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Changes to business regulations

A number of government departments issue their changes to regulations twice a year, on the common commencement dates (CCDs) 6 April and 1 October and tax changes tend to occur in January and April. See a summary of the changes you can expect to see in 2012 below. View changes from 2011 here.

Changes to VAT on salary-sacrifice arrangements

1 January 2012
From this date, and only for salary-sacrifice agreements made on or after 28 July 2011, HMRC will consider that the provision of a benefit via salary sacrifice to employees constitutes a supply of services for consideration and is therefore subject to VAT.

Benefits that will be affected include cycle to work schemes, childcare vouchers, and food and catering provided by employers.
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Changes to income tax

April 2012

As announced in the 2011 Budget, the income tax personal allowance will increases by 630 to 8,105. The threshold at which the higher rate of 40% is paid will be reduced by £2,400 to £35,000. The basic rate will decrease to £34,370.
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Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase

1 April 2012

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases from £128.73 to £135.45 per week.
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Sick pay increases

6 April 2012

Statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85 per week.

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal increases

6 April 2012
The qualifying period of employment for employees to bring a claim of unfair dismissal will increase from one year to two years.
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Tribunal claim fees introduced

6 April 2012
For the first time, a fee will of £250 will be introduced for bringing a case to tribunal. A further £1,000 will be charged if their claim is accepted and given a hearing date. Read more about the unfair dismissal and tribunal changes »
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Lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions increases

6 April 2012
The lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases from £102 to £107.
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Changes to health and safety reporting requirements

6 April 2012
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 have been amended so that the required period of incapacity following an injury caused by an accident at work, which triggers the employer's requirement to report the accident, will increase from more than three days to more than seven. The deadline by which the employer must report the accident will increase from 10 days to 15.
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EU late payment rules

TBC First six months of 2012
A European Directive will be implemented that makes standard 30-day invoice payment terms compulsory for all businesses. Businesses will be able to set 60-day terms by prior agreement. Read more about the EU Late Payments Directive »
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Vetting and Barring Scheme

September 2012
The Vetting and Barring Scheme will be scaled back to a more 'common sense' approach, giving more responsibility to the employer.
From 10 September 2012, there will be two levels of enhanced criminal records bureau (CRB) check:
  • An enhanced CRB with the barred list check
  • An enhanced CRB without the barred list check.
Only an individual who works with children or vulnerable adults and receives no supervision will need an enhanced CRB with barred list check. Read more on the Vetting and Barring Scheme »

Pensions auto-enrolment

October 2012
From this date, certain employers must automatically enrol all eligible employees not already participating in a workplace pension scheme into the employer's pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust pension scheme. The date of implementation depends on the number of employees in a business and PAYE codes. Read more about pensions and auto-enrolment »
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New cost recovery fees for health and safety investigations

The Health and Safety Executive has announced new regulations (subject to Parliamentary approval) which would allow it to recover costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in breach of health and safety law.

The cost recovery scheme, known as 'Fee for Intervention' (FFI), will come into effect on 1 October 2012, if approval is given. The proposed Fee for Intervention rate for 2012/13 would be £124 per hour.
For more information or advice on implementing regulation changes,
call our member helpline on 0845 130 1722.
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