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Tattoos are more popular than ever, but workers can be dismissed from or denied jobs because of their body modifications. Some want protection under employment law. Should they get it?

You’re perfect for the job. You have all the skills and experience the company is looking for, and you’ve turned up for the interview in your smartest attire.

But there’s a problem.

If you have a tattoo that incurs the displeasure of the boss, you might find any offer of employment is swiftly rescinded.

In July,  Jo Perkins, a consultant in Milton Keynes, lost her job due to a 4cm image of a butterfly on her foot that contravened the no-visible-inking rule of the firm for which she worked. The company said she had failed to hide it.

Jo wasn’t the first.  A 39-year-old mother-of-three from Yorkshire with the words, “Everything happens for a reason” on her forearm was dismissed as a waitress in 2013 following complaints from customers. The previous year, an employee complained he had been forced from his job because his employers disliked his 80 tattoos.

In all cases, the employers insisted they were acting within their legal rights. Therein lies a potential hazard for a rapidly-growing section of the workforce.

One in five people in Britain now have a tattoo according to research cited by the British Association of Dermatologists in 2012.

From the prime minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron – who has a dolphin image on her ankle – to celebrities like David Beckham and Cheryl Cole, tattooed individuals are firmly part of the mainstream.

But employers have not all kept pace with changes in attitudes. A report last year for the British Sociological Association found managers frequently expressed negative views about the image projected by noticeably tattooed staff.

Andrew R Timming, University of St Andrews UK,  observed that this was true even when managers’ were themselves fond of body modifications.   Mr. Timming stated,  “There were recruiters who had tattoos, who showed me them – they weren’t visible on the hand, neck or face – they wouldn’t have someone with a visible tattoo on display.”

 

If someone is qualified for a  job, they should be equal with the next person who has the same CV.  Tattoos are more than simply a lifestyle choice, they are an expression of someone’s identity just as much as their religion or other beliefs.  However, this is not a view that is widely shared by employers across the globe.

It seems, according to Mr. Timming, that existing or potential employees would fare a little better in the eyes of the boss if their adornment is an ear or nose piercing instead of a tattoo.  If there was a company blanket ban on tattoos and an employee were to turn up with one, then the employer would be justified in dismissing said employee, always  of course after a fair and proper process.

 

The sheer critical mass of younger people with tattoos suggests it’s likely that attitudes are likely to change over time regardless of what the law says.

Employers – especially those seeking specialist skills – may find they can’t afford to exclude talent. In an effort to tackle a recruitment shortfall, the British Army is reported to be considering relaxing its rules to allow tattoos on the face, neck and hands.

Timming states that, there will be certain genres of tattoos that would never be normalised. Any kind of racist/Fascist symbols would be a death sentence in terms of your career prospects –  he says, the size and location of a tattoo make a big difference as to whether an employer is likely to accept it.  By contrast, any kind of more innocuous, smaller tattoos – a rose or a butterfly – would be more acceptable in the workplace.

For the time being, it’s advice worth considering when balancing the appeal of that new tattoo against the prospect of a dream job.

Technology in the Workplace

Image result for technology in the workplace

Technology is being used in almost every company to complete particular tasks. Technology has changed the way we work; it reduces human mistakes which can be caused by too much work or stress. Business technologies like computers, tablets, social media sites, virtual meeting software, accounting software, customer management applications, and so much more have removed workplace boundaries and they have also assisted in the movement of information at the workplace which accelerates quick decision making at the place of work.

Using technology in the workplace has its own pros and cons. Below I have detailed certain points and aspects explaining how technology can be of great use in the workplace and how it can also be an obstacle.

Advantages of Having Technology in the Workplace:

  1. Supports Innovation and Creativity:

Workers can use different business technologies to create innovative business ideas which can be used in business growth and expansion. Many companies create technological challenges and reward employees who come up with creative ideas using technology. Employees can use internet technology to innovate ways of promoting a business online. Social enterprise networks like Yammer.com can be used by employees to socialize and interact with other creative employees from different organizations, this interaction will result into information exchange and it also encourages brain storming on various work related issues.

