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Fit for Work Scheme

The Fit for Work Scheme has had some press coverage recently. It is part of the government’s attempts to assist people back to work, and away from sickness benefits. There is a free telephone number – 0800 032 6235 for England & Wales – and a website – www.fitforwork.org, or www.fitforworkscotland.scot.

 

These steps are not mandatory but the aim is to enable small companies to have access to occupational health schemes. The scheme is designed for employees that have been absent for more than four weeks, or are expected to be absent for four or more weeks. The result is a Return to Work Plan with advice and recommendations with how to get the employee back to work.

 

The referral for an occupational health assessment is free, and from the 1st January 2015 there is a £500 tax exemption per employee per year for recommend medical treatments. This has no direct impact to payroll, other than maybe there will be less SSP. If you want more information there are guidance notes available here.

New Codes for April 2015

New National Insurance Categories April 2015

Tax Allowance Changes

One of the changes from April 2015 is that part of the tax allowance can be transferred from one spouse, or civil partner, to the other. This is available if at least one partner earns below the threshold or only pays basic rate tax. There will be an online process for employees to apply for the transfer and two new suffixes for the tax codes, an M for the recipient and N for the transferor.

 

The transferor will be able to move up to £1060 of their allowance to their partner. There will then be a coding notice issued which will be applied in the usual way. We do not anticipate any issues with these changes but we imagine take up may well be very low unless HMRC embarks on a determined publicity campaign.

 

If you want some further information you can see here, but is anticipate that people would be unable to start the application process until after the 6th April 2015.

 

National Insurance Categories

As well as the new tax codes there are to be seven new NI codes introduced in April as well. These are related to the previously reported under 21s employer NIC saving, and there has even been a new NI band introduced as well. We do not anticipate this causing any problem other than a note that the employer should choose the appropriate NI code for the employee.

 

For interest the codes are as below –

 

M – Not contracted out standard rate contributions
Z- Not contracted out deferred rate contributions
Y – mariners not contracted out standard rate contributions
P – mariners not contracted out deferred rate contributions
V – mariners contracted out salary related contributions
I – contracted out salary related standard rate contributions
K – contracted out salary related deferred rate contributions

 

With V I K to be removed in April 2016.  If you want further information please see here.

Holiday Pay

 

Holiday pay should take into account the amount of wages an employee would usually receive, not just their contractual salary. This was effectively the finding from last year’s employment tribunal and the UK Government have been reviewing the findings; we do not know when to expect the final ruling.

 

The government is taking steps to try and provide some certainty and limit the impact on UK business. The current proposal appears to be a transition period of six months, and then claims cannot be backdated more than two years.

 

The UK Working Time Regulations will need to be interpreted in a new way, or changed. But it seems that things will change, we are just not quite sure what the changes shall be. If you want more information on the current proposal see here.

Newsletter January 2015

Happy New Year!

Below is an extract from our January Newsletter with  a couple of points worth noting –

 

Compulsory Dates of Birth
Due to HMRC requirements with immediate effect we must be supplied with a Date of Birth for all new employees.
Please be aware that we will not be able to add an employee to your payroll if you do not supply a Date of Birth.
If you are unsure of the information required for a new employee please consider using our ready-made New Employee Form which will provide all of the information that we require. Please complete the pink cell with your Payroll Number and Company Name, please also ensure that they select a Starter Declaration.

 

https://www.payrolloptions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Employee-Details-Form.xltx

 

Charges/Penalties from HMRC
HMRC are introducing Charges/Penalties in respect of Real Time Information (RTI):
1. Payments to HMRC must match the total due for the month as per the RTI submissions made by us
2. RTI submission must be received by HMRC on or before your pay date, as quoted on the front page of your reports, if you feel the pay date that we are quoting is incorrect please inform us immediately.

Final Post for 2014

This is the final news posting for 2014 and we should probably be reflecting on the changes that have occurred this year. But I think there is plenty to look forward to next year. We have the NIC savings for under 21s, Shared Parental Leave, the £2000 employment allowance available for carers as well, and do we really need to mention auto-enrolment again? And the general election giving the opportunity for radical reform for the next Autumn statement.

 

So, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!

 

And did anybody else notice the article from HMRC regarding VAT on Snowballs?
Revenue and Customs Brief 36 (2014): VAT – liability of snowballs

End of the P11D

Although it seems very unlikely the P11D will be scrapped any time soon –

 

“From April 2016, the government will remove the £8,500 threshold below which employees do not pay Income Tax on certain benefits in kindand replace it with new exemptions for carers and for ministers of religion. It will also exempt certain reimbursed expenses and introduce a statutory framework for voluntary payrolling“
extract from the Tax simplification section of the Autumn Statement

 

This means that some benefits are likely to be able to be spread through the year via PAYE rather than reported on a P11D. The full details are not available yet, but this should be good news for employers.

