the forum

02 April, 2010

QIf a member of staff asks to be paid in Champagne, is there a legal way of doing this??A I have a “friend” who has been known to award the odd bonus or overtime payment in stock from?his shop – a practice he doesn’t bother his accountant about. But if you had a member of staff who was happy to be paid entirely in Champagne, maybe you should question the wisdom of employing them.

CW, Midlands??AIt’s a payment in kind, with all the tax implications that entails. Keep life simple: just pay the person?in actual money, then offer them a staff discount on the Champagne they want.

Kerry, Essex??QIs it a legal requirement for my shop to have a fire alarm??A You are obliged to carry out a fire risk assessment, and to put fire safety precautions in place. These will typically include smoke and fire alarms and fire extinguishers. The Department for Communities and Local Government website has some helpful guides for businesses.

Sahid, South Yorkshire??A It’s a legal requirement that if you have a fire alarm, it needs to be covered by a service contract, so that it responds to a fire effectively – and does not create false alarms for the fire brigade, which can be an offence in itself. If there was a fire at your shop, and you did not have equipment?in place to detect and deal with the fire, you could have a fight with the insurance company’s loss adjustors on your hands – or worse, deal with a claim for corporate manslaughter.

Jill, Powys??Q How can I tell if the Pinot Grigio I sell is actually Pinot Grigio, and not an impostor such?as Trebbiano?Frank, Berkshire??Q Can anyone recommend some wine-themed board games I could sell in my shop?Hayley, Surrey




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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