Cath Regan of Pine Pixies Pre-School, Formby, explaining her thoughts on changes for small businesses and employers

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On 1st April 2016 the government is bringing in the ‘National Living Wage’ for over 25’s.

What does this mean? Well it means that employees who are paid the current minimum wage of £6.70 per hour will have a wage increase of 50 pence per hour to £7.20 starting on the 1st April.

No it is no joke being set out in April Fool’s Day!

As with the current minimum wage this will be enforced just as strongly as the current minimum wage and is set to increase annually.

So what does this mean to employees? Well it is a positive step towards an improvement in living standards and will give a bit more in their pockets each week which is very welcome.

There is the other side to this from the employer’s point of view. If the employer is working to the limit of their ability to pay staff the lawful hourly rates (due to high overheads, small profits etc), then where exactly are they expected to find the extra funding to pay their staff? An employer is looking at requiring to find an extra £300 plus per monthly wage run. Will small businesses be able to stand the extra costs and keep running?

There are certain exemptions which can be viewed here:

The current Minimum Wage will stay in force for ‘under’ 25’s, which is:

£3.87 per hour for 16-17 year olds

£5.30 per hour for 18-20 year olds

£6.70 per hour for those aged 21 and over.

In my line of work which is childcare, the cost of childcare fee levels being paid has been the question of debate for a long time now. We are just seeing the new roll out of the introduction of 30 hours childcare in certain areas, but the question of just ‘where’ the government is going to find this funding is still undecided.

The current levels of fees being paid by our local council Sefton to nurseries are far too low, so I pose the question, are childcare fees in Sefton going to rise enough for us to stay afloat for the financial changes ahead?

Sefton’s inappropriate agreement that potentially threatened childcare facilities with closure.

Sefton recently put out a Service Level Agreement which to all intents and purposes made settings re-look at their insurance levels. Had settings taken the initial advice Sefton were giving out, then their financial outgoings would have increased ‘dramatically’.

Only by my pressure and some valuable help from the local Councillor Pat Keith and a few other nursery owners, did Sefton legal team re-look at this and change the agreement for the benefit of the settings it was ‘supposed’ to represent. We were given less than one month to sign this defective agreement or possibly no longer be given funding.

The changes Sefton finally made on the agreement, changed all insurance from their initially stated five million pounds to two hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

Apparently this was the second time Sefton legal team had presented an agreement, which was deemed by providers in the frontline to be wholly unfit for purpose.



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