January is traditionally the time that I look forward and try to anticipate some of the things that are ahead but this time, it’s going to be very hard to predict. It’s an election year this time, so whether we’ll go to the polls in spring or autumn, there are sure to be changes ahead.

But there are some developments that are locked in so here’s a run-down on those.

Minimum Wage

The government has already announced the new rates of National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage that will be coming in from 1st April 2024.

These will be:

RateRate per hour% increase
National Living Wage (age 21 and over)£11.449.8%
18-20 year old rate£8.6014.8%
16-17 year old rate£6.4021.2%
Apprentice rate£6.4021.2%

National insurance

The first change in National Insurance has already been implemented with the rate for workers reducing from 12% to 10% on 6th January. That means everyone should see a little bit more in their pay packets at the end of this month.

Then, going forward, one of the classes of National Insurance that is paid by self-employed people – Class 2 – is being abolished for those making a profit of more than £12,570. Those making less than that already don’t have to pay Class 2 although they can make a voluntary contribution and that will still be the case.

Paternity leave

New rules around paternity leave are coming in to force from 8th March 2024 for births due after 6th April 2024.

The changes are:

  • New parents can take leave in two blocks of a week each which don’t have to be consecutive or they can take a single two week period of leave
  • Four weeks’ notice must be given before taking leave
  • The leave can be taken within a year of the birth or the adoption placement

Paternity leave works in tandem with parental leave and you can read our blog that’s devoted to that subject here.

Free childcare

You may have seen in the news recently that free childcare for working parents is expanding this year. From April 2024, parents of 2 year olds will receive 15 hours a week of free childcare. Then in September 2024, children aged from 9 months to 3 years will receive 15 hours a week. Looking further ahead, from September 2025, 30 hours of free childcare will be available to all children under 5.

For more information on free childcare, click here: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/upcoming-changes-to-childcare-support/

Spring budget

The Chancellor’s Spring Budget will be on 6th March this year and it will be interesting to see what changes are announced then – there are rumours of some tax reductions. We’ll be looking closely at any payroll related initiatives on the day and we’ll be uploading our blog soon after.

As 2024 gets underway, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any payroll queries or if one of your resolutions is to pass over your payroll management to someone else – we can help!