Chancellor announces £1 billion fund for businesses

On 21 December 2021, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, unveiled a £1 billion COVID-19 fund, including cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises for each eligible firm.

Mr Sunak said the government would also help certain firms with the cost of sick pay for COVID-related absences.

The Chancellor also announced an extra £30 million to help support organisations such as theatres, orchestras and museums.

To support other businesses impacted by the Omicron wave – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors – the government is also giving a more than £100 million boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England.

The Chancellor said:

‘We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.

‘So, we’re stepping in with £1 billion of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.

‘Ultimately the best thing we can do to support businesses is to get the virus under control, so I urge everyone to Get Boosted Now.’

Gov Link:
£1 billion in support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Seasons Greetings

To all our clients, partners and suppliers we wish you a very

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

Over the festive season our offices will be closed from Thursday afternoon 23rd

December at 3pm  and re-opening on Tuesday 4th January 2022 at 9am.

We are looking to recruit a book keeper – POSITION NOW FILLED

Introduction

Due to increasing demand from our clients we are looking to recruit a book keeper. Below is the Job Specification with its key requirements.

If you believe you have the experience, knowledge and skills required then I would be delighted to receive your CV as a first step.

If you have had experience in working in an accountancy practice that would be ideal but not essential.  Experience is everything in this vacancy.  We want someone who can hit the ground running (quickly and easily) and can use accountancy software such as Sage and Xero.

Key Requirements:

(1)  Working Knowledge of Sage Line 50 and Xero Accounting Software

  • – Should fully understand how Sage works.
  • – Be competent at book-keeping on Sage and Xero.
  • – A basic knowledge of double entry book keeping would be extremely helpful.

(2)  Working Knowledge and use of Excel – emphasis is on working knowledge. Does not need to be a wizard.

(3)  Good experience of office admin from an accounting point of view.  Having experience of general practice would be ideal. Must be good with people – both clients and staff.  We are a people business.

(4)  Qualifications: Experience will be everything; other qualifications such as Level 4 AAT would be a bonus. We are looking for someone who can do the job. Not someone who will need training and supporting.

(5)  A basic knowledge of tax within accounts – this only refers to a knowledge of VAT

(6)  Payroll – a basic knowledge of payroll within book keeping would be useful

(7)  Own transport – this would be helpful as you may be needed to travel to clients premises.

(8)  Availability

  • – Full time or part time
  • – Ideally 5 days per week
  • – But if could only be available part time because of school drop off and pick up for example – that would be more than ok.

As a first step please send your CV via email to: tom.bathgate@broadthunder.co.uk

AUTOMATIC ENROLMENT IS A CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY FOR EMPLOYERS

ON-GOING EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES FOR AUTOMATIC ENROLMENT

It is vital to be aware that employer’s duties do not end after their duties start date.  Like it or lump it, Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers.

TO AVOID PENALTIES EMPLOYERS MUST MEET THEIR DUTIES.

Employers can avoid penalties by understanding how they must meet their duties.  Employers should be fully aware that they are responsible to:

(A) Keep records of your automatic enrolment activities (this includes the names and addresses of staff you have enrolled, records of when contributions were paid into a pension scheme, staff opt-in notices, pension scheme reference or registry numbers and information sent to the pension provider) for six years and opt-out notices for four years.

(B) Monitor the ages and earnings of your new and existing staff and check their automatic enrolment eligibility every month (our payroll software can help us do this for you) for existing and new staff.  As staff become eligible they will need to be enrolled.

(C) Enrol staff and write to them to let them know how automatic enrolment applies to them as they become eligible.

(D) Pay contributions to their pension scheme

AE DUTIES PART OF A COMPANY’S STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES

In a nutshell responsibility for meeting workplace pension duties ultimately lies with the employer.  Automatic enrolment duties do not just stop once employees have been enrolled.  They must become part of a company’s standard operating procedures.

Employers must help their staff understand automatic enrolment and raise awareness through varying channels of communication.  Messages such as why saving for retirement is important and the law surrounding workplace pensions.  Providing details where staff can find out more about workplace pensions and their provider is key.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) sends out letters and emails to employers to support them with their automatic enrolment duties.  These letters form a series of communications which are sent during the automatic enrolment process, helping employers to understand their duties and guiding them through what to do next.

Employers must calculate and pay their own contributions to their pension scheme on behalf of their staff, as well as calculating, deducting and paying over their staff’s own contributions.

Employers will have agreed contribution rates and when to pay them with the pension scheme when they were setting it up.  The amount they must pay must be at or above the minimum amount set in law.

