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DPS - Pipedream

20/6/12

14:16

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DPS - Pipedream

20/6/12

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Full Page AD - Shots Media_1

27/6/12

12:29

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Full Page AD - Planet Earth

20/6/12

14:35

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Full Page AD - ST Rubber

20/6/12

12:10

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Full Page AD - CalEx

20/6/12

12:25

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And the winners were

2/7/12

19:50

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Celebrating Ex And the winners were... The date, 24th June. The time, 7.30pm. The location, the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s Oasis Suite at the NEC. The occasion, the 8th annual ETO Awards Dinner - and England were playing Italy at the same time. Here’s what happened... Excellence may be its own reward but it’s also very satisfying to receive recognition from your customers and peers in the industry, and that’s what the winners at the annual ETO Awards Dinner get - along with a night they will never forget. The Awards Dinner is staged on the evening of the first day of the ETO Show and it really is an unrivalled

opportunity to meet the leading names from the UK industry all in one place and in an informal setting. As anyone who has been around for a while will confirm, this is an industry that works hard and plays hard, so there’s usually a fair bit of drinking to get through as well. It is customary for the smartly dressed guests to assemble in the

Erotic Trade Only July 2012

Crowne Plaza bar above the Oasis Suite before the Awards Dinner and this year there was a palpable sense of tension in the air. No one is made aware of the winners’ names before the envelopes are opened on stage so every one of the

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finalists is in the same position - will I win? Adding to this was the small matter of a football game that clashed with the

Awards Dinner. Due to their better than expected group performances, England were playing Italy in the quarter finals of the Euro 2012 football tournament, with the kick-off taking place at the same time as the customary pre-awards entertainment would have started. The organisers’ carefully drawn up plans were ripped into little pieces and thrown into the air and Plan B was rolled out, which involved building a 90” television into the stage set so the game could be shown live. At 7.28pm the tension upstairs in the bar was nothing compared to that downstairs in the Oasis Suite, where the huge television was receiving every channel except the one broadcasting the football. Hats off to the AV contractors - Maxim Presentations who calmly addressed the situation by moving the external aerial. It was a rather surreal Awards Dinner, with loud cheers of hope and exasperated groans of despair accompanying the three courses, but when full time ended there was no score. Extra time followed and still the stalemate went unbroken. So, it was down to penalties... Following the heartbreak, ETO editor Dale Bradford and publisher Lee Schofield took to the stage. After a few comments about the match, Bradford moved on to the awards, explaining that it was a privilege to present the trophies to the winners on behalf of ETO readers. He explained: “The winners are decided not by us or a panel of experts but by the readers of ETO magazine. They don’t always give us the result we would like, but that’s democracy for you.” He continued: “Every year I am contacted by people asking how they can win one of these awards, and when I say ‘just get more votes than everyone else’ they sometimes think I’m playing hardball and will ask what else they have to do. But that’s it. It really is. And that’s why these awards should be coveted by those who win them. We’re not presenting them to you because Lee and I like you or you advertise with us - Christ, life would be a lot easier for us if we did do it that way - no, if you win tonight you are receiving an award because your customers and peers in the industry think you are doing a bloody good job.” Bradford closed by emphasising that everyone who made the shortlists also had cause to be proud because it proved their work was recognised. There was a smattering of muted applause but it was obvious that the Italian football team were responsible for casting something of a gloom over the proceedings. It was, rather incongruously, Scottish twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid who banished the gloom and restored the party atmosphere. The winner of the


Full Page AD - Shots Media_2

27/6/12

12:35

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Paying your dues

2/7/12

20:11

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Paying your dues: Common National Minimum Wage errors Failing to pay your staff the minimum rate for the job - either accidentally or by being ‘clever’ - can work out very expensive in the long run. Jason Piper, a technical officer at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, provides a guide to staying on the right side of HM Revenue and Customs...

