News in brief: payroll, late payments, mentoring

News in brief
News in brief


Businesses failing to pay minimum wage named and shamed

Business minister Nick Boles has announced that 113 employers who have failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage have been named and shamed. Between them the named owed workers over £387,000 in arrears and span sectors including hairdressing, retail, education, catering and social care.

Business Minister Nick Boles said: “Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families. As a one nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it.”

A partner at law firm Clyde & Co, James Major comments: "Businesses who require employees to purchase uniform, tools, equipment or other products (even if at a discount) – a common practice in retail and the hospitality businesses in particular – need to be aware that the cost to staff will be considered a deduction for NMW purposes."


SME food producers are waiting two weeks longer for payment than larger competitors

Smaller food and drink producers are waiting more than two weeks longer than their larger competitors to receive payment from their customers, according to research by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA).

Food producers with a turnover below £10m are waiting an average of 48 days to receive payment whereas largest businesses (with turnover in excess of £500m) see their invoices to customers paid within 33 days.

ABFA Chief Executive Jeff Longhurst explains: “Payment delays are a deep-seated problem for SMEs in the food and drink sector and it is clear that despite the best efforts of the Government, they’re still suffering more than their larger rivals. With competition intensifying in the supermarket sector thanks to the expansion of the German discounters, perhaps that’s no surprise.”


Research highlights the value of mentoring

New research from law firm Bircham Dyson Bell has revealed that 48% of businesses have been helped by having a mentor.

Nearly a third of respondents (33%) said that they used a mentor when they were starting out, almost a quarter (21%) had used a mentor to assist with marketing and just under 20% to facilitate introductions.

Head of the Entrepreneurs Team at Bircham Dyson Bell Hollie Gallagher comments: “These survey results demonstrate that a mentor’s contribution is of huge value to businesses from those thriving to those just starting out. Mentors are being utilised in a range of ways and the advice they provide – using first-hand experience – is a huge help for businesses, particularly at important junctures such as setting up or raising finance.”


Money concerns are among the main obstacles to starting a business

A survey of the UK’s aspiring entrepreneurs by Intouch Accounting has revealed that the financial aspects of self-employment are causing Brits to think twice about setting up their own company.

Some 47% of participants considered the lack of stable income the ultimate obstacle to starting their own business and more than 25% of those surveyed were daunted by the prospect of securing funding for their start-up, in spite of the range of government schemes in place to help fledgling businesses find their feet. A significant 17% of respondents were put off by the idea of managing their own business finances.

One resounding outcome of the survey revolved around the revelation that more than half of under-35s would like to run their own business, suggesting that entrepreneurial spirit is strong among generation Y.


New service for employees struggling to care for ill relatives

Employers are being encouraged to sign up to a new service offering bespoke information and support for employees who care for people with degenerative conditions. The service, HERE, is a dedicated helpline and website set up by charity Guideposts and employee benefits provider PES for people living with conditions such as dementia, their carers and the professionals who look after them.

It is estimated one in seven employees in any workforce will be caring for someone who is ill, frail or has a disability. This could rise to as many as one in three by 2020. All this can have a dramatic impact on business; the cost of an unsupported working carer can be as high £10,000 for an employer in lost time and lost productivity.

Director of PES Ian Rummels said: “We’re thrilled to be launching HERE as part of our comprehensive employee benefits package. We provide these packages to smaller and medium-sized employers throughout the UK and our challenge has always been to balance a set of employee benefits that will be attractive to employees with affordability to businesses.”