Workplace Absence Policies

ACAS logo jpegChecking how your workplace deals with absence

Apart from annual holiday entitlement, an employee might need time off work for reasons including:

  • short-term and long-term sickness, including mental health conditions
  • helping a child, partner or relative
  • medical appointments
  • pregnancy-related illnesses and appointments, including IVF
  • bad weather or travel disruptions, making travelling to work difficult or impossible
  • bereavement

Each workplace might have different rules on what they see as acceptable reasons for absence and what they will pay.  For this reason, every workplace should have its own absence policy, so it’s important to check this.

ACAS has some very helpful guidelines on putting together an Absence Policy

What an absence policy should cover

An absence policy should make clear exactly what’s expected from both the employer and employee if the employee needs to take time off work.

An absence policy should include:

If your workplace does not have an absence policy, the employee can ask their employer or HR manager what to do if they need time off work. The employer should follow best practice as outlined in this guide.

There are some areas that are covered by law, for example:

For more support creating or reviewing an absence policy, ACAS provides:

Statutory Payments 2022-2023

DWPStatutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, Shared Parental and Parental Bereavement Pay

Use the maternity, adoption and paternity calculator for employers to work out your employee’s:

  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
  • paternity or adoption pay
  • qualifying week
  • average weekly earnings
  • leave period

These rates apply from 3 April 2022.

Type of payment or recovery 2022 to 2023 rate
Statutory Maternity Pay — weekly rate for first 6 weeks 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings
Statutory Maternity Pay — weekly rate for remaining weeks £156.66 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) — weekly rate £156.66 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) — weekly rate for first 6 weeks 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings
Statutory Adoption Pay — weekly rate for remaining weeks £156.66 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) —weekly rate £156.66 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP) — weekly rate £156.66 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower
SMP, SPP, ShPP, SAP or SPBPproportion of your payments you can recover from HMRC 92% if your total Class 1 National Insurance (both employee and employer contributions) is above £45,000 for the previous tax year103% if your total Class 1 National Insurance for the previous tax year is £45,000 or lower

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The same weekly Statutory Sick Pay rate applies to all employees. However, the amount you must actually pay an employee for each day they’re off work due to illness (the daily rate) depends on the number of ‘qualifying days’ they work each week.

Use the Statutory Sick Pay calculator to work out your employee’s sick pay, or use these rates.

Unrounded daily rates Number of qualifying days in week 1 day to pay 2 days to pay 3 days to pay 4 days to pay 5 days to pay 6 days to pay 7 days to pay
£14.1929 7 £14.20 £28.39 £42.58 £56.78 £70.97 £85.16 £99.35
£16.5583 6 £16.56 £33.12 £49.68 £66.24 £82.80 £99.35
£19.87 5 £19.87 £39.74 £59.61 £79.48 £99.35
£24.8375 4 £24.84 £49.68 £74.52 £99.35
£33.1167 3 £33.12 £66.24 £99.35
£49.675 2 £49.68 £99.35
£99.35 1 £99.35

Student loan and postgraduate loan recovery

If your employees’ earnings are above the earnings threshold, record their student loan and postgraduate loan deductions in your payroll software. It will automatically calculate and deduct repayments from their pay.

Rate or threshold 2022 to 2023 rate
Employee earnings threshold for student loan plan 1 £20,195 per year
£1,682.91 per month
£388.36 per week
Employee earnings threshold for student loan plan 2 £27,295 per year
£2,274.58 per month
£524.90 per week
Employee earnings threshold for student loan plan 4 £25,375 per year
£2,114.58 per month
£487.98 per week
Student loan deductions 9%
Employee earnings threshold for postgraduate loan £21,000 per year
£1,750.00 per month
£403.84 per week
Postgraduate loan deductions 6%

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates

cash jpegThese rates are for the National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over) and the National Minimum Wage (for those of at least school leaving age). The rates change on 1 April every year.

Current rates from April 1st 2022

23 and over 21 to 22 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
April 2022 £9.50 £9.18 £6.83 £4.81 £4.81

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice. You must be at least:

  • school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage
  • aged 23 to get the National Living Wage – the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 22 and under

Apprentices

Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

Who gets the minimum wage

Read the information on who is entitled to the minimum wage.

You can use the minimum wage calculator to check whether the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage is being paid.

Contact Acas if you’re not getting the National Minimum Wage and think you should be.

Final Payment Submissions to HMRC

D55F3A85-4C8C-4000-8482-9D1DEE8C5C44It’s time to prepare for making your last Full Payment Submission or Employer Payment Summary of the year

From HMRC
Your last Full Payment Submission (FPS) or Employer Payment Summary (EPS) of the year (up to and including 5 April 2022) needs to include an indicator that you are making the final submission. This tells us you have sent us everything you expected to send and we can finalise our records for you and your employees.

