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Autumn – Winter 2011
Welcome to the Autumn – Winter edition of my e-newsletter with latest rate changes, new laws and changes that are anticipated over coming months (and years).
*** HOT OFF THE PRESS *** I’m delighted to announce that I have been shortlisted for this year’s Leading Adviser in the Midlands Family Business Awards – thank you to all my clients who contributed such fantastic recommendations.  Results are due out in November!
Statement of New Regulation – September 2011
The Government is still committed to reducing red tape for businesses – employment regulations are next in line – read their latest statement One-In, One-Out: Second Statement of New Regulation.
New Rates – 1st October 2011
The National Minimum Wage increases by the following amounts:
For workers aged 21 and above the rate is now £6.08 per hour
For workers aged between 18 and 20 the rate is now £4.98 per hour
For workers aged between 16 and 17 the rate is now £3.68 per hour
For apprentices aged 19 and below, or in the first year of their course the rate is £2.60 per hour
The Agricultural Wages Order 2011 increases minimum wage rates as follows:
Grade 1 above compulsory school age – £6.10 per hour, Grade 2 – £6.77 per hour, Grade 3 – £7.45 per hour, Grade 4 – £7.99 per hour, Grade 5 – £8.46 per hour, Grade 6 – £9.14 per hour
Kay’s comment: For further information about the Agricultural Wages Order, overtime rates and annual leave, look at The Agricultural Wages (England and Wales) Order 2011
Agency Worker Regulations – 1st October 2011

The purpose of these new regulations is to help protect temporary agency workers.  They will give equal rights for basic work terms and conditions to agency workers, comparable with permanent staff, once they have worked 12 complete calendar weeks for a client in the same job. The terms and conditions include pay, rest breaks, hours of work and annual leave entitlement that are more generous than the statutory minimum.

Kay’s comment: Workers who are supplied by a temp agency will be affected, but not those who find work through an agency but are genuinely self-employed contractors or freelancers.  If you are unsure whether or not you will be affected, just give us a call: 05600 434 727

FREE RESOURCE: BIS have made some recent amendments to their AWR Booklet – I recommend looking at the introductory pages.
Goodbye to the Default Retirement Age
The Default Retirement Age will not exist from 1st October 2011.  This means that employers will no longer be able to use the DRA to compulsorily retire employees.
Kay’s comment: Although in principle, employers can continue to have a compulsory retirement age, they will have to prove it can be objectively justified. In practice, it is likely to be very hard to show a sound business reason with sufficient hard evidence to back it up.
Recommendation: Do review your performance management processes and ensure you have good communication channels with all your staff, so that flexible work options and planned departures can be discussed openly and positively.  If you need some inspiration, just call or email: 05600 434 727,
Social Networking
Over recent months, the media have been hotly debating the pros and cons of using social networking within businesses, causing many small businesses to worry whether or not they should allow employees to use any form of social media in the workplace.
Kay’s comment: Organisations that consider the business benefits of social networks and media, devise a practical strategy and involve their staff in developing a sensible code of conduct, are likely to gain the most from such platforms and have minimal problems.
FREE RESOURCES: ACAS have produced a series of new guides, covering the responsible use of Social Networking at Work.
Recommendation: I would recommend businesses consider developing an appropriate communications and monitoring procedure with their staff, incorporating the use of IT, the internet, mobile phones and social media sites, so that business expectations are agreed and made clear to everyone.  If you would like help producing one, just email me at:
A Tast of the Future
The Government is planning to reduce the red tape associated with government backed apprenticeship schemes, promising clearer information and online guidance and less time consuming paperwork.  More details will be made available later in the year – for now, bookmark:
Changes to Pensions
There’s a big pensions shake-up planned over the next few years. The Pensions Act 2008 will start affecting smaller companies from March 2014 – companies employing under 50 people will have to automatically enrol all eligible employees not already participating in a workplace pension scheme. This will need to be the employer’s pension scheme or the new personal accounts scheme under the National Employment Savings Trust pension scheme.The threshold for automatic enrolment is aligned with the personal allowance for income tax. To encourage participation, employees’ pension contributions will be supplemented by employers’ contributions and tax relief.
Kay’s comment: To be ahead of the game and find out how the changes are likely to affect your business take a look at the Aegon site on Pension Reform.  You can check your PAYE number to find out the staging date for your business.
Useful HR and small business resources
Fluttering Rights – an HR Story – this is my first FREE e-book, particularly useful if you are considering taking on any new employees in the near future.  I would really value your feedback on this one!
Don’t Get in a Panic over Payroll – this is a really helpful article by Linda West from Clear Accounting, de-mystifying payroll for small businesses and includes a link to one of her FREE wage slip templates.

Please Note: The information contained in this e-newsletter is provided for your general use only.  It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.

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Copyright (C) 2011 Kay Heald HR All rights reserved.

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Kay Heald HR · 3 St Peters Walk · Admaston · Telford, Shropshire TF5 0EA

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