  1. Increases Communication:

Many businesses are making use of several business communication technologies to alter the way their employees interact and communicate while at work. Employees can use many communication tools to interact or exchange information at work. For example, employees from different departments in a company can use text messaging services or video conferencing tools like Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Video Call to share and exchange information. Virtual communication tools like Skype can be used to share screens and this can help workers to split projects while in different departments, the same application can be used to aid group decision making. Also communication technologies can be used in the customer service department to serve customers on time.

    

  1. Initiates Mobility:

The use of internet and computers to work has eliminated space and time boundaries. Workers can complete tasks from anywhere at any time, this mobility makes employees easily manage their jobs. Technological tools like virtual meeting applications save us time, we don’t have to be in meetings physically yet information and data will be shared in real-time.

  1. Saves Time:

Technology can be used to make various tasks at work a routine job, this automation will ensure efficiency and will also increase on production at work. The use of computers to achieve specific tasks at work creates the possibility of instant corrections and adaptations, it also reduces human errors. Using databases to capture and store information can facilitate quick decision making in the workplace. Business information is easily accessible through one single database; this information can be edited and saved for later use. Use of internal networks at the workplace can help in sharing of gadgets like printers and scanners, so employees do not have to move to different departments to share technological tools.

Disadvantages of Technology in the Workplace:

 

  1. Has an Effect on Workplace Relationships:

Employees communicate via cell phones, text messages, email or virtual video conferencing tools. This type of communication technology has obliterated face-to-face communication. Interpersonal communications are important in building workplace relationships because employees will get a chance to know each other in person, sometimes they can even share personal information, this type of interaction is killed by communication technology tools. Employees become more reserved and self-centered; they get buried into their work which can be of great harm to a business.

 

  1. Instigates Distraction at Work:

There are so many ways technology can divert employees’ attentions at work. The use of social networks in the workplace can cause so much distraction and it affects the productivity of workers. Some companies have decided to restrict access to specific websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, because of the continuous distraction they cause. Other business technologies which cause distraction at work include Smartphone’s, computers and virtual meeting applications like Skype.

  1. Data Protection:

Though we like the advantages that come with technology in the workplace, it also tends to be a risk, especially when it comes to data protection All employees in important decision making roles will need access to private business information; this can pose as a threat, because it can be very challenging to monitor the usage and privacy of this information. Many employees come with flash drives at work, so they can transfer critical business information and use it for their own personal gains.

  1. Makes employees Lethargic:

Since most tasks are automated by technology, many employees become sluggish at work, technology kills their creativity, ideology and skills. Simple tasks like working out sales and tracking inventory are being done with computers, so you will find that employees do not put their brains to work, they can’t decipher high-end business problems because a computer or software will do it with no challenge.

  1. High Maintenance Expenses:

It is expensive to buy technology, but it is also costly to maintain it. Many small businesses can not afford the cost of hiring a full-time technical person, so they resort to monthly technical repair contractors who charge them for work done. If business technology products like computers are not well maintained, their performance will decrease and the process of buying new computers or any other business technology can even be more extortionate.

So, all in all, there are many pros and cons of technology in the workplace and opinions on the use of technology will often differ, however it is the management of such technology in line with properly drafted processes, procedures and policies which will guarantee your business success and satisfy company employment law obligations.

The National Minimum Wage

minwage

Good afternoon all.

The Department Business, Innovation and Skills has issued a new 55 page booklet on Calculating the Minimum Wage. It covers how to calculate the minimum wage, what counts as pay, what hours needs to be counted, and how to enforce the national minimum wage. see link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511151/BIS-16-144-nmw-calculating-the-national-minimum-wage.pdf

Migration on the move

Some major changes to business immigration rules have been proposed.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has just published its recommendations to reform the skilled worker route into the UK for non EEA (European Economic Area) nationals.  Last summer, the Government requested that the MAC undertake a review of both Tier 2 – General and Tier 2 -Intracompany Transfer (ICT) with a view to substantially restricting immigration using this route.

