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VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter November 2017

New for 2020? Bereavement leave for parents

A new law has been proposed in Westminster to provide paid leave for parents who suffer the devastation of a child under the age of 18 dying. The UK Government is backing the proposal.

The Parental Bereavement Bill, which would be likely to become law in 2020, gives parents who lose a child under the age of 18 the right to two weeks of paid leave. Statutory parental bereavement pay would be available to employees who have at least 26 weeks of continuous service. Small employers would be able to reclaim the statutory bereavement pay and larger organisations could claim most of it back.

A recent study found that a quarter of workers who suffered bereavement of a loved one took no time off. And although some may prefer to keep busy and feel that remaining at work would be best for them, others may require this period to grieve.

There is currently no legal requirement for employers to give employees paid time off when they lose a child. However, we expect most employers would naturally act compassionately and flexibly throughout such a difficult time, allowing a bereaved employee to take some paid time off if they feel they need to.

It is important for grieving parents to feel supported by their employer if they experience the ordeal of losing a child. Returning to work before they are ready is unlikely to be productive for either the employee or the employer.

If you find yourself having to manage an employee who loses a child, ensure that your communication arrangements enable you to find out what they need to help them cope. For now, it is still down to you to decide what kind of paid leave, if any, you offer.

These awful events strike occasionally and sometimes they are unforeseen. If you need support in managing an employee who suffers such bereavement, then The HR Dept are only a phone call away. We can provide advice and, if necessary, a structured plan to help your employee find their feet at work again.


Should default retirement ages be reintroduced?

Who says you have to slow down when you get older? After all, President Trump is 71 and Theresa May is 60 years old. Some jobs require experience to be done effectively.

Since 2011, with limited defined exceptions, the default retirement age has gone. Retirement dismissals must be justified under equality law.

Older workers have much to contribute to the workplace. They can bring skillsets and experience that are hard to find elsewhere. Recent studies show that being active and working later in life brings many benefits, such as remaining healthier for longer.

But the downsides of this policy include limiting the promotion opportunities for the next generation and making succession planning more difficult (without set timeframes). It has led to some questioning whether a set retirement age should be re-introduced.


Maternity mix up ends in unfair dismissal tribunal

Despite regular headlines showing that women returning to work after being on maternity leave are being discriminated against it is sadly not getting any better.

A recent case from an employment tribunal in Liverpool highlights that the risk to employers does not solely come from an intentional act of discrimination. Sometimes, mistaken assumptions can lead to a tribunal case.

The case involved an employee who had requested to go from full-time work to a job share and three-day week following her first pregnancy. Around the time of her second pregnancy, a restructuring took place, with most roles at her workplace put at risk.

The employee wished to be considered for one of six new roles being created. She was persuaded to consider this as a job share (with another pregnant employee) but wished to be considered on a full-time basis should the job share not work out.

The employee’s application was unsuccessful and she was eventually made redundant.

Although a structured selection process was followed involving scoring candidates on a selection matrix, the court found that her treatment was unfair and discriminatory. During the process, it was assumed that the job share would suit both pregnant employees. Neither was properly scored as an individual candidate. One of the managers involved was also found to have treated the employee unfairly.

Maternity and paternity leave can be complex and if you end up in a tribunal, the cost of getting it wrong will be high as discrimination has an unlimited award so please take advice first.


Is presenteeism the bug in your office?

With winter drawing in, you might worry that sick days taken by your employees will soar. In fact, only four days or so were lost to sickness per UK worker last year according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is the lowest since records began. Are we getting healthier? Or is ‘presenteeism’ endemic in the workplace?

Presenteeism is when employees come into work despite being sick enough to justify staying at home.

While it’s important to keep a handle on absence, it can be counterproductive to have people working when they are unwell – through both being ineffective and spreading illness. A third of workers believe they’ve picked up a cold from a ‘mucus trooper’ colleague.

Getting the balance between absenteeism and presenteeism is a fine art – but worth getting right.


The cost of mental health

According to a government-commissioned report, mental health problems cost UK businesses £42 billion each year.

