Zero-hours contracts: The end of a secure working day?

zero hour contract

Zero, it’s a number that can be good or bad but so called “zero-hours” contracts have grown in popularity recently. The contract is basically a way for companies to employ people on an on-demand basis, for example that the employees gets called in whenever they are needed. For a long time, these have been accepted as a good way to get people into employment, even if it is just small amounts of money. On the other hand, Andy Burnham has called for a promise that if the Labour Party were to get into power, they would ban this type of employment.

In my opinion, there is no problem in doing Continue reading

Central Tyre Macclesfield – Scam merchants

Don’t you hate it when car dealers rip you off?

I have just taken delivery of my car. It needed new brakes. Normally an easy thing to fix, but Central Tyre in Macclesfield claim that it took them 14 hours to change 4 brakes. This is on a modern car where you can clip things in and out. Yeah right……
When I asked them to quote, they mumbled something like twothirty, which I understood to be two hundred and thirty. Turns out they meant two thousand three hundred. Should really have got it in writing, but I used them once before and I trusted them.

As the saying goes, don’t trust car salesmen……..

Graduates Struggling for Internships, Let Alone Jobs

JobWantedAt a time when there is a lack of graduate jobs, students are becoming increasingly competitive in the job market. University placements have dramatically risen in the UK since the early 1990s and a result, the competition for graduate level jobs is fiercer than ever. To make matters worse, twice as many graduates are achieving first class or 2:1 degrees now than they were ten years ago.

It has always been common practice to attempt to gain experience in order to secure a job and internships have traditionally been an asset for all students. However, as unemployment rises and as we head for a bleak double-dip recession, employers have gained a far more powerful position over their employees. Continue reading

Employment law rights for apprentices in the EU

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular according to new government figures released last week, which showed an increase of 50,000 apprentice jobs compared to the previous academic year. With apprenticeships growing in popularity, it is more important than ever for apprentices to know their employment rights.

Apprenticeships are work-place training posts, which allow you Continue reading

Working abroad: Know your employment law rights

The news that unemployment in the UK remains at a high level and looks set to stay high for the foreseeable future has sent a shiver down the spines of many currently looking for work. The situation is even more acute in the 16-24-year old age group, where one in five is currently out of work.

Amidst the bleak economic outlook UK citizens are increasingly looking abroad for opportunities to work and gain experience. The UK’s legal status with the EU means that UK citizens are free to move to any EU member state to work and live, something that more and more seem to be attracted towards.

Understanding EU employment law

European member states enjoy considerable diversity when it comes to employment law, with each country entitled to implement its own spin on workers rights.

That said, there are some employment laws and rights that have been created by the EU and therefore apply across all member states. Important examples of employment law areas where EU law applies to all member states include:

  • Rights not to be discriminated against at work on the grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disability status or sexual orientation
  • Rights for women and men to be treated equally when accessing employment and training and in working conditions and pay
  • Rights to a maximum number of hours in a working week
  • Rights to an employment contract within two months of starting work
  • Rights to maintain your employment terms and conditions if your employer is taken over by another business
  • Rights to maternity and paternity leave
  • Rights to have your personal and private data protected

However it is worth noting that each EU member state has autonomy over the way EU law is implemented within their territory and therefore you will find variations in the way these rights are enforced from state to state.

A good example of this is the implementation of equality law in Germany, where freelancers and consultants are not entitled to benefit from anti-discrimination law, and where discrimination on the basis of age is lawful in some circumstances. As a result of these national variations, it is important for anyone considering working abroad to take legal advice on the employment law in whichever state they intend to work in.

National variations

Outside of the standard EU laws each member state is free to determine the level of employment law protection afforded to its workforce. The national variations can be quite subtle but no less important. For example in Spain, employment roles are categorised, with each category subjected to a different set of laws known as the ‘convenio colectivo’. Pay is divided into 14 payments, one per month plus two extra, one in July and one in December. Employees are entitled in Spain to time off for marriage, the birth of a child or the death of a family member.

Rights to a national minimum wage are not set EU-wide, and you will therefore find considerable variation between member states. For example Germany, Italy and Sweden have no national minimum wage law. Many EU countries do offer a minimum wage, but there is also variation with the amount, with Spain offering just €4.26 whilst Luxembourg offers employees €10.41.

This Eurojobs article was provided by 

Positive Aspects Of Using A Recruitment Agency?

Recruitment agencies are increasingly becoming the effective way to source top quality employees for your company with very little time and effort. Using the right agency will ensure that you find the ideal individuals to join your team. There are several different benefits of this form of recruiting, regardless of the role that you want to fill.

Employing a top quality recruitment agency will ensure that you find the perfect match for the position that you’re offering. Whether you’ll need someone for engineering jobs, service employees or managers the extensive network of contacts will supply the best employees. You will be amazed the number of different resources the recruitment agencies will use to ensure they match your requirements.

