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Fire Safety in the Workplace

The information included in this document is not exhaustive and we recommend that before undertaking this exercise that you review the guides on completing fire risk assessments and fire safety plans that can be found online as can be seen in the “Where can I find help?” section below.

The regulations surrounding fire safety at work changed in October 2006 when one piece of law replaced all the previous laws around fire safety. This document was the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

Back up your Data

It seems that the only time backing up your data becomes a topic of conversation is when a computer has failed and work has been lost. Backing up is one of the most important, but also one of the most neglected areas of computing.

Loss of data can happen in many ways, the most common of which is failure of the media the data is stored on. Hard drive failures are common and if it has never happened to you, it is probably only a matter of time until it does. Power failure or power surges can also result in data loss or even failure of your entire computer.

Promoting your Business in a Recession

In today’s economy, we are all watching our cash flow. Marketing budgets are diminished during a time when it has never been more important to market your firm in order to keep the show on the road. So, here are a few ideas to help you market your business on a shoestring.

1. Improve you credentials. A good credential, such as a quality accreditation, will get you instant credibility with your prospects and clients. You are simply treated better and respected more when you've earned a credential that others recognise.

Employer Supported Childcare

Did you know that employers can contribute up to £55 per week (£243 per month) towards childcare FREE of tax and NICs providing the qualifying conditions are met. (This figure reduces for higher rate and additional rate tax payers to a contribution of £22). The  scheme applies to children up to aged 15 (16 if disabled).

HMRC Complaints Handling

You will probably be aware of the recent press coverage of HMRC’s handling of notifications to 6 million taxpayers regarding two year’s underpayments and overpayments of tax.

It is quite possible that these notifications will give rise to numerous complaints and it is interesting to note that HMRC has recently published online guidance on their complaints handling procedures. It is apparent that HMRC is attempting to improve performance in this area but we wonder how successful this will be after the anticipated cuts in resources recently announced have been implemented.

Cycle to Work Schemes

Have you introduced one of these schemes, or ever considered doing so? In the right circumstances (mainly depending on how far you have to travel from home to work, naturally enough) there are significant tax breaks available and they have now been made more flexible where the bicycle is sold to the employee later on.

Avoid Late Payment Penalties

Avoiding Penalties
To make sure you avoid penalties businesses need to pay the right amount of PAYE, student loan deductions, CIS and NIC on time.

Making Payments
Payments made by cheque must be received by HMRC by 19th of each month/quarter and electronic payments by 22nd of each month/quarter (take the time to check what day of hte week these fall on so they do not arrive late.

Regional Employer NIC's Holidays for New Business Update

HMRC has now published more details of the Holiday scheme.

Proposals to Abolish the Default Retirement Age

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulation 2006 allows employers to compulsorily retire employees at age 65 and over who followed the statutory retirement procedures without risk of unfair dismissal or age discrimination claims.

These provisions were due to be reviewed in 2011, the government has brought forward this review to 2010. The consultation closes on 21 October 2010.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation the government proposals are as follows.

The Equality Act

The equality act becomes law in October 2010. It replaces the existing anti-discrimination laws with a single act.

The same groups that were protected under the current equality legislation (age, disablity, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, maternity, pregnancy, race religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation).

What's stayed the same:

  • Direct Discrimination.

What's changed: