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.
A range of employment changes are set to come into effect in 2015. Employers need to familiarise themselves with these changes to ensure they are processing payroll correctly.
Some of the most significant changes to be aware of include:
1. Family Friendly Changes
a. Shared Parental Leave & Pay
This is brand new legislation which will apply to parents with babies due to be born/placed for adoption on or after 5th April 2015. Eligible parents will have the flexibility to share statutory leave and statutory pay in the child’s first year. Under the legislation, leave and pay may be taken in discontinuous blocks, and also both parents may take leave and be in receipt of statutory pay at the same time. Whilst using payroll software will ease the burden of processing shared parental leave and pay, there is a rigorous application process that must be completed by employees. To be sure you are ready, employers are well advised to familiarise themselves with the regulations early. Further details are available here.
b. Changes to Statutory Adoption Leave & Pay
From 5 April 2015 there will be no service requirement in order for employees to be eligible to take adoptive leave. Additionally, from 5 April 2015 the Statutory Adoption Pay rates will increase; the first 6 weeks will be paid at 90% of average weekly earnings. After that SAP will be paid at the lower of either the weekly standard rate or 90% of average weekly earnings. This will mirror the Statutory Maternity Pay rates.
Finally, primary adopters will now be entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments.
c. Rise of child’s age limit for parental leave
The current right to take 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave before a child’s 5th birthday is to be extended from 5 April 2015, so that leave can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday.
2. Automatic Enrolment
Auto Enrolment will continue to be rolled out to all employers. Every UK employer has a date on which workplace pensions automatic enrolment applies to them, i.e. a staging date. For most employers that had between 30 and 58 staff on 1st April 2012 their staging date will be during 2015. However staging dates can vary, so employers are well advised to check out their staging date on the Pensions Regulator site http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/tools/staging-date.aspx
3. New Fit for Work Service
Due to be rolled out during the year, the Fit for Work Service will offer employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more. Employers will also be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.
4. Statutory Pay Rates
The usual shifts in statutory rates of pay are scheduled for 2015. Rates for statutory maternity, paternity, and adoption pay will increase from 5 April 2015, as too will statutory sick pay rates. Any changes to the national minimum wage rates will be effective from 1 October 2015.
5. NIC and Under 21s
The abolition of employer NICs for Under 21s comes in to effect from 6th April 2015. Employers will not be required to pay Class 1 secondary NICs on earnings up to £815 per week, for employees who are under the age of 21. Class 1 secondary NICs will continue to be payable on all earnings in excess of £815 per week. This could result in savings to an employer of up to £90 per week for hiring an employee who is under 21!
George Osborne revealed the reduction, designed to reduce levels of youth unemployment, alongside other announcements that will affect employers – including an earlier than expected increase in the state pension age and more accessible funding for apprenticeships available directly from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The removal of employers’ national insurance (NI) contributions for under-21s in April 2015 will follow the introduction of the £2,000 “employment allowance” that comes into force next April. Higher-rate tax payers who are under 21, earning £813 per week or more, will still attract employer NI contributions.
“Employer NI contributions will be removed altogether on a million and a half jobs for young people. We’re not going to leave young people behind as the economy grows,” said Osborne. “We are going to have a responsible recovery for all.”
The Department for Work and Pensions has published new guidance for both employers and employees on the ending of contracting-out of the additional State Pension.
This guidance explains the changes being made to the State Pension for people who will reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
If you are one of the 2,500 private sector employers who offer a salary related pension scheme, your employees are likely to be “contracted-out” of the additional State Pension. If so, you and your employee may pay National Insurance contributions at a lower rate because you get a National Insurance rebate.
On the 6 April 2016, the new State Pension will replace the existing basic and additional State Pension and will bring to an end contracting-out and the National Insurance rebate.
This means that from April 2016, you and your employees will pay the standard rate of National Insurance contributions instead of the contracted-out rate. For employers, the standard rate of National Insurance is 13.8% of all earnings above the secondary threshold for all employees and they will no longer receive the 3.4% National Insurance rebate.
The 1.4% National Insurance rebate for those employees in contracted-out schemes will also end. This means employees will pay the standard rate of National Insurance instead of a lower rate.
Employers who currently offer a salary related pension scheme and who will be affected by the changes are advised to speak to their pension advisor or scheme trustees to explore possible options available to them before the changes are brought in.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ guidance on this topic can be found at:
In April of 2014 the UK Government introduced the Employment Allowance Scheme. This scheme offers businesses and charities a reduction of up to £2000 (max for tax year 14/15) in the amount of employer Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICS) they have to pay every year from 6th April 2014.
Once employers process their first month’s payroll in April they are required to send an EPS (employment payment summary) to say that you as an employer are going to claim the employment allowance for 14/15. A lot of companies seem to be allowing for the employment allowance scheme in calculating the NI bill for HMRC but have not sent through their EPS which informs the HMRC that the company is taking advantage of the Employment Allowance scheme.
HMRC have announced that they will now issue generic notifications (otherwise known as GNS messages) to employers who may have failed to claim the Employment Allowance.
