April 2016 sees the introduction of the National Living Wage

Earlier this year the Government announced the introduction of a new wage threshold for employees over the age of 25 years.

The introduction of the National Living Wage will be compulsory with effect from April 2016.

 

From April 2016, the national Living Wage will be set at £7.20 per hour for employees aged 25 or older which is an increase of 50p per hour from the current hourly rate of £6.70.  The National Minimum Wage rates apply for employees under the age of 25.

The Government is working towards raising the National Living Wage to a rate of £9.00 per hour by 2020.

Employers Class 1 NIC for Apprentices under 25 to be abolished

With effect from 6 April 2016, you may be interested to learn that you may no longer have to pay employer  Class 1 NICs for apprentices under the age of 25.

Currently employer Class 1 NICs are due for all employees aged 21 or over.

 

For the tax year 2016-17 it is proposed that the new NI category H will be used for apprentices who in addition to being under 25 are:

• working towards a Government recognised apprenticeship in the UK which follows a government approved framework/standard

and

• have a written agreement (between employer, apprentice and training provider), giving the government recognised apprentice framework or standard, with a start and expected completion date.

Employers NIC will be at a rate of 0% up to the new Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold, which will be aligned with the Upper Secondary Threshold for the tax year beginning 6 April 2016.  Earnings above the Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold (for 2015-16 £3,532 per month) will be at the full rate of 13.8%.

This does not affect the calculation of primary Class 1 NICs deducted from apprentices.

For more information see the HMRC website

Spotlight on WPA Healthcare

Most employers know that they have a duty of care to their staff and are aware that if employees are using computers then they need to pay for eye tests.

We are always looking for ways to make sure that everyone who works at AFH are healthy, motivated and engaged.  When we discovered WPA Healthcare a few years ago, we were really pleased by the benefits that they offered to our team at a lower cost than we expected.

In addition to optical and dental cover, all of our employees have access to a confidential 24 hour line that can offers help with matters such as stress, legal, bereavement and medical issues.

In the last year one of the AFH team has received a payment for overnight stays in hospital, hospital car parking, eye tests and dental check ups. In addition, the cover provided by the WPA NHS top up policy automatically gives cover to members children under the age of 18 for no additional cost.

Importantly, it is very straightforward to make a claim and everyone at AFH has been impressed at the speed that the claim is settled usually in about a week.

If you haven’t thought about providing a small healthcare scheme to employees, we recommend that you have a chat with John Strudwick who is a WPA Healthcare Partner

Website: www.wpa.org.uk/johnstrudwick

Telephone: 07971 864 089

Considering making a member of staff redundant?

Some advice for employers

Employers, particularly SMEs can be prone to making costly mistakes when it comes to making staff redundant.  This is largely due to a lack of awareness of the legal implications that govern redundancy.

This blogpost will hopefully provide employers with some key information to help their decision making process.

Redundancy is a process

There are many reasons why an employer may consider redundancy.  This may be due to financial reasons, a reduction in work, the need to change structure.  It is good practice for a business to consider their options prior to making a decision to make staff redundant.

Your next step is then to consider making a plan.  The following steps ideally need to be in place:

  • Brief your managers and outline any training or support needs that may be required
  • Consult your staff.  This is a legal requirement.
  • Choose the posts that need to be made redundant.  The key word is posts, not individual people.  Your approach needs to be fair and consistent with a clear decision making process.
  • A clear selection criteria for selecting the individuals that will be made redundant.
  • Giving notice of redundancy and pay.
  • Be mindful of rights during the notice period.  This is enable staff to look for alternative work.  If other vacancies come up within your organisation you may save on costs if there is an option for a member of staff facing redundancy to take up a new opportunity.
  • Allowing staff to appeal against the decision of redundancy.
  • Communicating the future business model to your staff.  If you have had to make people redundant, a plan to share with staff about the future of the business should help underline the rationale behind the redundancies and help show the future of the business in a positive light.

It is very important for employers to remember when they are considering redundancies that it is the actual position and not the person that is being made redundant.  Failing to get this principle right could lead to employment tribunal claims.

It is often a good idea to seek professional help from an Employment lawyer or HR consultant to ensure that the correct process is followed when considering redundancy within an organisation.

Useful information on the redundancy process can be found on the ACAS website.