The HR implications of Brexit: What changes for employers and individuals?

Brexit is a word that has not been heard in a while given the headlines which have dominated the Global press of late. However, 31 December 2020 is the end of the transition period and from 1 January 2021 we will be ringing in the end of free-movement for the UK. We blogged about Brexit and People considerations in August 2019, but there have been many changes since then.

For Employers and Individuals alike, there have been a range of messages given over the past year concerning actions to be taken. We hope to provide some clarity in this article.

For individuals

As stated in our previous article, for EU citizens who are resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be able to continue to live, work and study in the UK provided that they take certain actions. The options for these residents will be to apply for Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status depending on certain qualifying conditions.

EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 31 Dec 2020, but have not lived in the UK previously for 5 continuous years can apply for Pre-Settled Status. EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 31 Dec 2020 and do have a record of living in the UK continuously for 5 years can apply for Settled Status. There are regulations around what is considered as living in the country continuously.  As applications are taking longer than expected, applicants have an extended period until 30 June 2021 to make the application.

Pre-Settled status will be granted for five years, but will be lost if the individual leaves the UK for a period of two consecutive years. An individual granted Pre-Settled status may apply for Settled Status once five years continuous residence is met. Individuals granted Settled Status will lose this if they leave the UK for a period of five continuous years.

EU citizens who apply for Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status will be able to access healthcare in the UK, however other benefits such as support for ill health or unemployment are only able to be accessed by those granted Settled Status at the time of writing.

EU Nationals who are not residing in the UK by/on exit day will be subject to the UK new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021. The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK to work will need to have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor. Points are assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries and shortage occupations, Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

For employers

It is key at this time to understand the composition of your existing workforce. If you do currently employ EU citizens, then you should understand what their plans are by way of remaining in the UK; and if they desire to apply for Pre-Settled Status/Settled Status. It is however entirely probable that you will need to hire employees again in future, whether this be for a new vacancy or a replacement hire.

Employers who want to recruit workers from outside the UK’s resident labour market from 1 January 2021 will need to apply to become an approved sponsor in the UK. Therefore, in order to maintain a skilled and diverse workforce, then this is something to consider. As an employer, you can apply online and the standard processing time for an application is usually 8 weeks. EU citizen staff who are already in the UK or arrive before 1 January 2021 can continue to work without needing to show settlement status until 1 July 2021.

Irish and UK citizens will be able continue to travel freely for business travel and to live and work between both countries under the Common Travel Agreement (CTA). Irish nationals currently working in the UK will not need to apply for settled status in the UK.

As highlighted in our previous article, when carrying out pre-employment screening, HR will also need to be mindful of changing data protection laws.

In terms of whether an employer may place an EU employee on secondment to the UK, until now the UK has enjoyed favourable agreements with most EU countries for taxation and social security purposes. Negotiations are still underway of whether such favourable arrangements may continue in future.

Employment legislation to consider before taking on UK employees

If you’re expanding into the UK and plan to take on UK employees, you’ll need to ensure you comply with UK employment legislation. The following tips gives you a good start to ensure you keep on the right side of the law when you start to employ UK workers.

Points to consider when taking on employees in the United Kingdom

1. You need to pay at least the statutory minimum wage to UK workers. The rates for the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage change every April. From April 2019, the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage are;
£8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over,
£7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24 ,
£6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20,
£4.35 per hour for workers under the age of 18,
£3.90 per hour for Apprentices.

2. It is important to check whether potential employees have a legal right to work in the UK.

3. If your job vacancy entails working with vulnerable members of society or has security issues, you may need to register your employee for a DBS check prior to taking them on.

4. You will need to organise an Employers’ Liability Insurance just as soon as you engage your first employee.

5. If you intend to take on employees for longer than one month, you will need to issue them with a written statement of employment which confirms all the terms and details of their job.

6. You should register for PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn, which includes National Insurance and Income Tax) with HM Revenue and Customs at least four weeks before you pay your first employee.

7. Find out whether if all new staff will need to be automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme.

Goodwille provides a variety of services to companies planning to expand into the United Kingdom. We can help you with all the above issues and more to make sure you fulfil your duties as a UK employer. Read more about our HR Services here or contact us to find out more.

Why outsourcing HR is good for your new UK office

When you open a UK office, you’re going to need to employ local people to ensure operations run smoothly and help with cultural differences that can often hinder success. Hiring these people yourself might seem like the right thing to do, but for so many reasons, it can lengthen the time it takes to open a UK office. Therefore, the best option is to outsource your HR needs to help you with your recruitment and related activities.

Here are some of the reasons why you should delegate HR to an outsourced company.

