Payroll now or pay a fine later – expert’s alert to businesses over living wage

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Businesses across the Midlands have been warned to check and update their payroll systems or risk a severe penalty.

The alert has come from IT and payroll specialist Susan Marlow who says the majority of businesses have yet to revise their systems despite the new national living wage sweeping into effect from 1st April.

Mrs Marlow, finance director at Kidderminster-based IT and software provider Minster Micro Computers, says employers will have “nowhere to hide” when the changes come into effect due to stringent minimum wage checks by HM Revenue and Customs. 

Under the new rules, every employee aged 25 and over will be entitled to at least £7.20 per hour, a 50p per hour rise on the current rate. 

Businesses failing to pay the increased rate could face a fine of £20,000 per worker - a message Mrs Marlow is pushing following a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills study that found 55 per cent of employers had yet to update their payroll accordingly.

She said: “Since the introduction of RTI legislation, there really is nowhere to hide for firms here in the Midlands and with the new pay rules only a matter of weeks away, it’s vital they take steps to update their systems.

“Some businesses have complained the national living wage will put an additional burden on them but the law is here to stay. All the information that HMRC needs, including wages, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers, it already has.

“Even employers who are fully aware of the change and have budgeted for it have to take extra care to ensure their payroll system is updated and ready to pay the new rate from 1st April.”

Mrs Marlow said companies had to make sure their software was capable of adjusting to the change. 

She added: “Businesses shouldn’t assume their software or payroll bureau will advise or alert them. It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure systems are ready otherwise they will face HMRC’s strict crackdown and hard financial penalties.”

Minster Micro Computers has more than 35 years’ experience in ERP and payroll systems and have ran numerous payroll-related seminars, including a focus on auto-enrolment and RTI. These sessions are run prior to the legislations coming in as part of their commitment to outstanding customer service.

Supporting a range of business sectors, the company is an accredited SAP Business One Partner and is a provider of Pegasus business software.

The firm supplies payroll software, training and implementation as well as IT support services.

Businesses looking for advice on updating their payroll systems in preparation for the 1st April changes can email [email protected] or telephone 01562 68211.