300,000 people lose their jobs annually due to long-term mental health problems.

Employers who take mental health seriously see significant benefits. Mental health charity Mind reports that every pound a business invests into supporting mental health generates a return of up to £9.

Ways to counter mental health issues can be as simple as developing an inclusive, supportive culture and encouraging regular communication between management and staff.

Doing this should help you spot signs of work-related stress and other conditions which may otherwise fly under the radar.

You could also offer an employee assistance programme (EAP) – a cost-effective outsourced service which provides staff with independent and confidential advice if they need it.

To find out more about EAPs, get in touch.


Sick as a dog

With news that an Italian woman has won a legal battle granting her sick pay for taking two days off to look after her unwell dog, we look again at ‘peternity leave’ in the UK.

It can be a controversial issue. Should emotional attachment to a goldfish be deemed as strong as to a dog?

How many employees have pulled a sickie to look after their poorly pal?

A survey by Petplan showed that many employers are kind hearted and allow time off for pet care, although this is usually unpaid.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter October 2017

Too sick to take leave?

A European Court ruling recently found that Francisco Pereda, a Madrid council worker, was entitled to rearrange a holiday because he suffered an injury just before leaving for it.

Francisco took legal action against his employer after being refused permission to alter his holiday arrangements on account of his injury. The European Court of Justice ruled in his favour, stating he should have been allowed to change his holiday arrangements and given the option to postpone his leave.

The ruling is being interpreted to mean that employees who fall ill, or are injured, just before their holiday should be entitled to swap their current holiday with sick leave. They should be permitted to take their holiday at a later date.

In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) are warning this could be open to abuse and have far-reaching consequences – particularly for SMEs with limited resources. This, of course, comes hot on the heels of other judgements concerning holiday rights, such as commissions and overtime being reflected in holiday pay. Although a couple recently caught claiming to have a sickness bug whilst on holiday and trying to sue Thomas Cook have just been jailed so hopefully that is a deterrent.

The fundamental principle behind such cases is that all workers are entitled to sufficient holiday breaks from work, and should not be prevented from taking them in anyway. In this most recent example it’s deemed unreasonable that ill health or injury should prevent much-needed recreational breaks.

Our advice is that if an employee is sick before, or whilst on, their annual leave, to let them reschedule it providing they follow your sickness absence rules. As an employer, you are unable to force an employee to take annual leave when they are eligible for sick leave. If they are on sick leave then they are paid in accordance with the company’s sick pay policy which may only be statutory sick pay. Any holiday may then be rescheduled in accordance with your holiday rules.

If you need help with managing annual leave or would like a review of your policy to ensure it is robust, give us a call.


The cost of employee fraud

A freedom of information request from accountancy firm RSM showed that businesses reported losses of £40m due to employee fraud last year.

Employee fraud is a costly and upsetting crime. Be aware that the most damaging cases tend to be perpetrated by senior staff of long-standing.

Mitigating the risk of fraud is a complex task encompassing many areas of your business. These include robust financial control; culture (where colleagues can raise concerns in confidence) and strong HR policies. In the finance industry there are strict rules that insist staff take their holidays and take long enough that potential problems to come to light.

If you discover employee fraud you should report it as a crime. It’s then a good disciplinary policy that will give you the proper framework to handle it from an HR perspective. Outside, expert help is strongly advised.

It’s complicated. For a longer consultation, or a review of your disciplinary procedures to ensure they allow you to deal with employee fraud correctly, contact us.


How far can you go when monitoring employee emails?

A recent ruling from the European Court of Human Rights declared that a business was wrong to fire an employee for using a Yahoo Messenger work account for personal use.

The Romanian engineer used the account to message his brother and fiancée, despite company policy saying that professional accounts may not be used for personal reasons.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees respect for private and family life and correspondence.

The court ruled in the employee’s favour because the employer had breached this right to privacy.

This suggests that employers must give explicit warnings to staff if they want to monitor their internet use. This is potentially troublesome for employers in an age when boundaries between private and professional life are becoming ever more blurred due to social media and other digital innovation.