 

The aim is to offer a reduction in administrative time to employers, and therefore a cost saving, whilst at the same time making it more straightforward and accurate for employees. Employees will be able to spread the correct amount of income tax on their benefits throughout the year.

 

There is a fair amount of discussion on the payroll forums but we do not have full details yet, and we are just waiting to see the complexity that will be passed across to payroll. There have already been questions raised regarding how class 1A and 1B NICs will be recorded. Watch this space!

The Autumn Statement

There were relatively few announcements that appear to directly relate to payroll, but I have highlighted a few below

 

• Scotland will gain powers to set thresholds and rates of income tax, so some of the below may not apply if you live in Scotland.
• The personal allowance is to rise to £10600
• The higher rate threshold will also be raised to £42385
• The basic, higher and additional rates of income tax will remain the same
• National Insurance upper earnings and profits limits will also change
• Employers of care and support workers will also be able to benefit from the £2000 employment allowance from April 2015
• No employers National Insurance Contributions up to the upper earnings limit for apprentices below the age of 25. (although this was announced this will come into effect from April 2016)
• An exemption for trivial benefits in kind below £50

 

I hope this will be helpful. You may also like to read the full statement that can be found here.

Living Wage

The living wage is not a statutory wage but recommended by the Living Wage Foundation. It is possible as an employer to get accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation and they list various benefits from doing so.

 

The current National Living Wage is £7.85 per hour, and for London it is £9.15 per hour. It is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. The statutory minimum wage for an employee aged 21 or over is currently £6.50 per hour.

 

The latest rates were calculated on the 3rd November and on the 26th November there were 1036 Living Wage Employers listed.

 

And……..

 

Auto-Enrolment Reminder – If your company staged in July you should have submitted your declaration of compliance by the end of November.

Shared Parental Leave

This arrives in April 2015 and the intention is to enable families more choice with how they look after their children in the first year. The rules for maternity leave and pay, and ordinary paternity leave and pay, will remain the same. Additional paternity pay and leave will be abolished. The arrangement for recovery of statutory payments through HMRC will be the same as current arrangements.

 

The other change is to bring Adoption Leave into line with Maternity Leave. Statutory Adoption Pay is also being brought into line with Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). Shared parental leave and pay will also be available to adopting parents.

 

• There will still be a ‘Continuity of Employment Test’ to apply for the mother to establish whether she is eligible for Shared Parental Leave (SPL), but if she qualifies for Statutory Maternity Leave it is likely she will be eligible. Equally the eligibility for shared parental pay is much the same as for SMP.
• For the partner there is an “employment and earnings test” to establish eligibility for SPL. Both partners must qualify for SPL to be taken, and there are various definitions for the ‘partner’.
• Maternity leave is ended to create SPL.
• Share parental pay can be taken based upon criteria similar to those for SMP, the employee receiving the pay must qualify.
• Employees must give at least eight week notice of their intent, and they are allowed to take the leave in three blocks, of a minimum of 1 week at a time.
• The Leave can be spread out in discontinuous portions and the amount of leave available is the balance remaining from 52 weeks, after the maternity/adoption leave taken has been accounted for.
• Employees and Employers can arrange more than three blocks if they wish but this is by mutual consent.
• ‘KIT’ days are available with Maternity Leave, there will be 20 ‘SPLIT’ days available for each partner with SPL. SPLIT is Share Parental Leave In Touch and these are days where an employee can return to work without affected their SPL eligibility.
• Shared parental pay is at 90% of employee’s earnings, or £138.18 per week, whichever is lower
• It is possible for parents to take SPL at the same time, so be off with child together, but Maternity Leave cannot be ended until 2 weeks after the child is born.

 

It is fair to say that the rules are fairly complex, and although we do not expect a huge take up, we expect employees will be dealt with on a case by case basis. More information can be found here, and ACAS has guidance on how employers should structure and conduct meetings

Xmas Period

We will be sending details regarding Christmas Payroll Dates with your payroll reports soon. If you can fill these in and return them that would be much appreciated; it is only a box to tick. We are asking you to confirm your company payday for December, and giving the dates for payroll data submission. Christmas is a busy period and the last thing we want is anybody not paid when they should be.

 

The recent headlines regarding the employment tribunal and holiday pay, taking into account regular overtime payments, have caused some concern. We suspect things are not as desperate as at first presented, and it is reassuring that back dated claims appear limited to three months. There may be an appeal, the UK Government could legislate, and so it could be several years before a final position is reached.