HR service providers know the local market

One of the challenges for your new operation in the UK is familiarising yourself with local laws. They might be similar to the laws in your home territory, but there are bound to be differences. By outsourcing responsibilities to a local HR provider, you can ensure you’re following these regulations and don’t end up being taken to a tribunal.

In addition, the recruitment team will know the best places to advertise and will understand the qualifications system in the UK. This will make the recruitment process shorter and less expensive.

You have more important things to focus on

While you will want to be involved in the interviewing stage of the recruitment drive, you don’t need to be involved in the crafting of job adverts, invitations to interview, reference checks etc. You need to be doing other work that keeps your worldwide operations going.

A good HR service provider will take on the menial tasks, while keeping you informed. This allows you to better spend your time on other activities.

Experienced recruiters might already have talent for your business

When you’re dealing with an experienced recruitment team, you can be certain they’ve been dealing with local talent for years. This often means they know who the best employees are and if they’re looking to advance their career. By tapping into this network, you can get access to quality candidates that would not otherwise be available to your business.

When recruiting talent like this, costs are reduced and the potential benefit to you is much higher.

Recruitment can be a very tiring process

Recruitment can be hard at times. Candidates can seem interested in your business to start with, only to get a good offer elsewhere and leave the process. At the same time, all the paperwork that is required can be very time consuming. This can be demotivating at a time when you need be at your most passionate.

Outsourcing these problems to an outside company enables you to maintain momentum and excitement surrounding the set up of your new office. Then, when it comes to opening your UK office, you will hit the ground running with enthusiasm and a great new team behind you.

If you’re starting up a business in the UK and need HR help for the UK market, then contact Goodwille. Our HR Department can support you throughout the whole employee life cycle, and we offer advice and practical support with everything related to employment. Read more about our HR services to find out more about our expertise and knowledge of best practise HR in the UK.

Advice for launching a fintech startup in London

If you’re looking to expand your international fintech business or start up a new venture in the London area, you are probably already aware that London is known as the world’s fintech capital. It is an attractive startup location for foreign businesses wanting to expand internationally, and the most popular destination for Asian and American companies expanding into Europe.

Goodwille specialises in assisting international businesses set up companies in the UK. Check out our advice for setting up a fintech company in the UK:

UK business climate

Despite Brexit, the UK startup scene is thriving and many businesses still look to London to launch European operations. The UK government offers comprehensive guidance for overseas businesses thinking about launching in the UK.

Setting up a UK company

Setting up a UK company is a pretty straight-forward and quick process. Company incorporation is done via Companies House, UK’s registrar of companies, which is responsible for holding information about all companies in the UK. Albeit the incorporation process in itself is simple, we recommend you seek specialist advice to make sure your company is set up with Articles of Association, minutes and other legal essentials. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal department can help with setting up a UK entity and help with ongoing compliance for your UK company.

Payroll issues

If you plan to employ workers in your company, you will also need to be registered for UK PAYE. PAYE, pay-as-you-earn, is the system used for the deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions. The UK is in the process of making tax digital, so it is important to opt for a payroll provider that can meet all required obligations, now and in the future. Statutory pension contributions may also need to be deducted from employee salaries and your business is likely to be required to contribute towards employee pensions, too. Goodwille specialise in payroll and pension and can answer any questions about payroll or pension requirements in the UK.

Potential grants or funding

The UK offers access to a mature and streamlined business grants and funding sector. London fintech providers could well qualify for R&D tax credits or other funding awarded by Innovate UK.

Goodwille can help you launch your London fintech business. We offer legal, finance, HR, payroll and insurance advice to ensure your new company meets all UK requirements. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

3 main factors to consider when recruiting UK employees

For many UK-based businesses, taking on a new staff member can be a daunting and intricate process. With no reachable source of guidance, it will definitely feel burdensome.

Whether you are planning to launch a startup or expand your international business, employees are critical to the process. Get started on the right foot by attracting the best job seekers and avoid legal consequences due to improper recruitment practices.

Here are 3 key factors to consider when recruiting UK employees:

Know the law

UK employment laws protect both employees and employers, so it’s vital that your HR department knows and understands these laws. By keeping up to date with the legal obligations in the UK, you can easily make sure your recruitment procedure complies with the regulations. Such laws include: anti-discrimination policies, immigration laws, pre-employment checks and many more. It is also vital to know and understand the various post-employment regulations in the UK. If you don’t know the law or fail to comply, it can be detrimental and costly for your business.

Determine your employees’ pay

Always pay the correct rates. From their first day of employment, all employees have the right to be paid at least National Minimum Wage. However, their total pay will likely exceed the national wage to include pensions, travel expenses, loans and meal subsidies.

