This website is part of the Nicholas Associates Group. Click on the group logo to find out more.

HR & Finance Newsletter

Summer 2018

Ashley Kate HR
to top


We are delighted to introduce you to the Ashley Kate HR & Finance Summer Newsletter. It has been a busy time at Ashley Kate, with us fully integrating our Finance division into our brand as well as facing the challenges of GDPR, which I am sure you can all relate to!

It has been a delight to see so many of you at our events over the last few months. Our HR Directors boardroom events have seen some great discussions ranging from “The Apprentice Levy and how to build this into your People Strategy” to “The Future of Culture”, more information on these later on. Our Employment Law Updates are well underway with Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, and these are covering a variety of topics this year, including case law updates, NMW and Dignity at Work. Simon Rice-Birchall one of the partners at Eversheds Sutherland has written a piece on the NMW for this newsletter. So many companies are inadvertently falling foul of the regulations, so businesses need to be proactive on this to make sure they are not one of them.

We hope you find this newsletter both useful and informative. If you would like to contribute to our autumn edition or be involved with our events or articles, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Many thanks,

The Ashley Kate HR & Finance Team

Head Office – 0115 9223000

Email –

Integrating our brands

Integrating our brands

Ashley Kate HR & Finance

Ashley Kate HR & Finance

As you will be aware, our Group finance division joined the Ashley Kate family at the beginning of the year. Since then, our finance offering has gone from strength to strength with our loyal clients inundating us with roles – so much so that we have made to decision to fully integrate, leading to Ashley Kate HR & Finance. Our dedicated Finance team are receiving excellent feedback from both candidates and clients, and are ensuring that our high levels of service are applied consistently across our offering.

Our latest article reflects this dual approach to market, with an interesting piece by Laura Bowler, on pensions and auto enrolment. This highlights concerns with the lack of understanding which the majority of employees have of this important area, and how companies can and should support with this. A key subject for both HR and Finance and one that will arguably only grow in importance. See Laura’s article here.

Legal Update

Legal Update

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP continue to work in partnership with Ashley Kate HR & Finance, the popularity of our events continue to increase offering access to expert advice. Simon Rice-Birchell, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, highlights below some key watch outs for businesses to ensure they do not inadvertently fall foul of the NMW regulations, as many high street names have in the last year.

Employment Law Updates

Employment Law Updates

Our Summer Employment Law updates are all completed and now we can look forward to our Autumn events. This is an invaluable way to keep up to date and enable you to question the experts. Our dates and venues are:

Birmingham – Thursday 8th November

Leeds – Thursday 15th November

London – Wednesday 21st November

For all the latest updates from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s follow the link.

HR Directors Boardroom

HR Directors Boardroom

Ashley Kate HR & Finance are delighted to have secured Chris Roebuck and Karen Sanders as speakers, who will be looking to discuss the future of HR and how HR can have a significant impact on the bottom line in our autumn series.

Cambridge – Thursday 20th September

London – Thursday 27th September

Manchester – Thursday 4th October

Nottingham – Thursday 11th October

Minimum Wage rises bring increased risks for employers – Simon Rice-Birchall, Partner Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

In April 2018 the top rate of the national minimum wage increased by 4.4% to £7.83 per hour for workers aged 25 and over. The Low Pay Commission has indicated that this rate is likely to reach around £8.20 in 2019 and around £8.60 in 2020. Hourly rates for younger workers and apprentices have also risen significantly.

Higher minimum wage rates are accompanied by stepped up enforcement by HMRC. As a result, increasing numbers of employers are being told that they have failed to pay the minimum wage and face demands for up to six years’ arrears plus hefty fines and the ignominy of being publicly named as a defaulter.

Even those whose basic rates are comfortably above minimum wage rates can be caught out. Part of the problem is that some aspects of the rules are ambiguous while others are not well known. Tricky areas include: allowances and shift premiums; salary sacrifice; dress-codes; workers’ expenditure; pay deductions; pay-averaging; time-off in lieu and other flexible work arrangements; and on-call time.

