Does Employee Silence Automatically Infer Acceptance?

Payroll Services BirminghamThe short answer is no, not necessarily.

The Court of Appeal in Abrahall vs Nottingham City Council heard that the City Council had brought in a new pay system to regularise a host of pay systems. Shortly thereafter the Council brought in a two year pay freeze.  There was no industrial action (there was a consultative ballot) and no affected employee raised a grievance.  Then Nottingham City Council proposed an extension of the pay freeze.  Unions then activated a collective grievance procedure.

The main issue was whether the employer could assume that the employees accepted the variation in their contracts by working for two years under the pay freeze.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the employer should not assume this. The Court also issued a number of principles on whether acceptance should be inferred, including:

  • Where the variation is wholly disadvantageous, acceptance is less likely to be inferred (as it was in this case)
  • The question is to be determined objectively
  • Acceptance of a variation of contract should only be inferred from conduct where that conduct brooks no other reasonable explanation save for acceptance

In conclusion the Court of Appeal found that the employees were contractually entitled to annual incremental pay progression.

The opinion of Payroll Masters is that clear communication with employees is always in the best interests of a good relationship between employer and employees and this has many underlying benefits. To discuss any aspect of your payroll please contact one of our friendly, Birmingham based head office payroll professionals.

The Biggest Pay Gap Is When Women Hit Age 50

Payroll Wages BirminghamResearch published by the TUC shows that women earn less than their male counterparts at every stage of their working lives, but the biggest gender pay gap is when women reach the age of 50!

The research looked at the earnings of men and women in full-time employment. At age 18 – 21 a woman will earn £1,845 less than her male colleagues and as time goes by the pay gap increases.  Women aged 22 – 29 earn £2,305 per annum less, and when women reach the age of 40 the gap in annual earnings doubles from £3,670 at age 30 to £7,400 per annum when a woman reaches the age of 40.

The TUC says one of the reasons is the impact that having children has on a woman’s career path, as they often return to work in lower-paid roles.

But the pay gap doesn’t get any better as women get older. At age 50 the gap between men’s and women’s annual pay gets even wider.  Women in their 50s hit a gender pay gap of £8,421 per annum.  The research points to the long-term impact of lower paid work, which has over the years, perhaps offered fewer promotion prospects. Plus as women get older caring responsibilities particularly for elderly relatives comes into play.

There is a welcome shift in attitudes towards equal pay for women doing the same job as men. The introduction of the Gender Pay Gap Reporting that came into effect in April, means employers are being forced to look at why their female employees earn less than men in the same roles and take action.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting will usually fall under the remit of the Payroll Department. At Payroll Masters our clients outsource their entire payroll function to us.  If this is something we can help you with please get in touch.  One of our head office payroll professionals will be more than happy to talk to you.

Top Tips On Spoof HMRC Communications

Payroll experts birminghamFirstly, HMRC will never notify you of a tax rebate by email or text. Secondly, HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email or text.

So, if you get a request for either of these things purportedly from HMRC via text or email you know it is a spoof, con and potentially a danger to your PC and possibly your computer entire network.

HMRC are constantly aware of scammers using sophisticated methods to make their false-communications look like official HMRC communications. If you receive one of these texts or emails and have the slightest inkling that it is a fake, the advice from HMRC is:

  • Do not open any attachments, as they may well contain a virus
  • Do not click on links, they are so sophisticated that they could take you to a website that looks exactly like the HMRC website
  • Never disclose personal or confidential information
  • Forward suspicious HMRC texts to 60599 (charged at your network rate)
  • Forward suspicious HMRC emails to the HMRC phising team at phishing@hmrc-gsi.gov.uk

If You’ve Already Disclosed Information To Scammers

If you think you have disclosed confidential information to a scam email or text act immediately.

Contact the HMRC security at security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.  Provide a brief description of what you have disclosed for example your name or password, but DO NOT give the actual personal details in the email.

If you have any questions or concerns specifically to do with payroll processing and payroll procedures please talk to one of our head office payroll experts who will be more than happy to talk to you.

Are Injuries To Feelings Payments Taxable?

Payroll Service BirminghamAfter Mr Moorthy agreed a settlement package with his employer of £200,000 as you can imagine, HMRC wanted to tax him on this. It was agreed that £30,000 of Mr Moorthy’s settlement was ascribed as injury to feelings for age discrimination.

