the new points-based based immigration system. In order to sponsor a worker, the employer must hold a licence issued by the Home Office. Workers must meet salary and skills thresholds in order to qualify for sponsorship. Further guidance on the points-based immigration system is available here.

1 January 2021


Furlough scheme

New phase of the furlough scheme

The current phase of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka furlough) started running on 1 November 2020 and finishes on 31 January 2021. Under this phase of the furlough scheme, employers do not have to contribute towards the wages of furloughed employees for any unworked hours and may claim a grant of 80% of the employee's pay, capped at £2,500 per month.

The Government has indicated that it will review the furlough scheme in January and that the fourth phase of the scheme will run between 1 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. The rules governing the fourth phase of the scheme have yet to be published, but it is widely expected that the Government will reduce their contribution to furloughed employees' wages and require employers to make a contribution. You can read our detailed guide to the scheme here.

1 February 2021


National minimum wage

Changes to the national minimum wage age threshold and rates increase

The minimum age threshold for entitlement to the National Living Wage will decrease from 25 to 23 years of age. In addition, the hourly rates will increase as follows:

  • National Living Wage (age 23+): £8.91.
  • Standard adult rate (age 21+): £8.36.
  • Development rate (age 18+): £6.56.
  • Youth rate (age 16+): £4.62.
  • Apprentice rate: £4.30.
  • Accommodation offset (max. daily deduction): £8.36.

1 April 2021


Statutory pay

Increase to statutory payments

It is expected that the statutory payments will increase as follows:

  • Statutory Sick Pay: £96.35 per week (up from £95.85).
  • Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay: £151.97 per week (up from £151.20).

4 April 2021 (TBC)


Off-payroll working (IR35)

Changes to the IR35 rules in the private sector

The way in which the IR35 rules operate in the private sector will change. These reforms will see contractors lose the ability to determine their own tax status and place this burden on those who engage them. Large and medium-sized businesses in the private sector that engage independent contractors via an intermediary (usually a personal service company) will become responsible for assessing whether the IR35 rules apply. Once the business has made its assessment it must notify certain parties of its decision and provide them with the opportunity to challenge the assessment. Where the business contracts with the intermediary (i.e. it is the fee payer), it will also become responsible for deducting income tax and NICs and paying employer's NICs. These reforms were due to come into force on 6 April 2020 but were deferred in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. You can read our detailed note on the new regime here.

6 April 2021

Separate regulations allowing for the recovery of PAYE and NICs debts arising under these new rules will come into force on 6 April 2021 and 1 April 2021 respectively.

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