Business briefing

01 December, 2006
ages and minimum wages How to handle age legislation and a warning over the issue of the national minimum wage are just two of the business issues for bakers examined by Adam Bernstein
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The Federation of Small Businesses is warning about the threat of company identity fraud, following reports of bogus calls from people pretending to be Companies House officials.
Fraudsters have targeted small businesses to try to get hold of secure authentication codes for Companies House files, which could then be used to set up fake companies and to steal money, goods and services.Companies House, which set up a secure online system for company filing following problems with identity fraud in the past, has posted a notice on its website confirming that they will never contact small businesses by telephone to ask for authentication codes.Small business owners need to look after company details carefully and not to respond to unsolicited calls from people saying they are from Companies House and asking for private information.Small business owners that receive such calls should try to obtain a return contact number and contact Companies House immediately.[http://www.companieshouse.co.uk/about/miscellaneous/misc1.shtml]HSE Guidance To Help Shiftworkers Run Like ClockworkRaising awareness of the health and safety risks of shift work and offering solutions is the aim of a recent publication from the Health and Safety Executive.Poorly designed shift-working arrangements and long working hours that do not balance the demands of work with time for rest and recovery can result in fatigue, accidents, injuries and ill health."Managing Shift Work: Health and Safety Guidance" explains employers' legal duties and the risks associated with shiftwork and provides advice on risk assessment, design of shift work schedules and the shift-work environment.The guidelines are general, and cover a wide range of factors that may or may not be relevant to particular industry sectors.Therefore it is necessary to use common sense when applying them. Employers will also need to balance the good practice guidelines with the operational concerns of their businesses."Managing shift work: Health and Safety Guidance" is available from HSE books at £9.95. HSE Books. Telephone 01787 881165.Age Can Be GoodEmployers can benefit from older workers and should do more to tackle age discrimination, according to research published by the Department for Work and Pensions.The Age Partnership Group (APG) sector specific research reports look at the challenges faced by nine sectors of the economy relating to the recruitment, training and retention of older workers and will be used for the Age Positive campaign ahead of the introduction of the Age Discrimination Legislation on 1 October this year.Older workers have a lower rate of absenteeism and are better motivated. This can have a positive impact for businesses who can benefit from a more flexible workforce with a wider range of skills and abilities.The reports gives employers good advice on how to comply with the Age Regulations.It also examines what employers are doing to remove compulsory retirement ages and adopt flexible approaches, as set out in the Pensions White Paper, as well as looking at how the age legislation affects young people in the workforce. [http://www.agepositive.gov.uk]Reasons Employers Give For Not Paying The National Minimum WageHM Revenue & Customs has published a top 10 of some of the more unusual reasons given to its enforcement teams for not paying the minimum wage. The top ten worst excuses are:10. I only took him on as a favour;9. The workers can't speak English;8. He's over 65, so the national minimum wage doesn't apply;7. She's on benefits - if you add those to her pay, it totals the NMW;6. They can't cope on their own and it's more than they would get in their own country;5. He's disabled;4. I didn't think it applied to small employers;3. I didn't think the workers were worth NMW;2. But she only wanted £3 an hour;1. He doesn't deserve it - he's a total waste of space.HM Revenue & Customs has 16 minimum wage enforcement teams operating around the UK.Their job is to follow up complaints about non-payment of the minimum wage made to the helpline and to investigate employers at risk of not complying with the legislation.[http://www.dti.gov.uk/employment/pay/national-minimum-wage/index.html]



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