Under Section 406 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 HMRC said that injury to feelings was outside the Act which says there is no tax payable “on account of injury… to an employee”. HMRC argued that the word ‘injury’ related to compensation for personal injury, not injury to feelings.

The Court of Appeal resolved definitively that injury to feelings awards do fall within the exemption that tax is not payable on compensation payments for injury to feelings. However, the Court of Appeal also said that this issue of injury to feelings is likely to occur again as with effect from the 2018/2019 tax year the tax statutes has changed to add that “Although ‘injury’ includes psychiatric injury, it does not include injured feelings.”

If you want to find out more on the case of Moorthy vs HMRC  

What this case highlights is that tax rules are always changing and because we are payroll experts and outsourced payroll is our business we are on top of all of these changes. We take away the headache of payroll processing for a wide range of corporate, education and individual employers throughout the UK.  Give us a call and let’s see how we can save you time and money. Please get in touch with one of our expert team based at our Birmingham office.

TGI Fridays Face Strike Ballots

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamAfter coming third in the list of firms named and shamed by the Government for failing to pay the legal minimum wage, TGI Friday is embroiled in a dispute with its waiting staff at two of its 86 branches who have been balloted on whether to take strike action.

The American restaurant chain is facing strike ballots at its Covent Garden and Milton Keynes branches over breaches of the company’s tips policy. It is reported that Unite the union is supporting the workers over concerns that their employer has refused to address their concerns on tips and other issues.

As well as being shamed at being near the top of the list of employers failing to pay the minimum wage, TGI Fridays was also found to be using unpaid trial shifts of up to 6 hours, and is also coming under pressure from Unite over their decision to take 40% of waiting staff’s card tips because they failed to have a proper consultation.

If you have workers who receive tips and you’re not sure how to handle this from a payroll point of view, please talk to the payroll experts at our Birmingham head office, we will be delighted to help you with this any other issue relating to processing wages and salaries. Please contact us. 

What Your Payroll Team Needs To Know About GDPR

Payroll Services BirminghamAfter months of speculation on how GDPR will affect UK businesses the wait is over and the new law came into force on 25th May 2018.  Quite how the UK Information Commissioner will interpret GDPR in the “real world” is yet to be revealed, but some unequivocal facts are certain and this is what you need to know.

You need to take GDPR seriously, no matter how large or small an employer you are. Fines for non-compliance are Euro 20m or 4% of turnover.  Which for some companies and organisations could amount to staggering sums.

You need to treat the data you hold on your employees with respect and care. It needs to be safely stored and you have new obligations such as, when personal data has been lost or compromised, the data breach must be reported to the Information Commissioner within 72 hours and all employees impacted must be notified.  If this does happen, then it is likely that the payroll department will need to do the notifying as they usually are the department that holds and uses personal data regularly.

GDPR requires that your employees know what data you hold on them, and what you use it for. It requires an informed decision on the employees’ part for data to be held, processed and analysed by the payroll department. Employees can withdraw their consent for certain data to be used, although in order to carry out your duties for HMRC, for example, your legal obligation could be the basis upon which you hold and process the data.

However, you also need to know that your employees now have enhanced rights to access the data you hold on them and ask for it to be corrected or deleted. If you do not have a centralised system, and instead are working on spreadsheets and various paper documents to get this information together could be time consuming and under GDPR you have 40 days to respond to such requests.

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals is running courses on GDPR, or please contact our payroll professionals at Payroll Masters’ Birmingham Head Quarters.

Are You Confident Your Minimum Wage Processes Are Correct?

Payroll Service BirminghamWhen it comes to processing payroll the demands on employers are constantly becoming more and more onerous because regulations are constantly changing.  There seems to be a new announcement every week! This means that employers have to be one step ahead so their systems and processes are in place, ready for when new aspects of payroll compliance come into force.

For example, did you know that in April next year (2019) employers will need to include the number of hours worked by an employee on their payslip? However, this is only for hours they are being paid and only in situations where the employee’s pay varies as a result of the time worked.

There is also a consultation going on right-now on how to increase transparency in the UK labour market which is in response to the Taylor review. The review recommended that all workers should get a payslip, and the consultation is looking at how this can be implemented.

It seems that every piece of legislation has nuances and circumstances in which something either applies or doesn’t dependent upon the exact situation. This is truly a difficult path for non-payroll experts to follow.