Also, paying the National Living Wage to your potential workers can help them afford a better standard of living. This is something you need to consider as it motivates employees to perform better.

How to reach out to quality candidates

Just as vital as it is for HR to understand how job seekers are searching for roles, they must also consider the type of information they seek.

A survey conducted by Glassdoor in May 2018 revealed that online job sites are the leading job source platforms. Therefore, using top job sites facilitates the hiring process as experienced and talented candidates will be able to find and access relevant information about your company.

The study by Glassdoor also highlighted the critical pieces of information UK job seekers are looking for on a job description. These include the salary, the location of the job, and any work-life benefits.

When opening a UK office, quality should also be your top priority. To attract quality candidates, you must be able to tailor your adverts in a manner that entices job seekers and portrays your company in a positive light.

Goodwille is here to support your business with everything related to HR and employing people in the UK. Check out our HR services and get in touch with us today if you need help with your UK employees.

Right to Work Checks

If you are looking to set up a company in the UK, Right to Work Checks are an essential part of taking on employees and casual workers. This post gives a brief overview of some of the main questions those entering the UK market might have about Right to Work Checks.

What is a “right to work check”?

Employers must check and ensure that any employees or workers they take on are legally allowed to work in the United Kingdom before they employ them. This is a legal requirement, and it is illegal to hire anyone, formally or informally, who is aged 16 or over and is not able to work in the UK.

What happens if an employer does not carry out Right to Work Checks?

Employers in the United Kingdom have a legal obligation to prevent people from working illegally. If it is discovered that an employer has hired an illegal worker, and there is no evidence of a Right to Work Check having been carried out, the employer may receive a civil fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker discovered.

Who needs a Right to Work Check?

Right to Work Checks should be carried out on all employees before they begin work. Carrying out Right to Work Checks on only certain groups of people may be in breach of discrimination laws. Employers should not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK based on colour, nationality, ethnicity, accent or the amount of time they have been a legal resident in the UK.

If I know the candidate personally, do I still need to carry out a Right to Work Check?

Yes, regardless of whether you know the job candidate personally, you must still carry out a Right to Work Check before they commence work with you.

How do I carry out a Right to Work Check?

Carrying out a Right to Work Check is a three step process. Firstly, you must see the applicant’s original documents that prove they have a right to work in the UK. You must then check that these documents are in fact valid, and you must check the validity of the documents whilst the applicant is present. Finally, you must take clear copies of the documents, in a way which means they cannot be altered, to record the date the check was carried out.

If you have questions about your obligations when hiring in the UK, check out our HR Services or contact us today for more advice and tips.

The importance of HR Services in the UK

Your employees are your most important assets! Motivated employees that enjoy what they do and are happy at work will help move your business forward. Human Resources and People Management aims to make your employees stay motivated and happy at work, and also to deal with situations when employees are feeling the opposite. If you take your business seriously, you should also take HR seriously to make sure your employees are motivated and passionate about taking your business further.

To dig deeper into why companies should make HR their biggest priority, we have interviewed our HR Manager Jacqui Brown. In this interview she reveals what companies risk if they don’t care about HR, about the newest HR services we are adding to Goodwille’s People Management offering to support our clients’ growing work forces, and how UK HR practise differs from Nordic and the impact this might have on Nordic companies establishing in the UK.

Hi Jacqui! Tell us about your history at Goodwille and your responsibilities as HR Manager?

I’ve been working with Goodwille now for coming up to 3 years. I already had an existing history pre-Goodwille of working internationally within the HR field, however Goodwille was my first introduction to the Scandinavian working culture (which is the origin of the bulk of our clients, although we are not Nordic exclusive!) and that has been great. I run a growing team within HR at Goodwille and also interact very closely with our other departments where we are engaged in offering more than HR services to a client.

My responsibilities involve steering my team so that HR administration tasks are handled concisely within areas such as creating essential HR documentation (employment contracts, staff policies, reference checking), absence tracking etc. I will be on hand to give advice and/or handle our clients employee relations needs (including disciplinary, performance or grievance matters), terminations (including redundancies). In terms of organisational design, I can help clients map where their employee needs lie and assist with secondments to the UK if necessary. The list really is endless!

Why should companies care about HR?

HR exists to help Companies achieve their end goals.

Most people think of HR as a department who exist to ‘police’ the company and to take a regimented approach. This is not the truth of the matter. HR are there to help bring employee’s on-board initially, to incentivise new and existing employees to perform better by way of performance and reward, but also by helping the Company implement appropriate measures and tools to assist the employee in performing well. Of course, HR are also there to ensure that whatever actions that are taken are legal and safe when it comes to employee relation matters.