Tier 2 is the primary route for migration to the UK and migrants can enter the UK where they have an offer of employment from a UK company with a Tier 2 sponsor licence.

The MAC has made a number of key recommendations which include:
•    A minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants of £30,000.
•    An Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per year per Tier 2 migrant.
•    An increase in the qualifying employment period from 12 months to two years for the Tier 2 (ICT) route.
•    A more detailed job description on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
•    The Immigration Health Surcharge for Tier 2.
•    A new Tier 2 (ICT) for those carrying out work on-site for third parties with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.

Although the Government is not obliged to follow these recommendations, historically the majority of changes proposed by MAC have been implemented in the past. If the recommendations are introduced, the cost of sponsoring non EEA nationals to work in the UK may be significantly increased. The changes are likely to have wide reaching effects on small employers and specifically those who employ professionals in social care and medical sectors.

The Government will consider the MAC report in light of the Immigration Rules which are due to come into force on the 6th April 2016. Although the proposed amendments are unlikely to be approved by then, it’s anticipated that we will see some changes introduced by the end of the year.

Holiday Pay: Full Lock Decision available

Courtesy of Daniel Barnett:

Can domestic legislation be interpreted in a way which conforms to EU law on holiday pay?

Yes, held the EAT in Lock v British Gas, upholding the submissions of UNISON legal who represented Mr Lock. Domestic legislation is contained in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (‘WTR’) and sections 221-224 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. European Union law is contained in Council Directive 2003/88/EC, the Working Time Directive.

The right to paid leave is a pillar of EU social law from which there can be no derogation.

Mr Lock was paid basic salary and results-based commission but only basic pay during leave. A reference was made to the CJEU. An employment tribunal held that results-based commission must be included when calculating holiday pay and that it was possible to read words into the WTR. British Gas appealed.

The EAT dismissed the appeal. It is permissible – and indeed necessary – to imply words into the WTR to comply with EU law. Parliament’s intention must have been to comply with EU law. Following Bear Scotland (concerning guaranteed overtime), the EAT saw no reason to depart from the reasoning of Langstaff J. The EAT considered a number of other authorities including the Court of Appeal decisions in Bamsey and Evans but concluded that Bear is correct. The EAT is not bound by its own previous decisions but they are persuasive and may only be departed from if manifestly wrong or in other exceptional circumstances. Such departure could not be justified.

Safety First

Looking at the employer’s duty to adequately risk assess in order to ensure the safety of employees.

With the unpredictable weather that we have to endure each winter, employers who require their staff to go outside onto the streets as part of their job need to be aware of a decision by the Supreme Court earlier this month. The case of Kennedy v Cordia (Services) has a twist in the tale about an employer’s duty to adequately risk assess in order to ensure the safety of its employees.

Facts about the case
Tracey Kennedy was a home carer who was visiting the house of an elderly client in the winter of 2010. The street was covered with snow and ice and when walking along a path to the home she fell and injured her wrist. Ms Kennedy was wearing her own boots, with a flat, ridged sole and sued her employer for damages for breach of duty, as they had not provided her with crampon style attachments to wear with her boots which would have provided extra grip.

Decisions made
The case was originally heard in 2013, and the judge at first instance ruled that Cordia were liable for her injury. Cordia appealed and in 2014 the appeal judges overturned the earlier decision, they took the view that no employer was required to eliminate every danger faced by employees:

“The relationship of employer and employee is not to be treated as being the equivalent to that of nursery teacher and pupil, or that of parent and child…”

Tracey Kennedy appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and they unanimously allowed the appeal.

