Jac Roper:  ”You would be a fool not to look into this April’s changes to employment regulations”

The Employment Law Advice Bureau (EAB) advises that there is a shedload of new HR and employment laws coming into effect in April, and warns: “Your current documents are highly outdated and won’t meet the new requirements, exposing you to legal risks. And don’t forget… By law, you must communicate changes with employees in good time.”

There’s a list which includes updating HR policies to include new leave entitlements.

You also have to revise holiday entitlement calculations for irregular hour and part-year workers.

And you need to adjust contracts and policies for updated pay entitlements: reflect the increased national minimum wage and statutory sick pay; update family leave entitlements and address changes in holiday pay calculations, including rolled-up holiday pay.

You must review working time policies for new flexible working regulations: amend flexible working policies to comply with day one rights and establish a process for handling requests from workers with unstable schedules.

There’s more: you have to ensure redundancy policies account for extended protection and include protection for pregnant employees, adoption, and shared parental leave in redundancy procedures.

There’s also a new duty. You have to take proactive steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment. You can either implement or update your sexual harassment policy, providing comprehensive anti-harassment training for staff.

“Remember,” adds EAB, “employment contracts are governed by various laws like the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Equality Act 2010, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, the Working Time Regulations 1998, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.”

You can book a free consultation with them online. Or you can consult ACAS.

Why was Worldpay sitting on his £60K?

I was contacted on the helpline by Shanmugam Ramachandran, known as Ram, over the distressing fact that Worldpay had been sitting on £60,000 of his money for quite some time.

Ram had signed up his business, College Service Station in Grays, Essex with RSM 2000 as his credit card provider in 2018. Everything went like clockwork until the 15 November 2023 when he received an email from Worldpay requesting a bunch of details such as his full name, date of birth, residential address(es) covering the last four years including any time spent abroad, website of the business, nature of the business, his nationality and an in-date copy of his passport or driving licence for the “significant controllers”. A separate note explained that this is someone that holds 25% or more shares of voting rights in a company.

He replied on the same day with all the information requested, including the fact that he is British and has full ownership of the site.

On 14 December 2023 they requested an outlet picture. On 30 January 2024 he sent photos of the site.

He says: “I received a letter from Worldpay on 5 February 2024 – all the transactions which went through our terminal on 31 January 2024 were unable to be processed by them.”

He sent me a list of 17 Visa and MasterCard transactions that had not gone through on that day because, as the letter said, “the Merchant ID is not live”.

This had apparently gone on for 12 days from the 19 to 31 January, with transactions adding up to around £60,000.

Since that letter he had been calling Worldplay’s helpline but had been getting nowhere. When he asked for a copy of his contract, Worldpay sent him a contract entirely in another person’s name.

I attempted to contact Worldpay with emails to both the person Ram had been emailing and also customer support.

All I got back was the following: “We have generated a reference to help us track your query. Your incident number is 240220-000220 (please quote this number on any future communication with us relating to this matter).

“We aim to respond to your query within the next working day.

“Our Global Support teams are available 24 hours a day Monday to Friday and Saturday 9am GMT to 5pm GMT.

“Whilst you are waiting for our response you can find answers to many of the common support queries on our web site…”

Obviously this wasn’t helpful, so I suggested to Ram that he should consult the Financial Ombudsman because it has clout. Should it intervene it can make Worldpay sit up and take notice. He has done this but there is a waiting time of eight weeks.

Meanwhile, he had engaged the support of PayPoint which enables the card payments and it has managed to intervene and extract a promise to release the money within a few days.

PayPoint then wrote to him saying that Worldpay had confirmed that Ram had been moved to a transaction plus one banking day so he should receive his usual funds quicker (he was previously on ‘transaction plus three banking days’).

However Ram has since switched from Worldpay to Elavon which he says is much better.

But still no £60K so he pleaded further with PayPoint.

And finally, as this was being written, he copied me in on another email to PP saying: “I have received today £55,377.46 instead of £59,414.99. On 31 January 2024 the EFT transaction was £4,738.97 including £661.45 i.e. bunkering and charge card. The balance of £4,077.52 is outstanding from Worldpay. Could you please request Worldpay to transfer this amount.”

So far, so good…but it’s been like getting blood from a stone.

You can email your queries, news and views to Jac@roper-biz.co.uk or call 020 8502 9775.