Why Do We Avoid Difficult Conversations With Employees?

Payroll Services BirminghamEver had that sinking feeling when one of your staff asks if they “can have a word?”   You just know they are going to tell you that something has gone wrong, or worse they have a personal issue they want to discuss with you!

When you have a difficult conversation at work you usually have to say or hear things that mean you have to manage emotions and information in a sensitive way. This could be you initiating the conversation around complaints against a member of staff or addressing poor performance, or your staff member wanting to talk to you.

Our instinct is to ask ourselves if we are the right person to have this conversation. It is easy to get things wrong so if you do not think it is not your responsibility it is often better to direct the person to the right line manager or even the HR department, or at least check with them.

If you are the right person for the staff member to talk to, Acas has some useful guidance that might help you approach the conversation in the right way, follow this link . Acas says that hoping that things sort themselves out is no solution.  At best is delays the inevitable and at worst it can result in formal discussions.

If you are an employer and you don’t have an in-house HR department, at Payroll Masters we have HR partners that can help you with any aspect of HR, whether you employ one person under direct payments  or are a commercial or public sector organisation employing lots of people.

Scottish Widows Says Two Million Workers Missing Out On Auto Enrolment

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamScottish Widows’ 14th annual Retirement Report looks in detail at auto enrolment and whether this is actually helping people to save more for their retirement.  They have found that almost 2 million people who have more than one job, termed “multi-jobbers” don’t reach the minimum earnings level in any of their employments so are not getting the opportunity to opt in to Auto Enrolment schemes.

In 2017 the Department for Work and Pensions published a report which set out the analysis and findings they used for the Auto Enrolment Review 2017. One of the two major proposals in this report was to remove the lower earnings limit, which would open the door for the multi-jobbers, who are in many cases working full-time hours overall, to benefit.  The government are looking to implement this change by the mid 2020’s after discussions with stakeholders and a formal consultation.

In the meantime Scottish Widows projections show that the 1.9m multi jobbers are missing out on over £90 million of employer contributions a year which could be claimed if the earnings threshold was scrapped.

For employers there seems to be a never ending stream of new regulations especially around payroll. We are payroll experts based in Birmingham and it is our job to take away the headache of compiling the right figures for reporting and of course to make sure your employees get paid correctly and on-time.  Please contact us for a discussion about your payroll needs, for today or the future.

91% Of Your New Starters Are Willing To Quit In First Month

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamA research study involving 9,000 candidates in 11 counties across four continents has found that 91% of people who accept a new role will consider leaving their new job in the first month. A staggering 93% would consider leaving during their probation period.

At Payroll Masters we understand the costs of recruitment. So why are employers getting it so wrong?  Let’s face it, people have been recruiting people for thousands of years so why can’t we get this right?

The study found that the reasons people leave during the first month include:

  • Poor Management
  • Discrepancy between the job in practice and how it was advertised
  • A mismatch of corporate culture
  • Lack of proper on-boarding
  • They received a better job offer

The research was commissioned by specialist recruiter Robert Half. Their UK Managing Director, Matt Weston said “In today’s market top candidates are receiving multiple job offers and therefore have a host of criteria beyond pure remuneration.”  He continued “….Recruitment is a two-way street.  It starts with providing candidates an efficient and timely recruitment experience and extends throughout the on-boarding process to ensure new hires are motivated, engaged and quickly contributing to the business.”

It would seem that a lot of the reasons people leave are down to poor processes and communication within the recruiting company. At Payroll Masters we process the payroll for thousands of individuals.  We have an accuracy guarantee.  We can only offer this because our processes and communications internally and with our clients is second to none.  Can you say that for your business?  If you look dis-organised and departments are competing with each other, rather than working together, no wonder good candidates get disillusioned very quickly and move on.  It is important for hiring companies to think holistically about their recruitment processes across their whole company.

If you would like to know more about our accuracy guarantee contact our team of payroll professionals at our Birmingham head office.