The agency that you choose will be able to invest the time and effort into finding you the perfect candidate for your employment opportunity. You will have the job filled far quicker than if you conducted other ways of hiring. The hiring agencies can limit the list of potential workers far quicker than you.

Employing the correct individuals to work in your team is important to guarantee that your company continues to run effectively. Some people are simply no good at choosing the right employees; therefore, employing an agency will make the hiring process much easier. You’ll be given ideal candidates, making sure you do not waste your time and effort on people that simply wouldn’t fit in to your team.

The recruitment agencies will be able to follow your company recommendations, and ensure they get the best, high caliber employees for the position. Regardless of whether you’ll need engineering jobs filled, or part-time waiters, your company will be catered for professionally. Those who join the agency looking for work will have to supply a large amount of information.

This information will enable the recruitment agencies to place the right people with the perfect employers. Both parties will be happy with the choice, and ensure that the career path is long and successful. Every component of the applicants cv will be checked by the recruitment agencies, making sure you can go ahead and interview individuals.

The need for further training can often be avoided as the agency will only send you people who they feel would be appropriate for the job. This will save you time, effort and money, and definately will ensure that your new employee can start immediately. It may seem that employing recruitment agencies, is merely for large companies.

However, every business, no matter their dimensions can benefit from using the expertise and data of these agencies. The charges that you will have to pay are reasonable, and will ensure that all of the hard work is completed for you in advance. Once you have used a reliable recruitment agency, you will notice that you turn to them each and every time you are seeking new employees.

The Advantages Of Employing A Recruitment Agency

If you are looking for work in your industry, such as engineering jobs, you might have already suffered the irritation of looking in a newspaper. Maybe you’ve looked in a trade magazine. Perhaps you’ve used one of the many specialist job boards. If you’re tired of constantly chasing jobs, perhaps now it’s time you perform your job search with the aid of recruitment agencies.

Recruitment agencies do all of the employment legwork on the part of their clients. They have connections to employment clients who are searching for a certain kind of employment prospect. Rather than putting things off filling out random job applications, on employment websites and networking opportunities, the recruiter will push an employment prospect directly to the best type of company. Concurrently, recruiters steer the best type of employment prospects toward employers who have specific job needs. Recruiters act as the liaison between job clients and work prospects to ensure the right employment fit for both parties.

Recruitment agencies will also be privy to more employment opportunities. While specific employment positions may appear on an employment website or in a paper, the recruiting agency should have far more information than these forms of employment media. Not only this, but many companies might insist that they only hire work candidates through agencies.

This is because agencies perform such a wonderful job of screening and vetting the candidates. Not only will a recruiting agency perform work reference inspections but in many instances, the company will even perform a background check along with a drug-screen check. Many will even perform a credit check with respect to the employer as well. This enables only top work candidates to be considered for an employer’s interview process.

Using a recruiting agency to seek out work is a good idea. While some companies might post an employment opening in the newspapers or on an employment job board, they frequently do this to satisfy their human resource requirements. Which means that it is common for workers to never get hired through the newspapers, or through the online job boards.

On most occasions, a company might already have their candidate selected, however they could be legally required to post an open employment ad towards the general public. In situations like these, the business has generally found their prospect by using a recruiting agency. To put it simply, recruitment agencies open doors that are usually shut firmly to everyone else.

Again, if you are tired of the seemingly endless days and nights of looking for employment, and if you’re worried that your financial and career future is in danger, speak to a recruiting agency right away! The right recruiting agencies may use their connections to finish your unemployment headache as quickly as possible.

Leaving the UK to move abroad? Don’t forget to tie up those loose ends.

It can be quite a chore trying to understand the tax consequences of leaving the UK. Every year thousands of people leave and most never give much thought to whether they still have obligations to HMRC; worse still, many leave and never reclaim overpaid tax. Here we’ve put together some top tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes:

One of the most common mistakes made by taxpayers leaving the UK is the failure to claim a refund of overpaid tax.

All UK taxpayers (and some non residents) are entitled to a UK Personal Allowance (basically a tax free allowance). For PAYE taxpayers, their personal allowance is split into weekly or monthly amounts and offset against their weekly or monthly wages. A taxpayer who leaves the UK part way through a tax year therefore does not get the full benefit of their personal allowance and in most cases, overpays UK tax.

To reclaim the overpayment a claim must be submitted to HMRC. Many departing taxpayers however are not aware of this and needlessly leave their money with HMRC.  The timeframe for making this claim was 6 years but it is being revised down to 4 years very shortly.

Self–employed (self assessed) taxpayers on the other hand are subject to a different method of tax collection. Rather than the tax being taken via PAYE, they must file a Tax Return annually, declaring their income and working out their tax liability.

