genuine employer? What steps can we take

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  • #38032
    irenejoy
    Participant

    Hi

    We are coming across a common issue with some of our claimants.
    When we are given details of the claimants income, either payslips or a certificate of earnings we are unable to confirm that the employer is genuine.

    I do not want to generalise but it’s happening quite a bit with PFA’s – the claimant delares working 16 hours earns minimum wage and therefore pays no tax and NI – how can we find out if the employer is legal?

    Telephoning employer isn’t a viable optiona s we usually do not have contact number. Our fraud department aren’t interested unless we put a claim into payment and I feel that defeats the object really.

    Unless our officers do a lot of leg work – maybe even visiting employer premises what can we do?

    Thank you for any help and advice anyone can give.

    #107088
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Howabout contacting HMRC for confirmation that the “employer” exists? Even without tax / NI, the employer is still supposed to inform HMRC of employees.

    #107089
    irenejoy
    Participant

    hi

    apparently it stipulates that you don’t necesarily have to register as an enmployer. you need to apply if one of the following applies

    the employee has another job
    the employee receives an private occupational pension
    the employer is paying them at or above PAYE threshold
    the employer is payeing them at or above the NI lower earnings limit
    the employer provides employee benefits.

    i think only legal thing is having to have employers liability insurance!

    any other advice

    #107109
    michaelh
    Participant

    Irene, we insist on our employers earnings form that the employer gives us full contact details including position held in company, name, address and phone number. If we are unable to contact the employer by phone we send one of our visiting officers to make further enquiries.

    This helps but it is not always successful I must admit. The onus is on the clmt to prove their earnings and if wage slips or an earnings certificate have been provided it is very difficult to prove that the employer is not genuine. It is no coincidence of how many people work for 16 hours a week at the minimum wage.

    We also use our business rates section to check who or what businesses are registered at the business premisses. Our licensing department are also handy when dealing with take aways etc as we can tell who the licencees are or who holds alcohol sale licences for example.

    hope this hels you

    #107124
    irenejoy
    Participant

    Thank you very much for the advice mike.
    I will discuss with officers how we can best proceed due to the large increase in these such claims. Maybe we will have to do some visits to premises to ensure business is in exsistance and if we are unable to prove that the address of the company is legit then we may have to make some strong decsions about claimants income.
    Seems very strange to me that these ‘businesses’ do not have to be registered anywhere. they could be employing lots of people working 16hours or less and not have to register – weird.

    I will look at the rules for employers liability and then maybe we could get the employer to prove that they have this as one way of proving they are a business.

    Seem to be clutching at straws really to try to make life and decsion making easier for our officers. It gets hard for them when they have the gut feeling that claimant is making false claims and but nothing we can do to prove it!

    #107141
    Anonymous
    Guest

    If they are employers, then they are either self-employed or paid directors of a company. Either way they are under an obligation to complete a tax return, so I wonder if you are asking the wrong people at HMRC the wrong question, as every employer must have a taxation relationship with HMRC.

    Also, if the employers are directors of a company that would have to be registered with Companies House.

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