Archive for Latest News

The Compulsory and Voluntary Living Wage – what do they mean?

In 2016 the Government introduced a compulsory National Living Wage, however there is another voluntary Real Living Wage – we thought we’d look at what this means for SMEs.  Updated November 2018.
What is the situation now?

Currently in the UK anyone who is defined as a “worker” (including employees and Agency Workers) is entitled to

Other Employment Related Budget News (from 29.10.18)

Alongside the important changes being made to IR35 in April 2020 (which you can read here), the Budget of 29.10.18 also announced:

The National Minimum/Living Wage will rise:
The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has recommended that the hourly rates should increase in April 2019:

from £7.83 to £8.21 for workers aged 25 and

IR35 enters the private sector from 6th April 2020

In a not-unexpected move on Monday (29.10.18), the Chancellor announced that businesses in the private sector will become responsible for assessing an individual’s employment status, if the individual works through their own Limited Company, from 6th April 2020.  As many thought this change might be implemented in April 2019 that gives at least one years

Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting coming soon?

Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting Consultation starts
In October 2018 the Government started a consultation asking Employers to contribute their views on mandatory ethnicity pay reporting. In brief, the options that are proposed are:

One pay gap figure comparing average hourly earnings of ethnic minority employees as a percentage of white employees, or

Parental Bereavement Leave coming soon

Parental Bereavement Leave will be available from 2020 (updated October 2018).
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill received Royal Assent in September 2018 and is likely to come into affect in 2020.
This would give a statutory entitlement of 2 weeks paid leave for bereaved parents, allowing them time to grieve for a deceased

The impact of EEA immigration to the UK

These charts from the Migration Advisory Committee report (an independent body that advises the government), published yesterday, are interesting.   It summarises their conclusions as to what impact EEA immigration (immigration from EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) has had in a wide range of areas of UK life.
We are not going to

Data Protection, Copyright and Intellectual Property – if there is no Brexit deal

In this week’s release of ‘technical notices’ by the UK Government, in the case of a Brexit no-deal, Data Protection was included – and the full note (here) sets out “information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ scenario, so they can make informed plans

IR35 changes coming to the private sector in 2019?

With every possibility that the disastrous changes that were made to IR35 in the Public Sector (in April 2017), are likely to be applied to the Private Sector in April 2019, we’ve done a quick resume of how this change has affected Public Sector Contractors (this is from a Contractors point of view, but it’s

Brexit: What Employers need to know now (about their staff who are EU Citizens)

Updated 1st November 2018. Clearly, Brexit brings huge considerations for employers.  An important consideration is staffing – in regards to the future rights of EU Citizens who are already in the UK (and business’ future access to talent).  This article from People Management is helpful, looking at:

EU citizens already in the UK and

Workplace rights if there’s no deal Brexit

We’re not going to make any sarcastic comments about the UK Governments’ no deal Brexit papers, the first third of which were released on 23rd August (even though it’s SO tempting!).
The paper on workplace rights in the event of a no Brexit deal was among the first set released.  You can read the whole

Offer sabbaticals to avoid redundancies?

I must admit I’ve never heard of this, but offering sabbaticals as a way to avoid redundancies is a good concept to explore!  The idea is explained in this article from People Management.
The case studies (from the article):
Instead, the process of genuinely seeking to avoid redundancies can reap its own rewards: we saw

Foster Parents are not ‘workers’

The Advocate General of the ECJ said that foster parents are not workers and are therefore do not have rights under the Working Time Directive (to rest breaks and holidays).

In Sindicatul Familia Constanţa and others

Suspension – updated guidance from Acas (July 2018)

Acas have updated their guidance on Suspension – suspending employees prior to disciplinary action, or on medical grounds, or for new or expectant mothers – which you can see here.
The new Guidance starts by explaining that:

“Suspension is where an employee continues to be employed but does not have to

Payslip Requirements (and changes in April 2019)

Payslips – Employer Obligations at the moment:
Employees are entitled to an itemised payslip, on or before payday. Employers can choose whether they provide printed or electronic (online) payslips.
The payslip must show:

the employees earnings before and after any deductions (Gross and Net),
the amount of any deductions that may

UK Gender Pay Gap Results

Companies in the UK with more than 250 employees had until midnight on 4th April 2018 to reveal the gap between the average hourly rate paid to male and female employees, by reporting this on the UK Government’s Gender Pay Gap Service website. You can see who’s reported so far here.
We’ve borrowed

Pensions Auto-Enrolment – Contributions increase in April 2018

Employers need to be aware of a significant change in your Pensions Auto-Enrolment obligations, coming into effect from 6th April 2018.
Since Pension Auto-Enrolment started in 2012, Employers have been required to make a 1% minimum contribution to their workers’ pension plans (with the worker paying 2%). However, from 6th April 2018 minimum contributions

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – coming May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force across the EU, including the United Kingdom, on 25th May 2018 (and will stay implemented whether Brexit ever happens or not!). Updated 31st October 2018.
The purpose of the Regulations is to impose conditions on organisations who handle an individuals data to ensure the individual knows

Thriving at work – The Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers

In January 2017 the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review into how employers can better support the mental health of all people currently in employment. The report was published in October 2017 and we’ve put together the reviews’ highlights and suggestions here (you can see the whole 84 page report here).