Payroll Masters clients have real peace of mind that their payroll function is completely conforming to the latest requirements of employment law. We are based in Birmingham but our services are undertaken for all kinds of employers across the UK.  From individual disabled persons employing carers through direct payments , to organisations processing large payrolls.  Please contact us  for a no obligation chat about your needs.

Can You Correctly Answer This Question On Taxation of Employee Expenses?

Payroll Services BirminghamWe are members of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals. Earlier this year they posted this question on their website:

“If your employee has a meeting away from their normal workplace and they pass their workplace en route to the meeting, do they claim the mileage from home to the meeting or just from their workplace to the meeting?”

77% of respondents said they claim from the workplace to the meeting

21% of respondents said they claim the whole journey from home to the meeting

2% of respondents said you cannot claim at all

What would you have said? Who is correct?

The answer is – it depends. But the 2% were definitely wrong!

Your employee can claim mileage, but what they do on the way to the meeting determines whether they can claim from home to the meeting or just from their normal workplace to the meeting.

HMRC’s policy used to be that if the employee drove past their normal place of work they could only claim for the mileage from the workplace to the meeting. This policy has changed.

Here are 3 scenarios:

Scenario 1

The employee goes straight from home, doesn’t call in at the normal workplace and goes directly to the meeting.

They can claim mileage for the whole of the journey

Scenario 2

The employee pops into the normal workplace to collect some papers. They don’t do anything else and then go straight to the meeting.

They can claim mileage for the whole journey because what they did in the workplace is classed as ‘incidental’ by HMRC.

Scenario 3

The employee stops off at their normal workplace on the way to the meeting and has a short meeting with a colleague on a project.

They can only claim the mileage for the journey from the normal workplace to the meeting because what they did in the office is classed as ‘substantive’ by HMRC.

This survey resulted in 956 responses. One of which flagged up that the HMRC’s own EMI (Employment Income Manual) didn’t correspond to the guidance in the 490 Employee Travel – tax and NICs guide.  The CIPP has been assured that HMRC will look into this conflicting advice!

Payroll Masters is a premier outsourced payroll solution provider. We are based in Birmingham and we are experts in all matters concerning payroll.  So if you are ever in doubt, please contact us  we will be delighted to help.

Is It Ever Ok Not To Inform Or Consult On Redundancies?

Payroll experts birminghamCast your mind back to the Keeping Kids Company closure in August 2015. At the time it was a big media story because the charity had received a lot of government funding, then everything unravelled very quickly and the charity closed down.

KKC was taken to an employment tribunal accused of failing to inform and consult with their employees on pending possible redundancies. The charity offered the defence of ‘special circumstances’ sighting the events of August 2015 which lead to the closure and 20+ redundancies.

However, in June 2015 KKC applied for emergency government funding with a business plan to restructure the business whereby half of its staff might be made redundant within a few months.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled that ‘special circumstances’ that occurred in August 2015 was not sufficient grounds for defence and that the duty to inform and consult with employees should have happened in June on the publication of their business plan.

Often employment tribunals rule in favour of employees because the employer failed to follow the correct procedure. Which is what happened in this case.  Clearly KKC was aware that redundancies were likely but they didn’t inform or consult with their employees.

Payroll and HR matters are very closely intertwined, and at Payroll Masters we understand when and how HR issues can impact on the processing of wages and salaries. For more complex HR matters we have tried and trusted partnerships with HR Service providers for commercial businesses and public sector organisations, and specialist HR Services for individuals employing people using Direct Payments.  Contact our Birmingham head office team or visit our HR Services page for more information.

Senior Staff And Directors To Be Prosecuted By The Pensions Regulator

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamThe Pensions Regulator is prosecuting the directors and some senior individuals at a Derbyshire based national recruitment firm.

This is the first time the TPR has launched prosecutions for computer misuse. The firm called Workchain Ltd, and formally known as Smart Recruitment UK Ltd, is accused of using employees personal details to log into their workplace pension scheme and terminate their employees membership of the scheme.  Employees can opt out of the scheme, but they are required to do this themselves.

The defendants, who have all been publicly named, have been summoned to Derby Magistrates Court on 7th June 2018.  If convicted for computer misuse in a magistrates’ court the maximum sentence is six months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.  Or two years’ imprisonment and/or and unlimited fine if committed to the Crown Court.

We are based in Birmingham, but support clients right across the UK on all their Payroll matters including pension administration services for Auto Enrolment. If you have a question, please contact us .