Get to know the laws that will affect jobs, pay, smoking, motoring and more
The government are bringing in new laws that will affect all of us. Here are the ones you need to know now…
Minimum wage is going up
Good news, from April, workers over the age of 25 will have to earn £7.50 an hour, which is an increase by 30p. However, it is still way under what The Living Wage Foundation are campaigning for (£8.45 and £9.75 in London.) By 2020, the government are aiming for this national minimum wage to be £9 an hour.
More government-funded apprentices will exist
From April, big businesses (which includes those that have an annual salary bill of over £3 million) will be expected to fund around three million apprenticeships to allow over 16s to learn on the job.
All children will need to use a car seat up until they’re 12
In March, booster seats will be banned for small children in a bid to improve safety – but the rule will only apply to new buys so you won’t be penalised if you’re using a booster seat that you bought before the ban.
Smoking is going to be discouraged even more
Last May, EU laws on selling tobacco included phasing out logos and making packets a dull, dark shade of green, and now, small packets of 10 cigarettes/30g pouches of tobacco will also be banned. And, new EU legislation may see e-cigarettes and vapes be banned from public spaces completely, too. This is expected to decrease the number of smokers within the EU by 2.4 million.
Owning a car might just cost you a lot more
Yes, sadly that’s because road tax is getting higher. As of April, only electric cars will be exempt from road tax so every other car will be charged based on their Co2 emissions, with a £140 flat fee every year after that. Again, don’t worry if you already own a car, or will have one before April as there will be no changes to how much you pay.
Gender pay gap in workplaces will have to be reported
Currently, companies only need to disclose information about any pay gaps if they’re forced into a sexist pay discrimination accusation corner, but now, employers will mandatorily need to disclose this information every year.
And the laws that may be introduced this year…
Microbeads may be banned
Tiny pieces of plastic that are found in beauty products, like toothpastes and body scrubs, became huge news last year when it was realised that they don’t biodegrade at all, can become toxic, and are causing damage to the environment, wildlife and even to us. Some supermarkets have already said they will ban them by the end of this year but the government are hoping to introduce a complete ban by the end of this year.
Considering that the fees cost us an average of £337-£500 each, Chancellor Philip Hammond is keen to bring in this law as soon as possible.
Anti-homelessness will become a priority
The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, wants to put an emphasis on the need for anti-homelessness laws to help secure accommodation for people before they find themselves living on the street.
Rape victims’ sexual histories won’t be allowed to be brought up in court
Considering that under Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, there are already restrictions of what can be brought up from a victim’s sexual past, it could soon be illegal to bring them up at all.