Minimum Wage Rates from 1 April 2019

It’s that time again:

2019/20                                                             2018/19

From 01 April 2019

25 and over = £8.21                                          £7.83

21 to 24 = £7.70                                                £7.38

18 to 20 = £6.15                                                £5.90

Under 18 = £4.35                                              £4.20

Apprentice = £3.90                                           £3.70

Not so bah humbug after all!!

Each financial year HMRC allows you to throw a party for your employees that’s exempt from tax! Naturally, most employers take advantage of this around Christmas – although this could of course be substituted for a summer BBQ or a Garden Party for example.

There is of course a catch – the total cost must not exceed £150 per head (inc VAT) and there’s no exceeding that, not even by 1p otherwise the whole lot will be classed as a benefit in kind. So the trick is either keep the cost per head right down or ensure the total number of attendees brings the average price under the Taxman’s threshold of £150 per head.

If someone drops out (as is often the case) which means you may exceed the threshold, simply invite a stand-in, e.g. an employee’s spouse or partner. As long as the bulk of attendees are staff members, this is perfectly acceptable – see, the Taxman does have a heart!

Employment issues arising from travel disruption

Whilst it may only be Autumn, there has already been some disruption due to bad weather…what can you do to protect yourself as an employer?

Employers do of course acknowledge employees may occasionally have problems travelling to and from work due to either severe weather conditions or major disruptions to public transport and whilst you are all committed to protecting the health and safety of your workforce, you must also ensure your business is not unduly disrupted by external factors.

  • Are you aware that employees have an obligation to report to work?
  • How do you deal with those employees who don’t attend work due to the severe weather, yet employees who live further away have arrived at work?
  • Do you know if you are required to pay employees who cannot make it into work due to severe disruptions?

So, how do you deal with these issues:-

Having an appropriate ‘Adverse Weather Policy’ in place is crucial. It makes everyone aware of your expectations as a company and what you are prepared to do to try and accommodate these circumstances.

Employees do have an obligation to report to work regardless of the situation – unless the weather is particularly severe

Unjustified or unacceptable absence or lateness may give rise to you taking disciplinary action under your disciplinary procedure
Where you accept the employee has used their best endeavours to attend work but were unable to do so then you may, at your discretion, discuss various options potentially available in order to redress the balance, for e.g. making up the time at a later date. These decisions should be based on each individual’s circumstances

As an employer, you are not obliged to pay your employees if they do not turn up for work – as long as you have an appropriate policy in place and / or you have a clause in your contract of employment making it clear you are not obliged to pay them under these circumstances.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss this issue in further detail or if you would like an Adverse Weather Policy drafting up to protect your business.

Compensation Rates to Increase

From 1st February 2013, the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2012 comes in to force.

The all important changes to the relevant statutory and compensatory rates are as follows:-

  • a week’s pay for calculating statutory redundancy pay increases to £450 from £430 – this is also applicable to the figure used for the basic award for unfair dismissal; and
  • the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rises to £74,200 from £72,300, making the total possible unfair dismissal award £87,700. In reality, the typical payout for unfair dismissal is only around £5,000, according to BIS, (Department for Business Innovation & Skills – www.bis.gov.uk) with only one in 350 people receiving an award worth more than their own salary.

However, for further advice, call Kiss HR to assist you with all employment matters – a far more cost effective way of dealing with issues rather than leaving it to chance.