Launch of Employment Tribunal Fee Refund Scheme

On the 20th October 2017 the Government launched the first stage of a refund scheme for a selected group of 1000 people, who paid Employment Tribunal fees between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. This follows the important July 2017 decision by the Supreme Court that fees charged by the Tribunal were “unlawful”.

Small Business Leaders claim a quarter of staff are under-performing

In a recent survey from Sandler Training, Small business leaders claim that more than a quarter of staff are under-performing.
According to a survey of 2,000 small business leaders, performance of more than a quarter of staff working at small businesses is poor and a skills shortage is believed to be one of the reasons

Guidance for staff with premature or sick babies

Staff with premature or sick babies – Acas have just produced a new Guide for Employers to help them manage staff in this situation, called ‘Workplace support for parents with premature or sick babies’ which you can see here.
Acas say with over 95,000 premature or sick babies born each year in the UK, this

Termination Payments – tax changes due in April 2018

The latest information on changes to the tax and National Insurance treatment of Termination Payments (payments you may make to an employee when they leave), that will be effective April 2018. (updated November 2018).
The Government started a consultation in July 2016 on proposed reforms to the way employees’ termination payments are taxed (e.g. redundancy

Employment Tribunal Fees declared unlawful on 26th July 2017!

Employment Tribunal Fees declared unlawful on 26th July 2017 by the UK Supreme Court. Employment Tribunal Fees were introduced, controversially, by the Government in July 2013 and after a 4 year battle through the UK Court system, the Union UNISON finally won their case to have the Fees stopped.
You can read all the details

More Gig economy ‘worker’ decisions – a bicycle courier working for Excel… plus Addison Lee

Following on from the recent decisions about Uber and CitySprint, now a bicycle courier working for Excel has been declared a ‘worker’ for employment rights and status reasons. And at the bottom we give you the details of the autumn 2017 decision about Addison Lee, a London-based cab and courier company.
Brief facts of the

How to secure a Visa for an overseas worker

How do you secure a Visa for an overseas worker? This complicated process is explained in this in-depth article here from GSC Solicitors, entitled ‘We are a tech start up and have identified a potential candidate from overseas to fill very niche and specialist role in our business, what are the steps that I can

CitySprint bike courier is also a worker

Following the recent Uber ‘worker’ decision, another employment tribunal has found that a bike courier working for CitySprint is also a worker rather than self-employed, giving her rights to holiday pay, SSP, and the National Living/Minimum Wage.

Brief details of Dewhurst vs CitySprint
Maggie Dewhurst cycled up to 50 miles per day for CitySprint,

Problems with Recruitment and Retention? Look at the whole picture

If you are struggling to recruit and keep good staff and freelancers, it might be time to take a look at the whole picture of how you Recruit, Induct, Employ and manage staff to see if there are any improvements you could make.
A 2014 Study found that the average cost of replacing

Fluent English Language requirements for Public Sector Workers

In August 2015 the Government announced that public sector workers “must have fluent English if they work directly with the public in England, Scotland and Wales”, in order to ensure higher quality public services are provided to the public.
The new requirements form part of 2016 Immigration Act and the Government have issued guidance in

Immigration Skills Charge changes for Tier 2 migrants

From April 2017, employers who sponsor a Tier 2 migrant to work at their company, will face an annual charge (for as long as the migrant stays working for them):
For large companies this will be £1,000 per annum.
For smaller companies, charities and universities the charge will be £364 per annum.
There is not

Uber Tribunal – the details

More details from the Uber Tribunal, an important case for the fast-expanding ‘gig’ economy……Updated December 2017.
At the end of October this year, an employment tribunal ruled that two Uber ‘test case’ drivers were not self-employed independent contractors but workers (for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the National Minimum Wage Act

HMRC investigates gig economy and use of self-employed workers

With the recent employment tribunal proceedings into how Uber employs its workers and possible investigations into the business model of courier company Hermes, HMRC is now launching the snappily titled ‘Employment Status and Intermediaries Team’ to investigate compliance by companies, in and outside the gig economy, in providing the correct employment rights, status, and benefits

Brexit – Employment Law implications

On October 12th 2016 The House of Commons Library issued a ‘short note’ that discusses the interaction between UK and EU employment law; the potential consequences of Brexit; and the Government’s position on the issue.
See the website page here >> or download the report here
EU employment law provides a minimum standard below which

Sleeping on the job: Is there any clarity about pay?

