The Forum of Private Business has taken the unusual step of reminding members and other businesses about changes that come into place in April.
The key change, that has been widely reported, is the introduction of the National Living Wage which will take place from April 1 (depending on when the payroll period begins). The headline rate will increase to £7.20. As well as paying this, business owners need to check that that changes to salary sacrifice schemes do not lead to individuals being paid under the new hourly rate and that those on the apprenticeship rate are still on apprenticeship schemes.
Fines for failure to pay the national living wage will also double on April 1st hitting employers in the pocket if they make an honest mistake. Also if an apprentice is under 25 the employer will not have to pay employers national insurance.
Forum research has shown that staff costs were the biggest single cost for employers in 2015 and that only 38% were able to pass on the price increases to their customers. Another cost to employers is that they will have to pay £35,000 or more for all non-EU tier 2 (skilled worker) employees that they sponsor. More welcome is the fact that statutory family-related pay and sick pay rates are frozen.
In terms of administration the changes from Companies house will have a bigger impact in tying up senior management in red tape as business owners have to trawl through 70 pages of guidance for registering People with Significant Control (PSCs).
A register which will include PSCs, directors, secretaries etc is introduced alongside a confirmation statement which will take the place of the annual return in June, the same time as the pension auto-enrolment begins for businesses with less than 50 staff.
Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum of Private Business explains:
“Running a business needs to be simplified and we are being told that the Government is reducing red tape – yet at the very time that staff costs are rising for small employers through pension auto-enrolment and the living wage, when companies need directors to focus on growing their firms, they are met with further bureaucratic compliance.”
“More government bodies should follow the HSE who have worked hard on reducing regulation and support bodies like the Forum improve their guidance to members. Our new guide now has almost 100 fewer pages and a focus on why workplace safety is important so that owners can educate their workplace rather than overburden them with mindless and needless regulation.”