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July 2021

July 2021

Furlough Payments reduced

From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

The table below shows the level of government contribution available in the coming months, the required employer contribution and the amount that the employee receives per month where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time.

Wage caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

you can continue to choose to top up your employees’ wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at your own expense.

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

England’s Covid lockdown rules – current roadmap restrictions and will they be lifted on July 19?

Age discrimination tribunals have increased

According to research by Rest Less, a community for the over 50’s, age discrimination employment tribunals increased by a whopping 74% in 2020.

Thought to be a side effect of the pandemic, concerns have been raised that age discrimination complaints may continue to rise further unless a more age-inclusive approach can be adopted in the workplace.

Promoting age-inclusivity doesn’t just reduce the risk of discrimination and tribunal claims, it boosts diversity and can make for a happier, more creative workforce.

So how can employers check that their processes are age-inclusive?

A good place to start is with recruitment. Blind CV screening, which removes identifiers of age, can help to reduce the risk of age-bias in the recruitment process, assisting you in finding the best person for the job.

A further commitment to being an age-friendly employer may include the provision of flexible working to improve accessibility to work, or lifelong learning to encourage career development and the growth of key skills at any age.

New flexible tickets go on sale for part-time commuters.

On Monday 21st June 2021 New flexible tickets went on sale aimed at commuters in England who only travel to work two or three days a week.

The new tickets can be used for eight days in any month-long period.

The National Rail website will allow passengers to calculate savings and book the new tickets.

It is part of the government's planned shake-up of rail services, but is being introduced immediately to cater to the trend for more home-working.

From 2023 a new state-owned body, Great British Railways (GBR), will set rail timetables and prices, sell tickets in England and manage rail infrastructure.

The flexible season tickets are being introduced separately, ahead of the structural changes, and can be used from 28 June.

Seven ways the rail shake-up will affect you:

'I pay more than £9,000 a year for my season ticket'

Is it safe to use public transport?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new tickets would offer "greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare".

The government estimates commuters could save between £60 and £350 a year on selected journeys.

The cost of workplace conflict

Conflict happens. It’s part of everyday life.

Whether between friends, foes, neighbours, family members, or complete strangers, conflict can arise. Learning to deal with it well is a valuable skill to have.

The workplace can sometimes provide respite from conflict. It can also be the source of it. With different personalities working together in one organisation, and a large proportion of our waking hours spent at work, a degree of conflict in the workplace is inevitable.

As HR professionals, this is something we know all too well. We have been helping businesses manage and prevent workplace conflict for almost two decades.

Similarly, Acas (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has been front and centre for many heated workplace situations over the years. It is well positioned to comment on the scope of workplace conflict in the UK, and has calculated the pre-pandemic cost to organisations being a staggering £28.5 billion. If you’re wondering what that looks like day-to-day, it equates to £1000 per employee.

How did the cost of conflict come to be so high?

It’s a combination of costs that can be triggered by conflict; conflict which has usually been left to fester.

This includes organisational costs such as employee absences, presenteeism or resignation. Plus, the time spent trying to resolve an issue. Plus, the costs of formal procedures like disciplinary processes or litigation.

Not all conflict is going to contribute to such expense. In fact, some conflict can be beneficial to help your people and your business grow. Think a high-energy creative meeting or puzzling team-building session.

An experienced manager will be able to spot the difference between good conflict and the kind that needs an intervention – usually an early one at that.

Dips in productivity and/or increased absences are key identifiers of a potentially troublesome situation, as both can be the result of stress and poor well-being. When these sorts of behaviours start to arise, a one-on-one conversation with an employee can provide the subtle first steps towards an intervention.

Many instances of workplace conflict can be resolved at this point, saving time, money, and morale. For the times when next steps require further investigation, don’t forget Acorn HR Services are here to help.

HMRC Issue SEISS Penalties for Businesses Abusing the Scheme

The fourth SEISS scheme (Self-Employed Income Support Scheme) is now open. But now HMRC has made it clear there will be penalties for abusing the scheme.

When the scheme was first launched, the criteria was woolly and many self-employed people found it to be a lifeline. But now the HMRC has set out clearly the penalties for anyone who has claimed wrongly.

An ‘overclaimed’ SEISS grand is any amount of the grant which you were not entitled to receive or was more than the HMRC said you were entitled to when your claim was made.

Now, overpayments must be notified to HMRC within 90 days of receiving the SEISS grant.

Guidance on the HMRC website says: 'If you knew you were not entitled to your grant and did not tell us in the notification period, the law treats your failure as deliberate and concealed. This means we can charge a penalty of up to 100% on the amount of the SEISS grant that you were not entitled to receive or keep.

'If you did not know you were not entitled to your grant when you received it, we will only charge you a penalty if you have not repaid the grant by 31 January 2022.

Local News

Southampton International Boat Show Announce Major Exhibitors

The organisers of the annual Southampton International Boat Show have announced its line-up of sail and power boat brands taking part in this year’s showcase. World leading brands are set to take centre-stage at the boat show, organised by British Marine, when it returns to Hampshire later this year.

Big name brands including Sunseeker International, Princess Motor Yachts, Prestige Yachts and Sealine are just some of the brands attending the show this year, with many more set to be confirmed soon.

This diverse range of names makes Southampton International Boat Show a not-to-be-missed event for all serious boat buyers and water sports enthusiasts keen to have the opportunity to see the latest boats and equipment all in one place.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine says; “After trying times due to the pandemic, we are naturally thrilled to welcome back an incredible range of sail and power boats as we deliver the much-awaited and anticipated show this September.

“The Southampton International Boat Show will showcase boats and products to suit all styles and budgets. Visitors will benefit, once again, from being able to understand their choices and what is right for them with so many brands on display and available to view in one place.”

As per the Government roadmap, it is planned for outdoor events to run in full format by September 2021.

However, the health, safety and security of visitors remains the number one priority.

Through engagement with the relevant Government departments and Southampton City Council, British Marine will ensure that everyone can enjoy themselves in a safe and happy environment and incorporate any necessary COVID-19 safety measures that may be required at the time.

Other companies exhibiting at the show include Fjord,Jeanneau Sail & Power range, Beneteau Sail & Power range, Hanse, Dehlerand Moody sailing yachts and Privilège and Bali catamarans.

The Southampton International Boat show is set to take place 10-19 September.

Quote of the Month

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren't enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully, we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”

Viggo Mortensen

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