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The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

Paying it safe – what you need to know about grooms’ wages

by Kelly Wallace Horne

March is that time of year that we approach the end of one Tax Year and the start of the next, and the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage increases.

The New National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage 2018

This is important for everyone in the equine industry – employers and employees alike. Equestrianism is a notoriously low-pay industry in terms of hourly salary, and salaries are frequently, if not always, topped up with extras, bonuses and tidbits. But in reality, how lawful are we in doing this without the advice and guidance of accountants and tax specialists? And what are the consequences of getting it wrong?

The UK Government has strict laws regarding the minimum sum of money any individual can receive in return for work done and it can be confusing at least, a minefield at worst, when remunerating staff not just fairly, but legally too.  In this article we give answers to basic questions for both employers and employees regarding the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage and to highlight common misconceptions within the equine industry regarding wages, remuneration packages and the law.

The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. We kindly remind readers that it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the information they are working to is correct and appropriate for their specific circumstances. Always consult a qualified professional in times of doubt.

 

What is the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage?

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - What is the new NMW

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW) is the minimum wage per hour a worker is entitled to in the United Kingdom. These rates are set out into age bands, from Apprentices through to experienced adults. The wages are reviewed yearly by the government and are advised by the independent body Low Pay Commission (LPC). These rates are not guidelines, they are the law, and there are few exceptions to employees who are entitled to these hourly rates.

 

 

What are the new National Minimum Wage and Living Wage hourly rates?

The new National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates are as follows:

April 2020 – March 2021

Level/Age Min. Hourly Rate
Apprentice £4.15
Under-18 £4.55
18-20 £6.45
21-24 £8.20
25 and over £8.72

 

From what date does the new National Minimum Wage and Living Wage apply?

The new National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates come into force from the 1st April 2020. All employees must be paid at least the new, increased wage rate regardless of how long they have been in their job.

 

 

Who is entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage?

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - Its all about the moneyTo qualify, a worker in the United Kingdom must be at least:

  • school leaving age (last Friday in June of the school year they turn 16) to get the National Minimum Wage.
  • aged 25 or older to get the National Living Wage – the minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 24 and under.

Contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding, the worker is still entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage regardless of any existing employment contract.

Workers are also entitled to the correct minimum wage if they’re:

  • part-time
  • “casual labourers”, for example, someone hired for one day
  • agency workers
  • apprentices
  • trainees, and workers on probation
  • disabled workers
  • agricultural workers
  • foreign workers

Freelance Grooms offering services to horse owners are not employed workers but service providers, therefore do not qualify for the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage. Freelance Grooms will set their own hourly rate.

 

Employees with accommodation – do I still need to pay/receive the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage?

The New National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - AccommodationYes, but an employer is entitled to deduct a set daily/weekly amount from the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates. We have covered in some detail the law regarding the National Minimum Wage and jobs with accommodation here. Employer or employee, if it applies to you, do have a read.

 

 

Employees on an excellent salary package with plenty of extras – do I still need to pay/receive the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage on top?

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - Provide a payslipYes. The Government is quite clear on what can be deducted from the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – only the accommodation offset rate can be deducted from the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage. Bills, extras (wifi, Sky/Satellite/Cable TV, cleaning etc), livery fees/cost of a horse, training/lessons can be charged to the employee, but not deducted from the National Minimum Wage. The employee must receive at least the National Minimum Wage and pay any charges to the employer in a separate transaction. A “payment in kind” arrangement is acceptable as long as it does not take a wage below the National Minimum Wage and, either way, any extras thrown into a salary package must still be declared to HMRC.

 

 

What happens if I don’t pay/receive the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage?

The Government takes the National Minumum Wage and National Living Wage increasingly seriously, so much so that in 2017-2018 they named and shamed almost 180 employers in the UK for underpaying their employees. The employers were also fined £1.3m collectively, on top of collectively paying out £1.1m in backpay for 9200 workers. The Government are on it, and it really isn’t worth risking the consequences!

In the eyes of the law, the National Minimum Wage is not only the employer’s responsibility – an employee mustn’t accept less than the National Minimum Wage for their age. To work out if you are receiving the correct wage for your age you can use this handy National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator from the Government website: National Minimum Wage and Living Wage Calculator.

 

 

National Minimum Wage and Living Wage – Good Practices

 

1. Review, negotiate and agree on a wage or salary package – regularly!

For both employers and employees, the subject of paying and receiving money can be an uncomfortable one to raise, but it really is important that you take this bull by the horns and keep yourself safely within the law. Get over any reluctance to broach the matter, and don’t be afraid to negotiate a fair and legal wage, or salary package, not only at the start of employment but regularly throughout.

