Consumer rights: We are adopting a little girl, are we entitled to paid leave?
Not all owners of small businesses are aware of the regulations surrounding time off for adopting parents...Will the VAT rise prove too expensive?
Sunday 03 October 2010
My partner and I will be adopting a little girl soon. My partner has sorted out paid leave. But when I asked my boss for some time off to be with the baby she refused. I'm happy to take leave or even unpaid leave but a colleague says he thinks I'm being treated unfairly and that I'm entitled to paid time off. What is the situation?
Your colleague may be right and your boss may be wrong. I say "may be" because not everyone adopting a child will be entitled to paid leave. An individual, or one partner of a couple, adopting a child is entitled to adoption leave if they qualify. To qualify, you and your partner must be newly matched with a child through an approved adoption agency, have been employed continuously by your current employers for at least 26 weeks by the time you get the notification of the matching, and be earning more than the lower earnings limit (currently £97 a week). Either one of you can take adoption leave. The one who doesn't can take paternity leave.
A person who qualifies for adoption leave can take up to 52 weeks off. Most employees also qualify for adoption pay for the first 39 weeks of their leave. This will be at least the statutory adoption pay (£124.88 or 90 per cent or average weekly earnings if that's less).
If your partner is taking adoption leave, you are entitled to paternity leave if, again, you have been working for your current employer for 26 weeks or more and have responsibility for bringing up the child. You can take one week or two consecutive weeks but not odd days or one week here and one week there. You have to tell your boss within seven days of getting the matching certificate from the adoption agency when you intend to take that leave. You'll also qualify for paternity pay if you have been earning more £97 per week. That may be statutory paternity pay (£124.88 or 90 per cent of you weekly pay if that's less) – the minimum amount set by the Government. Your employer might ask you for self-certificate form SC3 Becoming a Parent that confirms you're entitled to the pay. You can download that from www.direct.gov.uk.
Many small employers don't realise that employees are entitled to adoption leave. Your boss will be entitled to claim back most of what she has to pay you in statutory paternity pay through the national insurance scheme. If she fires you she will have unfairly dismissed you and you can make a claim at an employment tribunal. Call the HM Revenue and Customs enquiry line on 0845 302 1479.
I run my own small business providing IT services to businesses. I've been registered for VAT for years, but with VAT set to go up to 20 per cent in January I'm wondering whether I should de-register. The business hasn't been doing well and I don't want to have to pass price rises on to my customers.
You can't de-register if you have issued invoices worth more than the threshold in the past 12 months. At the minute, that threshold is £70,000. If your "sales" are less than £70,000 de-registering is an option. You can find the forms on www.hmrc.gov.uk.
But think carefully about this. While you're registered, you can claim back the VAT you pay out on many of your expenses. If you can no longer claim that back you may have to pass those extra costs on to your customers. Some of your clients may prefer to deal with a firm that is registered for VAT. Tax expert Neil Warren says: "It can be a prestige thing; some public bodies even insist on it."
You could think about registering for the flat rate scheme. If your total VAT turnover is less than £150,000 you can pay a flat rate of VAT on your sales. You can find your rate from the HMRC site. You can't claim back VAT on your expenses but many businesses do save money this way.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens