In this HR news round-up, a quick reminder about gender pay gap reporting, check you’re not underpaying staff for time spent on site or travelling, and why succession planning is important for family businesses.

Gender pay gap reporting reminder

Organisations with more than 250 employees have until April 4 2018 to produce a pay gap report and publish it on their website. On the government’s pay gap reporting website as well as the variances in hourly pay rates it’s interesting to see the proportion of women vs men working at different levels within companies.

Apprenticeship levy not working for many

It seems that thousands of businesses are failing to take advantage of the apprenticeship levy. The CIPD recently highlighted that 22% of employers didn’t know whether they were liable to pay the levy. The levy applies to employers with a pay bill over £3 million a year and is charged at 0.5% of an employers pay bill.

The government’s aim when introducing the levy last year was to fund more apprenticeships and generally contribute towards raising productivity in the UK.

Criticisms have come from a number of quarters and include:

  • It’s hard for many companies to access the funds.
  • Big companies are giving more in tax than they can get back to fund training.
  • The cap of £27,000 restricts more complex training required for certain types of apprenticeships.

As has widely been reported, apprenticeships have actually declined since the levy was introduced.

Among employers who currently pay the apprenticeship levy, 53% say they would prefer a training levy, compared with just 17% supporting the apprenticeship levy in its current form. (Source: CIPD)

Underpaying employees

While not all time spent on work premises needs to be paid for, the time an employee spends at the discretion of the employer must be included in pay calculations.

As publication The Week put it,

“Time spent in work briefings, having possessions searched, waiting for meetings to begin or to collect goods, or delays while a machine is broken down all count.”

The HMRC annually names and shames businesses paying less than the minimum wage. One of the largest payouts recently was Argos, where around 34,000 members of staff were said to be eligible for extra pay totalling £2.4m. The payment error occurred because workers’ hourly rates didn’t include morning briefings and security searches which could happen after they had clocked out of their shifts. (Source: The Telegraph)

In another example, a home care company in Wales underpaid 154 carers by £55,000, HMRC said the company had miscalculated the amount of travel time their employees should be paid to get to their clients. (Source: The Guardian)

Keeping it in the family

In 2014 there were an estimated 4.6 million family businesses in the UK, 87 per cent of all private sector firms. Family businesses employ over 11.9 million people and generate 34% of private sector annual turnover. (Source: Institute for Family Business State of the Nation 2015/16).

Some of Britain’s largest family owned businesses include Associated British Food and construction firm Laing O’Rourke. And while many businesses obviously have succession planning sorted, others often leave it too late, as business psychologist Caroline Gourlay says…

  • Start thinking about it much earlier than you think you need to. One of the most successful family business transitions I’ve been involved with took 5 years.
  • Don’t be too quick to choose definite successors. Let the situation evolve. Try people out in different roles to see what suits them.
  • Don’t pick a clone of yourself – the business may need a different type of leadership in the future.
  • Spend as much time preparing yourself as preparing your successors.

Read more about family business succession planning on Caroline’s blog

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