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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 20 October  2011

Bullying in work on the increase

LEGAL and workplace health experts are warning that bullying in work is on the rise in Merseyside.  Liverpool law firm Maxwell Hodge has seen a number of employment law cases where workplace bullying has been an issue.

The firm’s findings are backed by Merseyside workplace health organisation, Health@Work, which has been dealing with a host of stress related bullying issues and is working to tackle bullying in local businesses.  In surveys by the Samaritans it’s estimated that 8 in 10 workers are affected by workplace bullying and 18.9 million working days are lost each year as a direct result.

Maxwell Hodge and Health@Work have teamed up to tackle the issue and are running a free seminar for Merseyside people on workplace bullying on Friday, 21 October 2011, from 9 to 10 am. This will be at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce building, on Old Hall Street.

Health@Work’s programme manager Keith Gorman said:- "Cases of bullying appear to be on the increase and this is in line with national statistics which show that bullying increases during tough economic times.  Any instance of bullying can have a huge impact on staff morale and the bottom line. We are trying to raise more awareness around the issue and offer our support to employers and employees to help stamp out bullying in the workplace."

Maxwell Hodge employment law specialist Laura Chalkley said:- "Maxwell Hodge has dealt with several cases which have involved reported bullying and we are delighted to be able to collaborate with Health@Work on this project. The problem of workplace bullying can have far-reaching effects and if left unchallenged, it can have a serious effect on people’s personal lives and in some instances can result in costly court cases for businesses concerned."  Places on the seminar can be booked via the Liverpool Chamber's website.

North West employers urged to ditch ‘A N Other’

EMPLOYERS in the North West are being urged to get their PAYE paperwork in order, after more than 500 returns incorrectly claimed to employ "A N Other" in 2009/10.

Every year, employers send PAYE data to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which gives details of employees’ tax and national insurance contributions. However, it is not always accurate. This can cause problems for the employee, for example, incorrect amounts being deducted from their pay. It can also use up valuable employer and HMRC time and money putting the error right.

As well as 507 "A N Others", employer returns submitted across the UK for 2009/10 revealed the following incorrect information:-

► 128 staff entered as Mr, Ms or Mrs "Dummy"

► 572 people whose surnames only included the letter X, ranging from "Mr X" to "Mrs XXXXXX"

► 75 staff with the surname "Casual", 11 "Cleaners", 9 "Workers" and 6 "Students"

► 824 employees with the surname "Unknown"

► 40 people were apparently 200 years old or more after incorrect dates of birth were submitted.

Jim Harra, HMRC’s Director of Customer Operations, said:- "Most employers in the North West get their PAYE returns right. The few who don’t can cause problems for their employees, for example, incorrect deductions of tax. Around 80% of errors in employee data are due to an incorrect name, date of birth or national insurance number – straightforward information that can be collected and checked quite easily.  So, whether you are employing ‘Mr or Mrs J Smith’ – or even ‘Mr or Mrs A N Other’, please use the full and official name on your PAYE paperwork. First names are very important, especially for common surnames.  We really want employers to check that they are sending us the right details for all their employees, to make life easier for them, their employees and HMRC."

For more information on getting your employer data right, visit:-

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