Pay growth hit 6.7% in the first three months of the year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), while pay growth in the public sector came in at 5.6% – the highest rate since 2003. However, when price rises are taken into account, total pay – including bonuses – was down 4% annually in real terms. The ONS report shows that the employment rate edged up to 75.9% between January and March, driven by an increase in part-time employees and self-employed workers, while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9%. Vacancies fell by 55,000 in the three-month period, while PAYE numbers were down for the first time for two years in February, by 136,000 to 29.8m. Meanwhile, There were 556,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in March. The ONS data also shows that the number of people not working due to long-term sickness has risen to a new record of 2.5m
Our comment: Pay growth and employment climb in Q1
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, FCIPD, ACEL, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “This is an interesting insight into pay within the UK during the first Quarter for 2023. The past three years with the Pandemic and high inflation has been very difficult for businesses when it comes to pay and can only advise business owners / managers to ensure that pay reviews are managed and implemented correctly with the team so that no adverse effects happen such as poor motivation and moral / customer service. The team should always know how the business is doing financially and be rewarded appropriately and it should never be a shock if a pay rise does not occur.
If you wish to discuss how you can involve the team in structured business consultations such as pay, development, rewards etc, contact us now for a non obligatory chat.”
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If you need support with your team this summer, then we are her to help.
One of the main questions we get asked at Consensus HR is in relation to Keeping Hold of a Personnel File and employee documents. Queries involve what data should be kept and how long for, referring to employees and ex-employees.
The answer? In reality, this is such a diverse area that adapts to the area of HR you are enquiring about. Requirements differ between recruiting new employees, disciplinary & grievance records or performance reviews to name a few.
The Employment Practices Data Protection Code, published by the Information Commissioner’s Office, provides guidance on compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018. Originally produced in 2011, the ICO states that the code remains useful and relevant. It says that employers should “Only retain information on records that is still needed,” and should “eliminate personal information that is no longer of any relevance, once the employment relationship has ended.”
HR Record Retention: The Reality
The key factor is that detailed records should be kept only as long as is necessary for the purpose for which they were created. The Chartered Institute of Personnel offers a comprehensive summary of requirements and further information, (see ‘Retention of HR Records’).
Employers should establish and adhere to standard retention times for different categories of records. Organisations can therefore set their own retention periods. Retention times should be based on business need, considering relevant professional guidelines. For example:
National Minimum Wage records must be kept for three years after the pay reference period that follows the pay period that they cover.
Payroll wage/salary records (also overtime, bonuses, expenses) should be kept for six years from the end of the tax year to which they relate.
Grievance records should be kept for six months after employment.
A brief record of the grievance may be retained after detailed records are removed from an individual’s personal file. This includes information such as:
Type of resolution that was reached
Where possible all information about former workers should be kept anonymously. You may need to keep data after the termination of employment for the purposes of defending possible tribunal and court claims. In these circumstances, the time limits for bringing claims will inform the retention period. This timeframe is currently three months minus one day from the date the problem at work happened.
Employers should ensure that information is not retained for longer than is necessary without justification. Plus, when information is destroyed, this must be done securely
Information within HR Records
The Consensus HR team advises our clients to keep a personnel record for every employee containing the following details:
Date of birth
Education and qualifications
National Insurance number
Details of any known disability
Emergency contact details
Employment history with the organisation
Employment terms and conditions (e.g. pay, hours of work, holidays, benefits, absence)
NEWS ARTICLE: Plan to raise state pension age shelved as life expectancy falls
plan to bring forward a rise in the state pension age to 68 is expected to be scrapped amid a decline in life expectancy and fears the change would alienate a core demographic of Conservative voters. The state pension age is due to increase from 66-years-old to 67 between 2026 and 2028. It is scheduled to rise to 68 by the mid-2040s. The government wanted to bring this forward to 2037-2039, with the plan due to be confirmed in May. But key cabinet ministers now think the decision should be postponed until after the next election. Steve Webb, former pensions minister and partner at LCP, said: “In many ways, people in their 50s are probably your swing voters. Upsetting people in their 50s is probably not what you want to do just 18 months before an election, especially if you don’t get any money until the 2030s.” Baroness Ros Altmann, a former pensions minister, said the fall in life expectancy projections means the cost of long-term state pension provision may already be overestimated. “This is of course partly due to the pandemic’s impact on older people, but the ongoing NHS backlogs and crisis in elderly care are also likely to prevent a sudden resumption of life expectancy rises,” added Altmann.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “This is an interesting article from the Financial Times and The Telegraph in relation to pensions and especially if it applies to you and you were born when this would affect you and your retirement!
