The UK's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1975, according to official figures which also show a growing gap between price rises and wage growth. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in the three months to July, down from 4.4% in the previous quarter and 4.9% a year earlier.
The employment rate, which measures the proportion of people aged 16- 64 in work, hit 75.3% - the highest since comparable records began in 1971. In total, there are 32.1 million people at work in the UK, according to the figures, or 181,000 more than the previous quarter.
While that performance suggests the labour market is continuing to shrug off uncertainties and other headwinds in the wake of the Brexit vote, the figures also highlighted a worsening squeeze for family budgets. It is also reported that average wage growth remained static at an annual rate of 2.1% over the same three months. With inflation coming in at 2.9%, the real value of wage growth is falling.
Firms are being urged to relax workplace dress codes to help staff cope with the heatwave, the TUC has urged firms to temporarily relax their dress codes and leave work all together if it gets too hot.
The advice will come as a particular relief for male office workers who are often expected to wear shirts, suits and ties to work.
Heatwaves are generally easier for female workers to dress for, as they are able to switch to smart short-sleeved dresses.
It comes as Sunday saw a high of 32C, the hottest day of the year so far and emergency services are on standby after the Government issued a level three amber heat alert as temperatures are set to increase further this week.
Temperatures are due to peak at 34C in certain parts of the UK – hotter than the Bahamas – before cooling down at least a few degrees by next weekend.
As well as allowing comfortable clothes, the TUC has suggested that any outside work is done in the morning or afternoon to avoid the searing heat of the mid-day sun.
The union organisation again called for a change in the law to let workers go home if the temperature reaches 30C or 27C for people carrying out physical work. At present there is no upper temperature limit at which workers have a right to leave work.
It also called for a change in the law to introduce a maximum indoor temperature, with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures when a workplace temperature reaches 24C.
Companies should supply workers with cool drinks and allow them to take regular breaks, advised the TUC.
If you are considering employing an apprentice there are some things you should know:
If you employ an apprentice you may be eligible for an apprenticeship grant of £1,500 if you have less than 50 employees and your apprentice is aged between 16 and 24.
If you are providing the training you can apply for training funding to cover some or all of the training costs. Further information is available on the HMRC website.
Employers who have an apprentice will not be required to pay employers National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on their earnings if they are under 25, earning below £45,000 and on an approved UK government apprenticeship. National Insurance category ‘H’ is to be used for apprentices under 25 in qualifying circumstances.
Income tax rates in Wales could vary from April 2019 following a deal between the Welsh government and UK treasury.
In a milestone agreement between the UK and Welsh governments, Wales will take control of 10p in each band of the income tax collected within its borders.
The new fiscal framework was negotiated by chief secretary to the Treasury David Gauke and Welsh finance Minister Mark Drakeford.
The block grant that Wales gets from the Treasury annually will be reduced in a fair way, the governments claimed.
Cyclical automatic re-enrolment occurs approximately every three years after an employer’s staging date. Essentially cyclical reenrolment is a repeat of the process the employer carried out on their staging date (or deferral date if they used postponement to postpone all their workers at staging).
However there are some key differences between automatic reenrolment and automatic enrolment:
• While both automatic re-enrolment and automatic enrolment apply to eligible jobholders, automatic re-enrolment will only apply to eligible jobholders who have already had an automatic enrolment date with that employer.
• Postponement cannot be used with automatic re-enrolment. If the eligible jobholder criteria are met by a worker on the automatic re-enrolment date, automatic re-enrolment must take place with effect from that date.
Crucially, the employer does not have to assess all their workers to identify if any meet the eligible jobholder criteria. Instead they must assess only the workers who have opted out or voluntarily ceased active membership of a qualifying scheme. The assessment of worker categories carried out on the cyclical automatic reenrolment date is separate to the employer’s usual assessment process, which they run each pay reference period to identify whether automatic enrolment or any information requirements are triggered.
• Another declaration of compliance will need to be completed
• 1 date for all staff - if you are eligible you must be enrolled
• Postponement cannot be used
Source: pension regulator
The Government's National Living Wage was introduced on 1 April 2016 for all working people aged 25 and over, and is set at £7.20 per hour. The current National Minimum Wage for those under the age of 25 still applies.
