What happens if I am struggling with payroll and auto-enrolment?

Keeping on top of payroll poses a huge challenge for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The legislation governing tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) is forever changing, as are the rules relating to the National Living Wage (NLW) and auto-enrolment pensions. All of these changes need to be carefully followed and taken into account when administering your payroll.

From 6 April 2018, businesses need to be aware of important changes to minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. Up until 6 April, employers needed to contribute one per cent of pay into the pensions of any members of staff enrolled in a workplace pension scheme. However, from this date onwards, employers need to contribute two per cent.

Auto-enrolment pension changes are but one of the many things employers need to keep up to speed with when it comes to administering their payroll – and April is always a particularly busy time for changes.

From the beginning month, employers also need to make sure they have updated their payroll so that they are paying their employees the correct National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW).

As of 1 April 2018, the NLW for people aged over 25 is £7.83. The NMW – which affects workers aged under 25 – has also changed and it is important that employers are aware of this.

Payroll is not an area where employers can afford to let things slip, as they could face dire consequences if they fall foul of the rules.

Failures to pay the NMW or NLW, or make the correct level of contributions to workplace pensions, for example, both attract substantial penalties.

On top of this, firms found not to be paying the NLW can also face reputational damage – as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently begun ‘naming and shaming’ non-compliant businesses.

Payroll is a time-consuming task and a considerable source of stress for business owners and managers. Due to this, busy businesses are advised to consider the benefits of appointing expert accountants to assist with their payroll and auto-enrolment obligations.

Our team can help to ensure that your business is always on top of its payroll no matter what. We can also assist with advice on how to enrol or re-enrol your employees into a workplace pension scheme. For more information, please contact us.

Businesses briefed on new ‘plastic tax’

The Government will introduce a new ‘plastic tax’ later this year providing it passes the consultation period, according to a new report.

A deposit return scheme has been announced to increase recycling rates and slash the amount of waste polluting the seas for the 13 billion plastic drinks bottled used by UK consumers each year.

The burden will be on businesses to charge customers between 8p and 22p for single use drinks containers (plastic, glass or metal), which is redeemed on return of the empty drink container.

A similar scheme is already in place in countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany, often achieved through a network of ‘reverse vending machines’.

The Government said this sort of system has achieved a 97 per cent recycling rate in Germany.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the scheme could include cash rewards for returning drinks containers without an upfront deposit.

“We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment – killing dolphins, choking turtles and degrading our most precious habitats. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled,” he said.

“We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans.”

The British Retail Consortium, which represents 80 per cent of retail trade in the UK by turnover, said it wanted costs to be proportionate to the size of the retailer.

SMEs urged to consider ‘small, regular rewards’ for staff to boost productivity

A new study into workplace productivity suggests that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to motivate their staff will achieve better results if they offer smaller, more regular rewards to high-performing team members, as opposed to paying their employees an annual bonus.

The research, which recently appeared in Business Matters magazine, suggests that only 30 per cent of employees tend to feel more motivated when receiving one big reward at the end of the year.

Among younger workers, the percentage is even less – with just a quarter of 18 to 24 year-olds claiming that annual bonuses keep them motivated, and just 27 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds feeling the same.

The study, which was carried out by business marketing firm Sodexo Engage, found that the majority of employees across all age groups would prefer to be offered smaller rewards throughout the year for good work – and that, interestingly, such rewards did not always have to be cash-based.

Overall, four in ten SME employees said that this would be the best approach their bosses could take in order to keep them feeling motivated and rewarded throughout the year.

This figure rose to almost half (47 per cent) among younger workers aged between 18 and 34, the report reveals.

Commenting on the findings, Iain Thomson, of Sodexo Engage, said: “Our research shows a change in attitude among British workers when it comes to being rewarded.

“Cash incentives are no longer having the effect they had 10 years ago.

“Rewards like these have almost come to be expected by some employees, which can actually devalue their achievements,” he said.

“What people really want is a closer relationship with their employer and more opportunities to be rewarded. Rather than cash, which can get lost in bills and household expenses, employers have the opportunity to give their employees something more memorable. This will help businesses to create much stronger relationships with their staff.”