What can happen if companies don’t care about HR?

If your employees don’t feel incentivised (i.e. they don’t feel they are developing or they are not rewarded appropriately for their work) or they don’t feel supported, they will leave. This is costly for the business to make replacements especially if you are paying agency fees each time.

If you don’t care about HR in the sense that you might not care to get something wrong when terminating an employee or disciplining them, this could result in finding yourself facing a tribunal (or paying out for a settlement agreement to avoid one). In either case, it is costly and at tribunal this is also costly in terms of time. Be aware, since tribunal fees were scrapped for claimants, the % in claims has increased by up to 90%!

Goodwille’s HR Offering

What HR services can Goodwille assist with?

Our most popular existing services are consultation on new UK employment contracts, staff handbook and associated policies, employee benefits, holiday and sickness tracking and then the more generalist HR support which can encompass general advice to clients when they have an employee performance or conduct issue or perhaps an employee has raised a grievance against the company (or an employee within the company), disciplinary (including dismissal), redundancies, performance management etc.

We also deal with secondments (when an employee works in the UK on a temporary basis and retains their continuity of employment in the ‘home country’) and sponsorships (where we are company secretary for a client, we can help apply for the sponsorship licence and certificate of sponsorship) when needed by our clients. In both cases, we enlist the help of tax and immigration specialists to ensure we are carrying out work correctly and also allowing those qualified to give advice when it is legally required.

We have added three new services to our HR offering in 2018. Which are these services and why are we adding them to our offering now?

The new services we are adding to our HR offering are:

Performance and Reward where we consult with Companies to roll out a structured appraisal process where annual reviews and rewards given can be justified and fair

Harassment training which is essentially raising awareness with employees of what constitutes harassment

Disciplinary and Grievance handling training to help our clients be better equipped to handle these situations

These services cover support and training on issues and processes that we always have been able to offer, but perhaps our clients were not aware. However many of our clients have matured further in the UK and are now at a stage where they can think about implementing these new services to benefit their growing workforces. Regarding the harassment training, globally we feel that this is an important topic especially post the #metoo movement.

HR Services in the UK

How is UK HR practise different from Nordic HR practise?

Unless you look at certain industries (e.g. transport, construction, teaching etc.) the UK is mainly not a unionised environment. It is within reason easier to terminate employment in the UK in certain circumstances than in the Nordics. Employee benefits (statutory) in the UK tend to be more lean than in the Nordics, which always comes as a bit of a shock when we look at family policies and sickness.

What are the most common misunderstandings and underestimations when it comes to HR in the UK?

That when it comes to an employee having 2 years of service, you should already have started proceedings before you terminate an employee. This is probably one of the most common problems I face, clients approach me to tell me they have had ongoing performance or conduct issues (which have never been spoken about to the employee or addressed) and then are surprised when they need to start a process (or pay a sum of money). Also holiday accruals, that always needs to be explained a few times.

What competitive edge does it give Goodwille to offer HR services?

Goodwille has over 20 years of experience of working with Nordic companies, but also we have a wealth of experience of working with Austrian, German and American clients too. We understand the culture and the commonly faced issues when it comes to legal challenges. We also offer other back office services within Goodwille, therefore if you are using our Payroll, Pension, Finance and Corporate Legal services, then it easy for us to ensure that we can serve you as an extension to your company and to give you as pain free an experience as possible.

Do you want to know more about how Jacqui and the rest of our HR team can help you with everything relating to your UK employees? Check out our HR Service offering and get in touch with Jacqui on jacqui.brown@goodwille.com if you have any questions. 

Changes to Childcare Vouchers

There will be changes to childcare vouchers from 4 October 2018. The government’s decision to close the childcare voucher scheme was announced in March 2018, and following a 6-month extension of the scheme, as of now the Childcare Voucher scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4 October. This means you need to make sure to join a childcare voucher scheme on or before this date to offer your employees childcare vouchers as an attractive employee benefit.

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are an employee benefit offered by employers to help with approved childcare costs, for example a staff nursery. Employees can take up to £55 a week of their wages as childcare vouchers, which they don’t pay tax or National Insurance on. Per year, this adds up to around £1,000 that each parent can save on childcare costs. For businesses – offering childcare vouchers instead of offering to cover childcare costs for your employees can save the company up to £402 per year per parent.

Changes to childcare vouchers

On 4 October 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. This means that employers who want to offer their employees childcare vouchers as an employee benefit must join a childcare voucher scheme and have the relevant salary sacrifice arrangements in place before the first payday before this date. For employers paying their employees by the end of each month, it means that you have to join a scheme and make arrangement with your employees before you run your September payroll.

