Friday, 29 November 2013


Social care providers flouting minimum wage rules, tax inspectors find

"HMRC has identified £338,835 in backpay owed to 2,443 workers, underpaid by 48% of 183 employers under investigation."
That excellent tomb "The Guardian",   published the following article by house scribe Randeep Ramesh.     It seems, if I've interpreted the information correctly,    that care workers principally involved in domiscillary  care,  may not be being paid what they should be,    ie,   less than the national minimum wage .   It looks like,  if a carer,  who's job it is, is to visit service users in their own home, may get the minimum wage per hour for the "care" aspect of their work, ie whilst they are actually in the home,caring,  but NOT paid as they travel between assignments.   So a carer is required to be at Mrs X between  10am and 11am,   then  at Mrs Y from 11am until 12pm.  Mrs Y lives about a mile and half from Mrs X.   not far, but 10 mins or so, depending on how you travel.
        So our carer has to leave Mrs X 5 minutes early and arrive at Mrs Y's 5 mins late, or,   shave 10 minutes off one or the other,  thus robbing the service user of care time. The employer could not reasonably sanction this of course, so,   they schedule the second call 15 minutes later, at say 11:15 until 12:15,  the third call, say,  12:30 until 1:45  etc  etc.   The problem is,  the employer won't pay the carer for the 15 minutes from one call to the next, so,  after say, 5 calls, the 15 minutes between each call adds up to an hour, which is unpaid.
If you then take the whole shift, paid only at NMW for the worked hours, divide by the "hours" actually "at work",  then it's possible the pay will fall below the minimum wage. If you add to this, some employees unreasonably charging for uniforms or other tools, it reduces the pay further.
         The local councils are saying there is'nt the funding,  but care is not being compromised.
Read the article in this link,  see what you think.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I absolutely despair !   An Employment tribunal orders a 77 year old widower to pay £3,569
redundancy pay to a carer after his wife died.    Several things very wrong here, what idiot department, first thought up this scheme of direct payments to carers by the less able?  It used to be that if you qualified for care, your local council would allocate one of their employed carers to you. Satisfaction all round,   carer has employment, service user would get good care, and there was a mechanism, a system, in place to make it all work.    Then someone brought in this scheme that absolved the councils from all responsibility.  The money was given directly to the service user, who had then to employ their own carer.    It made them [the service user] an employer, with the same obligations and responsibilities as anyone running a conventional business.   This is a tragic case in point.     This gentleman and his wife used the services of a carer, the wife died, the carers hours were reduced,   this woman,   then sued the old chap for redundancy,   and an employment tribunal upheld her claim!       This is the other thing that is wrong,   not only is there a madcap scheme in place, but the law is structured to support chancers like this woman, to the detriment of decent honest people.   Whichever government we have, we really need to be looking at our domestic systems and policies and concern ourselves less with what is going on abroad!
             Read the full article details by Luke Traynor at the Daily Mirror .......    

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


My local small business group is doing rather well!     The Hebden Bridge Business Breakfast was a joy to attend this morning, meet chums, chat, socialise, help each other,  no pressure do see this clip for a flavour.               Made this morning by one of our own,  RogueRobot.   (contact : )   As my readers will be aware the Tour de France visits Calderdale Valley next year and Hebden Bridge is slap in the middle, so excellent presentaion this morning from our Hebden Bridge tourist info people, on how local business should make the best of the opportunity,   for some more detail see: 
         Our business breakfast meeting  (notice I've started refering to it as "our" !)   was organised by the very organised Amy Leader  ( )  and is supported by the Federation Of Small Business.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Following on from my recent threads on zero hours contracts,   I note that tonight BBC 3 is hosting a debate on this very topic.   BBC 3 tonight Wednesday 9th October 2013 at 7.00pm series "Free Speeach"       debate from Cambridge.   Should be worth a watch. 

Monday, 7 October 2013


On Tuesday 24th September 2013,   with support from the FSB I spoke at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall Business Breakfast Group.   A terrific gathering of local businesses organised by Amy Leader local business development officer.    Very friendly and welcoming group, I did about 20 mins on zero hours contracts,  a subject of interest I feel to most small businesses.  The hebden Bridge Times and The Todmorden News,  both gave us cover ahead of the meeting which without doubt would have helped the already healthy attendance numbers.  see   Next breakfast meeting is  29th October 2013,   8:00-  - 9:30 am   Town Hall  Hebden Bridge,  no charge,   book in with Amy  Leader    

Monday, 23 September 2013


I've been invited by Hebden Bridge Business Breakfast Club to explain the impact and/or affect to small business locally.   I'll be brief,  it's an overview. The Business Breakfast meetings at Hebden Bridge Town Hall are meant to be informal/social for local businesses to meet to strengthen the community.  Thank must go to Amy Leader the Business Development officer for organising and to local paper The Hebden Bridge Times, for their support and coverage.  see    Tuesday 24th 8am Hebden Bridge Town Hall,   to book in   drop a line to :  

Friday, 6 September 2013


Zero hours contracts,

I cannot keep quiet observation any longer!   This really has turned into the pantomime season,   with every Tom, Dick and Harry having an opinion. The "TOM" in this case is Labour MP  Tom Watson who appears to have become an overnight employment law expert with his opinion on zero hours contracts.   The current "hot topic" in vote trawling,  no coincidence there then ?       Mr. Watson is entitled to his opinion of course,  but I feel obliged to point out mine.   He is wrong!    If you run a business in this the current economic climate you absolutely must have control,  and flexibility over your costs.   To have employees on fixed hours (read fixed wages)  when you might have no work for them to do,   is the path to ruin!    In my view, most of the employees on this type of zero hours contract arrangement are quite content as it suits their own domestic circumstances. Granted, some individuals will not be happy,  and would prefare full-time or fixed hours, but OH SI SIC OMNIA ,    if business cannot survive/thrive , there won't be any jobs!  see Mr. Watson quote at the excellent HR Magazine webpage....