Some commercial payroll software will not let you put the indicator on an FPS. If that’s the case, send your last FPS and then send an EPS with the indicator ticked. You can also send an EPS with the indicator ticked if you forgot to put the indicator on your last FPS submission for the tax year.

You also need to prepare to give your employees a P60 if they are in your employment on 5 April 2022. You have got until 31 May 2022 to do this.

If you are not going to pay anyone again this tax year, remember to send an EPS with the indicator ticked to show you did not pay anyone in the final pay period and it is the final submission. You have until 19 April 2022 to do this, but you will get a message from the Generic Notification Service if you file it after 11 April 2022.

Student and postgraduate loans: updated thresholds and rates from 6 April 2022

The student and postgraduate loans thresholds and rates are as follows:

Plan 1 ― £20,195

Plan 2 ― £27,295

Plan 4 ― £25,375

Postgraduate loan ― £21,000

Deductions for:

  • plans 1, 2 and 4 remain at 9% for any earnings above the respective thresholds
  • postgraduate loans remain at 6% for any earnings above the respective thresholds

Gift Aid Declarations

33E713CC-CCCF-4814-B5DB-A033FAEAC0AAA Gift Aid declaration allows charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) to claim tax back on eligible donations.

It’s important that you keep records of declarations and Gift Aid payments.

If you make a Gift Aid claim without collecting a declaration from the donor, HMRC may ask you to repay the equivalent amount in tax.

Declaration formats

A declaration by a donor can be made in writing, verbally or online. Whichever format you use, donors must provide the required information for your Gift Aid claim to be valid.

HMRC template declarations

HMRC provides free template declaration forms for you to use. You don’t have to use a template, but if you do, you can be sure that declarations will meet HMRC’s requirements.

You can include additional information to suit your charity or CASC’s needs, eg reference numbers.

What declarations must include

There is no set design for a declaration form or a verbal declaration, but it must include:

  • the name of your charity or CASC
  • the donor’s full name
  • the donor’s home address
  • whether the declaration covers past, present or future donations or just a single donation
  • a statement that the donor wants Gift Aid to apply (this could be a tick box on a written or online declaration)
  • an explanation that the donor needs to pay the same amount or more of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax as all charities and CASCs will claim on the donor’s gifts in a tax year and that the donor is responsible to pay any difference   

For more detailed information click here

The 6 Main Duties of Trustees

7CF0F4E4-98CB-4DC0-A5EF-6A1ABE6BCA14Trustees have overall control of a charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. Their main duties are:

1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit

You and your co-trustees must make sure that the charity is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up, and no other purpose.

2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law

You and your co-trustees must:

  • make sure that the charity complies with its governing document
  • comply with charity law requirements and other laws that apply to your charity

3. Act in your charity’s best interests

You must:

  • do what you and your co-trustees (and no one else) decide will best enable the charity to carry out its purposes
  • with your co-trustees, make balanced and adequately informed decisions, thinking about the long term as well as the short term
  • avoid putting yourself in a position where your duty to your charity conflicts with your personal interests or loyalty to any other person or body
  • not receive any benefit from the charity unless it’s properly authorised and is clearly in the charity’s interests; this also includes anyone who is financially connected to you, such as a partner, dependent child or business partner

4. Manage your charity’s resources responsibly

You must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly. This is sometimes called the duty of prudence. Prudence is about exercising sound judgement.

5. Act with reasonable care and skill

As someone responsible for governing a charity, you:

  • must use reasonable care and skill, making use of your skills and experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary
  • should give enough time, thought and energy to your role, for example by preparing for, attending and actively participating in all trustees’ meetings

6. Ensure your charity is accountable

You and your co-trustees must comply with statutory accounting and reporting requirements.

Find out more here

Prepare for the Health and Social Care Levy

D55F3A85-4C8C-4000-8482-9D1DEE8C5C44Your National Insurance contributions might increase when the Health and Social Care Levy comes into effect in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) on 6 April 2022.

For tax year 6 April 2022 to 5 April 2023

Employer Class 1, employee Class 1, Class 1A, Class 1B and Class 4 National Insurance contributions will increase, for one year, by 1.25 percentage points.

From 6 April 2023

The National Insurance contribution rates will go back down to 2021 to 2022 levels, and the levy will become a separate new tax of 1.25%.

How the levy will affect you

Between 6 April 2022 and 5 April 2023

If you are an employer, employee or self-employed (and below the State Pension age), you will pay the 1.25 percentage points increase in National Insurance contributions.