The tax itself is paid as follows:

  • 31st Jan – 1st Payment on Account (POA);
  • 31st July – 2nd POA;
  • 31st Jan next – Balancing payment – the difference between the amount paid as POA’s and the final liability becomes due.

A self-assessed taxpayer who leaves the UK part way through the year may therefore have overpaid tax as a result of their POA’s. The POA’s are an estimate of the current year liability based on the prior year. If a trader ceases part way through a year therefore, the POA’s are likely to be excessive.

Any overpaid tax should come out in the wash when the taxpayer files his final Tax Return but it’s important to remember that the Tax Return must be submitted.

This is only relevant to taxpayers leaving the UK and letting their UK property. It is however an immensely common area of confusion.

The term non-resident landlord (NRL) is a misnomer; in reality someone is classified as an NRL if they let UK property and their usual place of abode is outside the UK.

The main consequence of being an NRL is that the tenant or letting agent is legally obliged to deduct basic rate tax (20%) from the rental income and pay it direct to HMRC. The problems with this are two-fold:

  1. As the 20% is deducted from the rents before any allowance is given for tax deductible expenditure (e.g mortgage interest), it will be in excess of the real tax liability.
  2. While this excess can be reclaimed, it will only be received after the Tax Return has been submitted. The result is a loss of cash flow.

The above scenario can be avoided by registering with HMRC’s NRL scheme. Once a taxpayer is registered, the tenant/letting agent is not required to deduct tax at source. The NRL can receive the rental income gross. A word of warning though, while the NRL does allow for gross rent receipt, it does not exempt the income from UK tax and the NRL will need to file a UK Tax Return annually and pay the corresponding UK tax due.

Finally, most countries operate a Residency tax system – this means they levy tax on their residents’ worldwide income. While some countries (notably Hong Kong) operate a Territorial system, the majority are Residency based. As such, a taxpayer departing the UK is likely to be subject to tax in his new home country on his worldwide income – including his UK rental income.

In these scenarios advice should be taken on the specific rules in the foreign jurisdiction but in general there should be some form of double tax relief available in that country for UK tax paid on the UK rental income.

  • Sort out your Bank Accounts

For those UK taxpayers leaving the UK but intending to retain their UK bank accounts, one aspect often overlooked is the fact that it is possible to receive interest without the deduction of tax.

Savers who are ‘not ordinarily resident’ in the UK can complete Form R105 to receive their interest without UK tax taken off. Unfortunately Banks are not required to accept a R105 so not all Banks offer this facility.

As in the case of the UK rental income discussed above, while it may be possible to avoid UK tax, advice should be taken in the foreign jurisdiction to which the taxpayer is emigrating as to the tax status of the UK interest in that country.

  • Pension Issues

The whole area of pensions is highly complex and confusing to many taxpayers and this is not surprising given the number of changes we’ve had since April 2006.

While there are many things we could say about the good and bad of migrating to a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes), that would be an article in itself.

Instead we’re just going to focus on the scenario where a UK taxpayer is receiving a UK pension and moves overseas.

As a general rule, non residents of the UK are taxable on their UK source income. That said, many Double Tax Treaties (DTT) specifically address the topic of pensions. Double Tax Treaties do exactly what they say on the tin – they are bilateral agreements between countries which ensure the residents of those countries do not suffer double taxation.

The pension article in most DTTs allocates the taxing rights to the country of residence. A good example is the UK-Australia Treaty.

So as an example, consider a UK taxpayer in receipt of a UK pension who moves permanently to Australia: in the absence of the DTT, the UK pension would be subject to UK PAYE at source. However, because of the terms set out in the UK-Australia DTT, the UK pension is in fact exempt from UK tax but taxable in Australia.

In order to ensure the pension is not subject to UK PAYE the correct form must be completed. The forms are available for download at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/app_dtt.htm

A taxpayer who has moved to Australia but has not filled out the correct form is likely to be receiving his pension net of UK Tax through PAYE. As a result, he will have overpaid UK tax. Fortunately a refund can be claimed so all is not lost. The deadline for claiming the refund is 4 years.

How Do New Graduates Get Jobs in a Down Economy?

The unemployment rate is on the rise. Nearly 25 million people in the European Union are finding it hard to make money as they have no jobs. Companies are not hiring as they were used to. How on earth are new graduates supposed to find jobs in this touch scenario?

7 Tips to Find Jobs for Fresh Graduates

#1: Try Harder
OK, this might sound clichéd, but how do you expect to find jobs unless you go seeking for them? When the economy is down, you can’t expect employers to come behind you with jobs. Agreed that most companies look for the best candidates, but when there are so many options available, why do they need to go out looking to hire people?
Now, most people might get the idea that going to job portals, submitting your resume and then waiting patiently for calls to come in is the key to get more exposure and better jobs.

