National minimum wage: FAQs
1. Why have I been contacted by Pulse?
There has been a lot of uncertainty about how working hours should be calculated under national minimum wage (NMW) legislation. At Pulse, we’ve been working with HMRC, to ensure that our treatment of national minimum wage requirements is in line with HMRC’s expectations.
We have conducted a thorough review of our records and have identified that we have underpaid you at some point, whilst you have been working with Pulse. We are contacting you now to provide details of the payment which is due to you
2. What is national minimum wage?
The national minimum wage is the minimum pay per hour that almost all workers are entitled to. The national living wage is higher than the national minimum wage and is the amount that must be paid to workers if they are over 25. All employers must pay the national minimum wage.
Within this document we refer to the national minimum wage which reflects the minimum amount that Pulse will pay workers. In some instances this will be the same as the national living wage (i.e. if you are over 25).
The living wage, sometimes referred to as the ‘real’ living wage, is an hourly rate based on the basic cost of living in the UK. It’s calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, a campaigning organisation in the UK, and therefore has no legal grounding. The national minimum wage is less than the living wage, and the living wage is not relevant for the purpose of this document. Despite the similarity in names, the living wage (or “real” living wage) is also an entirely separate concept from the “national living wage” which simply means the national minimum wage rate for workers aged 25+.
3. How can I tell what I am being paid for?
Any payments due will be from periods of employment as a Pulse PAYE worker (excludes Direct Engagement), limited company/personal services company, or from time worked through our Titan model.
4. What period am I being paid for?
We have previously completed an historical payments exercise, covering from 2013 to 2019. Any amounts paid going forward will be from November 2019 onwards.
5. Why are you paying me?
Any underpayment in our Pulse business relates to one or more of the following:
• Unpaid working time – specifically for training
• Deductions – that take a worker’s pay below national minimum wage
• Underpaying workers – typically as a result of a failure to change the rate of pay at the point that a worker’s birthday meant that they were eligible for a higher level of national minimum wage
• Inclusion of certain payments or premium payments when calculating a worker’s pay for national minimum wage purposes
• Incorrect allocation of accommodation benefits to workers
In almost all circumstances the driver behind the underpayment is where we have offered you the opportunity to meet your annual/renewable professional training requirements with Pulse. This time counts as working time.
6. How have you calculated the payment?
In line with HMRC guidelines, we assess whether there was a national minimum wage underpayment in every pay reference period that you worked with Pulse. The pay reference period that we have used for these assessments is a one-week period running Monday to Sunday.
Where there has been an underpayment we have used the HMRC formula to identify the correct amount to pay you using the current minimum wage, the calculation from HMRC is set out as (A/B) X C where:
• A = the amount of underpayment identified
• B = the rate of national living wage or national minimum wage at the time
• C = the current rate of national living wage or national minimum wage
NMW has age triggers, these have been factored into the payment calculations to reflect the age that you were when you worked each placement.
7. Can I see the specific calculations that have generated my payment?
Due to the large number of records that we are dealing with and the length of time covered in these reviews, we are unable to share detailed calculations by candidate. The detailed calculations produced have been subject to audit by our external auditors, as part of the annual audit of our financial statements.
8. How much am I likely to receive?
Every person we are contacting will have had their individual records reviewed to determine what amount is owed. The amount owed could range from a substantial amount to a negligible amount. Under HMRC rules we need to process all payments, no matter how small.
You will receive an email payslip on or just before the payment date.
9. When will I receive the payment?
You should receive automatic payment by the end of the calendar month and you do not need to take any further action (unless you want to be paid into a different bank account – see FAQ 10 below).
10. I do not want to use my normal bank account; how do I confirm my bank details with you?
For all workers that are currently being paid through an umbrella arrangement, but have previously worked for us under PAYE, you will have to provide us with your personal bank details.
If you are currently working for us under a PAYE arrangement and want to receive the payment in a different account to the one we normally pay you into, you must email our enquiry line so a ‘bank details form’ can be sent to you to complete. Please be clear on whether you want just this payment or all future payments for your Pulse work to be paid into this account. The email enquiry line is: MinimumWageEnquiries@pulsejobs.com
11. I have a query which is not addressed within these FAQ’s what should I do?
The teams in our Pulse branches will also not be able to answer specific queries and they have been instructed not to attempt to do so. If you have a query that is not dealt with within these FAQ’s then please email – MinimumWageEnquiries@pulsejobs.com
12. I am worried about providing my bank details, how can you provide me with reassurance that this is not fraud?
If you are nervous about providing your details you can call your normal Pulse contact to confirm that this is a legitimate process. As per FAQ 11 above, they will not be able to answer any queries, but they will be able to reassure you that this is genuine. We can also confirm that we have successfully paid a large number of people already, which should give you further reassurance.
13. How is Pulse going to protect my personal data if I provide my bank details?
14. I don’t want to give my bank details. Can you pay me by cheque?
We are only able to pay you by electronic bank transfer and we are unable to pay by cheque or any other means.
15. Will I receive holiday pay?
The amount paid excludes holiday pay.
16. What are the deduction implications for me (e.g. tax, National Insurance and pension)?
In line with HMRC guidelines we have deducted tax and national insurance at the current year’s tax rates. Both tax and National Insurance will be paid to HMRC for you.
If you are currently auto enrolled with our current provider for pension auto enrolment, The People’s Pension, then we have made the appropriate deduction to the amount owed to you and have funded an additional pension contribution in line with the current year’s auto enrolment pension rates and thresholds.
17. I receive benefits or tax credits, are they impacted by this payment?
Your arrears payment may impact any benefits or tax credits you receive. If you receive tax credits and your annual income (gross) for this year has increased by £2,500 or more (including the payments referenced in this letter) then you must tell HMRC straight away. To find out how to tell HMRC please go towww.gov.uk/changes-affect-tax-credits.
If you receive benefits such as Universal Credit, you will need to tell the Department for Work and Pensions about your arrears payment as soon as possible. Find out more at www.gov.uk/report-benefits-change-circumstances.
If you receive housing benefit, you’ll need to tell your local council about your arrears payment as soon as possible. Find your local council at www.gov.uk/find-local-council.
If your total (gross) income for any tax year was less than your personal tax allowance (the amount you can earn before you need to pay tax) then you may have paid too much tax. You can check the personal tax allowance for each year by going to www.gov.uk/report-benefits-change-circumstances. You can confirm your total income for each tax year using your online personal tax account (for the last two years), P60s, P45s, payslips and/or self-assessment account.
To claim a tax refund please write to HMRC, BX9 1AS, United Kingdom. Please ensure your covering letter states your claim is for ‘social care scheme arrears payment’, includes your National Insurance number and which year you believe you paid too much tax. You must also include a copy of the letter from Pulse confirming your payment.
Please note that Pulse has no visibility of any benefits or tax credits that you receive, we will not be able to answer detailed questions about how any payment from Pulse impacts your personal situation.
¨C46CPlease also be aware that the information given above in response is general guidance only and is intended to direct you to the Government and/or HMRC resources that may be relevant to you in order that you can find out further information about how the payments may impact on you personally. Pulse is not providing you with any tax and/or financial advice (as it would be inappropriate for us to do so) and you may therefore wish to take your own independent tax and/or financial advice.
18. I have worked for other companies which are part of Acacium Group – does this correspondence relate to those as well?
No, this correspondence only relates to payments arising from Pulse.
To speak to our dedicated national minimum wage team, contact us via email: MinimumWageEnquiries@pulsejobs.com.