PeopleTalk – November 2012

Welcome to November’s Issue of PeopleTalk. In this issue we comment on the “Living Wage” statement from KPMG and it’s impact on SMEs.  We also look at how the Government’s “Work Programme” has performed over the past 12 months and we invite you to visit us at Herts Business Expo on the 21st November.

Are you paying below the Living Wage?

Most businesses are now familiar with the need to pay employees a gross hourly rate equal to or greater than the National Minimum Wage (NMW). However, many businesses are not aware of the concept of the “Living Wage”. Following their recent research, Accountants KPMG reported that a fifth of UK workers (just under 5 million) are paid less than the “Living Wage” and the greatest concentration of these low paid workers can be found in London and the South East.

The Living Wage is defined in two categories – for London it is currently £8.30 per hour and for the rest of the UK it is £7.20 per hour. This is seen to be the minimum amount an employee needs to earn to afford an acceptable standard of living.

If an employee is currently working 35 hours a week on the NMW, they will earn approximately £11,265 per year. If an employer in London now has to pay the Living Wage, they will incur an additional £3,841 per employee per annum – for some SMEs this is just not achievable.  Fortunately, at the moment, employers are not being forced to pay the Living Wage as it is voluntary but they do need to be aware of the implications of not doing so: harder to attract good quality staff, may not be able to retain staff and may not be able to compete for Government contracts.

The sectors which are most exposed are cleaning companies, hospitality industry and retailers. While the whole sector pays below the Living Wage then the impact on each business is low however, if some of the companies decide to commit to the Living Wage, all the others may be forced to do so.

Like the NMW, the Living Wage is reviewed on an annual basis and the new rates will be announced shortly, probably increasing the gap between the NMW and what people need to live, not just to survive.

The Hertfordshire Business Expo – We’ll be there

We are delighted to be exhibiting again at The Hertfordshire Business Expo on the 21st of this month.  It promises to be a very exciting exhibition with a learning zone comprising of interesting workshops, and a business networking breakfast plus notable speakers including Perry Mcarthy – The Stig.  If you are attending, do drop by and say hello to us on our Stand. For tickets and more information visit Hertfordshire Business Expo here.

The Government’s Ambitious ‘Work Programme’ – an update

Launched in June 2011 to replace the ‘New Deal’, The Government’s Work Programme scheme has got off to a positive start; however, it seems that many employers are still in the dark about its availability and what it actually is. In a survey of over 1,000 mixed industry employers the following trends were reported:

  • – More organisations plan to participate over the next three years
  • – The programme still has low awareness among employers
  • – Many employers do not feel it has any relevance to their business
  • – Among those who have used the Work Programme:
    • – most employers are pleased with the recruits they have had
    • – most placements will last less than 6 months
    • – almost half of the employers felt that the recruits were missing key skills

The Government are working hard to make the Ambituous Work Programme an effective tool for getting the unemployment figures down. If employers recruit through the programme, they need to ensure they are recruiting the best people for their vacancies, that the appropriate training and development is given and that long term success of the recruit is not taken granted, but that they are supported and monitored throughout.

Have you used the Work Programme?  We’d be delighted to hear your views.  If you haven’t yet used it, is it because you didn’t know about it, or because you felt no need to include this programme into your business?  Let us know by emailing us at [email protected]


Mum’s Club – Top 100

For those of you who didn’t know, Donna has been voted as one of the Top 100 winners of The Business Mum Awards  “The Experts in their Field” category.  There’s been some very positive PR on this prestigious award and the overall winners will be announced in January.  MyNews Bushey published an article on Donna and the awards. If you come across Donna’s name in the local press, we’d love to hear from you.


Key Dates






15th November     Islamic New Year

9th December      Chanukah

24th December    Christmas Eve

25th December    Christmas Day

26th December     Boxing Day

31st December     New Year’s Eve


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