However, it’s not that simple. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes each day and to sort through all those resumes and finding the ideal candidate is just not that simple. So make it easier for them to identify your resume as a prospective candidate.
Instead of copy pasting your friends resume (who themselves might have copied it from elsewhere), try to create your own. Don’t try anything ultra creative unless you are applying for a very creative position. However, there are simple things you can do to a resume (like wording differently, reshuffling the format a bit, using a different yet readable font), and more. Customize your resume with the job title, position and even the industry of the company you are applying to.

#2: Use Social Media Smartly
Facebook and Twitter can be good ways to get in touch with your friends and relatives. However, you need to be careful about what you share on social media. Most employers now do a social media check of employees before they hire them. So don’t put out anything you might not want your potential employer to see!

#3: Take Up Internship Opportunities
Are you a fresh graduate looking for a full time job? Don’t be adamant that you’ll take up only full time positions. Part-time as well as internships are also good opportunities as most of the time you’ll be able to convert it into a full time position.

#4: Tap into Your Network
Most of the good jobs are gone before they ever come to the market. The best way to get job interviews even before hundreds of people start applying to the same opening is through your network. Tell your friends, ex-colleagues, and relatives that you are looking for a job. Even though they might not be directly having job opportunities for you, their network might!

#5: Go viral
Heard of Matthew Epstein who created a viral campaign called, Google Please Hire Me? While it may not have worked out for him, it did go viral which landed him 80+ job interviews with some of the top companies including Google and Microsoft. You don’t have to create anything that crazy, but you get the idea. Stand out from the crowd. Do something different.

#6: Improve Your Skill Set
What better time to better your knowledge. With tougher competition, you’d want to be equipped with a better skill set. Are you a C++ programmer? Try learning Java or Python. You’ll not only increase your knowledge, you’ll also vastly increase your chances of getting hired.

#7: Build Your Own Brand
You don’t have to start a business or be a marketing expert to build your brand. With technology making things simpler, all you need to do is spend some time and less than 50$ to make a personal website of your own. There are various things you can do to build a brand of your own.
1. Can you write decent English? Then start a blog and share your knowledge with the world
2. Are you a programmer? Build a web application to showcase your coding skills
3. Do you want to become a creative designer? Create info-graphics and viral cartoons that showcases your inner creativity
With blogging, your limits are actually endless. You can write about virtually any topic in this world and show people that you are actually passionate and knowledgeable in this area.

Over to you now:
What do you think is the biggest challenge graduates face when they are looking for their first job? Let me know in the comments.

About The Author
Adarsh is an early career expert at Jombay, a career guidance platform for students and graduates looking for jobs in India.

Recruitment Agencies Assist In Making The Right Choice For Your Career

Recruitment agencies are created to reduce the risks that are often linked to the hiring process. From simple front desk positions to engineering jobs these companies can help you to fill any position that you have. What you will find is that there are numerous considerable advantages to using these companies plus they could help to get you linked with an employee you can be proud of.

Possibly the biggest advantage of the recruitment agencies such as engineering recruitment is that they can reduce the amount of time that you spend looking for an employee. Generally, these firms will have a pool of candidates that are looking to work. They will have been pre-screened and tested to ensure that you have quality individuals working for you. On request, you will be offered a specific number of applicants and each will be matched to an open position you have which will help you to have access to employees that will better meet your requirements.

What you will have to keep in mind is that regardless of the perception of them, recruitment agencies do a lot more than entry level positions. They can connect you with chemists and even people looking for engineering jobs. Everyone actively seeking employment can enroll in their services, meaning there is a good chance you will find people who are perfectly qualified for the position you’ve got.

More importantly, workers are tested in their knowledge and you’ll have access to their test results. This may include straightforward keyboard skills for some positions or understanding of chemistry, engineering or any other advanced topics. That can help you to avoid individuals who say they are able to do a position and instead, leave you deciding on only from those who are truly qualified.

If you choose from one of the proven recruitment agencies, you will discover there is some peace of mind. Companies who rely on their status won’t send over just anyone to interview for an open position and they will do whatever they can to give you the perfect candidate.

If something does come up, recruitment agencies will deal with the termination of an worker for you. Usually, these companies will provide you with the opportunity to do a temp hire with them, which of course means if for whatever reason they aren’t going to work for you, you are able to end their employment. Since hiring the wrong employee can cost you thousands of dollars, this can be a less expensive approach to the process.

Any company looking to hire for positions from a receptionist to engineering jobs will want to consider hiring one of the qualified recruitment agencies. With satisfaction and a savings on time and resources, you will notice that they’re the most effective choices you will have for all your employment requirements.