Working in hot temperatures;
How do your Sickness Figures compare?;
Changes to Data Protection Legislation ;
Is your pay bill more than £3 million?;
Special Points of Interest
Working in hot temperatures
Although we are not accustomed to expect hot weather in the UK during our Summer, there have been times already this year when employees have found themselves working in hot conditions.
In the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is legally allowed to be. We refer to advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), which states “during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable”.
What is reasonable will depend upon the type of work being carried out (i.e. manual, office, etc) and the type of workplace employees are in (kitchen, air conditioned office, etc).
Tips for keeping your employees cool at work
- If you have air conditioning, remember to switch it on, alternatively consider providing fans or portable air cooling units
- If you have blinds or curtains use them to block out sunlight
- Request employees working outside to wear appropriate clothing and use sun screen to protect from sunburn
- Relax dress codes – but be sure that employees understand that shorts and flip flops are not appropriate!
- Provide plenty of water for employees to drink regularly
- Consider cool treats i.e. ice creams/lollies at the end of the day/week
An environment that is too hot or too cold will affect concentration detrimentally.
An ideal work temperature enables employees to perform better (21-23°C (69-73°F) for office working.
How do your Sickness Figures compare?
The Office for National Statistics has recently released its figures for sickness days taken in businesses during 2016.
In total 137.3 million working days have been taken in the UK – which sounds a lot, but this shows a gradual decline since 2003.
The current level of sickness relates to 4.3 days per worker per year, how does this compare to the sickness figures in your business?
The most common reasons for sickness absence:
- 34 million days – minor illnesses (such as coughs and colds)
- 30.8 million days – musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper
- 15.8 million days – ‘other’ conditions, mental health issues (including stress,
depression, anxiety and serious conditions)
If your members of staff are taking off more than the national average number of sickness days, we would recommend contacting us to help you review the reasons for the sickness absence and to introducing procedures to help manage the situation.
Changes to Data Protection Legislation
The UK Government has confirmed that it is to go ahead and implement new Data Protection legislation – the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“GDPR”), ending speculation that there may be a light touch approach to data protection law post-Brexit.
In the Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017, the Government said that it would introduce a “new law to ensure that the United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data”.
A new bill will replace the current Data Protection Act 1998 and will implement the GDPR and the Police and Criminal Justice Directive. According to the Government, this will ensure that the UK meets its “…obligations while we remain a EU member state and help to put the UK in the best position to maintain our ability to share data with other EU member states and internationally after we leave the UK”.
The new legislation strengthens the powers and sanctions available to the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) and gives a nod to increased fines.
The Government’s confirmation that it will adopt the GDPR in full confirms what many leading specialists have been saying since the referendum vote 12 months ago. It also affirms the preferred view of the ICO, which is that the UK should adopt the GDPR in full.
It will affect all businesses, regardless of size, sector or turnover.
Who does the GDPR apply to?
- The GDPR applies to ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’. The definitions are broadly the same as under the DPA – ie the controller says how and why personal data is processed and the processor acts on the controller’s behalf. If you are currently subject to the DPA, it is likely that you will also be subject to the GDPR.
ICO’s annual Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference
Speaking at the ICO’s annual Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference, Ms Denham will say that the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which come into force in May 2018, will give people stronger rights to be informed about how their personal information is used.
She will say the GDPR will bring “a more 21st century approach” to how personal data is processed and that organisations should seize the opportunity to set out a culture of data confidence in the UK.
Ms Denham will say:
“The GDPR provides more protections for consumers and more privacy obligations for organisations. It aligns with people’s expectations for strong safeguards, and recognises the advance of digital services in the public and private sector.
“The real change for organisations will be understanding the new rights for consumers.”
She will say:
“I want to see comprehensive data programs as the norm, organisations better protecting the data of citizens and consumers and a change of culture that makes broader and deeper data protection accountability a focus for organisations across the UK.”
Under GDPR, UK citizens will benefit from new or stronger rights:
- to be informed about how their data is used;
- around data portability across service providers;
- to erase or delete their personal information;
- over access to the personal data an organisation holds about them;
- to correct inaccurate or incomplete information; and
- over automated decisions and profiling.
Is your pay bill more than £3 million?
