Red Tape day

From Accounting Web

1 October is often called "Red Tape Day" because of the new regulations that come into effect on that day. Here is a roundup of relevant changes for businesses and their advisers.
Company annual returns
Companies House will adopt the 2007 version of the UK SIC codes. The latest version will introduce five-digit codes to classify company business activities, rather than the existing four digits. All companies filing an annual return on or after 1 October will need to use the new codes, which will be asked of you when filing in your annual return via WebFiling. If you use the new codes prior to 1 October, Companies House will automatically convert the code, but this is not encouraged. Further details: Companies House filing errors: Check and check again
Aside from the Annual Return, other forms that will be using the SIC 2007 version after 1 October are: SE FM01, SE FM02, SE FM03, SE FM04, SE FM05, SE TR02, and SE TR03. The new regulations also contain changes to shareholder details required on the annual return. Unlisted companies must 'provide a full list of all shareholders on the first annual return following incorporation and on every third annual return thereafter. Any details of transfers of shares that have taken place during the year will be required for intervening annual returns. Listed companies must provide name and address details of shareholders who hold 5% or more of the company’s share capital. Those companies subject to the FSA's DTR5 Vote Holder and Issuer Notification Rules (whose share register is available online on the National Storage Mechanismdo not have to provide Companies House with the same details.
Agency worker rights
After some last minute posturing, agency workers will indeed see their benefit rights extended from 1 October. Once agency staff have completed 12 continuous weeks of service, they will gain similar rights to permanent staff including pay, overtime, shift allowances, maternity rights, holiday pay and individual performance-bonuses. However, agency workers will still not be able to enjoy benefits such as occupational sick pay, redundancy pay and health insurance.  It was the talks between the TUC and the government that led to the benefit extension. The Agency Workers Regulations apply to hirers and companies involved in the supply of temporary agency workers, either directly or indirectly in England, Wales and Scotland.
National Minimum Wage
Adding to the employment regulation changes will be a change in the National Minimum Wage, applicable to all in the UK. The following rates will be effective from October 1:
  • £6.08 an hour for workers aged 21 and over
  • £4.98 an hour for workers aged 18-20
  • £3.68 an hour for workers aged below 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age
For apprentices, £2.60 per hour must be paid to apprentices who are under the age of 19, or for those over 19 or over and in the first 12 months of their apprenticeship.
Abolition of default retirement age
With effect from 1 October, the default retirement age (DPA) of 65 was repealed by the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations that prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. Further guidance can be found on the BIS website and in the ACAS guide, Retirement Process and the removal of the Default Retirement Age.
Carrier Bag levy
A 5p charge is being introduced by the Welsh Assembly on single-use carrier bags for customers in Wales. The charge is compulsory and is also applicable to retailers outside Wales who deliver to customers in Wales when using single carrier bags. BusinessZone reported that business groups have reacted angrily to the new regulations. Non Rhys, Wales Policy Manager at FSB, told the BBC: “Not all retail businesses will have had the packs from the Welsh Government because there's not a list of all the retailers in Wales, so we have been trying to contact as many businesses as possible. But there will be some small businesses that do not know."
The new regulations will be published on the website on October 1.