Changes in Business Law in 2017

With Brexit on the horizon and a snap general election announced recently by Prime Minister Theresa May, the future is looking very uncertain, and uncertainty is a difficult climate to do business in. Businesses need to have firm expectations about what the future will be so they can make long term plans, and this is difficult to do in the current climate. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest changes in business law due in 2017, to help you feel more certain about the future.

Minimum Wage Rises

If you’re reliant on paying staff the minimum wage you should be aware that it is going up by over 30p, with over 25 year olds now due to be paid £7.50 an hour.

While this is good news for people on the minimum wage and will give them more stability and more disposable income (and is therefore good news for retail businesses and services appealing to minimum wage workers), be aware of that potential rise in your expenses: you may need to prepare to cut back in your other costs or pursue greater revenue streams to balance this.

It is also worth considering the possible benefits in employee loyalty and good publicity in taking the step of paying the Living Wage, rather than merely minimum wage.

Data Protection

New data protection standards are due to come into force in 2018 – crucially before Britain is due to leave the EU, meaning any business that isn’t compliant by May 2018 could potentially be fined millions of Euros.

This will entail a data audit covering all the personal data about your employees that you hold, and ensuring it meets the EU’s standards for your employees’ consent about how you hold it. As long as you begin soon and consult your experts both in law and IT, this should not be too onerous to complete by the deadline in 2018.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Perhaps the change with the furthest reaching consequences, private, public and voluntary sector organisations with more than 250 employees are obliged to collect and publish gender-based pay data in this year.

With legislation addressing the pay gap due in 2018, this is an important data gathering exercise for the government, and it’s worth taking steps now to make sure you are paying equally to avoid being named and shamed later.


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