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New “Spotlight” explains impact on pensions of maternity leave
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) has published a “Maternity Leave Spotlight” outlining the impact on pensions of maternity leave. It also covers what happens when the employee returns to work and the impact of having a baby on the state pension. Although aimed at employees rather than employers, the Spotlight is a useful summary for employers of the law in this area.
The Spotlight confirms that employers and employees are required to continue contributing to a pension scheme during maternity leave as follows:
On return to work after maternity leave, the Spotlight states that the employee will be able to pay extra contributions to make up for any period of unpaid leave and that, if she chooses to do this, her employer will also be required to contribute.
Dormant assets scheme to be expanded
The Government has announced that the dormant asset schemes is to be expanded to include to a wider set of financial assets including stocks, shares, pensions or bonds. The government has appointed four 'industry champions' to expand the dormant assets scheme across these four important financial sectors.
The Independent Dormant Assets Commission was set up in March 2016 and was tasked with unlocking billions of pounds worth of dormant assets, such as stocks and shares and bank accounts that have been untouched for more than 15 years. In a report published last year, the Commission recommended that the scheme be extended to include assets such as pensions and insurance, securities and investments.
John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:
'We introduced the Dormant Assets scheme with the aim of changing the lives of millions of people across the country through good causes. But without the support of businesses, the scheme wouldn’t be what it is today.
I’m delighted that these highly-experienced business leaders have agreed to be our new industry champions. Their expertise will be vital as we look at ways to expand the scheme, and I look forward to working with them to reach even more people.'
The existing Dormant Accounts scheme came into effect in November 2008. The scheme defines a dormant bank account as an account which has been continually open for at least fifteen years during which time no transactions have been carried out by the account holder or at his instruction.
Under the current scheme, banks and building societies transfer the money held in dormant accounts to a central reclaim fund. The reclaim fund is responsible for managing dormant account money, meeting reclaims and passing on surplus money to various charities for reinvestment in the community. The original account holder retains the rights to repayment upon providing satisfactory proof that the money is theirs.Read more..
VAT reverse charge may be coming to the construction sector
HMRC has launched a new consultation inviting comments from interested parties regarding the introduction of new VAT reverse charge legislation for certain construction services. The new legislation will make the supply of construction services between construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge.
This move is part of the government’s measures to combat what is known as missing trader fraud in the construction sector where VAT due to HMRC is never paid. This type of fraud has been common in other business sectors trading in goods such as mobile telephones, computer chips and emissions allowances where the reverse charge has already been introduced. Using the reverse charge procedure changes the usual VAT treatment so that the customer is liable to account for the VAT due rather than the supplier. This removes the ability for fraudsters to defraud the public purse by adding VAT to their bills and then disappearing without making payment to HMRC.
The reverse charge will be most relevant to sub-contractors and contractors carrying out supplies reported through the Construction Industry Scheme. These changes will lead to many administrative changes for some 100,000 to 150,000 businesses in this sector, including many small businesses. This will include setting up new systems to deal with the changes as well as ongoing administrative issues dealing with the reverse charge. The government has recognised this and said they will provide a long lead-in time to help businesses adjust. The changes were first announced in Autumn 2017 and are expected to take effect from 1 October 2019.
Excluded from the reverse charge will be businesses that supply specified services to a connected party within a corporate group structure. In these circumstances, the supplies in question will then revert to normal VAT accounting rules.
The new legislation will not require other types of business to apply the reverse charge when receiving construction services. HMRC expects the introduction of the new reverse charge to raise over £400m between 2019 and 2023.