Care workers are in the news again, as Unison back 17 carers who worked for Sevacare in Haringey, North London, in a forthcoming Employment Tribunal claim about underpayment of the National Minimum Wage, including while sleeping at work.
So we examine here the latest position on whether you should be paid for sleeping while at

Direct Earnings Attachments – what do they mean for SME’s?

As an employer, you can be asked to deduct money from an employees pay, if they have been overpaid benefits by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is called a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA).
The first you’ll be aware of this is if you are contacted by the DWP Debt Management

Using an Umbrella Company

Updated 2016 (this article about using an Umbrella Company was previously in our ‘Workline’ database but is no longer published on the Crunch website).
Many freelancers and contractors choose to use the services of an Umbrella Company to deal with their finances – these are limited companies that employ contractors. If you choose to do

Grooming and Dress Code Policies

What can you do about bushy beards (grooming), tattoos and piercings and dress at work, if they don’t fit your business image?
If your staff are client/customer facing you will need to consider what is appropriate dress and if you need or want to be prescriptive about tattoos, piercings, grooming and facial hair

Sending employees & contractors abroad on overseas business

If you secure, or are trying to secure, overseas business, what do you need to consider when sending your contractors, your employees, or even just yourself abroad?
Clearly some countries have travel risks and many have business travel customs that you need to know about, so how do you prepare for your employees to have

Workplace Sweepstakes – there are laws governing it!

Perhaps I’m naive but I never considered there could be laws on workplace gambling (or workplace sweepstakes)!
Football, horse-racing, Wimbledon – just about any event can bring on the need for a sweepstake. But it’s best to take a few minutes to make sure your company isn’t breaking the law.
The law in England,

Details of the 2016 Trade Union Bill, effective 1st March 2017

During 2016 the Trade Union Bill, which the Government wanted as a major vehicle to reform existing industrial action legislation, progressed through Parliament.
The Bill had its first reading in Parliament in July 2015 and the Government consulted on it in the same year. It was subject to criticism from MPs and Peers,

Small Businesses – all you need to know about Lone Workers

We take a look what defines a lone worker, what businesses should do when employing lone workers, and your legal rights if you are a one. The term lone worker is used to describe any person who works “by themselves without close or direct supervision”. So a lone worker could be someone:


Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting and Pay Ratios coming soon!

The 2015 Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEEA) has amended The Equality Act 2010 to require employers with 250 or more employees (in the private or third sector) to publish details of their gender pay gap. Public sector bodies with more than 150 employees have been required to report on gender pay (as well

Is HR Software Making People Obsolete?

Is HR Software Making People Obsolete?
HR SoftwareIn a word, no. HR people don’t have anything to worry about, certainly not for the foreseeable future at least. However, they do need to be more open towards and willing to use new forms of technology. This is because they often make the job easier and also

Critical illness cover – what microbusiness owners need to know

As a freelancer or contractor you will have no sick pay (SSP) entitlement or employer-provided sickness benefits to fall back on if you are sick. So, what happens if you fall ill and cannot work? You could consider critical illness cover.
One option is income protection insurance that can protect you from any unforeseen

What does the Modern Slavery Bill mean for Businesses?

The Government have produced guidance on Transparency in Supply Chains to help employers meet their new responsibilities under the Modern Slavery Act.
The Act came into force from the 29th October 2015 and requires every commercial organisation that ‘carries on a business’ in the UK with a total annual turnover of £36 million or more

If your staff travel from home straight to a customer – working time rules have changed

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided in September 2015 that travel time counts as working time. This applies when a worker does not have a fixed place of work but is required to travel from home at the beginning of the day to the premises of one his customers, and to return home from

Zero Hours Contracts – Guidance from the UK Government

The Government published Guidance on the use of Zero Hours Contracts on 15th October, which you can see here.
The Guidance gives examples of when using a zero-hour contract would be appropriate or inappropriate and suggest alternatives to these types of contracts that employers could use.

The Government says that appropriate use of

SME’s can reclaim at least 92% of Statutory Maternity Pay

Did you know that all employers can usually reclaim 92% of employees’ Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay and Shared Parental Pay?
And you can reclaim 103% if your business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief. You get this if you paid £45,000 or less in Class 1 National Insurance in the last complete

Changes to Health and Safety Laws for the Self-Employed

Legislation called the Deregulation Bill becomes law on 1st October and will impact self-employed workers and contractors with regard to their health and safety obligations.
The existing Health and Safety at Work Act imposes a general duty on all self-employed people to protect themselves and others from risk to their safety, regardless of the type

2015 summer of consultation: what’s on the Government’s agenda

Updated 2017.
We look in brief at all the consultation that was taking place in the summer of 2015 in regard to proposed new laws, and other laws that have been enacted recently that will affect SME’s, contractors and employees. As more news emerges we will update this post.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act

Shared Parental Leave and Pay – Employers Guidance

You can find a technical guide here from the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation – for employers to consider when implementing policies on shared parental leave and pay. As this is an exceedingly complicated area you may need it!

The Human Resources Consultancy service for SME's in the UK creative industries

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