Earlier this year the government published its latest list of minimum wage defaulters. News reports focussed on two large employers who both appear to have been caught out by difficult to apply rules affecting dress codes and uniform policies. In essence, the regulations say that if a worker is obliged by their employer to incur expenditure to do their job, they cannot be expected to cover those costs out of minimum wage pay; instead, the employer has to reimburse the expenses on top of paying the minimum wage. This may sound like a straightforward principle but it is one that catches many employers out because it is not always easy to apply in practice. If, for example, an employer’s dress code requires staff to wear black shoes, HMRC’s minimum wage enforcement officers usually take the view that the cost of buying black shoes is something the employer should be paying for on top of the minimum wage, notwithstanding any protestations that workers are already likely to own a pair of black shoes. There is then the practical difficulty for employers of knowing exactly which of their employees have had to buy shoes to do their job, when, how much they spent and, if the cost seems excessively high, whether there are any limits on how much the employer is expected to pay. HMRC’s answer to these issues may be to take a broad-brush approach, identifying an amount that it thinks represents what the average worker is likely to have spent. Employers can feel under pressure to accept an enforcement notice on that basis – and their inevitable inclusion in the government’s defaulter list – rather than challenge HMRC’s stance in Employment Tribunal proceedings.

The Director of Labour Market Enforcement has called for better government support and guidance for employers to reduce ‘accidental’ non-compliance. In the meantime, employers need to be alert to the fact that their established payroll practices could make them vulnerable to inadvertent breaches of the rules.  Eversheds Sutherland are running a training course on this subject, visit NMW training for more details.

  • Auto-enrolment does not mean auto-engagement - Guest Article by Laura Bowler Auto-enrolment does not mean auto-engagement - Guest Article by Laura Bowler

    Auto-enrolment does not mean auto-engagement - Guest Article by Laura Bowler

    Auto-enrolment has been flaunting itself since 2012, with most UK employers (SMEs) being impacted from 2017. Auto-enrolment was introduced to encourage...

  • Mindfulness in the workplace - Guest Article by Leigh McKay Mindfulness in the workplace - Guest Article by Leigh McKay

    Mindfulness in the workplace - Guest Article by Leigh McKay

    When hearing the word Mindfulness what does this mean to you? For some it is a buzz word that will surely reach its pinnacle and be surpassed with something new...

  • Get to know James Dubowski! Get to know James Dubowski!

    Get to know James Dubowski!

    Since completing the training and becoming an independent recruiter the market has really picked up. I cover South London as well as the South East region so am very fortunate...

  • Flow – How Does It Work in Practice? - Guest Article by Andy Davies Flow – How Does It Work in Practice? - Guest Article by Andy Davies

    Flow – How Does It Work in Practice? - Guest Article by Andy Davies

    Have you ever felt so engaged in your work that you lost track of time, totally oblivious to outside distractions? This state of hyper-engagement is known as flow...



For all of us that have been involved with GDPR, we are hoping that the months of preparation have set all of our businesses up for compliance. Here at Ashley Kate HR & Finance we do, and always have, cared about your information. We have included a link to our privacy policy, but should you have any further question with regard to this please do not hesitate to contact us.

Nicholas Associates Group Privacy Policy

Client and Candidate care

Client and Candidate care

The time has come for our annual client and candidate survey. As one of the only recruitment businesses to be awarded the Customer Service Excellence accreditation, this is at the heart of what we do. We would be grateful if you could take the time to complete this short survey, from either a candidate or client or joint perspective. As you will be aware we reach out for feedback on a monthly basis, but this annual snapshot is so important for us to spot trends and collate your thoughts on our service to you.

If you could please click the relevant link below, to let us have your thoughts and feedback:

Client Satisfaction Survey
Candidate Satisfaction Survey



We hope you found the second newsletter of 2018 informative and of benefit.

The next Ashley Kate HR & Finance Newsletter will be out in the third quarter of 2018, if you would like to contribute please email:

We look forward to working with you soon.

Kind regards,

The Ashley Kate HR & Finance Team

This site uses cookies. You can see our full cookie policy below, as well as agree to our use of cookies, or manage your individual settings.


NA Group

The UK’s market leading partner of choice for talent management solutions, from Apprentice to Boardroom.

Our teams are specialists in their field, supporting apprentice and graduate placements, flexible workers, quality permanent recruitment, executive search and innovative L&D and software consultancy. Click below to visit our company websites.