The Government consults on introducing a statutory test to determine tax residence, to overcome uncertainty around the rules. The statutory framework will cover the tax residence of individuals only. It will apply to income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax, but it will not apply for non-tax purposes, for example national insurance contributions. The Government intends the changes to take effect from April 2013.
Consultation document: Statutory definition of tax residence: a consultation (PDF format, 374K) (on the HM Treasury website)
The Low Pay Commission consults on the extent to which the accommodation offset protects low-paid workers. It also aims to find out if there is any evidence that the level of the offset has deprived workers of accommodation that would otherwise be offered.
Consultation document: The provision of accommodation to workers (on the Low Pay Commission website)
The Government has appointed Doug Richard, serial entrepreneur, to launch a call for evidence on the future of apprenticeships. It looks at how to: identify best practice to ensure that apprenticeships meet the needs of the changing economy; deliver the skills and qualifications that employers need and that help individuals to progress; and maximise the impact of public investment. It seeks to determine what a good apprenticeship looks like, what purpose apprenticeships should serve and what role the Government should play in delivering them.
Consultation document: Richard review of apprentices: call for evidence (PDF format, 263K) (on the BIS website)
The Government consults on the automatic late filing and late payment penalties that will apply where employers fail to meet their filing and payment obligations on time under the "real time information" scheme. Real time information requires employers to report deductions prior to, or at the time of, paying employees.
Consultation document: Securing compliance with real time information - late filing and payment penalties (on the HMRC website)
The Government consults on introducing a provision to ensure that the income tax and national insurance contributions of "controlling persons" are deducted at source by their engaging organisation. The purpose of this is to address the "established and growing problem with people using intermediaries to disguise employment". It is the Government’s view that, where a person directs the activities of an organisation, and he or she is engaged at a senior level (through an intermediary), that individual should be taxed as an employee.
Consultation document: Consultation into the taxation of controlling persons (on the HMRC website)
The Government consults on proposals to repeal the third-party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 on the basis that there is no evidence that they serve a practical purpose or are proportionate for dealing with harassment by third parties. Under s.40 of the Equality Act 2010, in certain circumstances, an employer will be treated as having harassed an employee where the harassment is carried out by a third party.
Consultation document: Equality Act 2010 - employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties (PDF format, 728.7K) (on the Home Office website)
Government response: Equality Act 2010 - employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties (PDF format, 275.4K) (on the Home Office website)
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The Government consults on proposals to repeal the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 that set out a questionnaire procedure for an individual who thinks that he or she has been discriminated against. The procedure enables employees to gather information from their employer, but the Government says that there is no evidence that this has encouraged the settlement of complaints or better presentation of employment tribunal claims. It also proposes repealing employment tribunals' power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases on the basis that this has limited use.
Consultation document: Equality Act 2010: consultation on repeal of two enforcement provisions (PDF format, 885.4K) (on the Home Office website)
Government response: Equality Act 2010: consultation on repeal of two enforcement provisions (PDF format, 335.6K) (on the Home Office website)
The Government has issued a call for evidence on the European Commission's proposals for a Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive. This seeks to improve the implementation and enforcement of the Posted Workers Directive (96/71/EC). The draft proposals aim to: clarify the situations that may be classed as a posting; improve cooperation between member states about potential evasions or contraventions of the Directive; set out mechanisms for the cross-border enforcement of penalties levied on employers that have not met their liabilities under the Directive; and introduce a system of joint and several liability for contractors in the construction sector.
Consultation document: EU proposals for a Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive (PDF format, 198K) (on the BIS website)
The Government consults on proposals that responsible officers should assess whether or not doctors' competence in the English language enables them to perform their role, as part of a consultation on the role of responsible officers. Under the proposals, responsible officers (senior doctors within organisations) would work with the General Medical Council to ensure that doctors are assessed, including making sure that they understand NHS processes and medicines.
Consultation document: Responsible officers in the new health architecture (PDF format, 208K) (on the Department of Health website)
The consultation sets out recent and proposed changes to employment law in Great Britain and seeks to determine whether or not they would be appropriate in Northern Ireland. The changes under review are grouped under three headings: the proposals for early resolution of workplace disputes, for example the "rapid resolution" scheme; efficient and effective employment tribunals, for example increasing the maximum amount of a costs order; and better regulation measures, for example the introduction of "protected conversations".
Consultation document: Employment law discussion paper (PDF format, 177K) (on the Department for Employment and Learning website)
The Government has launched a call for evidence on making the dismissal process "simpler, quicker and clearer" because of concerns raised by organisations that the "Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures" is not appropriate for small businesses and relates mainly to disciplinary issues involving misconduct. It also proposes to allow businesses with fewer than 10 employees to dismiss an employee where no fault is identified on the employee's part, as long as the employer pays a set amount of compensation to the employee. This would prevent the employee from being able to bring an unfair dismissal claim.
Consultation document: Dealing with dismissal and "compensated no fault dismissal" for micro businesses (PDF format, 347K) (on the BIS website)
Government response: Dealing with dismissal and "compensated no fault dismissal" for micro businesses (PDF format, 651K) (on the BIS website)
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The European Commission consults on possible legislative initiatives to improve the gender balance in the boards of companies listed on stock exchanges. The consultation follows earlier calls for employers to commit voluntarily to increasing the number of women on boards.
Consultation document: Consultation on Gender imbalance in corporate boards in the EU (on the Europa website)
The Government consults on changes to the pensions automatic enrolment implementation timetable for employers with fewer than 250 workers in their PAYE scheme. It also consults on changes to the arrangements for the gradual introduction of minimum employer contributions.
Consultation document: Revised implementation proposals for workplace pension reform (PDF format, 91K) (on the DWP website)
Government response: Revised implementation proposals for workplace pension reform (PDF format, 54K) (on the DWP website)
The Government consults on giving shareholders an annual binding vote on their company's remuneration policy and a binding vote on exit payments worth more than one year's base salary. It also proposes that companies should obtain a higher level of shareholder support to pass the vote on future remuneration policy, and maintaining an annual advisory vote on the company's implementation of remuneration policy over the previous year. The consultation forms part of a package of measures to "address failings in the corporate governance framework for executive remuneration".
Consultation document: Shareholder voting rights consultation (PDF format, 213K) (on the BIS website)
The Government consults on proposals to exempt employers from the duty to auto-enrol employees, who work in the UK and another member state of the European Economic Area, into a qualifying pension scheme where the individual is subject to the social and labour laws relevant to the field of occupational pension schemes of the other member state.
Consultation document: Workplace pension reform - automatic enrolment and European employers (PDF format, 91K) (on the DWP website)
The European Commission has launched a consultation to identify successful practices and policies in relation to company restructuring and anticipating change. It aims to promote employment, growth and competitiveness and improve "synergy" between all relevant parties. The Commission will build on the outcome of this consultation to consider new ways to disseminate and implement good practices for dealing with immediate concerns relating to the economic crisis and long-term competitiveness objectives.
Consultation document: Restructuring and anticipation of change: what lessons from recent experience? (on the Europa website)
The Government consults on proposals to require those who use the tribunal system to contribute to its costs. The proposals include two options: the first option consists of an initial fee to issue a claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing; the second option, which does not cover the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), consists of one main charging point, which is an initial fee on issuing the claim and, if the claimant seeks an award of £30,000 or above, a higher fee is payable. Under both options, the party issuing the claim pays the fee, and the tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the successful party. The fees will be waived for those who cannot afford to pay them. The Government proposes to introduce the fee system in 2013 or 2014, depending on the option implemented.
