Budget 2021: 8 things employers might have missed

Budget 2021: 8 things employers might have missed

There was a great deal to take in with Rishi Sunak’s long awaited budget yesterday so, having let the dust settle, here are eight things you may have missed:

1.’Restart Grants’ and recovery funding

Grants will be made available from April to help eligible businesses get back on their feet.
  • Struggling high street shops, hospitality venues, salons, and gyms, amongst others, are expected to benefit from grants of up to £18,000 per business.
  • A new Recovery Loan Scheme will be available for businesses of any size to apply for loans from £25,000 to £10 million.
  • A £700 million recovery package has been budgeted to help businesses and venues in the sports and culture sectors.

2. Increased funding for apprenticeships

Employers offering apprenticeships will receive increased funding from the government of up to £3,000 per trainee for all new apprentice hires of any age.

3. Family-friendly entitlements

  • The Budget included a provision to allow parents of premature babies to claim an additional £160 per week for every week their child is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. No further details were given about when this entitlement would be introduced.
  • The Government will also be considering how a statutory carers’ leave entitlement would be designed, with a consultation expected to be published shortly. It said the new entitlement would apply to employees with unpaid caring responsibilities for family members or dependants.
“This will support hardworking people to balance their caring responsibilities with work, particularly women who disproportionately undertake unpaid caring activities,” the report says.

4. Employers’ national insurance costs

As well as reductions in business rates and measures to reduce the impact of coronavirus on businesses, several other plans were laid out that are expected to reduce the costs associated with employing people.
  • The employment allowance for national insurance contributions (NICs) will increase from £3,000 to £4,000 from April 2020.
“To cut the cost of taking on staff the Government is increasing the NICs employment allowance to £4,000, benefiting 510,000 businesses,” says the Budget document. “As a result, businesses will be able to employ four full-time employees on the National Living Wage without paying any employer National Insurance contributions…From April, over 650,000 businesses will have been taken out of paying NICs since the introduction of the Employment Allowance in 2014.” The increase in employment allowance on National Insurance bills will be welcomed by small firms and charities, especially those who have seen their payroll costs jump due to rises in the National Living Wage.
  • The Government will also introduce a “national insurance holiday” for employers of veterans in their first year of civilian employment. Employers will be able to claim this relief from April 2021.

5. Minimum wage to increase

This will now be to £8.91 an hour from April 2021

6. Jobs in science and research

  • Public R&D investment will be increased to £22 billion per year by 2024-25. HM Treasury said its Budget “supports the development of the high-tech, high-skill jobs of the future”.
  • A £400 million funding boost will be given in 2020-21 for “world-leading” research, infrastructure and equipment, while a further £300 million will be invested in experimental mathematical research to help attract global talent over the next five years. This will “double funding for new PhDs and boost the number of maths fellowships and research projects”, it said.

7. IR35

  • It was confirmed that the changes to the off-payroll working rules, commonly known as IR35, would go ahead in April.
“The Government believes it is right to address the fundamental unfairness of the non-compliance with the existing rules, and the reform will therefore be legislated in Finance Bill 2020 and implemented on 6 April 2020, as previously announced,” it says.

8. Unsponsored Visa Scheme/ Immigration

  • Since Brexit, employers wanting to hire talent from overseas have had to comply with the new points-based immigration system.
Today’s announcement confirmed that a new unsponsored points-based visa will simplify the process for hiring high-skilled workers such as engineers and scientists.
  • For non-UK nationals moving to the UK, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will increase from £400 to £624, with a rate of £470 for children. For students and those entering on the youth mobility scheme the surcharge will rise from £300 to £470. This will also be applied to EEA nationals.


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