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The New Year

2016: What a year we had! – so many notable deaths, Brexit, Donald Trump, beaten by Iceland in the football……. But in amongst it all, there were some positives: Murray winning at Wimbledon and the Olympics, GB coming 2nd in the Olympics medal table, tiger numbers are up, giant pandas are no longer endangered, and 'HR for Creative Companies' was born in February!!

So from our perspective here are some highlights of our past year:

The Book: HR for Creative Companies

After a gestation period of more than eighteen months, Kate's book, 'HR for Creatives Companies' was published by the RIBA in February. It was positively received and we celebrated with a launch party at the RIBA in June. Amongst favourite reviews are: 'one of the most sane and practical guides to HR I've read'. We're now on a mission to get the book on the reading list for all Part 3 Architecture courses.

MAMD: Masters in Architectural Management and Design

Kate has now been a visiting Professor at IE Business School in Madrid for five years. She teaches the HR module for the MAMD programme and does so via video conference and online forum. It's a great opportunity to work with architects from around the world. This year we had our biggest class ever - 27 international students, age range from early twenties to mid-forties; nationalities from Belgian to Palestinian via Columbia and Mexico; working in South America, the Middle East, and Europe. Teaching HR to those working in such different environments is a challenge, but really makes me think about what is important in HR. It evolves around the basic principles of what we are trying to achieve – fairness, consistency, a level of pragmatism and how to create an environment where our people can flourish.

Breakfast Seminars 2016:

We held three breakfast seminars this year each focussing on different topics. That held in November was a tremendous success and we will be building upon this in 2017.

February 18th Focussed on various legal updates but most notably the link between working time and travel time/ overtime and holiday pay – aided ably by Vandana Dass of Davenports Solicitors.

June 23rd We gave further updates on legal issues, with a focus on sickness in the workplace and how to address it. Ironically, finishing with some comments on the potential impact of Brexit, little knowing how that day's referendum would turn out!

17th November: Mental health in the workplace

Our breakfast seminar in November engendered a lively debate which we hope to continue in 2017. Our goal is to help you and your companies to put in place measures to prevent, monitor and support mental health issues.

In the run up to Christmas, I was struck by the increased press regarding this subject. Even the Prime Minister has entered the fray. News such as the unacceptable rates of suicide in our society really hit home and raise the profile of mental health. It is excellent that this debate is becoming more prevalent, but we also need to work together to come up with some effective solutions too.

We plan to begin our 2017 sessions with another event focussing on mental health in the workplace. Look out for our fliers and keep March in your mind!

On that note: Happy New Year and all good things for 2017!

Here is our legal update of things to look forward to in the coming months:

Apprenticeship levy – April 2017

The government is aiming to introduce an apprenticeship levy on larger public and private employers in the UK to fund 3 million new apprenticeships during the current Parliament. The proposals include setting a rate at 0.5% of an employer's pay bill across all sectors and that employers will receive an allowance of £15,000. The effect of this allowance is that the levy will only be payable on pay bills in excess of £3 million – employers with a pay bill less than £3 million will not pay anything.

Gender pay gap reporting – April 2017

All private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees will be required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women on a mandatory basis. The information will be based on a snapshot of each relevant employee's pay taken in April 2017 and every subsequent April.

Restriction of Salary Sacrifice Benefits – April 2017
The tax and NIC advantages derived from salary sacrifice arrangements such as medical benefits and technology will be removed, except for the schemes relating to pension, childcare, cycle to work, ultra-low emission company cars and the purchase of annual leave.

Transitional measures will apply until April 2018 in respect of arrangements entered into before the new provisions come into force. Arrangements relating to cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until 2021.

The National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW).
The NLW is to increase from £7.20 to £7.50 from April 2017. It equates to an increase of more than £1,400 a year, for a full-time worker previously on the NLW.

The NMW will also increase:

• for 21 to 24 year olds—from £6.95 per hour to £7.05

• for 18 to 20 year olds—from £5.55 per hour to £5.60

• for 16 to 17 year olds—from £4.00 per hour to £4.05

• for apprentices—from £3.40 per hour to £3.50

The government has also announced plans to spend £4.3m on:

• helping small businesses to understand the rules regarding NLW and NMW

• cracking down on employers who are breaking the law by not paying the minimum wage