Welcome to February 2016

Welcome to February 2016

Eloise's blog picture

I hope you all had a great January and you're ready to take on a short February. 

I want to open this month’s blog with a question; how do you expect the increase in the National Living Wage to impact your business, either directly or indirectly?

From April 2016, the government are introducing a mandatory National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 25 years and over. It will be initially set at £7.20 per hour, which is an increase of 50p per hour on the current National Minimum Wage (NMW). For a full-time worker earning the current NMW this equates to an annual salary increase of £910. This is a sizable amount, especially if you have several employees earning NMW. (The current NMW of £6.70 will continue to apply for those aged 21 to 24).

I would genuinely like to hear your thoughts on this. Will it dramatically impact your business, and are you ready for the increase? How might it influence your future recruitment plans or business strategy?

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) published a recent survey that found almost half (49%) of employers have increased salaries during 2015. With this in mind, as well as the new National Living Wage coming in later this year, 2016 could be a financially tight year for many businesses. 

In the same REC survey, they found that 83% of employers had a certain or potential need to increase their headcount in the first quarter of 2016. With 77% planning to increase their team size in quarter two.

Unemployment is at it’s lowest level since the economic downturn, which means the competition to secure great candidates is set to intensify even further than we’ve already seen in 2015. 

To help combat the shortfall in the candidate market, flexible working and temporary contracts could be a great strategy. Flexible working patterns, working from home and job sharing are becoming central to large employer’s recruitment strategies to enable them to attract and retain the quality of employees they need. With the REC predicting a general switch from permanent hiring to short term contracts ahead of the April NLW introduction, this could well be something to explore for your business?

If you’d like to drop me a line with your thoughts on this, feel free to email me at

In January’s blog I spoke at length about employee engagement being key to kick starting your year and helping protect your greatest business asset – your people. February holds another great opportunity to show your love/appreciation with Valentine’s Day on the 14th. Why not share the love, as your business is only as good as the people working within it, and you wouldn’t have a business without your customers/clients. Valentine’s could simply be a time for saying a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who supports your business. 

And with that thought in mind, I’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU to YOU. Thank you for supporting Vanilla and thank you for reading my blog – I really do appreciate it.

Have a lovely February


Upcoming events / dates to remember:

Auto Enrolment - Businesses with less than 30 employees are auto enrolling throughout 2016. If the last 2 characters in your PAYE reference numbers are 00 05-07, E1-E9 or EA-EZ, your staging date is 1st February 2016, are you ready to go? The next batch is then: 01, 08-11, F1-F9, G1-G9, FA-FZ or GA-GZ with a staging date of 1st March.