If this is the case you are required to pay, (via your monthly PAYE) an Apprenticeship Levy since 6th April 2017 at a rate of 0.5% of your paybill – to fund Apprenticeship training in the UK. The Government has committed to introducing an additional 3 million Apprenticeships in England by 2020.
The bad news: This Levy has to be paid regardless of whether you use Apprentices or not, paid at the same time as your PAYE and NI bills.
The pay bill is calculated on total employee earnings, which are liable to Class 1 secondary NI payments. These include wages, bonuses, commission and pension contributions.
Example: an employer who would pay the levy
An employer with an annual pay bill of £5 million:
- Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
- Allowance: £25,000 – 15,000 = £10,000 annual payment
The good news: In return, companies paying the Levy will receive a £15,000 allowance, divided monthly throughout the year, which can be used to fund the training and assessment of either your current workforce or hired-in apprentices.
How does it work?
A Digital Account will be set up for your Levy payments, allowing you to access and pay for training providers for Apprentices using an E-voucher system.
This service also allows your company to search for training providers, who can help you to up-skill your current staff or hire apprentices.
The allowance money can be spent on apprenticeship training with an approved provider, administered through the digital account.
All companies in the UK will need to use their E-vouchers within 24 months or they will expire.
Companies are recommended to look at ways for using their allowance (to off-set the costs of the Apprenticeship Levy. If allowances are not used they will go unclaimed and become available to other businesses looking to spend more.
Groups of connected companies
Connected companies may also pool their levy funds to pay for apprenticeship training.
If your company is a part of a group of connected companies, your £15,000 Levy allowance will be shared between all businesses. Allocation of the Levy money will need to be notified to the H.M. Revenue & Customs before the start of the tax year and will remain permanent for the rest of that tax year.
Small & Medium Sized Businesses (SMEs)
If you are an SME taking on an apprentice or putting an existing member of staff onto an apprenticeship programme, you will need to contribute 10% of their training costs and the remaining 90% will be paid for by the government.
If you are an SME with under 50 employees and are considering employing a 16-18 year old apprentice, the government will contribute the entire cost of training to your business.
Would your business benefit from an Apprentice? – please let us know if you require assistance to source suitable Apprentices.
Holiday Pay Ruling – European Court of Justice (CJEU)
In a holiday pay case (the Sash Windows) that reached the CJEU recently, an employer was required to pay a worker holiday back pay for the whole of his employment.
The worker was a commission based salesman, who was categorised as being self-employed by the company. He had been previously offered the opportunity to become an employee, but had refused. He was therefore not paid holiday during the whole of his employment, but he did take some unpaid holiday, although not usually the full entitlement.
He was found by a tribunal to have been a ‘worker’ and therefore entitled to paid holiday. The worker therefore claimed not only the accrued untaken holiday in the year he left, but also accrued holiday for the whole of his employment, including the holiday he had not taken. He said the reason he did not take the holiday is because he could not afford to.
The European Court of Justice advised that that employers must provide adequate facilities for their workers to exercise their right to take holiday. If a worker does not take holiday because they will not be paid for it, this is being ‘prevented’ from taking it and the right carries over until they are able to exercise it. Finally, a worker prevented from taking leave can, on termination, claim backdated leave for the whole of his employment.
Businesses are advised to look carefully at the way in which workers are contracted and consider whether those classed as ‘self-employed’ should really be ‘workers’.
From April 2018, all payments made in lieu of notice (PILON), will be subject to tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), regardless of whether there is a contractual right to make these payments. The current £30,000 exemption from tax, for payments in connection with termination of employment (such as redundancy) will remain in place, but payments above £30,000 will be subject to both income tax and employer NICs.
HMRC has said the changes are being made to ensure the tax rules are applied “consistently and fairly”.
Please contact us, if you would like the wording in your contracts and/or policies reviewed. Details of payments on termination of employment have changed and are likely to become more expensive under this new system.
Government initiative to prevent Discrimination against pregnant and new mothers
Employers are being advised to make more arrangements to help mothers’ breastfeed their babies at work, as part of the government’s latest initiative to tackle workplace discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers – aimed at mothers returning to work after having children.
The government’s plan suggests:
- providing private spaces for breastfeeding mothers to express and store their milk
- providing places where mothers can feed their babies while at work.