Reasons given by the Supreme Court
The relevant Health and Safety regulations require employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and this had been breached. Cordia knew of the risk that their employees might slip and fall on snow and ice when travelling to and from their client’s houses in winter, due to reports of similar incidents in previous years. Cordia also knew of the icy conditions on the night of the incident as those conditions had persisted for weeks.

The anti-slip attachments were available at a modest cost and had been found to be effective by other employers in reducing the risk. The judges inferred that the failure to provide the crampons caused or materially contributed to the accident.

Conclusion
This is an important decision in the approach to employers’ liability in the face of recent changes to health and safety law and public policy, which have arguably diluted some protections available to employees.

However, employers definitely need to risk assess and act prudently, indeed the warning as suggested by Lord McEwan in the first instance is that: “safety should be levelled upwards”.

The Apprenticeship Levy

A levy on large employers to fund new apprenticeships.

The Government, which has promised to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, has just published draft legislation introducing the Apprenticeship Levy. This measure seeks to encourage more employers to hire apprentices and transfer the cost of the system from Government to corporate Britain.

This Levy on UK employers will be used to fund new apprenticeships and will come into force in April 2017. It supports the Government’s commitment to improving productivity by increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships.

How much is the Levy?
The Levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s total pay bill. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their Levy payment which means that the Levy will be payable only by employers with pay bills in excess of £3 million a year.

The total pay bill will generally exclude benefits in kind, but is also expected to include other remuneration which is subject to PAYE or NIC withholdings.

How is payment managed?
The payment for the Levy will be collected via an employer’s PAYE return to HMRC alongside income tax and NI Contributions.

Which employers does this affect?
The Levy will, in principle apply to all UK employers, across all sectors, regardless of whether they already employ apprentices or not. Large companies with a payroll bill of over £3 million per annum will pay the Levy. It is calculated upon the size of the company and the earnings of its employees.

How does this affect employers in Scotland?
The Levy will be paid into a central Treasury fund. Employers in England will be able to access funds via a digital account to pay for qualifying apprenticeship training programmes. As skills training is a devolved policy area in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Government will be carrying out further work with the devolved administrations to ensure that the Levy works in conjunction with their respective skills policies.

Conclusion
Following these headline news announcements and key facts about the Levy, there are still of course a number of details the Government has to clarify and this is expected in the Finance Bill in the Spring. In the meantime however, if you would like to discuss the Apprenticeship Levy and how it might affect your business as well as consider the opportunity for skills development, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

The New Living Wage

Discussing the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage and how it will affect employers.

The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2016 has now been made and comes into force on 1 April 2016. This makes it clear, if there was ever any doubt,  that the compulsory National Living Wage for over 25 year olds promised by the Government last year is nothing more than a tweak to the minimum wage regulations.

The National Living Wage, which is effectively a higher minimum wage for those over the age of 25, comes into effect on 1st April when it will be set at £7.20 an hour. It will then rise to 60 percent of median earnings by 2020, when it is expected to reach well in excess of £9 per hour.

This should not be confused with the Independent Living Wage which is voluntary for employers. This is set by the Living Wage Foundation with rates currently at £8.25 per hour.

The new National Minimum Wages from 1 April 2016 will be:
•    Age 25 plus – £7.20 per hour (the National Living Wage)
•    Age 21 to 25 – £6.70 per hour
•    Age 18 to 21 – £5.30 per hour
•    Age 16 to 17, above school leaving age but under 18 – £3.87 per hour
•    Apprentices – £3.30 per hour (for apprentices under 19 or 19 and over who are in the first year of apprenticeship)

Exemptions
There are a number of people who are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.
•    Self-employed people.
•    Volunteers or voluntary workers.
•    Company directors.
•    Family members or people who live in the family home of the employer who undertake household tasks.

All other workers including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part time workers and casual workers must receive at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage as appropriate.

What happens if an employer does not pay the correct rate?
It is against the law for employers to pay workers less than the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage as appropriate.  If an employer doesn’t pay the correct rate, an employee has the right to make a complaint to HMRC who will investigate the complaint and if they find that an employer hasn’t paid the correct wage rate, can send a notice of arrears plus a penalty for not paying the correct rate of pay to the employee.

