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January 24, 2014

Also in the news this week – 24 January 2014

Acas launches Early Conciliation service

Acas is to launch a new Early Conciliation service on 6 April 2014. Currently, anyone thinking about making an employment tribunal claim can use the free pre-claim conciliation service of Acas to resolve disputes, but from April employees will be required to contact Acas and consider conciliation before making a claim. The objective is to help more people avoid going through an employment tribunal. Early Conciliation can help resolve the majority of workplace disputes, including unfair dismissal claims, workplace discrimination, redundancy payments or disputes around selection, deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay, rights to time off or flexible working, and equal pay.

Thousands of SMEs approaching pension auto enrolment deadline

The number of firms set to hit their pension auto-enrolment staging date is set to increase eightfold according to research by Defaqto for NOW: Pensions. Over 30,000 companies with between 50 to 249 employees will have to sign up to auto enrolment by April 2015 or before. Companies with 30 to 49 employees will reach their staging date on 1 June 2015. The research has found that 55% of pensions advisers are concerned about their ability to service the increasing numbers of SMEs. Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions, said: "Smaller employers may be setting up pension schemes for the first time, with little experience and … there are still employers out there who are completely oblivious to their forthcoming auto enrolment obligations."

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner … that I leave tax so late

Londoners are more likely to miss the tax return deadline than taxpayers in any other part of the UK, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). 11% of the 560,000 people in Inner London who had to send in a tax return last year didn't do so by the relevant deadlines. In Outer London, 9% missed the deadline – the second worst offenders. The tardiest taxpayers outside of London were in the North West of England. The most punctual taxpayers were in the South West, with only 6% of their one million tax returns arriving late.

New fear of identity theft in the workplace

Research for GFI Software has found that 87% of small business employees fear identity theft in the workplace or another crime while using work computer systems and devices. These were the findings of a blind survey conducted by GfK Group that polled over 1,000 SME employees. Sergio Galindo, head of global product management at GFI Software, said: "Smaller organisations are not as successful as their large competitors at proactively providing the reassurances and tools necessary to ensure employees feel safeguarded from all the electronic threats that a modern, internet-centric workplace poses. There is still a lot of work to be done, and these survey results should serve as a wakeup call to the industry."