Other female-friendly government initiatives in the pipeline include:
- A publicity campaign persuading employers of the economic benefits of retaining the talents and experience of pregnant women and new mothers
- A collective insurance scheme to help SMEs with the cost of providing enhanced maternity pay.
If you feel that your management team would benefit from training in maternity rights and the management of pregnant women and new mothers, please let us know.
Special Points of Interest
Update on Auto Enrolment
The Pension Regulator continue to enforce Auto Enrolment responsibilities on businesses/organisations and has now begun to publish details of businesses who have failed to comply.
If a business fails to meet its Auto Enrolment responsibilities it will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice fine (FPN) of £400. If they continue to be non-compliant, they can be issued with a EPN that can be increased by up to £10,000 per day until they act.
For employers who remain non-compliant with their automatic enrolment duties TPR will then consider taking additional enforcement action against them, including prosecution.
Details released for the first 3 months of 2017:
- In May 2017, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) published the names and details of every business/organisation that it had secured a court order against, within the previous 3 month period.
- TPR issued more than 4,673 fixed penalty notices (FPN) of £400 for automatic enrolment non-compliance to employers.
This figure continues to rise as more employers reach their Staging date for acquiring Auto Enrolment responsibilities. So far 75,300 businesses in total have begun Auto-Enrolment and TPR expects another 770,000 small and micro employers to join during this year.
Reporting Responsibilities as part of Auto Enrolment.
Employers and Trustees of pension schemes have statutory duties to provide certain pieces of information to the Regulator about their pension scheme.
What must be reported
In order to meet your regulatory duties you must share the following information with the Pensions Regulator:
- Register your pension scheme
- A scheme return containing prescribed information – A scheme return is how we capture information about pension schemes that we use to help maintain our register of pension schemes.
- Report a breach of the law
- Report a notifiable event (defined benefit schemes only)
- Pay the levy
- Amend or wind up your scheme
You can share information with us about your pension scheme easily and quickly using the pensions regulator online service
Employers Helpline – The Pensions Regulator (TPR)
The helpline service for TPR is very helpful and can be contacted on: 0345 600 1011
(You will be asked to quote your PAYE number)
For further information about Auto Enrolment please use the following link: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/employers
The government has launched consultation on the possibility of extending shared parental leave and pay to grandparents who are still working.
The consultation will also consider streamlining the current shared parental leave and pay system by simplifying the eligibility and notification requirements.
It is anticipated that new legislation will be brought into force in 2018.
Changes to tax legislation on Salary Sacrifice Schemes
There has been confusion on changes to tax legislation and how it now affects Salary Sacrifice Schemes, we have provided some information which we hope will help to clarify:
The HMRC changed tax legislation in April 2017, to address unfairness of a small proportion of employees benefiting from the provision of benefits-in-kind, provided through a salary sacrifice scheme by paying less tax and NI’s as a result.
The change made many benefits-in-kind chargeable for income tax and Class 1A employer NI contributions.
Among the salary sacrifice schemes hit, where:
- Life insurance
- Mobile phones
Excluded from the rule changes:
- personal pension contributions through salary sacrifice (these are treated as employer contributions);
- employer pension contributions;
- employer-provided pension advice based on the recommendations of the Financial Advice Market Review;
- employer-supported childcare and provision of workplace nurseries;
- cycles and cyclist’s safety equipment which meet the statutory conditions;
- ultra-low emission cars.
n.b. Those already in contracts for BiKs involving salary sacrifice will be protected for the length of that contract, subject to final backstop dates.
Reminder of Annual Compensation Increase
In April 2017 the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) increased the level of compensation payments, which apply to dismissals occurring on or after 6 April 2017.
The main changes are:
- a week’s pay increased to £489 (from £479)
- the maximum compensatory award increased to £80,541 (from £78,962)
The increased amount of weekly pay impacts on redundancy payments and businesses need to ensure that the increased rates are applied.
The maximum statutory redundancy pay an employee can now receive is £14,670
Data protection self assessment toolkit. ICO
In addition to new legislation due in 2018, updates have been made to the Data Protection legislation this year. To assist SME’s the Information Commission Office (ICO) has launched a self-assessment tool, which businesses to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act.
We have attached the link below for your convenience:
Please let us know, if you require any additional information or support in any of the areas listed above.