Conclusion
The Government would state that the living wage has been designed to improve broader pay growth and there is evidence that the supermarket sector in particular are already applying wage increases at a higher level than they are legally required to do so. Many other firms have pledged to offer the wages to all workers not just those aged 25 and over to alleviate concerns for lower paid younger workers and as a result improve productivity.

It is estimated however, that the higher minimum wage will cost businesses in the UK in excess of £1.1 billion pounds in just the first year.  Despite that, a survey for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills of more than 1000 employers found that over nine in ten employers thought that the new Living Wage was a good idea and a similar proportion thought it would improve productivity, morale and make staff more loyal.

Make sure that you have updated your payroll accordingly to take account of who qualifies for the new rate and of course you will need to communicate these changes to your staff too.

Whistleblowing

In this article we provide an overview of the protection available to whistleblowing employees and some practical tips for employers.

These days it seems that issues relating to whistleblowing are never far from the headlines and if mishandled, can attract significant adverse publicity for employers, not to mention the potential sums that can be awarded to a whistleblower.

What does the law actually say?
The European Court of Human Rights held that protection for whistleblowers was a human right under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression. The issue is important from an employment perspective because the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 inserted the following protection into the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The right not to be subject to a detriment for having made a protected disclosure and a dismissal for having made a protected disclosure will be automatically unfair.There are a number of requirements to be satisfied before a disclosure is protected, the employee must disclose information which he has a reasonable belief tends to show one of the following six relevant failures.

•    Criminal offences
•    Breach of a legal obligation
•    Miscarriages of justice
•    Danger to health and safety
•    Danger to the environment
and
•    Deliberate concealing of information about any of the above

Why is the issue so important for employers?
Many day to day workplace complaints can be protected disclosures. In particular, if an employee complains about bullying by a manager or being overloaded with work, both of these can be argued as breaches of the contract of employment and so fall within the breach of a legal obligation category. The effect of this is to bring all but the most spurious grievances within the scope of whistleblowing protection.

The concept of detriment is quite widely defined. In a number of cases, merely revealing the whistleblowing employee’s identity to others has amounted to a detriment. Furthermore, unfair dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunals involving whistleblowing allegations are more troublesome for employers than normal unfair dismissal cases for a number of reasons:

A dismissed employee can apply for what is known as interim relief when they submit their unfair dismissal claim, provided that claim is submitted within seven days of termination. This is essentially an order that they be reinstated on full salary and benefits until the final determination of their claim, including any appeal. The Employment Tribunals aim to resolve straightforward unfair dismissal claims within 26 weeks but in reality many take much longer. This is particularly so in whistleblowing cases, which tend to be factually complex.

If the employee subsequently loses their case at the final hearing, there is no obligation to reimburse the employer the salary paid during the period of reinstatement. To succeed in an application for interim relief an employee must show only that it is likely that their whistleblowing claim will succeed at the full trial. The test is therefore not a difficult one for employees to meet, particularly given the draconian nature of the interim relief order.

To date applications for interim relief have been rare. However, it is a powerful tool available to dismissed employees, particularly as a way of encouraging employers to settle Employment Tribunal claims more quickly, and for a higher amount.

In addition to compensation for financial loss an Employment Tribunal can also make an award for injury to feelings. Finally, protection against detriment for having made a protected disclosure applies not only to employees but also to workers which is defined more widely and includes any person who has contracted to do work personally, unless the person is genuinely self-employed.

What practical steps can employers take to protect their position? 
Review your organisation’s whistleblowing policy to ensure it is robust and accessible. The main purpose of the policy is to encourage workers to raise concerns internally and provide a mechanism by which to do so. Remember that a whistleblower will often need to raise concerns about their own manager or department. The policy should also detail how concerns will be investigated and dealt with, and the protection from reprisals that will be available for whistleblowers.

