Changes to legislation which come into force this month include controls on enforcing the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Employers who do not pay the set NMW can now be issued with an automatic fine of up to £5,000, while the most serious cases could be subject to an unlimited penalty.

Rates of statutory sick pay, as well as maternity and paternity pay, have also all been increased, while statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures have been made more flexible. The minimum legal entitlement to paid holiday has been increased from 24 to 28 days for a full-time worker on a five-day week, pro-rata for part-timers.

Employees who have parental responsibility for children aged 16 and under now have the right to make a written request to work flexibly, and employers have a duty to consider this.

The threshold below which taxpayers do not need to make in-year payments on account of their annual income tax liability has doubled from £500 to £1,000.