The Pensions Regulator To Prosecute Recruitment Agency

Outsourced Payroll Management BirminghamThe Pensions Regulator is prosecuting a recruitment agency, SKL Professional Recruitment Agency Ltd, based in Bushey, Hertfordshire.  SKL who operate in the care sector are accused of wilfully failing to comply with their auto enrolment duties and knowingly or recklessly providing false and misleading information to the TPR. This includes falsely claiming to have enrolled 22 staff into a workplace pension scheme.

Both the agency’s MD and the agency itself are being prosecuted.  This kind of crime can be tried either in a Magistrates court or a Crown Court.  In this case SKL and the MD have been summoned to appear before magistrates.  This carries a maximum sentence of an unlimited fine for each defendant.  In a Crown Court the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment.

Proving a workplace pension for your staff is one of the many legal requirements that every employer must deal with. The benefit of outsourcing your payroll management to Payroll Masters, is that we provide a level of independent double-checking.  Often, when something illegal happens within a business, and is initiated by a director or an employee, it can be covered up for a time. This is more difficult when you have an expert third-party managing your payroll and all the reporting that goes along with this.  Contact our payroll experts at our Birmingham head office.

Unbelievable Gender Pay Gap Data To Be Investigated

Payroll BirminghamIn the UK every employer with over 250 employees is required to report their gender pay gap data to The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), every April.  This year most organisations have done this. The few that haven’t have been contacted by the EHRC and formal investigations have been opened.

The EHRC is not a body to be trifled with.  They mean business and they have now shifted their attention to going after the organisations who have submitted suspicious-looking data.  For example, reports of a 50/50 split of male and female employees and claims of no pay gap from the lowest-paid to the highest-paid roles.

Interestingly, EHRC has requested the payroll data from these organisations, as well as an explanation of the rationale for their figures.

So, as an employer you not only have to get your gender pay gap data in on time, you also have to ensure it is accurate, because it is very clear that the data is scrutinised by EHRC.

At Payroll Masters we ensure that our staff is trained and up to date with all the legal requirements relating to payroll.  Our team has received training on gender pay gap reporting and the HR implications of this.  For complete peace of mind, outsource your payroll management to Payroll Masters and we will also demonstrate how we will save you management time and money. Contact our payroll experts at our Birmingham head office.

HMRC Penalise Late Tax Payments And Rake In £860m In Penalties

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamAccording to accounting group UHY Hacker Young. Late payments and overdue tax returns have resulted in HMRC imposing a record £860m in penalties on individual taxpayers in 2018-2019. This is up 24% from £694m.

UHY say a slow economy means people have less of a cash cushion leading to an increasing number of people struggling to pay their tax on time, or simply having no money to pay the tax bill.

The penalties cover late payments of tax and people filing their tax returns late. The penalties are high and so we do everything we can here at our head office in Birmingham to make sure all Payroll Masters’ outsourced payroll clients have all the information they need, well in advance, so they can complete their tax returns and pay their tax on time.

If your tax return or tax payments are more than six months overdue the penalty is 5% of the tax due. For the late filing of a tax return the penalty is £100. Then £10 per day if your tax return is 3 months late!

For peace of mind that P60s, P11ds and other personal tax requirements for your employees are available and correct, outsource your payroll function to us. We provide our services to people employing one or two people through to organisations employing hundreds of people. We are always available to talk to you about your requirements and how we can help. Contact us now.

GDPR And What The ICO Is Doing For SMEs

Outsourced Payroll Management BirminghamThe General Data Protection Regulation came into force in May 2018. The Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) has published a report ‘GDPR one year on’ giving an overview of the ICO’s experience and sharing information and insights. Importantly for small businesses the report says what the ICO is doing to help SME’s to comply with these new legal responsibilities.

The GDPR was brought in across the EU to uphold the information rights of the public and to give them confidence about how personal information on them is held and used. This gave the public greater awareness of their individual rights, and as you can imagine, has led to a big increase in the number of reported data breaches, data concerns received and a doubling of Subject Access Requests (SAR). A SAR is made by an individual to ask for a copy of the personal data an organisation or business holds about them and an explanation of what their personal data is being used for.

For businesses the ICO will continue to update its guidance, but it will also be creating four statutory codes. They will be on Data Sharing, Direct Marketing, Age-Appropriate Design, Data Protection and Journalism. The first code will be on Data Sharing and it is expected to go before Parliament Autumn 2019.