Former Employee of Scrivens Ltd Awarded £11,000 For Maternity Discrimination

Payroll Services BirminghamScrivens Ltd implemented a policy that if an employee left the company within a period of time they would have to repay a proportion of their training costs. You could say, ‘fair enough’ and many companies have a similar policy.

However, the Employment Tribunal awarded the claimant, Ms Walworth a total of £11,000 in compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings after they upheld her claim of discrimination.

The employee advised Scrivens that she was pregnant and that she would go on maternity leave in April 2016. The HR Department wrote to her confirming this and that the training repayment period under her training agreement would be ‘paused’ for the period of maternity leave.  It is this ‘pause’ that Ms Walworth believed was discriminatory and this is what the tribunal upheld.  Whilst on maternity leave the employee informed the HR department that she may not return to work and following the response from the company that she would have to give 12 weeks’ notice and repay all of her training costs that she complained.

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms Walworth should be awarded the following compensation:

  • A basic award for £2,615.36 (in respect of the claim of unfair dismissal)
  • Financial losses of £4,148.50
  • Compensation for Injury To Feelings £4,374.36
  • Unpaid holiday pay £325.59

Here is a link to the full judgement

The payroll function we carry out for our clients is closely associated with the HR matters. Our payroll specialists at our Birmingham head office have a great deal of experience and we also have trusted HR partners that we work with and who work on behalf of our clients. For more information about our payroll services and HR partners please talk to us.

TGI Fridays Workers Step Up Pressure On Bosses And Government

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamWe’ve previously posted about this ongoing dispute between workers and management at TGI Fridays (see below). This stems from a string of changes that were put into place and adversely affect their people.

Workers have had time and a half payments for bank holiday working stopped, free staff meals were stopped 3 years ago when the national minimum wage was introduced, and then TGI’s announced that 40% of tips paid on a card would be redistributed to the kitchen teams. This final change was the last straw. The change to tips means that some waiting staff have lost £250 per month in lost wages.  Four days of strike action has taken place at some restaurants and the next step was for them to deliver a letter to the business secretary, Greg Clarke at the department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills.

The government are also under pressure from Jeremy Corbyn who has said that hospitality workers will keep 100% of tips left by customers under a Labour government.

Dave Turnbull, Unite regional officer said: “…Rogue bosses like TGI Fridays are being let off the hook to abuse tips and exploit government/HMRC guidelines (E24) on tips and troncs, to boost their own profits and offset the cost of the government’s pay rise to low earners.” Unite will be informing TGI’s management of its intention to hold a consultative ballot of all union members across the chain’s 82 restaurants on strike action.

We are disappointed that the government has failed to act to make sure that every worker in the hospitality sector is treated with fairness and transparency. We continue to watch developments.  If you are unsure about tips and would like to know what a tronc is, please give us a call here at our Birmingham Payroll Masters head office.

Bosses Pretended To Be Staff To Opt Workers Out Of Auto Enrolment

Payroll Services BirminghamWe last reported on this developing story on the 10th May 2018.  Senior Staff at Workchain Ltd a recruitment firm operating across the Midlands, had logged into the NEST pension scheme and posed as their staff to opt temporary workers out of the auto enrolment scheme.

If the offence had not been detected by NEST the Derby based company, formerly known as Smart Recruitment UK Ltd, would have been able to avoid paying pensions contributions. There was a joint investigation involving The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Constabulary and the Pensions Regulator.

It was alleged that the Directors of Workchain had encouraged five senior staff to take their temporary workers out of the pension scheme. The defendants, two directors and five senior staff pleaded guilty at Derby Magistrates Court on 7th June.  The District Judge Jonathan Taaffee committed the case to Derby Crown Court for a sentencing hearing which will take place on 28th June 2018.

The Pensions Regulator brought the prosecution for the offence of unauthorised access to computer data, contrary to section 1(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. A conviction for computer misuse carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment and/or and unlimited fine in a magistrates court.  Or Two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine if the case is committed to the Crown Court.

We process the payrolls of thousands of people, which includes Auto Enrolment payments, so if you have any questions regarding payroll linked to auto enrolment give one of our Birmingham based payroll gurus a call.

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

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  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.