Ensure the policy is drawn to workers’ attention through induction and other training, and keep a written record of having done so. Proving a clear means of blowing the whistle internally ought to aid in reducing external disclosures which may bring unwanted media and regulator attention. In particular, for external disclosures other than to a regulator to be protected, the employee must show it was reasonable in the circumstances to make the disclosure externally. It is very unlikely that an external disclosure will be protected where the employee is aware of the internal channels and has no good reason not to use them.

Keep a clear audit trail of disclosures made and actions taken. An Employment Tribunal will often attach greater weight to contemporaneous documents than later witness testimony.

Consider how to treat whistleblowers who do not wish their identity to be more widely known within the organisation. The desire to remain anonymous must be balanced against the right of any employee accused of wrongdoing to test the evidence against them in a disciplinary hearing.

Be prepared to be contacted by a regulator. When a whistleblowing claim is submitted to the Employment Tribunals the claimant can indicate that they would like details of their complaint to be passed to the relevant regulator.

Where a worker who has made a protected disclosure has been subject to a detriment, the employer must show that the protected disclosure did not materially influence its decision about how to treat the worker. This meant that the employer could redeploy whistleblowing employees to resolve a dysfunctional workplace situation which had arisen as a result of their protected disclosures, without falling foul of the whistleblowing legislation.

An employer cannot be vicariously liable under the legislation if a whistleblowing employee is victimised by their peers (rather than the employer) for having made a protected disclosure.

These developments may narrow the scope of claims slightly, but do nothing to diminish the need for employers to protect their position as we suggest above.

As you will see this is a complex area and should a situation arise we can help you to deal with it but just as importantly we can also make sure that you have the correct systems and procedures in place in the first instance too.

Are you ready for Auto Enrolment?

As you will be aware, workplace pensions law is changing and every employer is now legally obligated to automatically enrol their eligible jobholders into a qualifying pension scheme.

The Government estimates that about seven million people are not saving at all for their retirement or not saving enough. As well as this we are all living longer and because people are living longer in retirement, the size of the pension fund needs to be greater to fund this. It’s because of these factors that the Government may not be able to afford to keep state pensions at their current level in the longer term, hence the introduction of Auto Enrolment – the biggest change to have happened to workplace pensions in generations.

The reform will be staged over a six year period depending on the size of the employer but it is vital that you familiarise yourself with Automatic Enrolment and make sure you understand the impact on your business. To help you to do this we have given you a useful guide to the terminology below.

As an employer Auto Enrolment is something that can’t be put off as quite simply you will be not meeting your legal obligations as an employer and you will be breaking the law. In the first instance there are three key new responsibilities for all employers to assess and make provision for.

  1. Know your staging date

The date that the new law applies to your company is known as your staging date. This date is determined by the size of your largest PAYE scheme on 1st April 2012.

 2. Assess your workforce

Workers who will need to be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme are called eligible jobholders. An eligible jobholder is:

  • Aged between 22 and state pension age
  • Working or ordinarily working in the UK
  • Earning above £10,000

You will need to assess who in your workforce is an eligible jobholder. You must automatically enrol eligible jobholders into a qualifying pension scheme and make contributions on their behalf to that pension scheme. Workers who are not eligible jobholders will still have a right to opt into a pension scheme or a right to join one.

  1. Review your pension arrangements

If you have an existing pension scheme for your workers, you may wish to consider enrolling all eligible jobholders into this scheme. To do this, your existing scheme will need to qualify

as an automatic enrolment scheme. If you do not have an existing pension scheme or you cannot use your existing pension scheme for automatic enrolment, you will need to choose another pension scheme. In this case, all eligible jobholders will need to be automatically enrolled in your new pension scheme. To be a qualifying scheme, minimum contributions or above must be made or it must provide a minimum rate at which benefits will build up.

THE NEXT STEPS

Once you have looked at these first three stages of responsibility as an employer, you then need to need to carry out the following actions.