Another way the ICO is helping SMEs in a practical way is by coming out and doing a one-day Advisory Visit. The Advisory Visit covers advice to organisations on how to improve data protection practice. Following the visit, the ICO will send a short follow up report. This costs nothing and the report summarises what you need to do next. Follow this link and scroll down to Advisory Visits

And finally, here is a brief overview of some of the stats the ICO shared in their ‘GDPR one year on’ report.

14,000 personal data breach reports from 25 May 2019 to 1 May 2019. In the year from 1st April 2017 the number was 3,000.  Only 0.5% of these led to either an improvement plan or civil monetary penalty.

Concerns raised by the public to the ICO. From 25 May 2019 to 1 May 2019 over 41,000 which is almost double the figure for 2017/2018 which was around 21,000.

Complaints about Subject Access Requests continue to be the most frequent kind of complaint accounting for 38% of all complaints the ICO received. However, this compares to 39% before GDPR. The ICO says that all complaints have risen proportionately in line with the overall increased number of complaints.

Here at Payroll Masters we do so much more for our clients than simply providing outsourced payroll services. To find out more about our experience and what we offer to our clients as trusted professional business partners take a look around our website or contact our Payroll Masters head office in Birmingham.

Legal Ruling Sees HMRC Set To Collect £40m In Unpaid Taxes

Payroll Services BirminghamAn eye-watering £40 million in unpaid taxes is going to be collected by HMRC from high earning people using a tax avoidance scheme.

The scheme promoter is Hyrax Resourcing Ltd. HMRC are now demanding they disclose the details of the scheme along with the names and addresses of 1,180 people who used the scheme. The scheme users were paid National Minimum Wage, and the remainder of their earnings was made up in the form of loans which were transferred to an offshore trust.

This is even more distasteful when you think that the National Minimum Wage, which has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, having been introduced in 1999, was set up to improve the earnings of the lowest paid members of our society.  The legal case that HMRC has won will allow them to collect unpaid taxes of over £40m and if the scheme promoter fails to comply with the ruling to provide the required information, they will face a penalty of almost £6 million and £5,000 per day.

At Payroll Masters we ensure that we calculate the correct amount of income tax and national insurance for our client’s employees, and advise the employer what they need to pay to the authorities. As an independent third party we help your management team with their governance responsibilities.  We are ideally positioned to see that the rules on tax, national insurance and benefits are applied correctly. This gives owners and directors peace of mind when they outsource their payroll processing and management to us.  Please contact our Birmingham based head office team to discuss your requirements.

Don’t Fall For HMRC Phone Scam

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamHMRC has issued an alert about a new phone scam. People are being called and threatened with court action.  The scammers are also saying a summons for arrest has been issued for tax avoidance and non-payment of tax.  As you can imagine this is causing a great deal of alarm for the people receiving these calls.

You can help HMRC by reporting any such incident to Action Fraud via their website, or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a communication from HMRC is suspicious they ask that you report this to their phishing team (

  • Forward text messages to 60599 (you will be charged at your normal network rate)
  • Emails, send to the email address above
  • Phone call, send caller’s phone number, date of the call and brief description of the call, to the email address above

HMRC want to remind everyone that they will never send a text, email or phone you telling you about a tax rebate or penalty or ask for your personal payment information.

Let’s all stay vigilant and if we all report such incidents, we can help HMRC to combat the scammers.

For any other aspect of bona fide tax communication from HMRC if it’s to do with payroll and making sure you are being correct and diligent in your handling of your employees’ tax then we can help. Our experts are based in Birmingham but we work with clients all over the UK. We are used to dealing with wages and salaries and benefits in relation to payroll processing, which is our core competency, but our service extends well beyond this. Get in touch with our expert team if we can be of assistance.

On The 20th Anniversary Of The National Minimum Wage What Good Has It Really Done?

Outsourced Payroll BirminghamFor the lowest paid the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in April 1999 has had a major impact for good. Taking into account the NMW and the National Living Wage, (introduced in 2016), since 1999 the lowest paid people working in the UK have seen their hourly pay grow faster than all other workers.

This has also had an upwards ripple effect in businesses as managers and supervisors, who earn just above the NMW, have seen their wages increase in order to keep the differential pay gap between them and other workers.