The changes only apply to new applicants, and will not have an effect on companies and employees already registered on a scheme. Employees of companies who join the childcare voucher scheme before 4 October can keep getting vouchers as long as they stay with the same employer and the employer continues to run the scheme, and they don’t take an unpaid career break of longer than a year.

Offering benefit schemes such as childcare vouchers is a way to attract employees, as it can cover living costs without incurring any tax for the employee. It can also save your business money, so it’s worth having a look at joining a childcare voucher scheme now before it is too late!

Goodwille can guide you through the changes to childcare vouchers and the effects this might have on you, your employees and your business. We can also help you with joining a childcare voucher scheme, and other employee benefit schemes, as well as give instructions on what YOU can do to put pressure on the government to keep the childcare voucher scheme.
Get in touch with us today if you want to know more och check out our HR service offering for more insights on how Goodwille can support your UK business.

How to find the best employees

If you’re planning to set up a UK company, then hiring the right employees will be an essential part of your role. However, this can be a tricky process if you’re not experienced in doing it. Here’s our guide to some of the steps you can take to find ideal employees every single time.

Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for

Almost every company will have hard skills in their head when they want to hire someone new. They’ll know which language they want their developers experienced in, or what sort of clients they’d like their account managers to be confident handling.

This is great, but it’s worth bearing in mind what ‘extra’ skills you’d like your ideal employee to have. Do you want your copywriters to be comfortable presenting to clients? Do you want your developers to be alright handling troubleshooting phone calls? What about travelling between offices?

It’s all very well getting the hard skills in place, but the soft skills can make more of a difference than you think, so know what you want from them, too.

Don’t be afraid to build relationships with candidates

Let’s say that you’ve hired one person over another, but in an ideal world you’d have liked both of them on your team. Well, make the effort to keep in touch with the candidates you’d like to hire in future. Even if it’s just having them on your LinkedIn, it makes a difference to keep your company in their minds.

If you do this, you’ll then be able to get hold of them easily and ask them to apply for a suitable role when one comes up. Don’t let the best candidates slip through your fingers.

Focus on what people have done, not what they say

Some candidates interview well but are mostly talk rather than performance. Always ask them to demonstrate specific situations where they’ve used the skills you’re looking for.

So, if they’ve claimed to be a problem solver, ask them to talk about problems they’ve solved. If they’ve said they’re pro-active, ask them to specifically demonstrate what they’ve done off their own back to improve themselves. The more specific the examples they can give, the better. If a candidate isn’t able to give specific examples, the chances are they’re less qualified than they say.

If you’re about to open a UK office and are looking to recruit people, contact us at Goodwille for HR advice and help. We help companies with everything related to employing people in the UK – from employment contracts, to pensions, employee benefits and questions and issues regarding employment law, and we can also assist in your recruitment process. Read more about our HR service offering here.

Managing HR in the UK market

HR is an important concern for new start-up businesses and existing companies. How you manage your staff will have a significant impact on the success of your business, so it’s vital you get it right.

Although English employment law offers protection to both employers and employees, it can be complicated. Due to the complexity of the law, it’s always advisable to seek expert help when you’re hiring and managing staff.

Launching in the UK

With many companies eager to open a United Kingdom office, there is high demand for professional services. If you want to set up a UK company, there are lots to consider. While you may be operating successfully in an overseas territory, your existing framework may not be completely compatible with English employment law.

In addition to this, there are cultural and practical issues which may affect the way you do business. When transporting your company to the UK, it’s vital to recognise how these differences will affect your day-to-day operations.

By working with a network of international advisers, you can ensure that your business operations flourish across multiple jurisdictions. As well as helping you to meet your legal obligations under English law, people management specialists can assist you in a variety of other areas.

Outsourcing your HR

Depending on your company’s existing structure, you may require support from a full-scale HR department. Rather than attempting to hire numerous staff, why not outsource your needs to existing HR specialists?

As well as having an in-depth knowledge of English employment law, Goodwille HR specialists have a wealth of experience when it comes to moving business operations from one country to another. In addition to providing on-going HR support, you can gain access to independent advice regarding employee benefits.

If you’re expanding your business from overseas, you may be keen to offer secondments to existing staff once your UK office is up and running. If so, our people management advisers can ensure that the appropriate contracts are in place and that your employees are fully supported during their move.

Whether you need full HR support or just ad hoc advice, we can help. Read more about Goodwille’s HR service offering here, or contact us today to find out more about starting up in the UK.