As always, there’s a lot going on in the world of contracting. Read our roundup of the latest news over the past month and discover what this could mean for you.
High-value dealers need to register for cash payments
Changes to EU regulations mean that companies accepting cash payments of €10,000 or above will be required to register with HMRC under new money laundering regulations. These companies will now be considered high-class dealers.
Registering as a high-value dealer
If your company is accepting or making high-value cash payments, you are now obligated to register under the money laundering regulations. A non-refundable fee of £100 will be incurred when you register and you must pay £115 for each premise you include in your application.
You will not need to register if your business:
- Only receives payments for services or for a mixture of goods and services where the value is less than €10,000
- Only accepts large payments by cheque or credit/debit card
Rise in national minimum wage affects SME profits
The national living wage (NLW) increased from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour on 1st April 2017. As a result, 64% of small businesses are seeing their profits fall.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed a total of 835 businesses and found that 39% have put up prices to deal with the NLW increase. Almost one quarter (24%) of firms have either cancelled or downscaled investments, while 22% reduced working hours and 19% hired fewer employees.
According to Mike Cherry, the national chairman at the FSB, “Small businesses owners have demonstrated their resilience in meeting the challenge set by the NLW, with many cutting their margins or paying themselves less to pay their staff more.”
How to deal with the wage rise
Less stressful and more straightforward ways to manage the rise in NLW include:
- Increasing productivity
- Streamlining processes
- Passing on additional costs to customers
Penalties for underpaying staff
If you fail to pay your staff the NLW, you will face a fine based on these underpayments. The penalty for firms who do not comply with the NLW is 200%, though this will be halved if employers pay within 14 days. The overall maximum penalty is £20,000 for every underpaid worker.
Recruiters struggling to fill vacancies
A study has found that recruiters are finding it more difficult to hire new staff due to an increasing competition for highly skilled employees.
According to research conducted by IHS Markit for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), of the 400 recruitment agencies surveyed, 40% found that the availability of temporary staff was worse in July 2017 compared to the previous month (35%). 43% also found this was the same for permanent staff, up from 41% in June.
This has resulted in permanent staff commanding better starting salaries.
Demand for staff in private sector businesses outpaced demand in the public sector over the same period, while the biggest increases in year-on-year demand for workers was felt in:
·Engineering – 66%, up from 57% in July 2016
·Accounting – 65%, up from 56%
·IT 65%, up from 57%
Incentives for employees
Though it is becoming a challenge to attract and retain talent, there are solutions, including:
- Offering flexible working arrangements
- Investing in career development
- Providing additional benefits e.g. pension contributions, company cars, entertainment incentives
- Performance-related pay rises
Business preparing for Data Protection Bill
The Data Protection Bill forms part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to come into effect on 25th May 2018. The bill states that individuals will be able to legally ask businesses to delete certain personal data.
The legislation will grant individuals greater control over their data, including the right to fully close accounts or data to be erased.
Some of the proposals outlined in the Bill include:
Making it simpler for people to withdraw consent for the use of personal data
Allowing people to ask for their details to be deleted
Requiring companies to obtain ‘explicit’ consent when they process sensitive personal data
Making it easier for people to require firms to disclose the personal data they hold on them
Preparation for businesses
Businesses need to manage and secure data property or risk significant fines if they fail to protect data or suffer a breach
A number of steps have been advised to help you prepare for GDPR, including:
- Reviewing and updating your existing data protection policies
- Reviewing and updating your policies and privacy notes
- Having suitable systems in place to manage potential data breaches
Stay informed by SJD
SJD can keep you up to date with all of the latest news and legislation. For any help and support, call the team on 01442 330890.
You can read our full roundup below: