In a scaled-back ceremony, designed to consider coronavirus-related restrictions, the Queen spoke for ten minutes and discussed ‘levelling up’, the Armed Forces, security, infrastructure, housing, education and the environment. Of key interest to payroll professionals was the reference to the eight new freeports that will be established in England, and the National Insurance (NI) break for freeport employers to be included in a National Insurance Contributions Bill. More information is available here. The Skills and Post- 16 Education Bill also has the potential to impact the work of payroll departments as a new “flexible loan” syst em is planned, and it is hoped that this will encourage higher levels of participation in further education in England.
Additionally, a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that there would be a change to the current student loans system, as new legislative measures will work towards:
“Enabling a new student finance system to transform the current student loans system, whic h will give every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college, useable at any point in their lives.”
Noticeably absent from the speech was any update on the progress of the Employment Bill, which was due to contain measures to enhance and protect existing workers’ rights. It was also to include steps on the creation of a Single Enforcement Body. The CIPP’s Policy team will keep a look out for any updates in this space, and will publish them in News Online and across social media platforms.
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Government confirms creation of new workers ’ watchdog 9 June 2021
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed that a new workers ’ w atchdog will be established, with the purpose of protecting the rights of UK workers.
There will be a Single Enforcement Body established (SEB), which combines the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HMRC ’s National Minimum Wage (NMW) Enforcement.
This is not a new development and a consultation on the subject was held back in 2019, as part of the good work plan.
The SEB will take responsibility for combatting modern slavery and enforcing the minimum wage, along with affording protections for agency workers, and it is believed that the creation of one body will improve enforcement as there will be increased co-ordination and shared intelligence. It will also mean that there is a clear direction for workers, as they will know what their rights are and be able to blow the whistle where things aren ’t being done correctly. There will also be enhanced abilities for the SEB to ensure that vulnerable workers receive the holiday pay and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they are entitled to, without the requirement of having to go down the route of an employment tribunal. The SEB will assist businesses by providing them with guidance on their duties towards staff. Higher levels of enforcement will also ensure that businesses who behave correctly are not undercut by rival employers who don ’t act in accordance with the law and who are not treating their workers properly. The SEB will also be responsible for the Naming and Shaming scheme, which publishes the name of companies who do not pay workers what they are legally entitled to. Employers who do not pay workers correctly can be issued fines of up to £20,000 per worker.
It has been confirmed that the new enforcement body will be created when Parliamentary time allows, through primary legislation.
The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals
Payroll: need to know
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