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
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’.
Automatic enrolment duties don’t apply when a company or individual are not considered an employer. You won’t have any duties if you meet one of the following criteria:
Before your staging date, you can let the Pensions Regulator know that you are exempt. This will avoid you having to register with a pension scheme and submit a declaration of compliance.
If circumstances change and you no longer meet the above criteria then you need to let the Pensions Regulator know.
More information, including the link for letting the Pensions Regulator know about your exempt status, can be found here.
HMRC has now issued the first in-year penalties notices to employers with fewer than 50 employees who missed the deadline for sending PAYE information to HMRC. Please see the News story on GOV.UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pay-as-you-earn-paye-late-filing-penalties for further details.
BrightPay attended Accountex this week. Accountex is the UK's national accountancy exhibition and conference.
There was huge interest in our payroll software, mainly due to 2 key selling points:
The one question I kept getting asked was "how can you do it at that price?".
We have been in the payroll software business for 22 years and this has been our business model. We offer affordable payroll software that is intuitive and self explanatory, thereby cutting down on the support requirement. Where support is needed, this is available over the phone, by email or through the many instructional videos and online support channels that we employ. We currently have 12 dedicated support staff catering for 65,000 employers. We constantly review our staffing requirements and take on and train more staff, as and when required.
Try it out for yourself and you will understand. Payroll software does not have to cost an arm and a leg :)
When a company reaches its staging date, it must automatically enrol all eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme.
If it is not ready to enrol employees at the staging date, it can defer the enrolment of all employees for up to 3 months. This may be because it has not yet registered with a pension scheme or it may be because it doesn't have the necessary systems in place to handle assessments and contributions.
An essential part of postponement is communicating with all employees within 6 weeks of the staging date, letting them know that automatic enrolment has been deferred. If the company fails to issue these communications then postponement will never have happened and auto enrolment must be applied retrospectively to the staging date.
This is important as apparently some employers are interpreting postponement as not having to do anything for a 3 month period!
BrightPay prompts the user to print these letters before proceeding beyond the staging date.
Before your staging date you should register with a qualifying automatic enrolment pension scheme. NEST operates one of these schemes and it will probably be the most popular scheme for small and micro businesses due to two main factors:
a] It is Government backed
b] It has a legal obligation to accept all employers who wish to use it to comply with the duties, irrespective of their size
Registering with NEST is fairly straightforward and should take you no more than half an hour. If you are going for the bog standard setup with the one minimum scheme for all employees, you have no delegates and you have your bank details to hand, the setup time could be as little as 10 minutes!
The four things to note or watch out for during the setup are:
1. Name of payment source. You'll be asked to put a name on the payment source you will be using to pay contributions. You can use any name you like e.g. Bank1. The thing to watch out for here is that when you enter the NEST details into BrightPay that you use the exact same name with the same uppercase and lowercase letters. If you enter "Bank1" in the NEST registration and then enter "bank1" in BrightPay, your csv file submissions will be rejected by NEST. Both names must be identical in all respects.
2. Group name. If you are just applying the one rule for all employees, then you will only have one group. You could call this group "Group1". Again it is vital that you enter the exact same name when entering the details in BrightPay.
3. Pay periods. If you pay your staff monthly, enter the start and end date of your actual pay period and NOT the tax period. BrightPay does not use tax periods for calculating contributions or for worker assessment.
4. Contribution rates and workers' pay. Again, assuming you are going for the bog standard, your contributions rates will be the current minimum and this will be calculated on qualifying earnings. Of course it’s also possible, and just as easy, to pay contributions above the minimum levels should you wish.
If you intend to have someone else look after your automatic enrolment duties e.g your accountant, bookkeeper or payroll bureau provider, you will need their details. NEST provides a checklist of details to obtain before you register with them. This can be found here.
Once you have completed your registration with NEST you should then enter the details in BrightPay. This should take no more than 3 minutes.
BrightPay will start enrolling employees once your staging date arrives (or give you the option to postpone for up to 3 months).
DWP research* (January-July 2014 stagers)
•Average opt-out rate of 12% in 1st month after staging (range 5 - 15%)
•Ceasing active membership months 2 and 3 - 2%
•Average scheme participation rose from 43% to 73%
•Most likely to opt-out +50 yrs and part-time workers - opt-out reasons:
–lack of affordability (typically £20-£30k earners)
–some other form of saving and/or pension in place (50% of these earned less £30k)
–insufficient time to save enough (typically over 50 yrs)
–not planning to stay with employer and didn’t want small pot
–a few wary of pensions as a savings vehicle.
* 50 employers and 100 workers who ‘opted-out’ were interviewed. PAYE size range 62-499.
(Information source - The Pensions Regulator)
Meet John, the small business owner who uses BrightPay payroll software to easily manage his automatic enrolment duties.
In this video, John uses a NEST pension scheme to enrol his employees. However BrightPay is also compatible with NOW: Pensions, The People's Pension, Scottish Widows, and many more.
BrightPay provides everything you need to prepare your clients for Auto Enrolment.
- Staging and employee assessment
- Postponement feature
- Handles employee communications
- Ongoing monitoring and reporting
- Opt - outs and refund options
- Free email and phone support
- Fully compatible with RTI submissions & HMRC payments
- Integration with many pension providers (including tailored CSV preparation)
BrightPay is HMRC approved, RTI compliant and ICB (Institute of Chartered Bookkeepers) accredited.
BrightPay were in London today at the ICAEW Sole Practitioners Conference in Chartered Accountants Hall, Moorgate.
200 ICAEW members attended the event. The subject matter of the lectures included:
Panel debate: Tomorrow's practice
And more ...