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News

All the latest from the trade & industry

12

July–August 2014

NEWS: BUSINESS & FINANCE

Quarterly economic

survey: UK economy

stabilises in second

quarter

The British Chambers of Commerce

(BCC) published its Quarterly

Economic Survey for Q2 2014 at

the beginning of July. The results,

made up of responses from 7,000 UK

businesses, show that the economy is

still strong and moving in the right

direction, with many key balances

higher than they were before the

recession. Many of the balances for

manufacturing and services are slightly

down on the quarter, but this is

following the unexpected surge seen in

the first quarter of the year.

Tribunal cases on

holiday pay could put

firms out of business

Businesses are facing the risk

of significant additional costs –

potentially billions of pounds – and

a threat to their very existence from

tribunal cases challenging the normal

calculation of holiday pay under the

Working Time Regulations (WTR).

That’s according to the CBI, the UK’s

biggest business group.

Holiday pay in the UK is currently

calculated on the basis of a “week’s

pay” – based on basic salary and

excluding payments such as working

allowances, expenses, overtime,

commission and bonus payments, all

of which refer to specific work done

by someone while performing their

duties.

A recent European Court of

Justice (ECJ) judgment redefined

holiday pay to include an allowance

for commission, despite the fact that

commission is paid on sales made and

the employee would not have delivered

those sales while on holiday.

The Employer Bulletin provides

pointers to new procedures and

initiatives which may be of interest and

contains direct links to more detailed

information allowing employers to

explore topics further.

For the current and previous two

issues of the Employer Bulletin visit

www.hmrc.gov.uk

Tackling late payment

Following a consultation in which a

clear majority of businesses called for

more disclosure to tackle late payment,

the government says it will require

larger firms to publish information of

their payment practices, and will also

act to remove legal barriers preventing

firms from accessing invoice finance.

The government will also

work with the Institute of Credit

Management to strengthen the

Prompt Payment Code and to increase

accountability of signatories. Where

legislation is required to implement

the package, it will be introduced

when parliamentary time allows.

National minimum

wage breaches

Twenty-five employers who failed to

pay their staff the correct National

Minimum Wage (NMW) have

been “named and shamed” by the

government. The naming and shaming

regime was introduced in October

2013. Between them, the firms owe

workers more than £43,000 in arrears

and in addition have to pay financial

penalties totalling over £21,000.

The government introduced a series

of measures to tackle employers that

break national minimum wage law.

As well as being publicly named and

shamed, employers that fail to pay

their workers the National Minimum

Wage also face new penalties of up

to £20,000 - four times higher than

before.

If liabilities on holiday pay are

backdated, individual firms may face

bills of tens of millions of pounds.

Some medium-sized businesses have

told the CBI that backdated claims

could push their otherwise profitable

businesses into insolvency, resulting in

significant job losses.

Flexible working

arrangements

A new law is now in force which

extends the right to flexible working

arrangements to all employees.

The Children and Families Act

2014 received Royal Assent on

13th March 2014. This legislation

implements a number of government

measures designed to make the UK’s

employment practices more flexible

and family friendly.

One of the main changes brought

in as a result of the act is the extension

of the right to request flexible working

arrangements. Previously, the right

to work flexibly under the statutory

flexible working regime was only

available to parents of children under

17, or under 18 for disabled children,

or to those caring for an adult. Now,

the right will be available to all

employees with 26 weeks’ service or

more.

To read more on this subject turn

to Business Journal on page 40 of the

June issue of Motorcycle Trader.

HMRC Employer

Bulletin

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

publishes an Employer Bulletin six

times a year to give employers the

latest information on topics and issues

that may affect them.

It is in a handy, accessible format

that can either be downloaded and

viewed or printed in magazine format.