Age: Over time, employers must be aware of their employee’s age and make sure their wage is increased to reflect the appropriate age band. Employees mustn’t be afraid to remind an employer that their birthday is approaching. It’s not about being cheeky or greedy, it’s about being lawful.

Changes in circumstances: Remember to review and adjust wages at times of change. If an employee moves from staff accommodation to live out locally it is imperative that their wage is reviewed and adjusted regarding the removal of any accommodation offset rate applied. This could be easy to forget and would lead to a breach of National Minimum Wage and Living Wage laws.

 

2. Play it safe with payments in kind

If you are an employer or employee engaging in like-for-like arrangements, for example, the employee receives riding lessons, livery, the provision of a car or use of the lorry as part of a salary package, scrutinise this carefully – HRMC certainly would. It is perfectly acceptable to offer free products and services as part of a salary package, providing the employee receives the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage in addition to this, and additional benefits and bonuses are reported to HRMC appropriately.

 

3. Be careful when making/accepting deductions from a wage

There are certain circumstances when deductions take a wage below the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage, and you must know when it is legal and when it isn’t. For example, livery for a staff horse cannot be deducted from the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage, and it is illegal to do so. If an employee must pay a fee for an extra such as this, the employee must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage and be charged separately for their horse. Learn more about making deductions here.

 

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - Pay by the hour

4. Ensure hours worked are accurately remunerated

To be honest, in the equestrian industry it’s a common mistake to work out a groom’s salary against standard office hours which, as any seasoned equestrian will know, is highly unlikely to be the case! An employer can choose to pay for a lunch hour or not and, either way, this needs to be clearly stated in the contract of employment. If an employee’s working day is 7am-8.30am, 9am-1pm, 2pm-5.30pm, for any number of days in a week, they must be paid for each of those hours! Paying someone who has worked 9 hours or more for 6 days a week the National Minimum Wage for a 9am-5pm Monday-Friday does not count as a legal wage! Also, any overtime must be paid hourly on top of the standard daily salary. Be realistic when paying/receiving the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage. It’s the minimum hourly rate, not a weekly or monthly rate and it’s not a guideline but the law! As an employee, you want to receive your dues – that goes without saying and is in no way unreasonable. As an employer, you not only want to find, recruit and keep your ideal groom, you NEED to ensure you stay within the law regarding these minimum wages.

 

A note on salary packages: Employees may need to declare to HMRC free products or services they receive as part of their salary package, including livery for a horse, the provision of a car and even accommodation. Employers may need to declare payments in the form of such additional extras. Why? Because the right amount of Income Tax and National Insurance must be paid for what the employee receives! Failing to do this can be interpreted as tax evasion and will land you in hot water! More information for employers can be found here. More information for employees can be found here.

 

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - Tax and National Insurance5. Never pay or accept “cash in hand”, even when self-employed

Many of us will remember when the Rt Hon Ed Balls came under fire for suggesting people should get a written receipt for all transactions, even small gardening jobs, even if it was just for £10 to cut a hedge because it was the “right thing to do”. As unpopular this suggestion may have been, he’s not entirely wrong, and this is certainly the case regarding permanent and temporary employment. Employers must provide employees with a payslip, before or on payday, and it must show the employees earnings before and after any deductions, and the amount of any deductions that may change each payday, e.g. Income Tax and National Insurance. The payslip can be paper or electronic (e.g. via email).

If a groom is working on a self-employed basis the groom must provide their “boss” with invoices, and both parties need to keep copies of them. The groom must declare their salary and bonuses in their income tax self-assessment return. The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates still apply.

If a groom works on a Freelance basis, invoices must still be provided and kept but in this case, the Freelance Groom will set the hourly rate of pay and by law, the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage do not apply.

 

6. Know the law and keep up with changes in legislation

It’s boring, often difficult to absorb and understand, but it is imperative that you know your legal requirements and rights regarding the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage, and these will change fairly regularly – at least once a year. Here at Caroline Carter Recruitment, we will try to keep you updated via our Advice, Articles, and Blogs, but we will always recommend you consult an appropriate advisory body with questions and problems.

 

7. Make use of free resources

ACAS offers invaluable services to both employers and employees, with free online tools alongside their helpline. Visit the ACAS website.

The Government website contains a wealth of information regarding all things employment. Navigate your way around using the onscreen links on each page you visit. Visit the Government website.