Erotic Trade Only July 2012

According to the Low Pay Commission’s 2012 report, retailing is one of the sectors that suffer most from low pay. The Commission found that 9% of all retailing (204,000) jobs are minimum wage. The report noted that: “In the retail sector there was a clear link between company performance and approaches to pay. Retailers that struggled in the recession tended to make greater use of youth rates.” Low pay is, of course, the reason for the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW). It’s a fact of life for all

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employers, and one that needs to be complied with if you want to avoid some potentially expensive and inconvenient consequences. It’s not specifically a ‘tax thing’, but is nevertheless enforced by officers from HM Revenue and Customs. They have 17 small operational teams operating throughout the UK identifying non-compliance, and in 2010/11, they identified almost £4 million in arrears, benefitting around 23,000 workers. To illustrate the point, consider the 2008 case of Jackson’s Butchers in Sheffield who were ordered to pay £11,000 to two former employees for underpayment of NMW; Benjamin Gains, a Manchester Optician who paid up to 40% less than the NMW to staff - he was fined £3,696 in 2010; and more recently, a Nottingham car dealership, Pendragon Plc, who underpaid 40 staff and were fined £35,000 in March 2012. The NMW teams work under the powers of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, and can visit at any time, without giving a reason, to inspect your wage records, and have a range of criminal powers to ensure compliance. Obstructing them in any way is a criminal offence, which carries a fine of up to £5,000 and can get you a criminal record, even if you’ve actually paid NMW. If you’ve deliberately underpaid, or tried to disguise underpayments, that’s a criminal offence too, again carrying a £5,000 fine. In HMRC’s own words, ‘We want to help employers comply with NMW requirements. We believe this is in everyone’s interests; it saves employers the cost and hassle of an enquiry and it helps ensure that low paid workers are paid what they’re legally owed.’ Because the team working on NMW don’t do anything else, they won’t be looking at your other records or tax compliance, but they are interested in making sure that workers receive their legal dues. Bear in mind though that they have to work according to the regulations, even if they seem complicated or unreasonable. In order to try to help employers keep out of trouble, HMRC has compiled a list of the most common failures they come across when visiting employers. If you use an agency or bookkeeper to run your payroll, they can help with ensuring that your employees are paid the NMW. But if you handle your own payroll there are a number of simple checks that can be done, or systems that you can put in place, to help avoid any problems. If you have underpaid NMW, you’ll have to make good the lost wages to the workers, as well as paying a penalty - half the underpayment, capped at £5,000, or a quarter if you settle everything within 14 days of


Paying your dues

2/7/12

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the official notice. You can appeal against an underpayment notice, but simply ignoring it will get you prosecuted for deliberate underpayment. 1. FAILURE TO RECORD WORKING TIME PROPERLY Are workers required to arrive early or leave late? Are they asked to do stock takes or carry out other work related activities outside normal working hours? If the answer to these questions is yes, they must be paid the NMW for this additional time, as well as for their normal working hours. While this can be something as simple as expecting the trainee to sweep up and tidy away after their ‘official’ hours have ended, larger employers have been caught out too. For example, a store which was part of a national franchise asked staff to come to work 15 minutes before opening time to prepare the store for the day and stay behind to clear up and re-stock at the end of the day. The additional hours were not included in the hours worked and so the workers were significantly underpaid. The company accepted that the additional 15 minutes would cause some workers to receive rates of pay less than national minimum wage, in particular those on casual part time contracts working during seasonal peak times. Agreement was reached that the employer should repay nearly 1,800 workers arrears totalling over £110,000. The company changed their attendance policies; it now only requires workers to arrive in good time for their shift.

