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People Matter July 2015

The results are in 

As you probably know, we recently conducted our annual customer survey. The purpose was to check how we are doing, how we can improve and also to get a feel for what is driving the UK SME market.

First, we would like to congratulate prize-draw winner Toni, a customer at The HR Dept South London. A £50 John Lewis Voucher is winging its way to you! Thank you to everyone that responded. Nearly 900 businesses did so, meaning that not only is it a valuable feedback forum for us, but also a significant snapshot of SME Britain.

So what does the survey say about The HR Dept in 2015? Well we are pleased to say that on every single one of a wide range of measures we were rated at least 90%. Performance peaked for our plain English style of communication for which you awarded us 95%. This was closely followed by our knowledge of employment law, and ‘for providing advice on which you can act’, where we scored 94% apiece. Overall our weighted average performance was 92.7%.

It’s good to know that we are doing well and that our ‘likelihood of referral’ rating stands at 94.1%. Please do spread the word about our service. The survey asked for constructive ways in which we could improve. You can rest assured that all feedback will be studied carefully, and that where possible we will implement ideas.

Aside from us, the survey also suggests a resurgence in the SME sector. We hope you are feeling this and look forward to continuing to help you grow.

You are not alone

Our survey showed that many SME’s share similar experiences, aspirations and worries. Here is a summary of some of the common ground. Pay rises are on the agenda with two thirds of respondents saying they planned a pay rise this year. On a similar subject, the survey explored what business owners felt were the most effective ways in which to motivate staff other than salary.

‘Flexible Working’ and ‘Generous Holiday’ stood out as the preferred benefits. Generally, business sentiment is positive: about 60% of respondents said they planned to grow their workforce in the coming months. Only 2.7% planned a reduction. And of the new legislation that came in over the last twelve months Shared Parental Leave seems particularly worrisome: only 30% of respondents understood and were comfortable with the rule!

Payroll: Don’t end up paying the Pied Piper

Payroll is one length of red tape you definitely do not want to get tangled up in. Do so and it is not only your staff you will be paying, the Pied Piper will collect his due too.What’s involved?

First any business that employs someone must register with HMRC and set up a PAYE scheme.But this is just the start. For businesses that operate their payroll in-house they must have a complete understanding of: the tax and national insurance system, statutory pay such as sick and maternity pay, pay slips and other paperwork such as P60s and P11d’s. The latest things to get your head around are biggies too: Auto-enrolment – the mandatory workplace pension scheme – and HMRC’s new Real Time Information system which requires companies to send information to HMRC every time they pay their employees.

It’s a lot to master and is only likely to get more complicated. The problem is that if you get any of it wrong it can lead to difficult and sometimes expensive consequences. These include a knock on the door from HMRC inspectors, followed by investigations and fines; tribunals for unlawful deductions of wages; and poor employee relations. In fact, on this last point, one survey suggested that as many as one third of employees would look to move on over payroll errors.

Fear not though! We have a cost-effective and hassle-free solution: HR Dept Payroll. No need to employ even a part time payroll clerk. No need to spend hours swotting up on the latest legislative changes – time which could be better spent on developing your business. No need to worry about the consequences of getting it wrong.

HR Dept Payroll is delivered in partnership with a specialist partner: Qtac Solutions, and covers every aspect of payroll so you don’t need to worry about it. To find out more give your local HR Dept a call and they can give you all the details including how you eliminate the problem for a low monthly fee.

Grandparental leave

If you’ve been struggling to get your head around shared parental leave, then try this on for size: grandparental leave! Apparently the idea is being mooted by David Cameron. There are several ways it could work (ahem, people on the front line of administering it may scoff!), including by extending flexible working, shared parental leave or ordinary parental leave. We’re sure you don’t need us to point out that none of these would be simple.

Luckily, should the plans come to fruition you’ll have your local HR Dept to call on, so keep us on speed dial!

Apprenticeships defined

The term ‘apprenticeship’ is to be protected as part of the forthcoming Enterprise Bill.

There is feeling that it’s currently open to abuse as a way of promoting lower quality training courses.

Under the new definition, an apprenticeship would have to last at least one year, as well as satisfy other criteria. The hope is that by raising the perceived value, it will boost the uptake among younger workers. The government has a target to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, although the public sector will be under pressure to contribute to this target.

If you run apprenticeships, or are considering them, make sure you stay abreast of this story. The new Bill will give the government powers to take action against companies that do not comply! Your local HR Dept can guide you in this matter so get in touch.

Paperless driving licences 

The paper counterpart of the driving licence is no more. Well, relics may remain in dusty corners of wallets, but they are definitely no longer in use. Where relevant, employers will still need to check driving licences though. It is all digital now. The new system can check for:

• Disqualification

• Current endorsements

• Validity of the licence

• Certificate of Professional Competence held by the employee

• Categories of vehicle that the employee is entitled to drive.

You can access this information in two ways. First, you can request a driver entitlement check by post, electronically or by phone directly from the DVLA. You must explain the reason for the request and the employee must give consent via a DVLA form. Second, employees can share their driving records online or print off a summary for you. It may be necessary to change your contracts and driving policies to reflect this change.

For assistance, call The HR Dept.

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