Are you aware of your employer obligation to pay the National Minimum Wage?

 

If you have answered NO….

Aamilah Begum for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS

…there are repercussions for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which could result in hefty financial penalty fines, naming and shaming and in some cases prosecution!!!!!

 

 

 

Government publishes a record number of offending employers named and shamed for underpaying

 

In February 2017, we see the largest list of employers named and shamed for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage.  In excess of 350 employers have failed to pay their workers the legal minimum wage and have consequently been publicly named.  The list includes a high number of retailers, care homes, hotels and hair salons.

Between them, the employers have been issued with penalty fines from HMRC of nearly £800,000.  HMRC have also recovered arrears of around £1 million in underpayment for more than 15,500 of the UK’s lowest paid workers.

 

HMRC’s Targets

The government introduced the Naming and Shaming scheme as a deterrent in October 2013.  Since the scheme was introduced, over 687 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of more than £3.5 million.

In August 2016 Business Minister Margot James said:

“This government is determined to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

That means making sure everyone gets paid the wages they are owed – including our new, higher, National Living Wage. It is not acceptable that some employers fail to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to.

So we’ll continue to crack down on those who ignore the law, including by naming and shaming them.”

 

With the introduction of the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 in April 2016, employees previously working full time on the National Minimum Wage expect to see a pay rise of more than £900 a year.  As for workers under the age of 25, the National Minimum Wage still applies.

The responsibility and duty lies with an employer to make sure they are aware of the different minimum wage rates, depending on the circumstances of their workers.  An employer must also ensure all eligible workers are paid at least the minimum rate they are entitled to.

The government is set and determined to enforce the National Living Wage equally and robustly alongside the National Minimum Wage.

Businesses or employees who would like to find out more about the National Minimum Wage should visit www.mayflowersolicitors.com.

 

Employers Duty

Employers have a duty to be aware of the different legal rates for the National Minimum Wage.

  1. The current minimum wage rates are:
  • National Living Wage (25 years and over) – £7.20 per hour
  • Adult rate of National Minimum Wage (21 years and over) – £6.70 per hour
    • 18 to 20 year olds – £5.30 per hour
    • 16 to 17 year olds – £3.87 per hour
    • *Apprentice rate – £3.30 per hour

*The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 years and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.

  1. Compliance
  • The government shall take the necessary and effective enforcement action against offending employers as part of its commitment to increasing compliance with minimum wage legislation. Everyone who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.
  • Not only will employers be faced with hefty financial penalties of up to £20,000 per worker where less than the minimum wage is paid. They will also have to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates.
  • In the most serious cases employers can be prosecuted.
  1. Naming and Shaming
  • From 1 October 2013 the government revised the Naming and Shaming scheme to make it simpler to name and shame employers who break the law.
  • Under this scheme the government will name all employers that have been issued with a Notice of Underpayment (NoU) unless employers meet one of the exceptional criteria or have arrears of £100 or less.

 

 

 

  1. Appealing a Notice of Underpayment (NoU)
  • Employers will have 28 days to appeal to HMRC against the NoU (this notice sets out the owed wages to be paid by the employer together with the penalty for not complying with minimum wage law).
  • Failure to appeal or unsuccessfully appeal against the NoU, the government will consider the employer for naming.
  • The employer then has 14 days to make representations to the government, with an explanation as to whether or not they meet any of the exceptional criteria set out by the government.
  • Failing all of the above the government will name the employer via a press release under this scheme.

The UK saw the government’s National Living Wage become law on 1 April 2016.  Workers aged 25 years or over who are not in the first year of an apprenticeship are legally entitled to at least £7.20 per hour. Employers will be responsible for ensuring they are paying their staff correctly. The National Living Wage will be enforced in the same way as the current National Minimum Wage.

As with any law, breaches deliberate or not, carry consequences.  This can result in hefty financial costs and damage to reputability.  For further advice and help on the National Minimum Wage contact Mayflower solicitors.  We also help with submitting appeals and representation in response to Notice of Underpayment (NoU).

 

Author:  Aamilah Begum

 

 

Proposed Probate fees increases from May 2017 – significant and unjustified?

Proposed Probate fees increases from May 2017 – significant and unjustified?

Stephanie Tam for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS

Probate fees will change from May 2017 whereby the fees will reflect the value of the estate.  Anyone with an estate worth more than £50,000 will pay considerably more.  For estates worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £300 to get a Grant of Representation or Grant of Probate, estates worth £2 million or more will have to pay £20,000 to execute the wishes of the deceased’s will.

