Can employees reduce their pension contributions?
- Remember that employees will also be making contributions on any reduced wage under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The amount contributed may be less, but the contribution rate will be the same, unless the following applies.
- Employees may reduce their DC employee contributions if their scheme rules allow them to do so, but no further than the statutory minimum if the scheme qualifies as the employer’s auto-enrolment vehicle.
- Employees might choose to opt-out or cease active membership of their scheme, which might cause a spike in administration at a time when administrators are likely to be understaffed. It is important that employers remember they must not do anything to encourage or induce employees from leaving an auto-enrolment vehicle as this may constitute an offence.
- Employees who leave their scheme in this way will have to be re-enrolled in due course as and when required by law.
- For DB schemes, specific considerations apply (see the last section, below).
With another lock-down in force in England, it has been confirmed that the courts will remain open. This is different to the first lockdown in March 2020, in which the majority of courts were closed and most face to face hearings did not take place. Hopefully, this new lock-down measure will ensure that cases are still being heard at a steady rate, and there should not be a backlog for your case to be dealt with.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP emphasised the importance of maintaining safety during the new measures: “Our courts & tribunals continue to be an essential public service, served by essential workers and meeting Covid-secure standards endorsed by public health officials. With the use of remote hearings wherever appropriate, this vital work can and should continue.”
A large sum of £110m has been spent in recent months to make courts safe and to ensure that trials should go ahead where necessary. As a result of the expenditure, hearings can now still take place both in person, whilst adhering to the rules, as well as remotely. Your case may be heard in court if it is deemed as being “necessary in the interest of justice”.
Precautionary measures, such as social distancing, will still be in place, with Judges and magistrates ensuring that this happens.
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon commented: “The next few weeks will present difficulties in all jurisdictions. But as before judges, magistrates, staff, the legal profession and others involved in the system will meet them and ensure that the administration of justice continues to function in the public interest.”
Ward Hadaway in conversation with Begbies Traynor webinar was recorded on Tuesday 16th June.
The business spotlight is firmly on Directors. Difficult, sometimes drastic decisions need to be made in unprecedented times. But the consequences of those decisions have long shadows, and Directors need to consider their future position through the lens of their creditors, shareholders, funders, HMRC and even the courts.
In conversation with leading business rescue and recovery specialists, Begbies Traynor, we focused on the proactive approach Directors can take in these exceptionally challenging times. We discussed very practical advice about the quickest routes to funding, how to bolster cash flow, protecting the Board, and ultimately how to be proactive and in control of the process if you think there is no way back for your business as a result of the pandemic.
It is important to note that the changes to insolvency law currently before parliament only deal with wrongful trading – all other duties remain the same. So Directors must still ensure they are acting in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and creditors. In this context, the webinar discussed funding options for keeping a business solvent, and how to manage the process if this is not possible.
This webinar is the first of our Yorkshire “In conversations with…” where we explore with other experts how businesses can get on the front foot in #gettingbacktobusiness.
Put simply, if it is a requirement of a particular role that PPE is worn, then this should be provided to the employee. If an employer dismissed an employee for refusal to carry out their role due to lack of PPE then this is likely to be an automatically unfair health and safety dismissal.
Furthermore, anyone who is subject to a detriment as a result of raising a health and safety concern, e.g. someone in this situation who refuses to work due to lack of PPE and is sent home without pay, will also have a potentially valid claim in the Employment Tribunal for that detriment, even if they are not dismissed.
Yes, however holiday pay during furlough must remain at the normal rate of pay and not the reduced furloughed rate. You can still claim for this period under the scheme but you will be responsible for any amounts beyond the maximum you can claim. Employers have flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken both during and after period of furlough in the normal way.
If an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then you would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.
Yes. The updated government guidance has confirmed that office holders (including company directors), salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) individuals working under umbrella companies (including agency workers) and individuals who are classified as ‘workers’ rather than employees can be furloughed but only to the extent that they are paid via PAYE. Therefore director’s fees can be claimed (subject to the cap) but dividends are excluded, as are bonuses and commission payments.
Those who are paid annual are now eligible to make a claim, subject to meeting the remaining requirements. This includes being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020 which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year.
The decision to furlough a director or office holder should be adopted as a formal decision of the company or LLP which should be minuted and notified in writing.
Company directors can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director’s company while furloughed and they cannot carry out work that would generate revenue or perform services to or on behalf of their company. This also applies to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC).