Engagement letters for tax practitioners, issued in April 2018, provides guidance to tax practitioners about engagement letters for tax work. This has been supplemented by a schedule of services: Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV).
Determining a person’s employment status has been a contentious legal issue since the middle of the 20th century. Although current cases have tended to focus on employment rights, there is a large body of case law around tax, and the principles applied are not always entirely consistent, which adds to the difficulty.
Technical factsheet: Disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures
It is very important for employers to ensure that they follow a good procedure in disciplining and dismissing employees. If a fair procedure is not followed, a dismissal is likely to be unfair, no matter how good the employer’s reason for terminating the employment.
Staff sickness may be a considerable burden on a business, leading to additional staffing costs and increasing the workload for other workers. While all employers would want to support members of staff who are unwell, sickness absence must be managed otherwise it can cause problems in the workplace.
Every relationship between an employer and an employee is governed by a contract of employment, which is an agreement setting out their mutual obligations. The contract starts as soon as the employee starts work, and if there are no written terms, the parties’ obligations are implied by looking at how the parties conduct their relationship on a day-to-day basis.
The law in relation to age discrimination is covered by the Equality Act 2010. All employees and workers are covered, as well as those accessing vocational training, including job applicants and people who have left their job (and, for example, have not received a reference).
The Working Time Regulations were introduced in 1998 to give effect to the European Working Time Directive. They are a health and safety measure, primarily intended to ensure that working hours are limited, proper breaks are taken and that workers receive paid holidays. We do not know what impact Brexit will have on these regulations as the government will be free to repeal them if it chooses to do so. It is thought to be unlikely that there will be a wholesale repeal, but there may be some elements that are less popular with government and employers, and which may be subject to change.
The law recognises the right of an individual worker to be treated equally with others regardless of personal characteristics that should be irrelevant in decision-making, such as sex or race. These are known as ‘protected characteristics’. This area of law is about trying to prevent employers making choices that are detrimental to someone at work for reasons that are unlawful.
The settlement offer was introduced by s111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide a new tool to assist employers to resolve issues at work. The offer and the subsequent discussions between the employer and the employee can result in them concluding a settlement agreement by which the employment is terminated in a mutually acceptable way.
Redundancy is a separate and specific reason for an employer to fairly terminate a contract of employment. It is a form of dismissal but the conduct or competence of the employee is irrelevant; the reason for the dismissal is economic and/or organisational reasons which have led to a reduction in the workforce. It is governed by the Employment Rights Act 1996.
A number of important rights have been introduced in an effort to address the work/life balance problems faced in modern working families. These rights are only accorded to employees. Most of them depend upon serving a particular period of continuous employment. Employers are free to provide enhancement to these rights if they wish but the outline below is the basic statutory entitlement.
Technical factsheet: professional conduct in relation to taxation
Tax advisers operate in a complex business and financial environment. The increasing public focus on the role of taxation in wider society means a greater interest in the actions of tax advisers and their clients. This guidance, written by the professional bodies for their members working in tax, sets out the fundamental principles and standards of behaviour that members are expected to follow.
Consumer credit – how it affects ACCA practitioners
On 1 April 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took responsibility for regulating consumer credit activities. Prior to that, ACCA had a Consumer Credit Group Licence in place for its members in practice but at this date all group licences were withdrawn by the regulator.
Technical factsheet: rights of access to accounting records when those records are held by a third party
Documents belonging to clients must be given to clients (or their agents if authorised to do so) promptly on request, or on ceasing to act for the client, except in those cases where members are able to exercise a right of lien.
Businesses lose a lot of money through sickness absence, not all of it medically justified. While many of the issues can be handled on the basis of give and take, there are times when clear policies and decisive action are needed.
This is a basic guide prepared by the Technical Advisory service for members and their clients. It is an introduction only and should not be used as a definitive guide, since individual circumstances may vary. Specific advice should be obtained, where necessary.
Although some employees and employers can now choose to follow an alternative dispute resolution procedure, most employee complaints are still heard at an employment tribunal. You need to take tribunals seriously. If you have well-thought-out procedures, and follow them, you can prepare good evidence, making it easy to defend your actions.
BHP guide to...minimum wage and statutory pay obligation
Regulations covering minimum wages and statutory pay apply to almost every business.
It is illegal to pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) so you need to be clear about your responsibilities as an employer if you are going to minimise disruption to your business and prevent disputes arising.
Whether your business relies on innovative new products or just the strength of your reputation, it almost certainly involves some intellectual property. You need to use your own intellectual property as effectively as possible. You also need to be sure you are not infringing the rights of others.
BHP guide to...rights for working parents and carers
Given the number of changes to parental rights in recent years, employers could be forgiven for not knowing where they stand when one of their employees is pregnant or becomes responsible for a child. But with tribunals making large awards against employers who ignore the rules, you simply cannot afford to stick your head in the sand.
This guide outlines the main components of the Act and explains the offences in the legislation. It also summarises business’ responsibilities and how they can ensure that their own procedures comply with the demands of the law.
As an employer, you need to know about flexible working. The law says you must ‘consider seriously’ requests to work flexibly from employees with a child aged 16 or under, a child with disabilities under 18 and employees looking after an adult dependant. The Government plans to extend this right to all employees in 2014.
Faced with the mass of legislation, meeting your health and safety requirements can seem an enormous task. Fortunately, the most critical part of managing health and safety - risk assessment - is relatively straightforward.
A contract of employment exists as soon as an applicant accepts your offer of a post. A clear, reasonable contract helps ensure the employee understands what is expected and minimises the risk of disputes. At the same time, you need to understand what your contractual obligations are, and what terms you can (and cannot) enforce.
Some people think that the Internet is an unregulated free-for-all, but this is simply not the case. The law still applies, although in some areas its interpretation and effects are not entirely clear. And in some cases, such as Internet sales, there are additional laws that give consumers extra rights. The international nature of the Internet, and the ease with which information is copied and transmitted, can lead to additional problems.
Discrimination against employees on any grounds other than their ability to do the job is a bad idea — and could also be illegal. If an employee or potential employee brings a discrimination case against your business, you could be tied up in costly and time-consuming legalities for months. If they win, you could be liable for unlimited damages.
Looking after health, safety and welfare is not just a legal requirement - it makes commercial sense. Failing to manage health and safety properly can be far more costly than getting it right in the first place. While the sheer mass of legislation can be scary, most of it is straightforward and help and advice is widely available.
Redundancies can be a fact of life in the smaller business, where carrying surplus staff is a shortcut to disaster. A shift in the economic or business climate, a merger or a move to a new location can all make redundancies inevitable.