 

Currently, a flat probate fee of £155 applies if probate is applied through a legal representative, and £215 for applications by members of the public.  Following a consultation on 18 February 2016, the cost will move in line with the value of the estate before inheritance tax bill and exemptions are applied.

 

Whilst the level of the proposed Probate fees is seen as disproportionate when compared to the current fee of £155 and £217, on the face of it this may seem to some to be proportionate and fair as the process and cost to the Probate Registry is the same for all applications at present. Although the Government stated that it understood concerns over the level of the proposed fees, the increases are necessary to fund the courts and tribunal systems in the long term.

 

The UK Land Registry will insist on sight of a grant if land is to be transferred from a deceased sole owner into the names of the personal representatives, if personal representatives are to sell the deceased owner’s land or transfer the land into the name of an heir.

 

These fee changes may, on the other hand, encourage married couples to consider owning assets jointly. This means when the first death occurs, assets pass automatically to the surviving spouse by survivorship. Owing to the fact that no grant is needed and thus no probate fee incurred. However, this may raise issues of conflict with tax planning. Further, this may not provide sufficient protection for some couples as they may want their share of jointly owned assets to pass to someone other than the surviving spouse after the first death and could still result in a grant being needed.

 

As the probate fees must be paid when access to assets, there are concerns about how an executor of a will can be expected to find funds to pay for the Grant of Probate and funds is limited.  This could potentially lead to hardship for Personal Representatives.  Despite 83% of those consulted disagreeing with the proposal, the Government’s proposals are set to come into effect from May 2017.

 

Probate fees are set to rise from May 2017 onwards, a fee scale based on the value of the assets in an estate will be applied as follows: –

 

Value of estate Proposed probate fee Current probate fee Increase
Below £50,000 £0 £215 No fee
£50,001 – £300,000 £300 £215 £85
£300,001 – £500,000 £1,000 £215 £785
£500.001 – £1m £4,000 £215 £3,785
£1,000,001 – £1.6m £8,000 £215 £7,785
£1,600,001 – £2m £12,000 £215 £11,785
Above £2m £20,000 £215 £19,785

 

The current system will be replaced by a sliding scale based on the value of an estate. It is the date of the application for a grant that will govern whether the new fees apply. The Probate Registry is gearing up for a marked influx of applications ahead of the proposed change.

 

If you need advice on how these changes may affect you and would like us to advise you on probate, why not give us a call to book an initial consultation meeting with one of our Solicitors?

Stephanie Tam for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Claims Deadline is announced: What it means for you

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) Claims Deadline is announced: What it means for you  

Stephanie Tam for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS

PPI was originally designed to cover loan repayments if the policyholder fell ill or lost their job. Yet it became clear that some of the PPI policies were mis-sold to people who did not want or need it, or would not be eligible to claim on it. Currently, bank customers could claim if they were not made aware of commission being paid when they were sold PPI. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) decided that compensation will be calculated if commission of more than 50% was paid. However, the FCA announced that individuals seeking compensation over mis-sold PPI will have to make their claims before 29 August 2019. According to the statistics, in over half of all cases where after the bank rejects a PPI reclaim, people take the claim to the independent Financial Ombudsman, the bank’s rejection is overturned. The Financial Ombudsman Service disclosed that it had received 78,000 new PPI complaints in the six months to last December.

 

After the deadline is announced for making new PPI complaints, Lloyds Banking Group has set aside a further £350 million for mis-sold PPI claims, on top of the £17 billion that has been set aside previously. Royal Bank of Scotland has also set aside £601 million for PPI claims in its recent financial year. It is anticipated that many more people are yet to come forward to make claims.

 

If you would like specialist advice from one of our Solicitors to support your PPI Claim in light of the announcement, please feel free to contact us on 0121 245 4610.

Budget 2017: how it could affect you

Budget 2017: how it could affect you

Stephanie Tam for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS

The recent Budget has a significant financial impact on families, businesses and individuals.

 

The change announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Budget is said to support families in their household finances. It was announced in the Budget that the rate for Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICS) would rise from 9% to 10% in April 2018, and to 11% in 2019.  As a consequence, increases in NICS rate for those who are self-employed have been criticised as ‘punitive’ and ‘penalising entrepreneurs’.

 

Among those affected by the rises will be self-employed hairdressers, taxi drivers, construction workers and management consultants. Currently, employees pay at the rate of 12%. Yet some opined that self-employees do not receive the same entitlements and benefits such as holiday and sick leave. Although the increase in the NICS rate will raise £145 million a year for the Treasury in the future, increasing National Insurance rates for the self-employed could be seen as a step to penalise those who are taking risks and starting a business.

 

For individuals, probate fees will change in May 2017, costing more for large estates. Anyone with an estate worth more than £50,000 will pay considerably more. Those worth between £50,000 and £300,000 will pay £300, with fees rising to a maximum of £20,000 for estate worth more than £2 million.

 

For businesses, the total amount of dividends that company directors and shareholders can receive tax-free will fall from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018. This means that a basic rate tax payment who receives £5,000 in dividends will have to pay an extra £225 tax from April 2018, and a higher rate tax payer will pay an extra £975. Directors, shareholders and businesses owners of private companies who pay themselves in dividends in addition to a small salary will be hit by the change.

 

If you would like advice from one of our Solicitors to support your businesses moving forward in light of the change announced by the Budget, please feel free to contact us on 0121 245 4610.

Key changes and their implications in the Insolvency Rules 2016

Key changes and their implications in the Insolvency Rules 2016

Stephanie Tam for

MAYFLOWER SOLICITORS
The Insolvency Rules 2016 was laid before parliament and published on 25 October 2016.  The rules will come into force on 6 April 2017 with an aim to consolidate, modernise and make more consistent the existing rules, namely the Insolvency Act 1986, and their 28 amendments into a single set of rules.

 

Key changes

 

The new rules specify alternative forms of decision making. For example, Part 1 of the 2016 Rules sets out what should be included in various documents and notices instead of statutory forms. In terms of creditors’ meetings, Part 15 of the 2016 Rules sets out a new decision making regime. In particular, Rules 15.7 sets out the procedure where an officeholder writes to the creditors with a proposal and does not receive objections from 10% of creditors in value, the proposal is deemed to be approved unless the insolvency legislation or the court require the use of a “creditors’ decision making procedure”.

 

Under 2016 Rules, an officeholder cannot summon physical creditors meeting unless requested to do so by either 10% of the creditors in value, 10% of the total number of creditors or 10 individual creditors, compared to heavy reliance on physical meetings under the 1986 Act.  In addition, the new rules update the language, for example, references to “shall in the current rules are to be replaced by “must” in line with modern practice which uses “must” to indicate an obligation.

 

Furthermore, currently an officeholder cannot correspond electronically post insolvency. The new rules change this so that where e-mail was customarily used before the insolvency, that method of communication can continue post insolvency, enabling modern methods of communication. Consequently, this change will help encourage e-communication which is generally speedier and cheaper than paper communications.

 

Implications

 

The Insolvency Rules 2016 provide the procedural framework for the Insolvency Act 1986 and set out the procedural rules to be followed in the conduct of insolvency proceedings. The existing framework provide the processes by which an insolvency officeholder who deals with the assets of a debtor so that money can be returned to creditors. However, as the business environment has evolved, the current framework is not without its flaws and thus should be kept up to date. Therefore, the new rules are aimed at filling the gaps between the current procedures and the practical needs of businesses.

 

For example, at a meeting of creditors, attendees vote on proposals and give their approval for certain actions such as agreeing a voluntary arrangement proposal or approving the officeholder’s remuneration. Proposals approved at these meetings are in the best interests of the creditors.  However, meetings are often poorly attended and thus it seems holding the meeting is an unnecessary formality.  The cost of holding a physical meeting is borne by creditors.  Therefore, the new rules provide the procedural framework and will result in a reduction in the number of physical meetings of creditors.

 

Conclusion

 

Efficiency of administration of insolvency proceedings can be improved by modernising the insolvency framework and adopting a more cost-effective approach.  By reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens will also drive down the cost of administering insolvencies.  Hence, the implementation of the new rules reflects the way the business world operated and will result in improved returns to creditors.

 

Our experienced lawyers are professionally accredited. If you are a small business experiencing cash flow issues, we are happy to help. Our Solicitors are keen to show their support and will assess your matter on its merits with the information you provide.  We can provide legal representation and will be able to advise you on how successful your case is likely to be and how best to act to suit your needs. Please feel free to contact us on 0121 245 4610.

 

Call us on 0121 245 4610 to receive expert advice from one of our specialist lawyers.