The government has published the proposed benefit and pension rates for 2017 to 2018. It reviews the rates every year to reflect the changes to the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI increased by 1% in the year 2015 to 2016, leading to an increase in statutory rates for 2017 to 2018, as set out below.
- Maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption pay: increase from £139.58 to £140.98 per week.
- Sick pay: increase from £88.45 to £89.35 per week.
- Lower earnings limit: increase from £112 to £113 per week.
Employees’ average earnings must be in line with, or higher than, the lower earnings limit to trigger their eligibility for these benefits. The above figures are key rates referred to by employers and HR professionals on a daily basis. The new rates will not come into force until April 2017 and might still be subject to change. However, the government’s early publication of its proposed revised figures will give employers and HR professionals an indication of the likely level at which they will be set. This will allow employers and HR professionals to prepare budgets accordingly and to anticipate any necessary amendments to policies in advance.