From 6 April 2023

The separate levy of 1.25% will apply to the same amounts for the following classes of National Insurance contributions:

  • Class 1 that are above the primary and secondary thresholds
  • Class 1A and Class 1B for employers
  • Class 4 for the self-employed

If you’re an employer

If your business pays Class 1, Class 1A or Class 1B National Insurance contributions, you’ll need to start paying the 1.25 percentage points increase in contributions from 6 April 2022. You’ll then need to pay the separate 1.25% levy from 6 April 2023.

You may also have to pay the separate levy from 6 April 2023 for employees who are over State Pension age.

HMRC is asking employers, where appropriate, to include the following message on payslips:

1.25% uplift in NICs, funds NHS, health & social care

Find out more details here

Supporting mental health at work

2817455C-98F1-4E72-9769-8E9C7D242422Information from ACAS

Employers have a ‘duty of care’. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.

If an employee has a mental health issue, it’s important their employer takes it seriously. For example, it’s a good idea to talk to the employee to find out what support they might need at work.

There are many types of mental health issue. An issue can happen suddenly, because of a specific event in someone’s life, or it can build up gradually over time.

Common mental health issues include:

  • stress (this is not classed as a medical condition but it can still have a serious impact on wellbeing)
  • depression
  • anxiety

Less common ones include:

  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia

Creating a supportive environment

It’s helpful if employers create an environment where staff feel able to talk openly about mental health.

For example:

  • treating mental and physical health as equally important
  • making sure employees have regular one-to-ones with their managers, to talk about any problems they’re having
  • encouraging positive mental health, for example arranging mental health awareness training, workshops or appointing mental health ‘champions’ who staff can talk to

Employers can find out more about promoting positive mental health at work, including:

  • understanding mental health 
  • creating a mental health strategy
  • educating the workforce 

More information can be found here

What happens if you do not report payroll information on time

D55F3A85-4C8C-4000-8482-9D1DEE8C5C44When penalties are charged

You can get a penalty if:

HMRC will not charge a penalty if:

  • your FPS is late but all reported payments on the FPS are within 3 days of your employees’ payday, however employers who regularly file after the payment date but within 3 days may be contacted or considered for a penalty
  • you’re a new employer and you sent your first FPS within 30 days of paying an employee
  • it’s your first failure in the tax year to send a report on time (this does not apply to employers who register with HMRC as an annual scheme)

How much you pay

What you pay depends on how many employees you have.

Number of employees Monthly penalty
1 to 9 £100
10 to 49 £200
50 to 249 £300
250 or more £400

If you run more than one PAYE scheme, you can be charged penalties for each.

How we estimate what you owe

HMRC may raise a specified charge based on an estimate of how much we think you should pay if you do not:

  • submit your FPS on time
  • tell HMRC, by sending an EPS, that you have not paid any employees

This is based on your previous PAYE payment and filing history. You’ll be able to see any specified charge by looking at your PAYE account online.

A specified charge does not replace the need for you to send your FPS or EPS. Only submitting the missing FPS or EPS for each month will:

  • replace the charges with the amount that is due for each month
  • support an appeal you make against a late filing penalty

If you send updated year-to-date figures in your next FPS instead, the specified charges will remain in place. However, your accounting record will be adjusted to reflect the year-to-date figures given in the later month.

If you get a penalty

HMRC sends penalty notices every quarter. A notice will include:

If you pay the penalty within 30 days of getting the notice you will not be charged interest.

You can appeal if you think:

  • the penalty is not due
  • the amount of the penalty is wrong
  • you had a reasonable excuse for sending your reports late

Reasons you can give for grounds of appeal are:

  • data on the returns was incorrect
  • death or bereavement
  • filing expectation incorrect
  • filed on time
  • fire, flood or natural disaster
  • ill health
  • IT difficulty
  • missed correction or easement
  • no longer have any employees
  • no payments to employees
  • theft or crime
  • other – only use this option if your reason for appeal does not fall into any of the categories in the online system

More information can be found here

Insolvency and Redundancy Payments

Insolvent jpegPreviously, if your employer became insolvent, and you were therefore made redundant, you used to have to go to an employment tribunal to claim all redundancy payments, but now you can apply direct to the government’s  Insolvency Service for the money that you are owed.

How to claim for redundancy and other money you’re owed by an employer

To apply, you must complete the online application. The Insolvency Service will then assess your claim and pay you the money you’re entitled to.

Separate payments are made for different parts of your claim, such as redundancy pay, holiday pay and arrears of pay. You will then be sent a letter each time that the Insolvency Service makes a payment. This means that you may get several different letters from the Insolvency Service.

Further Government Guidance

If you were made redundant on or after 6 April 2021, your weekly pay is capped at £544. If you were made redundant before 6 April 2021, these amounts will be lower. This means if your gross weekly pay was more than this, we have capped each one of your payments.

If you are owed more than the maximum we can pay, you can register as a creditor in the insolvency for any outstanding money you’re owed.

Further details can be found here