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Hebden Bridge Times picked this up,

My local newspaper Hebden Bridge Times ran this item on PMHRC Ltd.  and shows that PRIME (the Princes inititive for mature enterprise)  REALLY does make an impact.   Helped me certainly.
This item also covered in the Todmorden local paper  and this link on the web!   

Monday, 15 July 2013

Latest Employment Law Reform Announcements

Jo Swinson, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, has issued a written ministerial statement announcing the following:- • changing the cap on the unfair dismissal award to the lower of £74,200 or one year's pay with effect from 29 July 2013 (we knew this was happening sometime this month, but now the commencement date is confirmed).
Our thanks as always to the excellent Daniel Barnett site for this update..          
My comment:......Has some common sense decended upon the world of employment law?    First the increase to two years service to qualify for certain employment rights,   then the announcement of a scheme for settlements,  the introduction of fees for tribunal applications..........and now,   the capping of awards ,    what next I wonder ?        The scrapping of paid holidays?   

Thursday, 20 June 2013

“Well done Cpl. Jones, I wondered who’d be the first to spot that one!”

Introduction of Tribunal fees now to be challenged.

Just as as we thought a long overdue change was about to happen, Unison has announced it is to apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the government decision to introduce fees for tribunal applications.  The main thrust of the argument from the union is;          
 1/ it is unlawful to introduce fees which make it prohibitively difficult to enforce European Community law                                                                                                                  
 2/   The fees indirectly discriminate against women, who, (typically) earn less than men.  I was given this tip by the excellent Daniel Barnett Site,  for details yourself go to:

Friday, 7 June 2013



It is begining to look as if some form of settlement agreement system might be in place by this summer,  (it is June now ! )  if  a method for settlement does come in it will mean that at least there is an alternative to litigation or the somewhat heavy handed “compromise agreement ” route as at present.   Although at first glance,   I’m not sure that the procedure as it’s outlined is any less bureaucratic than we have already……I quote the following observation from the very excellent Daniel Barnetts’  site
..”.In broad terms, employers and employees will be allowed to enter into certain confidential discussions about termination of employment, which will be inadmissible in ordinary unfair dismissal claims. It’s a bit similar to – but has very important differences from – the ‘without prejudice’ rule.”
• omitting the requirement that the initial termination settlement offer must be in writing • omitting the template letters (but moving them to non-statutory guidance) • adding a requirement that an employee must have a minimum of 10 calendar days to consider any offer • adding an expectation that employees should be allowed to be accompanied at settlement meetings     .
See what I mean?   It’s not exactly a down to earth / real world approach is it ?     Still,  we need something, so,  at best it’s a step in the right direction.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Introduction of fees for application to the Tribunal system

The “Chancers’ Charter” is the end in sight?

Introduction of fees for application to the Tribunal system.

Well,  we finally have a date, Monday 29th July 2013,  subject to final parliamentry approval, of the introduction of fees for applicants to lodge a tribunal claim (ET1).   With luck,  this might stem the flow of of all those dubious and frankly vexatious claims, we’ll  have to see.  see this link from the excellent Daniel Barnett’s  site….

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Those nice people at Personnel Today  have listed the main changes we should be aware of.   
read on.............

1. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is implemented
Among other things, the wide-ranging Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which has been spearheaded by business secretary Vince Cable, above, implements various reforms to the employment tribunal system; permits employers to have a "protected conversation" with an employee with a view to terminating his or her employment under a settlement agreement; and allows the secretary of state to change the limit on the unfair dismissal compensatory award.
2. New tribunal award limits come into force
An increase in the limit on the amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal is among the changes taking effect on 1 February 2013.
3. Employee-shareholder contracts are introduced
The Government is introducing a new type of employment contract, under which employees will be given shares in exchange for waiving certain employment rights.
4. Unpaid parental leave increases to 18 weeks
The right to unpaid parental leave increases from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013.
5. DBS checks (formerly CRB checks) are portable
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (formerly Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks) are portable between employers, from March 2013.
6. Collective consultation period is reduced to 45 days
The 90-day consultation period where 100 or more redundancies are proposed reduces to 45 days from 6 April 2013.
7. Real-time information for payroll
Employers are required to use real-time information to report payroll deductions before or when they make them, from 6 April 2013 unless a different date is agreed.
8. Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption pay increase
The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase from April 2013.
9. Rate of statutory sick pay increases
The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from April 2013.
10. Fee for bringing employment tribunal claim imposed
The charging of a fee in employment tribunals, under which the claimant has to pay an initial fee to issue a claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing, is introduced in summer 2013.