Don’t let employment law be a chore: know the facts
Whether it’s changes to legislation or solutions to common contract related problems, it is important to be in the know when it comes to employment law.
For instance, although it is only available to private practices and predominantly NHS practices are unentitled to claim, the employment allowance – which reduces practice owners’ Class one National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – has now increased to £3,000.[i] As long as a business does not belong to a corporate or is under the control of a person or persons who owns multiple companies, a practice can now benefit from and utilise these savings at the employer’s discretion.
In terms of making the claim, this can be done at any time during the tax year. It also doesn’t have to be spread over the 12 months – though of course it can be done in this way if preferable to the practice.
The other notable legislation change to affect practices is that employers will no longer be required to pay NICs for any employee under the age of 21 years. Under the new law, for any employee in this age bracket with earnings between the Secondary Threshold (ST) and Upper Secondary Threshold (UST) – which is the same value as the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) for 2015/2016 – the NICs rate is reduced to 0%.[ii]
The training schemes and apprenticeships that can be offered to this age bracket as a result not only provides a promising future for bright school leavers, but it gives a practice the chance to grow its team and harness new skills to suit its ethos and aims.
When it comes to contract employment law, it is important to be mindful of potential problems that can occur. For instance, for those practices that still issue contracts with absolutely everything in – such as disciplinary procedures, information on flexible working hours and regulations on unpaid leave – it limits the ability to make alterations.
Unless changes are being made to the actual role, there is no need to go through a lengthy consultation process for something that could be altered separately. For a developing practice and an environment that is forever experiencing changes, keeping a separate handbook to the actual contract would offer more freedom and flexibility to both employer and employee.
For those undertaking a training scheme within a practice, this is especially applicable. Indeed, by outlining time periods, rules on recouping training expenses and requirements for progression and a permanent offer, potential issues can be avoided.
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[i] Summer Budget 2015: key announcements. Accessed online September 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/summer-budget-2015-key-announcements
[ii] Abolition of employer National Insurance contributions for under 21s: employer guide. HM Revenue & Customs. Accessed online September 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-national-insurance-contributions-for-under-21s/abolition-of-employer-national-insurance-contributions-for-under-21s-employer-guide