You must monitor the ages of your staff and the amount you pay them (including new starters) to see if you need to put any of them into a pension scheme.  You must put them into a pension scheme and write to them within six weeks from the day they meet the age and earnings criteria.

If you have any staff who are

  • – aged between 22 up to state pension age*
  • – and earn over £10,000 per year, or £833 per month or, £192 per week

you must put them into your pension scheme and you must both pay into it.

*If you are unsure what the state pension age is you can use the State Pension Calculator to find

If any of your staff, who can ask to join your scheme write to you asking to do so, you must put them into it within a month of receiving their request.

You will have to pay into the pension scheme if they are:

  • – aged 16-74
  • – and earn at least £520 a month or £120 per week.

To find out how much you will need to pay you should ask your pension scheme provider.

Any of your staff can choose to leave your pension scheme after being put into one.

If they do ask to leave within one month of being put into a scheme, this is known as opting out.  Many pension providers will manage the opt out process on your behalf, speak to your provider if you’re unsure.  If any of your staff opt out, you need to stop taking money out of their pay and arrange a full refund of what has been paid to date.  This must happen within one month of their request.

MoneyHelper have produced a guide for staff who are thinking of leaving their pension scheme.

You must keep records of how you’ve met your legal duties, including:

  • – the names and addresses of those you’ve put into a pension scheme
  • – records that show when money was paid into the pension scheme
  • – any requests to join or leave your pension scheme
  • – your pension scheme reference or registry number

You must keep these records for six years except for requests to leave the pension scheme which must be kept for four years.

Once you have set up a pension scheme and put your eligible staff into it, your legal duties don’t end there.

You must continue to make the payments that are due into the scheme every time you run payroll.  TPR monitor the contributions that are paid into workplace pensions and can tell if payments that are due are not being made into your staff’s automatic enrolment scheme.  TPR will take action if you fail to comply with your ongoing legal duties, and you may need to backdate any missed payments.

Every three years you’ll need to put staff back into your pension scheme if they have left it, and if they meet the criteria to be put into a pension scheme.  This is known as re-enrolment.  TPR will write to you in advance of your re-enrolment date to explain more.

In conclusion

It is vital to be aware that employer’s duties do not end after their duties start date.

Like it or lump it, Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers and it is essential to incorporate employer duties into a company’s standard operating procedures.

Our payroll team and the software we use can help employers in all of these duties.

If you would like to know more please get in touch with our payroll team via thefollowing email addresses:

fiona.percival@jeffreyahuddart.co.uk

christine.mccarthy@jeffreyahuddart.co.uk

The Furlough Scheme enters its final weeks

Furlough

Furlough was introduced in March 2020, with the intention to stop employees being laid off by their employers during the pandemic lockdown.

Initially the government paid 80% of the wages of people who couldn’t work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them – up to a monthly limit of £2,500.

By the time we arrived at July 2021 employers were required to pay 10% of salaries – with the government’s contribution being lowered to 70%.

And now during August and September (as it comes to an end) the government’s contribution was diluted further where it now pays 60% and employers pay 20%.  (Employers also have to pay employee pensions and National Insurance contributions.)

According to the government website July figures show 1.6 million people were on furlough and says that 11.6 million jobs have been supported since the scheme began.

The Cost

From March 2020 to the end of September 2021, the cost of furlough will come to around the staggering sum of £66bn.

At the start of this pandemic it was thought that more than one in 10 workers would become unemployed.  Instead the unemployment rate is currently less than one in 20.

As the furlough scheme enters its final weeks employers will be deciding what they must do with their furloughed workforce.  In most cases, an employer should have already started the redundancy process if it’s planning to let workers go by 30 September.

The Furlough Scheme in September

The government will pay 60% of wages, up to £1,875 per month, for the hours the employee is furloughed.

As before, employers must top up their employees’ wages.  Employees must receive at least 80% of their wages (up to £2,500) for hours not worked.

Employers can claim furlough pay for employees for September up until the 14 October 2021.  Any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

ACAS

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an independent public body which received funding from the government and provides free and impartial advice to employers and employees.

It has very helpful guidance and support if you are an employer looking for help as the furlough scheme comes to an end this month.  Have a look at the links below:

https://www.acas.org.uk/furlough-letter-templates

https://www.acas.org.uk/redundancy

Payroll

If you have any questions regarding the ending of furlough and how it relates to your payroll please call us on 0161 703 8353 and ask for Christine or Fiona – our payroll team.