The Pensions Regulator has revised its estimate of the number of small and micro employers who will need to stage between now and 2018.
TPR figures show that a total of around 1.8 million small and micro employers will stage over the next three years, compared to the previous estimate of 1.3 million.
TPR said that the reason for the revision of the estimate was that more business start-ups had entered the UK market, and that there were lower numbers of business closures than anticipated.
However it should be noted that a large number of micro employers will be one director companies where the director is also the sole employee. These employers are effectively exempt from auto enrolment and can "opt out" by informing TPR.
The Pensions Regulator has recently published guidance for employers and advisors on pension scheme selection for automatic enrolment.
Changes to the law on workplace pensions and the roll out of auto enrolment mean that every employer in the UK has to automatically enrol certain members of staff into a workplace pension scheme.
Small and micro employers have, since 1st June 2015, come into the auto enrolment net (i.e. staged) and the number of these employers "staging" will increase dramatically from January 2016.
The guidance from TPR is a welcome inclusion for those employers/advisors who may wish to research the various pension schemes available for enrolling their employees.
Many small/micro employers will automatically opt for NEST but it is advisable to be aware of the options available. Some employers may choose NEST for one segment of their employees while opting for a more tailored scheme for other employees.
The TPR guidance is available here.
Fit for Work effectively replaces the old system where an employer could recover
statutory sick pay from HMRC. The new system is far more proactive and the belief
is that it will reduce overall sickness absence.
Fit for Work offers free, expert and impartial work-related health advice to help you
support both staff in work and those who are off sick and also to help you manage
the impact sickness absence can have on your business.
There are two elements to Fit for Work:
• Free, expert and impartial work-related health advice for you, your employees
and GPs via a website (www.fitforwork.org) and telephone line (0800 032 6235)
• Referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been off
sick, or who are likely to be off sick, for four weeks or more.
The Fit for Work advice service went live at the end of 2014 and from early March
2015, GPs in Sheffield and North Wales began referring eligible patients to a Fit for
Work occupational health assessment. Fit for Work is being expanded across England
and Wales over a period of months with GPs being able to refer nationwide by
If you are an employer in an area where GPs can refer, you may start to receive
Return to Work Plans, which offer advice as to how you can work together with
your employees to help them back to work. The Return to Work Plans provide
recommendations and evidence of sickness, replacing the need for a fit note. You
can find out when GPs in your area will be offering the service by visiting
You’ll be able to refer from autumn 2015, once GP roll-out has been completed.
The intention is that Fit for Work complements, not replaces, existing occupational
health provision. The Government has also introduced tax exemptions of up to £500
on medical treatments recommended by Fit for Work or an employer’s occupational
Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his emergency budget, setting out the new Conservative government’s plans for the nation’s finances. So here are the key points for payroll.
- A compulsory national living wage for working people aged 25 or over will be introduced in April 2016, set at £7.20 an hour and rising to £9 by 2020.
- The National Insurance Employment Allowance for small firms will be increased by 50% to £3,000 from 2016.
- The tax-free personal allowance will be raised to £11,000 next year. After that, the personal allowance will always rise in line with the National Minimum Wage.
- The higher tax rate threshold will rise to £43,000 next year.
Student maintenance grants will be abolished from 2016, replaced with loans, which people will start to pay back when they earn over £21,000. The maximum value will be increased to £8,200.
Over the last few years, HMRC has been moving away from the use of 0845 numbers to 03 numbers. 03 numbers are non-geographic but are usually charged at the same rates as 01 and 02 numbers and are free with some telephone packages.
All HMRC helplines now have 03 numbers and the majority of calls are made using those numbers. Since December 2014 taxpayers using 0845 numbers to call HMRC helplines will have heard a message letting them know that the 0845 line will be closing. This was put in place to help create a smooth transition to the new 03 numbers.
From 30 June 2015, all 0845 helpline telephone numbers will be decommissioned and taxpayers dialling those numbers will hear a dead line tone. Callers will have to redial using the correct 03 number to contact the relevant department. A list of all 03 helpline telephone number is available on the GOV.UK HMRC contact us page. It is now Government and Ofcom policy to use 03 numbers.
Income Tax - 0300 200 3300
National Insurance enquiries - 0300 200 3300
Employer General enquiries - 0300 200 3200
HMRC have announced that the Penalties and Appeals service, for The Construction Industry Scheme, has now gone live.
Details of how to access the service can be found at https://www.gov.uk/what-you-must-do-as-a-cis-contractor/file-your-monthly-returns under the heading, "If you disagree with a penalty".
The scale of penalties for late CIS returns is shown below.
How late the return is and associated penalty:-
1 day late £100
2 months late £200
6 months late £300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher
12 months late £300 or 5% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher
For returns later than this, you may be given an additional penalty of up to £3,000 or 100% of the CIS deductions on the return, whichever is higher.
You must still file a return for the months when you made no payments to subcontractors (unless you request for your scheme to be made inactive). This is called a ‘nil notification’.