Consultation document: Charging fees in employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (PDF format, 409K) (on the
Ministry of Justice website)
Government response: Charging fees in employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (on the
Ministry of Justice website)
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) consults on improving the personal tax system, which includes PAYE and income tax self assessment. HMRC believes that, because of the way in which the PAYE system works, not all employees know how to check their tax code and whether or not their data is up to date, or how much tax they are paying and why. The consultation document sets out proposals to improve individuals' understanding and make the tax system easier to deal with.
Consultation document: Modernising the administration of the personal tax system: Tax transparency for individuals (on the HMRC website)
The Government consults on proposals to require banks that have assets exceeding £50 billion to disclose the pay of their eight highest-paid non-board executives. Banks will not be required to publish the name or title of the recipient, but will be required to disclose the pay of each individual, split into fixed, variable and deferred variable remuneration, long-term incentive scheme vestings, pension accruals, joining benefits and severance benefits.
Consultation document: Bank executive remuneration disclosure: consultation on draft Regulations (PDF format, 3.53MB) (on the HM Treasury website)
The Government invites views on the impact of the collective redundancy consultation legislation. The Government considers that the increase in the pace of decision-making and the need for the labour market to generate growth requires a review of the legislation. It seeks to establish what impact the legislation has on the ability of businesses to respond to market opportunities and business confidence, including what challenges employers face in complying with the rules. It also seeks to explore the issues for employees, including whether or not they are able to engage meaningfully with their employer during consultation and find alternative employment. The call for evidence covers four main areas, including whether or not to amend the 90-day consultation period where 100 or more redundancies are proposed. Following the call for evidence, the Government will issue a formal consultation in 2012.
Call for evidence document: Collective redundancy consultation rules (PDF format, 302K) (on the
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The Government invites views on the effectiveness of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246). It acknowledges that some businesses are concerned that the Regulations are "gold plated" and too bureaucratic. The issues on which the Government seeks views include whether or not the Regulations provide greater clarity on the law applying to transfers of undertakings, and whether or not the lack of provision for post-transfer harmonisation of terms and conditions is a significant burden on employers. The Government acknowledges that possible amendments are limited by the requirements of the Acquired Rights Directive (2001/23/EC), and seeks to maintain the ability for businesses to restructure while providing protection for employees. If the evidence gathered calls for changes to the Regulations, the Government will issue a formal consultation on proposed changes in 2012.
Call for evidence document: Effectiveness of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (PDF format, 191K) (on the
Government response: Effectiveness of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (PDF format, 215K) (on the
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HM Revenue and Customs consults on draft amendments to Regulations relating to PAYE, national insurance contributions and the Construction Industry Scheme, in connection with the forthcoming implementation of "real time information", a process that will collect information about tax and other deductions each time employers pay their employees, rather than at the end of the year.
Consultation document: Legislative changes relating to the introduction of real time information (on the HMRC website).
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is consulting on whether or not to repeal the Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations 1978 (SI 1978/1689) and the Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1978 (SR 1978/401). The Regulations apply to lecturers, teachers, instructors and those in a similar capacity in a modern education and training environment. HMRC has stated that the Regulations apply more widely than to academic tuition delivered in a traditional educational establishment. Vocational training providers are having difficulty applying HMRC's interpretation of the Regulations.
Consultation document: Lecturers, teachers, instructors or those in a similar capacity (on the HMRC website)
The consultation sets out the Government's proposals on the Local Government Pension Scheme, which include increasing employee contribution rates and amending accrual rates.
Consultation document: Local Government Pension Scheme: Consultation on proposed increases to employee contribution rates and changes to scheme accrual rates (PDF format, 182K) (on the Department for Communities and Local Government website)
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) consults on proposals to give closely-connected employers the option of being treated as one entity for PAYE purposes. HMRC wants to find out how many employers are keen on this proposal, which types of employers are interested, what the advantages and disadvantages are of PAYE pooling and whether or not employers agree with its proposals on how it would work.
Consultation document: PAYE pooling (on the HMRC website)