The intention behind these notifications is to encourage PAYE schemes to check eligibility and to claim their Employment Allowance. HMRC explain that the new notification may be sent to any PAYE scheme which has not so far submitted an Employment Summary in 14/15. HMRC anticipate that these notifications will not be issued before 25th September.
Through the new Employment Allowance employers can reduce the amount of NIC they pay for their employees by up to £2,000.
An online calculator is now available for employers to see the effect the new Employment Allowance could have on their National Insurance Contributions bill.
The new Employment Allowance can be claimed from 6 April 2014. You are not required to pay any employer National Insurance Contributions if you pay less than £2,000 a year.
It is estimated up to 1.25 million businesses and charities will benefit from Employment Allowance, with 450,000 businesses and charities not required to pay any Employer NIC at all.
Employment Allowance is for nearly all employers that pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions on their employees’ and directors’ earnings. This includes:
• Community Amateur Sports Clubs
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will withdraw the CA6855 clerical tracing service on 31 March 2014.
This is following the introduction of reporting PAYE in real time and the National Insurance number verification request service (NVR).
If you are not yet reporting PAYE in real time yet and need to use this service you should do so now.
If you are reporting PAYE in real time but you have not used the NVR service you should read the guidance 'Check an employee's National Insurance number' that can be found in the guide 'Making sure you use the correct National Insurance Number'.
BrightPay includes the NVR request among its list of RTI functions.
There are a number of 2014-15 Budget measures which will affect the payroll for employers.
As a general rule, effective from 05th April 2014, unless an amended code notification has been received on a form P9 (T), employers should amend 2013-14 codes as follows:
National Insurance contribution thresholds 2014-15
|Weekly Lower Earnings Limit (LEL)||111|
|Weekly Primary Threshold (PT)||153|
|Weekly Secondary Threshold (ST)||153|
|Upper Earnings/Profits Limit (UEL/UPL)||805 (41,865 per year)|
|Small Earnings Exception (SEE)||5885|
|Lower Profits Limit (LPL)||7,956 (per year)|
|Employment Allowance||2,000 (per year, per employer)|
Statutory Payment Changes 2014/15
Statutory Adoption Pay: Earnings threshold £111.00, Statutory Payment Changes 2014/15
Statutory Adoption Pay: Earnings threshold £111.00, Standard Rate £138.18
Statutory Maternity Pay: Earnings threshold £111.00, Standard rate £138.18
Statutory Paternity Pay: Earnings threshold £111.00, Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (Standard Rate) £138.18, Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (Standard Rate) £138.18
Statutory Sick Pay: Earnings threshold £111.00, Standard rate £87.55
National Insurance: £2,000 employment allowance
The Government will introduce an allowance of £2,000 per year for all businesses and charities to be offset against their employer Class 1 secondary NICs liability from April 2014.
Exemption threshold for employer provided beneficial loans
Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2014 to increase the exempt threshold for employment-related loans from £5,000 to £10,000 with effect from 6 April 2014.
The Chancellor announced the creation of a NICs Employment Allowance in the 2013 Budget. The implementation date for this is planned for 06th April 2014.
Businesses, Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs will be able to reduce their NICs bill by up to £2,000 per year. The Employment Allowance is to be set against an employer’s liability for secondary Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) only, not against other NICs such as primary (employee’s) Class 1, Class 1A or Class 1B contributions.
The greatest benefit of this allowance goes to small businesses, as it will reduce their National Insurance Contributions bill the most. Over 90% of the benefit of this allowance will go to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
This will also mean that businesses will be able to employ four adults or ten 18-20 year-olds full-time on the National Minimum Wage without paying any employer National Insurance contributions at all.
The claim process for eligible employers is very straightforward and is administered through the payroll;
The Employment Allowance calculator allows you to see the effect of the Employment Allowance in 2014. For example, you can see the effect on your National Insurance Contributions bill of employing one additional person or you can look at the reduction to your current National Insurance Contributions payments. Simply follow the link to access the calculator;
From 6 April 2014, employers will no longer be able to recover payments made for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). HMRC has made the decision to abolish the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which is the scheme in place to provide SSP compensation for employers.
Currently an employer is entitled to recover some of the SSP paid to their employees if the total SSP paid in a tax month is greater than a set percentage of their gross Class 1 NICs (employers’ and employees’) liability for that month
Although PTS is being abolished from April 2014, employers will still be able to make claims for reimbursement of SSP under PTS (paid for sickness periods up to 5 April 14) until the end of the 2015/16 tax year.
In addition, the associated SSP record-keeping requirements will also be abolished at the end of 2013/2014. However, employers will still be required to maintain records for PAYE purposes and to demonstrate they are meeting their SSP obligations.
The decision to abolish PTS was made as a result of an independent review which found that the current scheme does not support the proper management of sickness absence in the workplace.
The Government has therefore decided to reinvest the money in a new Health and Work Service (HWS), due to be introduced by the end of 2014. The aim of this service will be to:
Employers, who want to avoid being faced with increasing costs, need to look carefully at how they manage sickness absence in their workforce. The first point of action will be to implement, or review, the company sickness policy.