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Keeping up to date

We take seriously our responsibility to keep you up to date so that you can use changes in employment law to commercial advantage. By understanding and interpreting the latest case law and legislation we can deliver updates to you that are concise and usable. With imagination, we are able to ensure that developing law can be used to allow you to achieve commercial solutions, cost effectively and expediently.

Changes to IR35

Posted on: July 4th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam
Disclaimer: what you’re about to read should come with a health warning! Tax is a tricky beast, so we’ve tried our best to make this as straight-talking as our usual updates…don’t say I didn’t warn you!

IR35 states that if you’re working with a self-employed individual in such a way that they’d usually be an employee of yours (were it not for the company under which they operate), then they should be paying PAYE and NICs.

From April 2020, if you pay the individual’s company (rather than the individual directly) for work they’ve done, you may be responsible for PAYE and NIC deductions in respect of their fees (and HMRC penalties if you get it wrong).

From April 2020, if you’re a medium or large company* you’ll need to:

• establish whether, if you disregard the company under which the individual operates, the individual would really be an employee of yours;

• notify the individual and any company supplying them such as a recruitment business of your decision as to their true employment status and your reasons for that decision;

• ensure each layer of the supply chain involved with that individual is aware of your decision as to their status and the reasons for it;

• be clear on your process for resolving a dispute with the individual in respect of their status;

• deduct PAYE and NICs (if you pay the individual through their company) bearing in mind you will be charged interest and penalties by HMRC for failure to do so.

Small steps…

At the moment, we’re waiting for the final draft of the legislation. In the meantime…

• audit your workforce and contracts to identify any individuals who are supplying services through their company;

• use HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax to identify the status of individuals you pay through their company;

• discuss with them the changes to the regime and your thoughts on their status;

• consider how you’re going to make the appropriate deductions to HMRC where necessary;

• consider your on-boarding process for suppliers and how you’re going to ensure that deductions are made as appropriate;

• update your consultancy agreements to ensure the appropriate provisions are incorporated to deal with these changes. Click here and we can help you with that!

Watch this space!

*P.s – if you’re wondering, medium and large businesses are those which satisfy two of the following: turnover of more than £10.2m / have a balance sheet of more than £5.1m / have more than 50 employees.



A proactive approach to probationary periods

Posted on: June 18th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

So often we hear that it’s only those who lose their jobs or have their probationary period extended that have the privilege of time with their manager to discuss early performance.

The missed opportunity of telling someone they’re great at an early stage of their career can’t be recovered. Whether you call it an early careers chat, probationary review meeting or three/six month catch up – get it in the diary!

Here’s our tips to make it happen:

Don’t leave discussions about performance to the end of the period – start sharing from month one!

Work with a people system that automatically reminds you when you need to have a probationary discussion – find out about ours!

Train your managers to feel confident approaching the conversation and support them with agendas

Ensure that managers wishing to end an employee’s employment can demonstrate they’ve done all they can do to support that individual to succeed

If ending employment, support the individual with next steps to future employment elsewhere

Don’t leave probationary conversations until the last minute and ensure they take place within the probationary period – contractually you might otherwise lose the right to benefit from a shorter notice period if things don’t work out

If you extend the probationary period, ensure you set SMART objectives and offer support and guidance to achieve them – follow up in writing so the employee is clear that their probationary period has been extended and what they need to achieve

Ensure you follow your own policies throughout

There’s a lot to get right with probationary periods – we’re here to help if you’re unsure.


Positive practices? Addressing imbalance

Posted on: June 11th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

If you’ve taken the decision to address demographic imbalance by recruiting individuals from under-represented groups, ensure you put the right steps in place to avoid discrimination.

In a recent case, Cheshire Police were found to have discriminated on the grounds of race, sex and sexual orientation against an employee applying for the role of Constable.

If you’re addressing age, sex, race or other imbalances (whether consciously or sub-consciously) through recruitment practices, remember:

  1. You need clear evidence of an imbalance
  2. You are only able to favour a candidate because of a protected characteristic (like sex or race) if you can show that they are qualified equally to the next best candidate
  3. You can show that you’ve considered alternatives to your decision to positively discriminate
  4. That your approach to recruitment of under-represented groups is proportionate to the challenge you’re trying to overcome

If you’re considering such an approach and are in any doubt, get in touch!

Executive People Update

Posted on: June 6th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our exec people update ensures you’re on top of the latest people opportunities, challenges and legislative changes so you are ready to update the Board. If you want more insight, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re fully up to speed with all the detail.

Dates for your diary

June 1st – 30th: pride month
June 10th – 16th: carers week
June 17th – 23rd: festival of learning week

Getting personal – directors’ liability

A recent case has potentially opened the door for directors to be personally liable for decisions they take that flout the law and damage business reputation. Next time you consider the commercial option not to follow employment laws – take advice to ensure that decision doesn’t come back to bite you personally!

Father’s fare for sharing the caring

If you provide mothers enhanced maternity pay, a recent case has found there is no need to offer fathers (or mothers) the same enhanced pay during shared parental leave. If you still want to enhance shared parental pay go ahead – but you don’t have to by law.

Time and attendance for all?

Momentum continues to grow around the European decision that employers should be recording all workers time and attendance, not just time absent from work. Next it’s for the UK government to decide how to implement this into our Working Time Regulations. That being said, Brexit could still throw a spanner in the works…watch this space!

Just give us a shout if you have any questions and we’d be delighted to have a chat with you.

GDPR a year on – 10 things we’ve learnt

Posted on: May 28th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Cast your mind back: 25th May 2018. A year on and a few data protection headlines later, we thought it prime time to share our practical insights on the new regulations…

  1. Increasing tactical use of subject access requests – it’s almost common practice for employees to request their data wherever they’re case building.
  2. Charges for excessive subject access requests are beginning to be used – provided you make sure charges are reasonable and you can justify them, they can prove a useful deterrent to having to deal with the request and stop the 30 day response clock ticking until payment is made.
  3. Increasing trend to move from hard copy people files to on-line solutions to help keep information secure and relevant. Click here for information on our platform – Intelligent Employment Hub.
  4. Lack of impact assessments when new data processing technology is introduced – start assessing! You’ll able to show the ICO you’ve taken a diligent approach to introducing a system which might ultimately compromise personal data.
  5. Opt-ins for consent to process data are still not being secured. If you need consent (e.g. to respond to reference requests) ensure you secure written consent. Click here for more information on Intelligent Employment and our up to date employment contracts (containing consent).
  6. Consents aren’t being stored. Don’t delete them! The ICO recently fined Vote Leave for failure to prove they had consent to send out text messages.
  7. Sharing data with third parties isn’t being given enough consideration – if you use third party programmes like Survey Monkey, have you informed individuals whose personal data will be made available on that platform that you’re passing their information on? If not, you need to!
  8. A good privacy notice can be really useful – with one in place, many data protection queries can simply be answered by referring someone back to your privacy notice.
  9. Most breaches we’ve dealt with haven’t needed to be reported to the ICO. By way of example, sending an email to the wrong person should be recorded as a breach on your log but only needs to be reported to the ICO if the unintended recipient is going to do something with the data beyond deleting it.
  10. Personal data registers still aren’t widely in place (they’re required if you have over 250 employees). Click here for more information on our data protection toolkit and template register.

Our “Data Protection Toolkit” is still available if you need any help with getting the right documents and processes in place – you can see the list of contents here.