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Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “Auto enrolment was introduced in stages in 2012, starting with the largest employers first, medium and then small employers and today includes all employees who meet the eligibility criteria. Since it started, 10.7 million people have started saving for their pensions and it has seen a huge and much needed increase in women and young people being enrolled into a pension. At the time of writing this blog the minimum contributions to the scheme were 8% made up of 3% from the company and the other 5% from the employee. It is now great to see in the article from a number of papers that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have plans to lower the age for workers to be eligible to 18 years old.”
NEWS ARTICLE: DWP backs expansion of auto-enrolment
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has backed plans to lower the age at which workers are eligible for automatic enrolment in a company pension from 22 to 18-years-old. A Private Member’s Bill tabled by Tory MP Jonathan Gullis also seeks to abolish the Lower Earnings Limit for contributions, which currently stands at £6,240. The Bill will not result in any immediate change but will give the Secretary of State powers to amend the age limit and lower the qualifying earnings limit for automatic enrolment at a later date, following consultation. Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said: “The PLSA supports increasing the momentum in automatic enrolment by extending it to workers under age 22 and removing the Lower Earnings Limit so that people save from the first pound of earnings.” Support for the plans comes as the DWP released an analysis of future pension incomes indicating that 2m Britons due to retire this decade will have “inadequate” pension income, increasing to 3.6m in the 2030s.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott of Consensus HR comments: “With the current strikes taking place, when writing this blog, is it hardly surprising that Demand for skilled workers to push up salaries ? This latest article from The Times discusses that it is predicted that private sector employers will get a 5% increase in 2023, compared to the public section getting 2%. Has your business started to look at what your pay review for the year and what you can afford? Has your business carried out any salary reviews within your area of business to see what the current rate of pay is? Whether this be high, median or low in relation to your competitors? In order to keep top talent, pay is one of the main drivers along with all the other areas of HR such as training and develoment, reward, culture etc.”
NEWS ARTICLE:- Demand for skilled workers to push up salaries
Demand for skilled workers is likely to push up salaries this year. A poll from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that more than half of British businesses expect to increase salaries to “stay competitive.” The CIPD’s quarterly employment report shows that, on average, employers expect pay to increase by 5% in 2023. While it is predicted that private sector workers will get a 5% rise, public sector workers are expected to receive an increase of 2%. Although seven in ten firms want to hire new staff in the next three months, almost 60% said the workers they were looking for are proving hard to find. To address this, half of businesses have sought to improve the skills of existing staff, while a third have chosen to increase employees’ duties. Some 43% have increased the pay they are offering to lure applicants. Jon Boys, the institute’s senior labour economist, said: “Skills and labour remain scarce in the face of a labour market that continues to be surprisingly buoyant, given the economic backdrop of rising inflation and the associated cost of living crisis.”
The Importance of Human Resources in Business – Human resources (HR) is a vital function within any successful business. Its primary purpose is to attract, retain, and develop talent, which is crucial for growth and competitiveness in today’s ever-evolving business environment. In this article, we’ll delve into the significance of HR in business and examine the many roles it plays in driving organisational performance.
To begin with, HR is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent. In today’s job market, with increased competition and a limited pool of available employees, it’s essential for companies to stand out and appeal to the best candidates. HR plays a crucial role in this regard by creating effective recruitment strategies that attract top talent to the organisation. This may involve utilising a variety of methods, including career fairs, social media, and employee referral programs, to reach potential candidates and showcase the company’s values, culture, and opportunities.
Once the top talent is on board, HR must then ensure that they are properly trained, developed, and integrated into the company culture. The success of a business is directly tied to the performance of its employees, and HR must make sure that employees have the necessary skills, knowledge, and support to excel in their roles. HR can do this by providing job training and development programs, implementing performance management systems, and conducting employee engagement surveys. These initiatives not only help employees perform better but also increase their job satisfaction, motivation, and overall engagement.
In addition to talent acquisition and development, HR also plays a critical role in ensuring that the company operates within the legal and ethical framework. This includes compliance with labour laws and regulations, as well as addressing workplace conflicts and disputes. HR must also be proactive in promoting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ensure that the company operates in a manner that aligns with its values and ethical principles.
One of the significant benefits of having a strong HR function is that it helps to create and maintain a positive and productive workplace culture. A healthy work environment fosters employee engagement and motivation, leading to higher levels of productivity and overall performance. HR plays a key role in shaping and maintaining the company culture by creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment, promoting open communication, and recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions. By doing so, HR helps to reduce employee turnover and increase employee satisfaction, leading to improved business results.