From October 2016, the national minimum wage will rise by 3.7% to £6.95 for 21 to 24 year olds, and by 4.7% to £5.55 an hour for those aged 18 to 20.
The minimum wage for 16 to 17 year-olds will rise to £4.00 and apprentices will see their wages go up to £3.40. Almost half a million young people will benefit from the increases introduced.
HMRC has provided a soft landing for late filing penalties for full payment submissions (FPS) under RTI since 2014/15, but that was due to end on 5 April 2016. Now, seven weeks into the 2016/17 tax year, HMRC has announced that the late filing penalty soft landing will be extended to April 2017. The fully automatic late filing penalty regime for RTI was supposed to come into force from 6th October 2014 for employers with 50 or more employees, and from 6th March 2015 for all other employers. In fact, the automatic function was disconnected, and HMRC decided to risk assess the issue of all RTI late filing penalties.
HMRC will continue with this risk-based approach until at least 5th April 2017. This means that only employers who have persistently filed their FPS late for several months will be issued with a penalty – which can be appealed.
The Pension Tracing Service have launched a new DWP website to help people find their lost pension saving. Currently there is an estimated £400 million in unclaimed pension savings. The new website has been designed to help people locate their hard earned savings for their retirement fund.
The wider pension reforms are creating a dynamic market where people have greater freedom and flexibility over their savings. The DWP expect the reforms will increase demand for the Pension Tracing Service. The free online service is simple to use and provides trace results immediately. Individuals enter their former employers’ details into the online database and are provided with contact details for pension schemes they may have paid into.
The new DWP website enables people to search a database of more than 320,000 pension scheme administrators. https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details
Figures from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) show 469 auto-enrolment compliance notices were issued to employers between July and September 2015.
A compliance notice is issued under section 35 of the Pensions Act 2008 to remedy a contravention of one or more auto-enrolment employer duty provision
The latest number is almost quadruple that for the previous quarter. In addition, during the last quarter TPR issued 85 unpaid contributions notices, 107 fixed penalty notices of £400, and two escalating penalty notices carrying a daily fine of between £50 and £10,000 – bringing the total of escalating penalty notices issued to seven.
Full article www.payrollworld.com
A complete list of all tax changes that took place on April 6 has been published on the gov.uk website.
Acting as a useful checklist, the following tax changes came into effect on Monday 6 April 2015:
- Individuals over the age of 55 have flexible access to their defined contribution pension savings
- The Income Tax Personal Allowance increases to £10,600
- The higher rate income tax threshold increases to £42,385
- The new Marriage Allowance comes into effect
- The starting rate of savings income tax reduces from 10% to 0% for savings up to £5,000
- The cash ISA limit increases to £15,240
- Child Trust Funds can now be transferred into Junior ISAs
- Spouses can now inherit their deceased partner’s ISAbenefits
- If an individual dies before the age of 75, they can now pass on their unused defined contribution pension savings free of income tax
- Beneficiaries of individuals who die under the age of 75 with a joint life or guaranteed term annuity can now receive any future payments from such policies free of income tax
- Employers will no longer have to pay employer NICs for employees under the age of 21
- Class 2 NICs for the self-employed can now be collected through Self-Assessment
- The Employment Allowance extends to include people employing care and support workers to look after themselves or family members
- A new annual remittance basis charge of £90,000 is introduced for non-domiciled individuals who have been resident in the UK in at least 17 of the last 20 years, and the charge paid by non-domiciled individuals who have been resident in the UK in at least 12 of the last 14 years has increased from £50,000 to £60,000
- Non-UK resident individuals, trusts, personal representatives and narrowly controlled companies are now subject to Capital Gains Tax on gains accruing on the disposal of UK residential property
- Capital Gains Tax annual exemption amount has increased to £11,100
- The Capital Gains Tax charge on disposals of properties liable to ATED extends to cover residential properties worth £1 million – £2 million
- The requirement that 70% of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme money must be spent before EIS or VCT funding can be raised is removed
- The Fuel Benefit Charge multiplier for both cars and vans increases by RPI
- The Van Benefit Charge increases by RPI – in 2015-16 the Van Benefit Charge rate paid by zero emission vans is 20% of the rate paid by conventionally fuelled vans
- Tax Credit payments are stopped in-year where, due to a change in circumstances, a claimant has already received their full annual entitlement