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Asking to be put on payroll - legal rights

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  • Asking to be put on payroll - legal rights

    I work in the hospitality industry and am soon returning to work after over three months off due to the coronavirus situation. Unfortunatelty, although I am paid by bank transfer rather than in cash, I am not on payroll, therefore I have not been able to receive any furlough pay. The same situation applies to the others, approximately a dozen, who I work with. We are all part time, mainly students, and although some of us often work enough on occasional weeks to both a) pay NI contributions and b) make our employer eligible to pay employers NI, none of us consistently earn above the threshold every week.

    In our bank accounts, our wages have the reference “*employer name* fees” rather than “*employer name* wages”, which we were told was on the advice of the employers accountant. As we are set to reopen soon, I asked whether I could be put on payroll. I did this seeing as we face the real possibility of a second wave and all areas of hospitality closing once again, hence another loss of income. I was told this couldn’t be sorted by opening (understandably as there is lot of prep to do) but that when me and my boss meet in the week after reopening I should bring my contract to discuss this. That worried me slightly as I would thought it would have been a legal right for employees to ask to be put on payroll, rather than something that is up for discussion.

    In terms of the contract, the only thing I can find that relates to this situation is a section which states “the contractor [member of staff] is responsible for their own tax”. Does this essentially get rid of my right to be put on payroll? For transparency, it’s worth mentioning that when I asked to be put on payroll, I also said I am happy to be doing less than 20 hours a week (20 hours a week at minimum wage for 21-25 year olds would be just under the NI threshold for employers) during the time in which hospitality is under restrictions. Limited capacity and other restrictions means doing over 20 hours is unlikely anyway, although i did specify that the hours cap would be for “until we are back to normal” (ie when hospitality can return with no social distancing restrictions etc). The contract itself does not state any minimum or maximum hours, as we are essentially zero hours contract workers.

    So basically I was wondering where I legally stand with this? If I am refused the right to be on payroll is that allowed? Also does the whole situation sound dodgy or completely normal for small businesses in hospitality?

    Thanks a lot if you can help!
    Tags: payroll, rights

  • #2
    The situation is that an employer normally has to operate PAYE (Pay As You Earn) as part of their payroll. However, if all or some of the employees are not paid £120 or more a week, get expenses and benefits, have another job or get a pension those employees do not need to be on PAYE, however the employer must keep payroll records.*

    This is not a dodgy situation as I am aware of a number of hospitality/cafes etc that for their permanent staff they are on PAYE but casual, students or Saturday job staff whose weekly pay is less than the £120 are not on PAYE.*

    Hope that helps but if you have any further questions just pop back to this thread.*
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