Communicate the changes
You must inform all your workers in writing about the changes detailing how they are affected by the changes.This communication must be provided in writing (including email) and needs to be specific to the individual.

Automatically enrol your eligible job holders
There is a process that you will need to follow in order to make an eligible jobholder a member of an automatic enrolment pension scheme and specific information about your eligible jobholders will also need to be supplied to pension scheme representatives as appropriate.

Register with The Pensions Regulator
You are required to inform The Pensions Regulator how you have fulfilled your automatic enrolment duties by registering this information online shortly after your staging date.

Keep records
You will also need to maintain records about enrolled workers, their status within the scheme, payment of contributions and the qualifying scheme itself.

Contribute to workers pensions
Starting on your staging date, you must contribute to your chosen pension scheme on behalf of your workers. The minimum contribution rates that an employer must pay into their workers’ pension scheme will be introduced gradually over a 6 year period (from 2012 to 2018). This is known as phasing, the minimum overall contribution will be 2% rising to 8%. Where your employee doesn’t contribute towards the pension, the employer will be AutoEnrolmentexpected to contribute the full minimum amount.

Auto Enrolment is the biggest change to have happened to pensions provision in generations and is something you should have already spoken to your accountant about. But remember there are legal obligations that you also need to meet and we are able to advise you on what you need to do and can help you to carry them out too if required.

TERMINOLOGY AND WHAT IT MEANS

 Jobholder
A worker who:  Is aged at least 16 and under 75. Works, or ordinarily works in the UK, and earns above the lower earnings level for qualifying earnings.

Eligible jobholder
Refers to those workers who are eligible for automatic enrolment.

This is a jobholder who:  Is aged at least 22 but has not yet reached state pension age and earns above the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment.

Non eligible jobholder
Refers to those workers who are not eligible for automatic enrolment (though they can choose to opt in to an automatic enrolment scheme). This is a jobholder who:

Is aged at least 16 and under 75 and earns above the lower earnings level of qualifying earnings but below the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment.

or

Is aged at least 16 and under 22, or between state pension age and under 75, and earns above the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment.

Entitled worker
An entitled worker is aged at least 16 and under 75. Works, or ordinarily works in the UK, and earns below the lower earnings level for qualifying earnings.

Qualifying earnings
This includes the following gross pay elements – Salary, Wages,  Commission, Bonuses, Overtime, Statutory sick pay, Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay.

These earnings are used to identify whether an individual is an eligible jobholder or a non eligible jobholder and may also be used to determine the level of contributions a scheme must require.

Staging date
This is the date assigned to an employer based on the number of people in their PAYE scheme (as of 1st April 2012) and the date from which the employer will assume responsibilities for Automatic Enrolment.

Phasing
Your automatic enrolment duties include increasing the amounts you and your staff pay into the pension over a number of years. This is known as ‘phasing’. The date the minimum contributions were due to be increased has changed in order to align with the tax year. So now, instead of contributions increasing from 2% to 5% in October 2017, and from 5% to 8% in October 2018, they will now rise in April 2018 and 2019. Despite what some press articles may have implied, this is not a delay to automatic enrolment, and employers’ staging dates will remain the same.

Pay reference period
This refers to the period of time to which the employer pays the worker their regular wage or salary. The pay reference period is not the same as the tax period.

Postponement
The employer may choose to delay their staging date by up to 3 months, this may be where they require further time to get ready for Automatic Enrolment. Eligible postponement refers to a situation where an employer may choose to postpone an eligible jobholder to avoid pro rata contributions or to manage an increase in earnings of a worker which could change their status from a temporary basis to an eligible jobholder.

Qualifying scheme
A pension scheme that meets certain minimum standards by law, there are different standards depending on the type of scheme.

Dundee Employment Law
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Whitehill Faulds
Bonnyton Road
Kirkton of Auchterhouse
By Dundee
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T: 01382 320357
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