What will 2014 bring?
2013 has seen the majority of our customers’ Payroll and HR teams focusing their time on two main areas of change – the move to PAYE in Real Time, and the introduction of auto-enrolment; on top of other employment law changes.
Here we look at some of the changes and likely challenges in 2014.
Auto-enrolment continues to be a major stepping stone for smaller businesses as we head into 2014. With eight times as many employers due to stage in 2014 than in 2013, organisation’s that leave it too late may start to feel the effects of the ‘auto-enrolment capacity crunch’.
Our advice to organisation’s staging in 2014 – don’t get left in the cold. Plan as early as you can to secure the resource and time needed to implement auto-enrolment smoothly into your business.
Legislation changes for auto-enrolment will also come into play in 2014, we have outlined these here.
A number of items released in the 2013 Budget, covered by Simon Parsons back in March, actually apply for the 2014/2015 tax year. These include an increase in the income tax personal allowance, an increase on tax free beneficial loans, and changes to company car percentage bands. As with the recent announcements in the Autumn Statement.
For businesses that are bought and sold, or when services are outsourced, retendered or bought back in-house, where TUPE regulations usually apply, changes are expected to come into effect in January 2014.
Key points include:
- Information about transferring employees will need to be given at least 28 days before the transfer.
- Businesses with fewer than 10 staff will be allowed to inform and consult directly with employees where there are no pre-existing employee representatives who are recognised.
- For a service provision change, the activities carried on after the change must be fundamentally the same as those carried on before the transfer.
Financial penalties for breach of employment rights
As part of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, power has been granted with effect from April 2014, for tribunals to be able to levy a financial penalty against employers that are in breach of employment rights where the breach has one or more aggravating features.
If the tribunal does make an award of compensation, the amount of the penalty will be 50% of the award. The penalty will be subject to a minimum threshold of £100 and have an upper ceiling of £5,000. Employers will qualify for a reduction of 50% if they pay the penalty within 21 days.
The end of statutory discrimination questionnaires
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 repeals section 138 of the Equality Act 2010, from 6 April 2014, which sets out the procedure that enables an individual to obtain information from the employer about discrimination and provides for the information to be used as evidence in tribunal proceedings.
Early conciliation comes into force on 6 April 2014
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 requires potential claimants to lodge details of their proposed employment tribunal claim with ACAS in the first instance. ACAS will offer the parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation with a conciliation officer for a prescribed period. Where the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or where the prescribed period ends without reaching a settlement, the claimant will be issued with a certificate permitting him or her to issue proceedings.
Flexible working for all employees
From 1 April 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees, not just those that have children under the age of 17 or responsibilities as a carer. Under the current regulations, the employee has to make a request in writing and the employer has to discuss the request with the employee within 28 days, giving their decision within a further 14 days. The employee then has 14 days to appeal that decision if they wish.
Shared Parental Leave
The changes to shared parental leave don’t take place until 2015, but are significant and complex changes, which HR and Payroll teams will need to prepare for in order to be ready for the New Year.
The growth of investment into HR technology is set to continue into 2014, with organisations looking to offer their employees greater mobile access, with HR-enabled mobile applications such as benefit selection, access to payslips and holiday booking.
While investing in mobile technology, businesses are set to review their core HR systems, notably to help gain greater operational efficiencies, improve quality to their business and save costs. In doing so, it will see a shift toward cloud technology.
In our most recent webinar, What does the future of HR look like?, we looked at the four key areas that we think will influence HR technology in the coming year, which includes these trends.
These are just a few of the changes that will keep HR and Payroll teams busy in 2014…undoubtedly there will be more to keep you on your toes.