The Autumn budget included the following matters of interest to employers:

National Minimum Wage

From April 2019 the NMW will be increased to the following rates:
• Apprentices: £3.90 an hour
• 16-17 year olds: £4.35 an hour
• 18-20 year olds: £6.15 an hour
• 21-14 year olds: £7.70 an hour
• Aged 25 and over: £8.21 an hour

Income tax

The income tax personal allowance will increase to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold will increase to £50,000 from April 2019. These thresholds will remain at the same level in 2020-21 and thereafter will rise in line with the consumer prices index.

Apprentice levy

From April 2019, businesses liable to pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to invest up to 25% of the levy to support the training of apprentices in their supply chain. For smaller employers who are not liable to pay the apprenticeship levy, the “co-investment rate” for apprenticeship training will be reduced from 10% to 5%. This means that smaller employers will contribute 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training, and the government will pay the balance.

National Insurance

The introduction of employer Class 1A National Insurance contributions on termination payments over £30,000 has been delayed until April 2020.

Payroll

The public sector off-payroll working rules will be extended to the private sector from 6 April 2020. The rules will only apply to large and medium-sized businesses, with the existing IR35 rules continuing to apply to small businesses. The government intends to use similar criteria to define small businesses as those found in the Companies Act 2006.