The Low Pay Commission recognise that the NMW has had a transformative effect on the UK’s labour market. In the 1980s and 1990s and before this, the earnings of the lowest paid grew much more slowly than the average worker. In 2018 in real terms the lowest paid 1% of workers earned an additional £2.70 per hour more than they would have done without the NMW, an additional £5,000 a year for the lowest paid full-time workers.

Our professional body, the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals runs a one-day course on the National Minimum Wage and other worker entitlements. But if you would rather concentrate on what your business does, and outsource your payroll management to us, we would be delighted to help and assure you of our knowledge and competence in this area. We would love to talk to you.

Our head office team is based in Birmingham, but we work with a wide range of individuals, schools and public sector bodies on all aspects of their outsourced payroll processing and management, saving them time and money.



Are You Complying With The Law? Changes To Auto Enrolment Came In On 6th April 2019

Payroll Services BirminghamThe minimum contributions your organisation must pay into your staff workplace pension plans increased on 6th April.  You need to include the new pension rates when you process your first payroll after 6th April.

Have you informed your employees of the increase, as the employee as well as the employer needs to increase their contribution? The total payments must now be no les than 8% of qualifying earnings.  The employer has to pay a minimum of 3% and the employee pays the rest.

A recent survey by our professional body, CIPP found that 11% of the respondents have not informed their employees of this increase. Surely, this is going to cause these organisations a lot of extra work when their employees see the increase on their payslip and query this with their payroll department, and possibly even opt out of their pension.

Most of the respondents (46%) said they had communicated the increase via personal letter. There are letter templates <link to pdf> available from The Pension Regulator, if you have not already informed your employees.  You should by now have also made sure your payroll team and software providers have got your systems ready for when you run your first payroll after 6th April.

If you are a Payroll Masters client, then you don’t need to worry. We will have already planned for this increase with you.  If you are not already a Payroll Masters client, and you would like to learn more about our outsourced payroll management solutions, please get in touch.  We are based in Birmingham, with clients all over the UK.

Court Of Appeal Finds In Favour Of Asda Women Workers

Payroll birminghamQuestion: When it comes to claims regarding equal pay, can women working in a supermarket compare themselves with men working in warehouses and distribution centres?

The Court of Appeal said yes, they can, when it upheld an appeal in the case of Asda Stores Ltd vs Brierley. The crux of the matter was whether or not the women and the men were employed under “common terms”.

The Court held that the claimants (women working at Asda supermarkets) would be entitled to draw the comparison under European law because there was a “single source” for their and their comparators’ (men working in warehouses) terms.

The implications for all employers are that the Court of Appeal explains that the test for “common terms” is purely hypothetical and considers it unnecessary for claimants to present evidence about the actual terms on which they are their comparators are employed. This means that employers will find it very difficult to not pay workers equally even when working on different sites under different employment regimes.

The question employers will now need to answer is not how different the terms are at different sites, but how different would the terms be, if workers from one site were transplanted to do their own jobs at another site?

We cannot stress enough how this ruling could affect employers, especially large employers. We provide our services to a very wide range of employers from micro employers to large public sector bodies.  For help and advice on any matter related to employment and outsourced payroll services talk to our Birmingham based team.

Don’t Ignore New Code Of Practice On Preventing Illegal Working

Payroll Wages BirminghamThis new code does not impose any legal duties on employers, but the new Code may be used as evidence in legal proceedings. Also, Courts and Employment Tribunals must take account of any part of the Code which may be relevant, and the Home Office will also use this Code when administering illegal working.

So as an employer you really need to know what’s in the Code and importantly there is some good news. In that it may provide a way for you to establish a statutory excuse against liability for an illegal working civil penalty.  The way you do this is by conducting an online right to work check using the Home Office Online Right To Work Checking Service

As an employer you have a responsibility to prevent illegal working in the UK by ensuring your employees have the right to work here. If you don’t the Secretary of State can serve an employer with a notice requiring the payment of a penalty where they employ a person who in a nutshell is; subject to immigration control, and aged over 16, and not allowed to carry out the work because they have not been granted leave to enter or remain, or because their leave to enter or remain is invalid, has ceased to have effect or is subject to a condition preventing them from accepting the employment.

We are an expert outsourced payroll provider based in Birmingham. However, our service extends beyond simple payroll processing.  If you are in any doubt about any aspect of employing people give us a call, we will be happy to help or point you in the right direction. Let’s start here with a link to the penalties for employing an illegal worker.