Policy News Journal - 2016-17

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ……………………………………………………………Policy News Journal

General Expenses, Benefits & Reward News

Salary Sacrifice schemes can be discontinued during maternity leave 11 March 2016

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal has made a significant ruling in that it is not discriminatory to discontinue childcare vouchers during maternity leave.

With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin for providing the details of the case Peninsula Business Services v Donaldson ,

Women on maternity leave are entitled to non-pay benefits pursuant to the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999. Based on HMRC guidance that contractual non-cash benefits provided under a salary sacrifice scheme must continue to be provided during ordinary maternity leave, an employment tribunal held that it must be discriminatory for an employee to lose childcare vouchers during maternity. Peninsula Business Services appealed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed the appeal and substituted a decision that the claim should be dismissed. No legislative basis had been found to support the HMRC guidance. The key question was: did the vouchers constitute remuneration? If they did Regulation 9 of the Regulations did not require this to continue during maternity leave. Langstaff J held that the vouchers did represent part of salary since pay had been substituted with vouchers under a salary sacrifice scheme. On this basis they were to be regarded as remuneration and could be discontinued during maternity leave. CIPP comment This is a significant change that will affect salary sacrifice arrangements when terms are renewed. Although the case was about childcare vouchers, it could be applied to other ‘benefits’ provided through a salary sacrifice arrangement. This ruling means agreements can be simplified because maternity can be treated like other longer absences; it doesn’t need to have separate terms. However salary sacrifice agreements are contractual variations, so employers cannot change the rules straight away as they are bound by their current arrangements until they are renewed (unless the terms include provisions for amendments).

This case should lead to revised HMRC guidance; the Policy Team will monitor amendments closely and advise members and the profession accordingly.

See the CIPP training area of our website for details on a half day Salary Sacrifice course which will provide delegates with up to date information.

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480(2016) Expenses and benefits tax guide 8 April 2016

An error has been identified in the 480 guide under Employer-Supported Childcare.

At Appendix 11 Employer-Supported Childcare, the basic rate of tax is still showing as the 2013-14 rate. We have informed HMRC and GOV.UK that this needs to be updated to reflect 2016-17 figures.

The 480 guide has however just been updated to reflect that the travel and subsistence rules changed from 6 April 2016 for workers providing their services through certain employment intermediaries (page 28).

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Trivial Benefits - non cash vouchers and Class 1 NICs 18 April 2016


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