News

DPD Offers Sick Pay And Holiday Pay In New Driver Contract

Payroll Services BirminghamFollowing the death of a DPD driver the BBC has reported that DPD is the first parcel carrier to recognise the need to improve the way they work and offer drivers new contracts. The carrier had been under scrutiny after work pressures were blamed for the death.

DPD’s Chief Executive said that while their self-employed franchise scheme had benefited thousands of drivers over the past 20 years, it hadn’t moved with the times and needed updating.

DPD is reportedly offering 6,000 drivers the choice of remaining self-employed or moving to the new contract, and the company is paying for advisers to help drivers make their decision.

The Government appointed former Labour policy adviser Matthew Taylor to look at what has been termed the ‘gig economy’ and published their response to the Taylor review on Modern Working Practices in February 2018. Key among the response was “For the first time, the government will be accountable for good quality work as well as quantity of jobs – a key ambition of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.”

For advice on sick pay, holiday pay and all matters related to Payroll please get in touch and one of our helpful advisers at Payroll Masters Birmingham Head Office will be only too pleased to help you.

Government Urged To Help Low Paid Workers As Auto Enrolment Costs Them More Than Other Workers

auto enrolment BirminghamThe Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) has highlighted inequalities with Auto Enrolment depending upon what type of scheme you are enrolled in and if you are low paid. Especially in light of the increase in contributions employees will be required to make from this month (April 2018).

LITG Chair, Anne Fairpo said “The increase in contribution rates makes auto enrolment a much bigger consideration for the lowest paid. The fact that many people on low incomes cannot obtain tax relief is a huge disincentive – it makes auto enrolment effectively 20% more expensive for them.”

Workers affected are squeezed by:

  1. Earning over £10,000 (which is needed to trigger auto enrolment)
  2. Earning below the income tax threshold (which is currently £11,500)
  3. Earning at or near the minimum wage, meaning they can’t salary sacrifice to save 12% National Insurance

There are broadly speaking two kinds of auto enrolment scheme a ‘net pay’ scheme or a ‘relief at source’ scheme. On a ‘net pay’ scheme you cannot claim tax relief.  On a ‘relief at source’ scheme you can!

The LITRG are suggesting that HMRC could see from PAYE real-time data if pensions contributions have been made into a ‘net pay’ scheme (so no tax relief has been claimed), and the Government could pay the tax relief they have missed out on into their pension. This would mean the individuals wouldn’t lose out.

If you’ve got a question about any aspect of payroll or auto enrolment and pensions reporting contact one of our experienced team.  Payroll Masters office is in Birmingham but we work with clients right across the UK. We are always just a phone call away.

New Auto Enrolment Levels Now In Force

Payroll BirminghamFor employees who have opted-in to an Auto Enrolment pension they and their employers will be paying into them at higher levels from this month.

April 2018 sees the contribution rates rise from 1% paid by the employee and 1% paid by the employer to 3% paid by the employee and 2% paid by the employer. These are the minimum contribution levels.

This increase has led to concerns that there could be a sharp rise in people opting-out of their auto enrolment pensions as the increase impacts their take-home pay. But this is not the whole story.  The auto enrolment pension levels are due to rise again in April 2019.  The total minimum contribution will be 8%, with 5% contributed from employees and 3% coming from employers.

Nine million workers have been paying the minimum into their pension and to date the drop-out rates have been less than expected at 10% of employees eligible for auto enrolment opting-out. However, the government is predicting the rate of opting-out to increase from the current figure of 10% to 22% after April 2018, and 27.5% after April 2019.

Former Pensions Minister, Sir Steve Webb thinks that people will take the increase in contributions “in their stride” as their overall take-home income rises. The national living wage will rise by 4.4% also in April 2018.

If you’ve got a question about any aspect of payroll or need help on HR, including shared parental leave, contact one of our experienced team at Payroll Masters based in Birmingham. We are just a phone call away.

Share The Joy Campaign Launched By HM Government

The Share The Joy campaign has been launched to promote awareness of the workplace right to shared parental leave.  Eligible parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. Time can be taken individually or parents can be at home together for up to 6 months.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) around 285,000 couples are eligible for shared parental leave each year, but most people are unaware of this and they estimate that the take up could be as low as 2%.

To find out more about Shared Parental Leave visit the government’s new website https://sharedparentalleave.campaign.gov.uk/. This website contains information for employers as well as parents.  The campaign is part of the government’s commitment to not only protecting employment rights but to build on workers’ rights.

For help and advice on all aspects of payroll and HR, including shared parental leave, contact one of our experienced team at Payroll Masters.

Unfair Dismissal Award And Other Award Limits Set To Rise

Employment Rights PayrollThe Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) order 2018 has been put before parliament and if approved will come into force on 6th April 2018.  This order effectively sees 8 statutory provisions increase.  These include the minimum amount of basic award of compensation on various aspects of unfair dismissal with the award limit in one section increasing by over £3,000 to £83,682, also the maximum amount of “a week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating a redundancy payment or unfair dismissal is increased.

For full details follow this link http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/194/pdfs/uksi_20180194_en.pdf

At Payroll Masters we manage every aspect of payroll and pension administration and work in partnership with trusted HR service provider partners who can help and advise employers on the complex area of HR Management including unfair dismissal claims.

Changes To Declaration of Compliance Portal From End Of March

Pensions Admin BirminghamScheduled for around the end of March there are going to be changes to how you will provide Declarations of Compliance to The Pensions Regulator. Previously you will have used the government gateway for the authentication process.  From the end of March you will use The Pensions Regulators own system.

The most important changes to the ‘AE Login’ are:

  • Employers will need a passcode, which is obtained by creating an account from the main landing page
  • You can create a ‘guest account’ for employers to get started without setting up a passcode
  • Red warning/reminder messages will appear if an employer is close to their duties start date
  • For people completing Declarations of Compliance for multiple employers (people like us here at Payroll Masters) there will be a ‘multi-employer dashboard’ which can be sorted by employer and declaration deadline – very handy!

Also, if you have partially completed a Declaration of Compliance through the government gateway this will have automatically been saved, and once a new account/passcode is created you will be able to carry on from where you left off.

The image shown was supplied to us by The Pensions Regular showing the employer dashboard.

At Payroll Masters we provide a full Pension Administration Service  taking away the burden of dealing with this for our clients. Contact us  for more information.

Be Aware Of Minimum Wage Increases from 1 April 2018

Payroll Services BirminghamThere are new rates of pay for national minimum wage coming into force on 1st April.  These new rates are applicable from 1 April 2018 to 31st March 2019.  In any given pay period a worker’s pay must not fall below the National Minimum Wage rate.

So if you employ people:

Aged 25+ the new rate will be £7.83

21 – 24 year olds the new rate will be £7.38

18 – 20 year olds the new rate will be £5.90

16 and 17 year olds the new rate will be £4.20

Apprentices – the new rate will be £3.70

At Payroll Masters we are experts and used to dealing with payroll all the time.  In our experience there are some common payroll related errors that can be avoided, which we are pleased to share here, such as:

  • Failing to apply the correct rate of pay for apprentices in their second year
  • Unpaid working time – so not paying people for all the hours worked and not including time spent travelling between work assignments or during training
  • Including tips and cover charges, you cannot count these as part of minimum wage calculations
  • Including premium rates of pay as part of minimum wage. This is when employees are paid a higher rate for some of the work they do – this cannot be included in minimum wage calculations.

You can read the National Minimum Wage Guide for Employers from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, or use HMRC’s online course on paying workers the national minimum wage.

Or you could ask us!  At Payroll Masters we can answer your national minimum wage questions or we can take all the hassle away from you and manage your payroll completely.  Why not give us a call or visit our Payroll web page for more information.

Firm Gets £60,000 Fine For Failing On Auto Enrolment

pensions administrationThe Pensions Regulator has got their first prosecution of a firm deliberately failing to provide workplace pensions for their staff.

The firm is Stotts Tours (Oldham) and both the firm and the Managing Director, Alan Stott will have to pay over £60,000 to The Pensions Regulator after they admitted they deliberately tried to avoid providing auto enrolment pensions to their workers. Which is against the Law.

The Judge said that Mr Stott had buried his head in the sand, and this later left him out of his depth.

There is lots of help and advice around for businesses on auto enrolment. At Payroll Masters we can help you with the administrative and reporting functions of pensions and related payroll matters .

The Pensions Regulator  site also has lots of useful information on their website.

If you are in any doubt about this or any other aspect of payroll, pension administration and related matters please contact us , if we can help we will, if it is something we don’t deal with we can point you in the right direction.  We are a business and we have been through auto enrolment ourselves, we are happy to share our experience and we are always here to help.

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.