Remaining resilient - key ways to manage risk and enhance employee engagement in 2021/22

Key ways businesses can manage risk and enhance employee engagement in 2021/22, including home working, travel, and training recommendations.

Lockdowns, post lockdowns, Budgets, “Tax Days” and new tax years. There’s been lots of commotion, change, and new technicalities to get to grips with and that’s even before we mention EU Exit.

However, as we tentatively move towards a vaccinated economy and society, knowing the lay of the land is vital for businesses and employees to remain resilient at a testing time.

To help navigate business and employee engagement risks and opportunities, we set out below three topics to help businesses focus on employee engagement and managing risk.

What are these topics?

Put simply, the building blocks to make your business resilient and engaging for 2021/22 are:

1. Home working
2. Travel
3. Training

Why? Well, we summarise below.

1. Home working

Many employees have and will continue to work from home throughout 2021/22 and beyond as the workplace becomes more “flexible” and “remote”.

With greater flexibility in workplace, businesses need to consider the following:

Managing Risk

• Is the employee now permanently based at home? What are their permanent and temporary workplaces for income tax and NIC purposes?
• Where is the employee’s home? If it is outside the UK, income tax, social security and cyber security risks will need to be managed, as will ensuring the correct visas are in place. Having a remote home working policy in place is likely to be important to ensure consistency is applied across your workforce.

Enhancing Engagement

• With more home working, employee reward packages will need re-assessing. Should a business start providing an income tax and NIC free home working allowance? What about looking at home energy costs through providing access to EV charging points, solar panels etc?
• With a workforce spread over more distinct, individual locations, staff entertaining, and ad-hoc reward should be reviewed, particularly given the income tax and NIC interactions with trivial benefits and annual functions. • What about regional pay gaps? Alongside gender pay, this will be important to consider given where work is done is likely to become less important.

2. Travel

Connected to the topic of home working, travel remains a vital component for businesses recovering from the pandemic. Some key considerations are listed below to help provide inspiration to drive change:
Managing Risk
• Knowing what a permanent and temporary workplace is will be important, particularly where company cars are involved. The income tax and NIC liabilities can be significant where businesses get this wrong.
• Do you have a Short-Term Business Visitor Agreement in place for employees travelling into the UK? Reviewing your international travel compliance from a tax and immigration perspective will be important.
Enhancing Engagement
• Has lockdown given an opportunity to change travel and reward policy by introducing an electric / hybrid fleet (cars, bikes, vans etc)? This could save organisations and their employees significant amounts - as highlighted in our recent article.
• Business change may mean business location changes – if so, utilising the £8,000 relocation exemption may be important where employees are required to move home.

3. Training

With changes to society and the economy, skill requirements will change too. Below are some areas to consider further:

Managing Risk

• Have you over claimed or under claimed your Employment and Apprenticeship Levy allowances? Knowing if your businesses is in a connected group is vital in managing compliance.
• Are you aware of the Immigration Skills Charge? Businesses need to pay this for employees that it sponsors. It is £1,000 for each year per employee.
• Be careful, certain professional subscriptions and training events may not be exempt, particularly where they appear to be more based around “entertainment”. It is worthwhile reviewing these costs before P11Ds and PSAs get submitted.

Enhancing engagement

• Aligning your training needs with qualifying apprenticeships can help reduce training and National Insurance (given that if an employee is under 25 and on an apprenticeship there is no employer Class 1 NIC to pay on their pay). This will also provide employees with tangible training programmes that progress as their skills develop and they become more established and vital to the business.
• Recently announced funding for Help To Grow programmes can transform your employees’ skills and also how your business may operate, without much investment being required.

Register for our webinar

We hope the above has given you some good food for thought. To take this further, please do join our webinar on 6 May at 10am to hear our speakers share top tips and experiences on these areas to help you shape your business and enhance engagement with your employees.

Register here

Get in touch

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by clicking the button below if you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this article.

Get in touch

Download our free Employers' Tax Calendar

You can also download our free Employers’ Tax Calendar by clicking on the image below for all the key 2021/22 tax year dates.

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Employer tax calendar 21-22
Employer tax calendar 21-22