Another crucial role that HR plays in business is employee relations. This involves managing employee benefits and compensation, addressing employee concerns, and resolving disputes. HR must ensure that employees are paid fairly and receive adequate benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans. They must also be knowledgeable about the company’s policies and procedures and be able to communicate them effectively to employees. Additionally, HR must be available to listen to employee concerns and provide guidance and support when necessary. By fostering a positive and productive work environment, HR helps employees feel valued and appreciated, leading to higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.
Finally, HR is responsible for supporting the overall strategic objectives of the organisation. This involves aligning HR initiatives and policies with the company’s goals and objectives and working with other departments to ensure that the company operates as effectively and efficiently as possible. For example, HR may work with the marketing department to develop and implement employee branding and recruitment initiatives that align with the company’s marketing strategy. Additionally, HR may partner with the finance department to develop and implement compensation and benefits programs that support the company’s financial objectives.
In conclusion, the importance of HR in business cannot be overstated. From attracting and retaining top talent, to creating a positive workplace culture, and supporting the overall strategic objectives of the organisation, HR plays a critical role in driving organisational performance and success. Companies that invest in their HR function will reap the rewards of improved employee engagement, higher productivity, and a more effective and efficient business operation. Investing in HR programs and initiatives, such as leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement, will ensure that the organisation remains competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment and attracts and retains the best talent.
In addition to the tangible benefits of a strong HR function, there are also intangible benefits that are equally important. A company with a positive workplace culture and engaged employees is more likely to have a good reputation, which can lead to increased brand recognition and a positive image in the eyes of customers and stakeholders. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty and a more stable customer base, which is critical for long-term success.
It’s also worth mentioning that HR is not just about managing employees, but it’s also about managing the company’s most significant asset: its people. By providing support, guidance, and development opportunities, HR helps employees reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the organisation. Additionally, by fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture, HR can help to create a workplace that employees are proud to be a part of, which in turn leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction, motivation, and performance.
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If you want to know more on how we can help your business with Human Resources and the importance of getting it right, contact us now.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “At least this is one confirmed fact that will help business owners when having to pay their employee’s pension contributions and should help those employers who do not meet the current £10,000 threshold but have a number of the team on part-time flexible hours.”
PRESS ARTICLE: Automatic enrolment pension thresholds will remain the same for 2023/24
The government has confirmed auto-enrolment thresholds will be held at their current levels for the next year. Laura Trott, under-secretary of state for pensions, said the decision was taken to “ensure the continued stability of the policy in light of the impact of Covid-19 and prevailing economic factors.” The 2023-24 annual thresholds mean the automatic enrolment earnings trigger will remain at £10,000 and the lower earnings limit of the qualifying earnings band will remain at £6,240 with the upper earnings band staying at £50,270.
Consensus HR realises that many UK based SMEs understand the importance of Human Resources (HR) and Health & Safety (H&S) but cannot justify the cost of a full time HR person / team within their business, whilst knowing that when running a business of any size (from one employee to 250) that there will be a time when they will have to deal with a range of HR and H&S issues and employee problems. Consensus HR can be your organisation’s HR department providing everything you would expect to find in a big company but in a more cost-effective way. We provide our clients access to unlimited HR advice and employment law which is accredited by leading professional bodies, including the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.
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What are the pension auto-enrolment thresholds for 2023 / 24?
Matthew, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “With the war in Ukraine, Inflation at an all-time high and the Pandemic, it is great to see that business are ensuring that wages are increasing at their fastest rate in more than 20 years. Salary reviews should take place at least once a year with your teams with them knowing that a salary review does not necessarily mean a pay increase but the opportunity to discuss your current salary and why / why not you should receive an increase.”
NEWS ARTICLE : Wages have grown at the fastest rate in more than 20 years
Wages have grown at the fastest rate in more than 20 years, but are still failing to keep up with rising prices.
Average pay, including and excluding bonuses, rose by 6.4% between September and November compared to the same time last year, official figures show.
It is the fastest growth since 2001, excluding the pandemic, when people got big pay rises after returning to work.
When adjusted for rising prices, wages fell 2.6%, with the gap between public and private sector pay near a record.
We offer HR & Payroll that provides clients with a comprehensive yet flexible outsourced HR & payroll service tailored to each of your specific requirements. We pride ourselves on delivering an efficient, friendly and affordable service and fully understand the needs of sole traders as well as small and medium sized companies. We help you with the complexities of managing people, whilst preventing people problems. Why give yourself unnecessary worry and stress when we can look after your HR & payroll for you? By outsourcing your HR & payroll to Consensus HR you can concentrate on running your company and be confident that your company’s & employees HR & Payroll is being managed efficiently and compliant with current legislation.