In addition to these, we will try to keep you informed of laws and legislation with a slant on the equestrian industry. You can see all of our articles here.

 

8. Consider joining the Equestrian Employers Association / British Grooms Association

If you are an employer in the equine industry it really is worthwhile joining the Equestrian Employers Association. EEA members range from private family yards through to large riding schools and Olympic medallists – all of whom employ grooms. Membership benefits include access to the Contract Creator, discounted Pension and Payroll services, free legal helpline and bespoke downloads for managing your team.

If you are workings as a groom then the British Grooms Association is for you. The British Grooms Association is the professional body for people who work with horses, offering a unique membership to all grooms who work in the UK and British grooms who work abroad. As a member, you’ll receive dedicated support, career advice and a range of membership benefits.

 

The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage from April 2018 - Review and adjust salaries

Money Matters

It is something the team at Caroline Carter Recruitment will say again and again – don’t be afraid to discuss wages/salary packages/money. Caroline has written an interesting article for both employers and employees about broaching and discussing the subject of salary here, and it’s well worth having a read of it. After all, grooms work for a living, and employers want to keep good grooms! Taking a job, or taking a new employee into your fold is a big move and it only works if it not just starts out right but remains right, and that needs regular review and adjustment. Let’s make this April the perfect time to attend to this.

 

The Grooms List - Treat your staff so they don't want to go elsewhere - Caroline Carter Recruitment

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The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the information they are working to is correct and appropriate for their specific circumstances.

© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and www.thegroomslist.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Job Description In 1992,  a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in species-appropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. We have a veterinary clinic based in Lewitz specializing primarily in equine breeding and treatment. The position we are offering provides a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field of vet nursing, and we expect applicants to come with competent horse/foal training skills as well as being well presented, punctual and reliable. This is a full-time appointment involving responding to calls from outlying farms and assisting with all aspects of professional breeding. Your duties will include restocking of trucks, setting up equipment, assisting with X-rays, preparing for injections and, above all, working with our foals. You will frequently be on “foal watch” – looking after mares and their foals, helping with neonatal foal and mare care, and thus given a first-rate opportunity for hands-on learning. Work on our stud also offers a great learning experience for the prospective veterinary or vet tech student; it will include some additional on-farm duties according to your daily workload   Accommodation details The stud’s own apartments, modern and practically furnished, give you affordable living space near your place of work and make it easier for you to form and strengthen social relationships even after you finish work. On request, you will be served breakfast and lunch in the stud’s own canteens.   Benefits Of course, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning, provide you with translating assistance during doctor’s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need. We will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible for you.  
Job Description In 1992, Paul Schockemöhle, a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion, purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in speciesappropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. As a groom or rider at one of the three riding stables, you are responsible for the training and care of the horses bred by Paul Schockemöhle. Many horses which will later cause a sensation in top level sport go through our hands. The daily routine gives you the opportunity to gather a lot of experiences and impressions in every respect. The fact that a renowned trainer is always available to support you will particularly help you with your personal development. The riding stables entrusted with training the horses are three geographically separated farmsteads under a common organisational umbrella. At each of the individual sites, site managers look after the training of the horses with their teams. A jumping horse trained on the Lewitz stud runs through all three stations chronologically. The second station for training a Lewitz jumping horse, the “Rustica”, is located in the immediate vicinity of the main stud. Under the management of Janek and Melanie Hucz, the young horses take their first jumps under a saddle here.    
Job Description In 1992, Paul Schockemöhle, a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion, purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in speciesappropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. The riding stables entrusted with training the horses are three geographically separated farmsteads under a common organisational umbrella. At each of the individual sites, site managers look after the training of the horses with their teams. A jumping horse trained on the Lewitz stud runs through all three stations chronologically. The “Stern-Buchholz” site is outside the gates of the state capital Schwerin. The team headed by Birgit Brandsätter and Paulo Castro here is responsible for breaking in all the horses, as well as for the further training of the dressage horses and the preparation of the colts for licensing.   Accommodation details The stud’s own apartments, modern and practically furnished, give you affordable living space near your place of work and make it easier for you to form and strengthen social relationships even after you finish work. On request, you will be served breakfast and lunch in the stud’s own canteens.   Benefits Of course, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning, provide you with translating assistance during doctor’s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need. We will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible for you.  
*Dog welcomed *Own horse considered *Flexible accommodation options (shared/with partner/sole) *Fair remuneration Business man and former European Champion has set up an amazing centre of modern horse breeding “unique” in Europe. The facilities comprise 3,000 hectare (30,000,000 sqm)land in total,spacious stables,large run-in stables and horse-appropriate group-housing for the approx. 4000 horses. A constantly progressing health management and the stud-owned vet clinic provide the perfect care for the horses.These are best prerequisites to guarantee breeding and training at the highest possible professional level. Almost 200 employees, among them 14 vets, are work around the clock for the benefit of the animals and ensure perfect conditions for the approx. 700 foals that are born every year. As a groom at one of the three riding stables, you are responsible for the training and care of the horses bred by Paul Schockemöhle. Many horses which will later cause a sensation in top level sport go through our hands. The daily routine gives you the opportunity to gather a lot of experiences and impressions in every respect. The fact that a renowned trainer is always available to support you will particularly help you with your personal development.
*Own horse a possibility * Very experienced Yard manager based on site *Fabulous facilities Job Description We are looking for a friendly, hard working individual to join our team at our busy yard just outside of Tonbridge in Kent. The candidate will be happy to assist in all yard duties including turning out, mucking out, catching in, etc.  An eye of detail and a tidy yard attitude is a must. You will need to be self driven, ensuring all duties are carried out meticulously.  We run a very reputable livery business and our reputation is important to us. Minimum Requirements Previous experience necessary   Accommodation details     Benefits    
Job Description *Upwards of £500pw depending on experience + pool money & bonuses paid *Friendly working atmosphere *Pets welcomed *Accommodation available/partner could be accommodated National Hunt  yard looking to recruit Riders and or Rider:Grooms for upcoming season. Friendly working atmosphere and fabulous location with the best of facilities. Minimum Requirements You can be from any discipline but must be confident in handling and riding TB’s. Confident and  previous experience riding out would be preferred but if plenty of riding experience in other disciplines this would also have its advantages. Accommodation details On site accommodation options single/shared/with partner 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a fabulous opportunity for competent and capable riders to get a lot of saddle time on a professional yard with quality horses and be very well remunerated and looked after as part of a professional Team. Great opportunity to experience another discipline or to put your existing experience into good use.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
  *Up to £450 pw negotiable depending on experience * Partner welcomed * Dog welcomed European champion Young Rider competing with Team GB and who has won 7 European medals is now looking for an experienced Groom/Exercise Rider with professional standards to work on the family yard. Must turn out to 4* and be capable of sole charge when required but understand the team dynamic of a family situation. HGV helpful but could be put through test. Affable personality is essential for this private and happy yard and a shared enthusiasm for eventing at the highest levels is probably essential! 10 polo ponies kept in winter/minimal duties. Professional facilities/x country course/great hacking.2000 acre farm stunning cross country course.   Please contact Caroline & The Grooms List Team, quoting reference code JL58861 on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
Salary 8.5 Euros/negotiable dependent on experience with no food/accommodation or utilities to pay. You will need some experience grooming competition horses One of the Most Professional SJ yards in the world – Learn your trade with the best and secure your Grooming future with a hands on job. All you need is a passport and an adventurous spirit! Enthusiasm and dedication to work along side the best horses, riders and horse people.This opportunity would be GREAT FUN and a second to none experience which would guarantee your career anywhere you chose in the future both home and abroad. A rare insight into world class horses, world class facilities and a truly remarkable experience for any groom seriously interested in getting to the top of their game. Whilst there are considerable opportunities for advancement and promotion possibilities if you wish to remain in Germany. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
*Salary IRO 1800 euros *All accommodation and food provided *Seasonal position with far reaching CV improving benefits! This world class service station and stud is looking for experienced stud hands for the forthcoming season to be based in Muhlen, Germany. Some prior experience important as some serious unmatched warmblood breeding stock is involved in this operation names such as  Balou du Rouet, whose offspring’s prize money makes millions plus Sandro Hit plus stallions Fürstenball, Vivaldi, Bordeaux, Foundation, Vitalis, Sir Donnerhall I and Diarado were amongst the leading group of all German stallions according to the German FN’s 2016 predicted breeding value statistics. Last year stallions from Mühlen once again dominated the Oldenburg Elite Mare show and of the twelve mares presented, seven of them were daughters of this yard’s stallions, including the winner Candy OLD by Sir Donnerhall I. The list goes on and on and on! 🙂 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  

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Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
The Stables
Fildyke Road
Meppershall
Bedfordshire
SG17 5LU

caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

Registered company number 10657796good site
Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd is registered with the UK Information Commissioner as a data controller with registered number ZA250621

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