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People Matter June 2017

Seasonal employment – Your employer’s checklist

With the arrival of the summer, many businesses need additional staff to cover increased demand or to cover existing staff holiday or sickness but it is important to get the right contractual relationship in place.

Firstly be clear about what additional hours and commitment you need. If it is for set hours and time then a Fixed term employment contract is ideal. These staff have the same benefits as your other employees but with a fixed end date. Having notice periods and the right to extend makes this contract more flexible.

To cover fluctuating demand the much maligned Casual or Zero hour contract is best. The people on these contracts are workers and have fewer employment rights but the flexibility of casual work suits many people and is an ideal way to manage seasonal work.

On a more regular basis for drivers or warehouse staff in particular agency workers can be the answer. This is a highly regulated area and can be expensive but in high turnover roles provide the solution.

If you think you can manage using your current staff remember the dreaded Working Time Regulations limit on weekly hours and that overtime could have to be included in future holiday pay.

Whether worker or employee the National Minimum or Living Wage applies and holiday accrues from day one, but to be clear about what is best for you and the rules that apply ring The HR Dept.

How should employers behave during general elections?

Keeping an eye on workplace political discussions to ensure they don’t get too heated? Good.

On polling day, being flexible with working hours to ensure members of staff can vote? Right.

Advising employees which way to vote and threaten them with redundancy if an ‘undesirable’ party gets into power? WRONG.

That’s what two company bosses were accused of in the previous election, claiming that a Labour win would jeopardise the fortunes of the company, and therefore the employment prospects of staff.

One claimed he was joking and that comments saying Labour voters would be the first out of the door were taken out of context. The other acknowledged that employees were entirely in control of how they vote, but that his comments were factually correct.

Our advice to employers is to be wary of expressing political opinions within the workplace, especially when you consider that there may be yet another election around the corner!

A healthy commute works wonders  

A study of UK workers by OnePoll unveiled that if you want to boost your employees’ morale, then an active commute could be the answer!

Rather than rewarding employees with one off-perks like socials and lunches, the survey suggests it is more valuable to offer benefits that promote long-term happiness, like a cycle-to-work scheme.

And with the political uncertainty reportedly making the UK workforce uneasy, it’s more important than ever to keep your staff happy and motivated. Long-term solutions focused on health and work/life balance may be the answer you are looking for.

Hack attack from own employee

To get hacked by an employee once is unfortunate. To be hacked twice by the same employee looks like carelessness. But that’s what happened to a Californian security firm.

The first time, the employee hacked into the payroll system and falsified records to show that he was working vast amounts of overtime. When this was uncovered in 2014, he was dismissed.

The “ex” employee then hacked into the firm’s system again. This time he went on a spree of causing malicious damage. It included, stealing client information to lure them to his own new venture, deleting or corrupting back-up files and sabotaging the company’s website. In what must be a business owner’s worst nightmare, this included posting unflattering pictures of them on the site with the words “Are you ready?”.

The damage this caused was described as debilitating, and the ex-employee was ordered to pay the equivalent of £248,000 in damages.

Not a pretty picture. So what can you do to mitigate the risk of an employee going rogue? Clearly, much of the defence you can put up will come from your IT department or consultant rather than HR. That said, HR can play an important role too.

First, let’s consider the execution of a cyber-security policy. Unfortunately, 90% of all successful cyber-attacks are down to human error. So, you can use HR to ensure that all staff understand the cyber policies and their responsibilities under them.

For instance, who’s in charge of granting access to sensitive data stored online? Do they fully understand the consequences of inadvertently dishing out a username and password? Does everyone know how to identify a suspicious email and what they should do? And the old chestnut of not leaving a laptop without password protection (or any laptop) in the pub!

But you can go further than this with HR. Good recruitment in the first place to minimise the risk of a bad egg. And putting restrictive covenants in employment contracts to stop staff taking clients with them if they leave. For further advice, give us a call.

The decline of the CV

In the digital age, we can legitimately ask if CVs are on their way out. When employers are looking for great talent, more and more are using creative and online ways to find the right candidates.

With the recruitment world constantly changing, big hitters such as Ernst and Young have decided to remove their ‘2:1 degree only’ policy, because it excludes a large pool of otherwise eligible, high quality candidates.

An increasing number of employers feel that CVs are no longer relevant and that they do not accurately represent the individual. In their place, they are using online personality tests and online talent databases. If you know what you are looking for, online platforms could now be the default recruitment tool for you.

If you need assistance in finding the perfect candidate, The HR Dept is here to help.

Election uncertainty- What next?

It’s fair to say that the election result took the country by surprise. With no party having a clear majority, the roadmap for policy implementation looks far from clear – including all the proposed changes to employment law.

The potential effects of such uncertainty will be felt by most people, including your workforce: “What kind of Brexit will we have, and how will it affect me?” “How secure is my job?” “Will proposed changes to employment law be implemented?” are the kind of questions that employees may be wrestling with.

The CIPD have restated their commitment to work with government to tackle workplace issues. Don’t forget, in an uncertain world you can use HR to help your staff. And of course, we’ll keep you posted with the latest developments from the government and the CIPD.

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