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Welcome to Fresh Threads, our weekly roundup of the most popular threads, comments and advice from the forums.
Here are my top picks from the past week.
MrsCBeaMy partner is a sales executive and on a basic salary and commission structure. However, he has a monthly threshold to cover before he can receive any earnt commissions. This is nearly £4,000 a month and covers his costs, such as salary, car, phone etc.
He is returning to work after nearly a year of furlough where the government paid 80% of his wage. His company has sent him a spreadsheet with the threshold he owes over the past year which is well over £40,000.
So he has to earn £40,000 in commissions before he can receive any. He has not been working, so how can they expect him to cover a monthly threshold. If the government paid 80% of his wage why would they ask for the full amount?
Newchodge: Just say no.
WaveJumper: Have to say it seems rather unfair on the face of it. Has he spoken to his company about this to confirm the numbers are correct and they have not made a mistake?
japancool: If the threshold is to cover his costs, including salary, the company has incurred no costs in that regard while he was on furlough - the Government paid it.
MarkOnline: I think the company wants him to resign so they don't have to pay any due redundancy pay by making him redundant. No reasonable company would impose such terms on a salesforce.
I am going to set up a limited company for myself, as a sole owner. An accountant quoted me a good amount of money to do it. I have seen several online companies who say they help you do it for a fixed fee depending on the 'package' you buy. They can charge from £12 to £200.
Are these businesses reliable or just cowboys looking for easy money?
Nico Albrecht: Why not do it for yourself online and pay the £12 yourself?
Mark T Jones: Setting up a company yourself is easy and cheap. It's after that the costs start creeping in. It would be a great idea to go back to some of these companies and ask what they are actually offering for the money and then decide what you want.
intheTRADE: I would recommend Rapid Formations. Great company I have used a few times.
japancool: I used Companies Made Easy.
Laurence GrantCan people give me useful suggestions of sites I should go to to find a business mentor to guide me through the different stages of business?
The Byre: Read 'Starting a Business for Dummies' by Colin Barrow. It's nearly all in there.
Mark T Jones: Free business mentors will either be useless or extremely busy. If you want professional, dedicated, attentive advice then you need to pay for it.
Mr D: Seriously, a mentor can be useful for particular challenges – such as positioning yourself to grow to a particular size, for example. However, finding one suitable for you is often the problem – the free ones are busy, the expensive ones need to have the experience you need and be willing to work with you.
Ozzy: I think the difficulty you are going to face is free mentors will be doing this as and when they find some spare time. They will give priority to paying work, family, hobbies, social events, relaxing, and then giving free mentoring will be way down that list of priorities. That is why you have to wait weeks for a reply, you are simply not a high priority in this scenario.
I've just read an article about a US company that advocates a five-hour workday for improved employee happiness and retention, more productivity and sales. That seems scarily low to me. How many hours do you ask or expect employees to work? What's the optimum number of hours in a working week?
Newchodge: The UK has a major issue of presenteeism. An employer may require an employee to be at work for nine hours each day, one hour of which is an unpaid break. However, that does not mean that the employee is working for eight hours. There is a strong argument that the fewer hours people are required to work, the greater their productivity. There is a break-even point and five hours may well be it.
Tigris: I heard of this in Finland, I think, and it did improve productivity (don't quote me on the country).
Ozzy: I feel like such a trailblazer. Several years ago, I had all my staff contracts amended to remove working hours and replaced them with "seven hours of productivity" a day.
Annoying Donkey: I don't care how many hours my guys work. As long as the work is done on time.
That's all for this week – have a great run into the weekend!