Big Increase In National Minimum Wage Underpayment Reports

Payroll experts birminghamDuring the year to 31 March 2017 HMRC received over 5,000 reports of suspected underpayments of National Minimum Wage, this is up from 2,513 the previous year.  Employers need to be aware that the Government has committed £25.3m for minimum wage enforcement in 2017/18 and launched an awareness campaign for workers.  If an employer is found to have been underpaying workers they face penalties of up to 200% of the arrears owed, up to £20k per worker.

According to tax investigations expert Paul Noble of Pinsent Masons, the increase in underpayment reports from whistleblowers to HMRC and Acas may be owing to the number of workers falling within the scope of the National Minimum Wage rising from 1m to 1.6m people, and the introduction of a new online complaints process which makes it easier for people to raise concerns.

The National Living Wage was introduced in 2016 and raised pay from £6.70 to £7.20 per hour, and then to £7.50 per hour last year for workers aged 25 or over.

If you are in any doubt about your responsibilities as an employer please contact us at Payroll Masters.  We can help and advise you on all aspects of employing people.

Pensions Regulator Spot Checks in East Midlands

auto enrolmentThe Pensions Regulator has started doing spot checks in the East Midlands to make sure employers are meeting their auto enrolment obligations.  The checks will highlight employers who have not taken the necessary steps to become or remain compliant.

The spot checks began in London, but this will be the first time checks have been done in the East Midlands.  Inspections have already been carried out in Sheffield, Birmingham and Greater Manchester at short-notice.

The Pensions Regulator also says that these checks will help them understand if employers are facing any unnecessary challenges that they can help them with, such as improving systems.

The Pensions Regulators Compliance and Enforcement bulletin showed that between July and September 2017 the Pensions Regulator issued a total of 5,479 fixed penalty notices and 1,433 escalating penalty notices.

At Payroll Masters we can help you with the administrative and reporting functions in respect of auto enrolment.  Please contact us , we are happy to help.

Same Day DBS Checks Now Available

DBS ChecksWe are delighted to announce that APCS, the organisation through whom Payroll Masters processes our DBS checks, is now able to offer processing timescales for DBS Basic Disclosures the same day with some cases being returned in only a matter of minutes!

Customers have commented that these rapid turnaround times are speeding up recruitment times.

The online application has a question which asks Yes or No if the applicant is working in England or Wales and a question asking if the applicant wants his/her certificate to be sent to an alternative address. There is also a question on the identity checking page which asks which business or industry sector the applicant will be working in.

Payroll Masters receives an electronic notification of the result of each Basic Disclosure and we forward these to the relevant contact on your account. The DSB continue to automatically forward the certificate to the applicant’s home address, but the applicant can now choose to have their disclosure certificate sent to a different address, such as an organisation’s address or a relative’s address.

For more information visit our DBS checks page or contact us.

New Changes In Apprenticeship Grants & Funding

Apprenticeships PayrollFor apprentices aged 19 years and over the Government will now only fund apprenticeships at 90%, instead of the 100% that they were previously doing.  The employer is now expected to contribute the remaining 10% to their apprentice’s qualification.  For example, if the full cost of a business administration qualification is £2,000, the employer will make a 10% contribution of £200.  And, for these older apprentices the financial incentive from the Government of £1,500 does not apply.

For apprentices aged 16 to 18 years there is no change to the funding. The Government will still fund the apprenticeship at 100%, and if you take on someone in this age bracket, and your business has less than 50 registered employees, you will also receive £1,500 from the Government in the form of a financial incentive.

Payroll Masters Partner, Prosper Chidzomba commented “We have apprentices at Payroll Masters and whilst at first you may think it is more cost effective to take on apprentices who are 16 to 18, there are many benefits to employing more mature apprentices.  In our experience we have found older apprentices settle in and are more productive in a shorter time frame because they are used to the world of work.  Of course, youngsters need to learn the ropes too so a good mix of apprentices of different ages may be a good policy.”

For more information about Apprenticeships visit the Gov.uk website or contact Payroll Masters for information on apprentices on your payroll.

Announcing New Services, New Identity and New Website

We are delighted to announce that today we are launching new services, a new identity and our gleaming, shiny new website has also gone live! There have been a few changes at Payroll Master recently, but our dedication to providing amazing levels of customer service for our clients definitely won’t change.

Our new website is full of useful information and is now optimised for mobile devices, which most people now use to access the internet, it’s easier to navigate and we now have a Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin page.

The new services we are launching today are payroll and related services designed for the education sector and commercial and public sector organisations.  But, that’s not all.  We are also today launching our new corporate identity with a new logo and strapline that reflects our enhanced service offering.

4 Years On How Payroll Masters Is Ensuring One Client’s Independent Living Continues

Ian“Without the friendly and professional support, I have received over the years from Payroll Masters, I would not have been able to live independently and would be in a residential home.”

That’s what our client Ian told us when we caught up with him to see how Direct Payments and our support to manage his DP has contributed to his independent living journey:

Payroll Masters has been supporting Ian, a Direct Payments employer since July 2013. He is now approaching the fourth anniversary of being awarded his DP and embarking on the journey of being both an employer and most importantly being independent.

After a bad fall, which left Ian severely brain damaged, paralysed on one side of his body and without cognitive memory, he struggled for a few years being cared for by family, friends and a ‘drop visits only’ care agency. Ian was unhappy and felt as if his life was slipping away and he had no control over the things around him.

This all changed when his sister applied for DP for him and for the first time enabled him to recruit and employ his own team of carers, with the support and guidance of Payroll Masters, who also then set him up with his payroll and took care of all his employment contracts and staff management matters.  Today Ian lives confidently in his own flat, with his 24-hour care support.

This is what Ian said. “Without the friendly and professional support, I have received over the years from Payroll Masters, I would not have been able to live independently and would be in a residential home.  They are always at hand when my staff manager needs any advice and in the last four years, my staff have never been paid even a day late.

Payroll Masters’ timesheets are simple to understand and they explain technical matters to me and my staff in simple ways which are easy to understand. They always go the extra mile and are not just interested in the work they do for me, but rather in me as a person and how my life is.

Every time I have a question, they always answer it fully and leave me understanding everything. They are the best, I would be lost without their wonderful service.”

We are really delighted that Ian is doing so well and we wish him many more years of happy independent living.

Childcare Choices Website Launched

The launch of the new Childcare Choices website means millions of parents, including your employees, are now able to pre-register for the government’s new childcare offers.

Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers for the first time, helping parents find the right childcare support to suit them. Two new schemes that are being introduced during 2017 are Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare.

The introduction of Tax-Free Childcare will begin on 28 April, for parents of the youngest children. It will be gradually rolled out over 2017 – cutting childcare costs by up to £2,000 per child per year, or up to £4,000 for disabled children, for working parents across the UK.

The new 30 hours free childcare offer will be available in England for working parents of three and four year olds from September 2017. Parents will be able to apply in advance of September.

The Childcare Choices website includes a Childcare Calculator so parents will be able to compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for them and their families. Through the site your staff can also pre-register for email alerts that will notify them when they can apply this year.

Childcare vouchers (Employer Supported Childcare) will remain open to new applicants until April 2018 with parents already registered able to continue using it for as long as you offer it. Tax-Free Childcare, operated directly by parents, will be open to more than twice as many parents as childcare vouchers.