3. BIRTHDAYS Do you have any official record of when your employees’ birthdays are? Is it linked in to your payroll system? It’s a key point, as NMW rates are based on

4. DEDUCTIONS FROM PAY In most cases, the NMW is only worked out after any deductions an employer has made to cover things like uniform, tools, transport or purchases of goods and services. In other words, if you’re charging for these extras, you’ll still need to ensure the remainder of the worker’s pay, after the deductions, meets the NMW for the hours they have worked. The only exceptions to this are if the deduction has absolutely nothing to do with the actual employment, and is a genuinely voluntary payment - for example, if the employer allows the office lottery syndicate to operate through the wages books. In most cases though, if the employee doesn’t get the cash in their hand, or the credit in their bank account, then it won’t count as NMW. Consider this example: HMRC investigated an employer using workers from central and Eastern Europe. Foreign workers can find it difficult to open bank accounts and obtain accommodation without references. In this case the employer deducted £50 from each of the workers’ pay for a letter confirming that they worked for the employer. These deductions reduced the amount of pay that counts for NMW purposes. As a result around 40 workers were underpaid an average of £78 over two years. The total arrears identified by HMRC was just over £3,000. 5. PIECE RATES Depending on what business you’re in, you may pay your workers by their productivity - how many items they can make or how many hundred envelopes they can stuff. However if the worker is required to work fixed hours, and just paid for what they make in that time, then they must receive at least the NMW for those fixed hours. That doesn’t mean you have to support workers who are unusually slow (or slacking) provided your ‘piece rate’ works out so that an average worker could make 1.2 times NMW in an hour then it will be up to the workers to meet that target. The extra 0.2 in the hour is so that new workers can

still earn NMW while they are getting up to speed on production. 6. ACCOMMODATION If you charge workers for accommodation, do bear in mind that these charges are linked to the payment of NMW, even if the accommodation is not directly connected to the employment. You can offset some of the accommodation costs against the NMW amount, but only £4.73 per day, or £33.11 per week. Anything that you charge over that will be treated as a deduction, reducing the wages counting towards NMW. This will be the case even where you are genuinely helping out. In one instance, a hotel offered accommodation to its workers as there was very little affordable rental property in the area. HMRC discovered that the employer was making deductions of around £50 per week for the cost of accommodation, which is more than the maximum amount that an employer is allowed to offset against NMW pay for accommodation. As a result twentyeight workers received around £6,500 in NMW arrears. 7. PAYING THE WRONG NMW RATES Simply failing to update pay rates for the new levels is surprisingly common; so make sure it doesn’t happen to you. From 1st October 2011, the rates of NMW were: • Workers aged 21+ • Workers aged 18-20 • Workers below 18 and beyond • compulsory school attendance • Apprentice rate*

£6.08 £4.98 £3.68 £2.60

From 1st October 2012, the rates of NMW will change to: • Workers aged 21+ • Workers aged 18-20 • Workers below 18 and beyond • compulsory school attendance • Apprentice rate*

£6.19 £4.98 £3.68 £2.65

* For apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship Further information Direct.gov: http://bit.ly/EcWZC Businesslink: http://bit.ly/IY86Dz Pay and Work Rights Helpline - Tel. 0800 9172368

Erotic Trade Only July 2012

2. APPRENTICES Since 1st October 2010 all apprentices on a formal apprenticeship scheme or contract have been entitled to a NMW apprentice rate for all the time they are in work or training, currently £2.60. After a year’s service and on reaching the age of 19, they should get at least the rate appropriate to their age, just like any other employee. From April 2012, there is also scope for a ‘new’ type of apprenticeship, which will be treated by the law as being a ‘contract for services’ rather than a ‘contract of apprenticeship’ - it’s unlikely you’ll manage to set one up by mistake, but if you are considering it, bear in mind that whatever their age, employees on one of these contracts will qualify for the normal age related NMW, rather than the lower apprentice rate. If you’re not sure about paying the £2.60 rate, check with an expert; it’ll almost certainly be cheaper than paying the wrong rate.

the age of the employee, so if you miss someone’s 18th, 19th or 21st birthday it could mean you’re paying them the wrong wage. Remember it can also make a difference for older employees as well, as their National Insurance Contributions rates change; that’s not an NMW point, but the one check will help with compliance for both systems. You may find that your payroll software or agent looks after this for you, but it’s worth checking, and if there’s nothing in place then you should consider setting up a reminder system.

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Full Page AD - ABS

20/6/12

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ETO July 2012 Magazine