If you do feel it necessary to check the communications of your staff, ensure you strike a balance between prohibiting your employees from taking advantage of company assets, whilst not excessively monitoring private messages.

You must also make sure your employment contracts explicitly state that you are permitted to monitor their online activity in the workplace. If you don’t have this in writing, you could find your options restricted if you suspect improper behaviour.

We can help you get the balance right and ensure that your contracts and handbooks are written correctly to give you the powers your business needs, whilst staying on the right side of the courts. Get in touch with your local HR Dept to see how we can help you.


The impact of poor holiday planning

Ryanair has recently encountered staff scheduling problems, resulting in cancelled and delayed flights and as this has left the airline nearly £22m out of pocket it has been an all-round PR disaster. Ryanair claimed this was due to poor management of pilots’ holidays and if that were the case their HR team want to be taken to task.

With Christmas on the horizon, this is a timely reminder to make sure that the spacing of staff holidays is aligned with the needs of the business. It will ensure you do not experience staff shortages during busy periods and avoid subsequent gaps in your service.

If you need help managing annual leave, contact The HR Dept. Our web-based HR Toolkit is a digital platform that makes holiday bookings easy for you and your staff. It’s specifically designed for small businesses and removes the hassle of managing employee holiday bookings.


Mediation in the workplace

As they say, “it’s nice to be nice”. But in stressful situations sometimes people just don’t see eye to eye and arguments ensue, resulting sometimes in a poisonous atmosphere and even drops in productivity. If this occurs and a quick handshake won’t do the trick, mediation may be the best way forward.

Mediation can be a cost-effective and emotionally intelligent solution: bringing people back from the brink before you have to consider replacing staff who can’t work together. We all know what an expensive and time-consuming process recruitment can be.

As you’re probably aware, mediation involves a trained independent third party that helps the antagonists to come to an agreement.

In small organisations it is unlikely you have qualified mediators within the company who can find impartial resolution to disputes and for a long term solution this is what is required.

If you need to explore mediation, contact your local HR Dept. We can provide advice and even act as an independent mediator if required.


Menopause leave

The menopause is something that affects all women to some degree and even though Jenni Murray became famous for saying on radio ”Is it me or is it hot in here?” it is still a taboo subject.

We would suggest a sensible pragmatic approach and making reasonable adjustments for staff going through this potentially difficult time such as providing fans to even reviewing uniforms to ensure they are comfortable.

Employee wellbeing should be a high priority for any business – from stand-out life events like the menopause to more day-to-day happenings.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter September 2017 (Scotland)

New guidance on suspending employees for gross misconduct

In years gone by it has been normal practice to automatically suspend an employee accused of a serious offence, pending an investigation. Usually, the offence would be serious enough to be considered gross misconduct: for example, theft, harassment or violence towards a colleague or customer.

A letter confirming suspension and the reasons why would be issued. It would state, among other things, that it carried no implication of guilt, but was a means by which the company could carry out the investigation impartially. It would tell them that they would be interviewed as part of the process.

Of course, all their colleagues would be aware of the suspension and reach their own conclusions. And herein lies the problem. In recent cases, the courts have made it clear that suspension is not a neutral act and have forcibly advised employers against a “knee-jerk” reaction.

The danger for the employer of reacting by immediately suspending – once the allegation comes to light – is that it can destroy the employment relationship. It could lead to the employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. And as in the latest case of Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, the employee can claim damages.

So, faced with this problem, what should you do? The first thing is to pick up the phone to your local HR Dept and discuss whether there is another option available other than suspension.

In some cases, suspension will still be the right way forward. But only after carefully considering the facts and listening to the employee’s explanation. The letter informing the employee they are suspended must also make clear who has taken that decision.

With an increase of tribunal claims expected, it would be unwise to give a knee-jerk reaction resulting in your scoring an own goal!

Suspending an employee due to gross misconduct is never going to be easy. For help and advice to ensure you get it right at every stage, call us as soon as you realise there is a problem.


Flexible working for parents with children starting reception

Due to reception classes staggering their start times to acclimatise the new intake, you might notice an increase in parents with young children requesting flexible working hours.

Provided an employee has been working at your company for at least 26 weeks, they have a legal right to request flexible working hours. And although you are not legally obliged to grant it, as an employer you must consider any proposal for flexible working in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Considering a flexible working request reasonably could involve assessing the pros and cons of the employee’s request, holding a meeting with the employee to discuss it, and offering an appeal process if the request is denied.

It can be difficult to strike an equilibrium between family life and the interests of the business. But in the longer term, it’s in both the employee’s and employer’s best interests to achieve this balance.

For advice on managing employee requests for flexible working hours, contact the HR Dept.


How good is your onboarding?

According to some sources, a total of £28bn is lost annually in the UK and US on unproductive employees who don’t understand their job. After a quick online search of poor on-boarding, it’s easy to see why.

We came across one lady describing how, when she arrived at her desk on her first day, she was immediately told to visit HR to sort out paperwork… in a different building. When she got there, they didn’t even have her name on file!

One employee stated how they were escorted to their desk without being introduced to anyone or shown around. Another described an onboarding session consisting of the owner talking non-stop about themselves – for eight hours.

For a meaningful employer-employee relationship, it’s important to take time to settle new starters. And don’t forget to tell them what their job is!

Need help with onboarding? Give us a call.


Managing May Day mega holiday requests

Providing employees don’t work weekends and bank holidays, during May 2018 they can transform 14 days of annual leave into 24 days.

This is through a combination of the 7th May and 28th May bank holidays and weekends.

As an employer, it’s good to have this on your radar in case one, two or a flurry of holiday requests come in for next May.

But what should you do if this occurs? There are several issues to consider, including whether you can cope with people missing for so long, and how to manage conflicting holiday requests.

You should have a holiday policy, as this will be a useful tool for managing holiday requests effectively.

For help writing holiday policies or guidance on managing annual leave, contact The HR Dept.


Internships: A millennial could be your social media star

Southern Rail made headlines in July by delegating their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student. Although the thought might have some senior managers quivering in their boots, the student’s witty responses and endearing charm worked wonders for Southern Rail’s reputation.

Many companies rely on a strong social media presence to stay relevant these days. This task can lend itself to social media-savvy millennials who have grown up as digital natives. However, it’s important to define goals and strategies to make sure social media activity is aligned to your business, and offer training. A social media policy is also essential to set out what is and isn’t acceptable when representing the company and offer guidelines on tone of voice and messaging.

For a social media policy or advice on managing interns, contact The HR Dept.


Preparing for seasonal workers

Christmas may be some way off, but it’s important to plan ahead – no, we’re not talking about ordering your turkey or planning the Secret Santa! If your sector experiences a Christmas surge of business, it’s wise to consider your seasonal staffing requirements now.

Alongside getting ahead of the game by sourcing staff early, it will give you the chance to do it properly.

This includes deciding the person’s status, will they be an employee, a worker or an agency worker? All these need contracts and have different rights. We can help with the recruitment and ensure you are legally compliant.

Contact us for advice.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter September 2017 (England & Wales)

New guidance on suspending employees for gross misconduct

In years gone by it has been normal practice to automatically suspend an employee accused of a serious offence, pending an investigation. Usually, the offence would be serious enough to be considered gross misconduct: for example, theft, harassment or violence towards a colleague or customer.

A letter confirming suspension and the reasons why would be issued. It would state, among other things, that it carried no implication of guilt, but was a means by which the company could carry out the investigation impartially. It would tell them that they would be interviewed as part of the process.

Of course, all their colleagues would be aware of the suspension and reach their own conclusions. And herein lies the problem. In recent cases, the courts have made it clear that suspension is not a neutral act and have forcibly advised employers against a “knee-jerk” reaction.

The danger for the employer of reacting by immediately suspending – once the allegation comes to light – is that it can destroy the employment relationship. It could lead to the employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. And as in the latest case of Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, the employee can claim damages.

So, faced with this problem, what should you do? The first thing is to pick up the phone to your local HR Dept and discuss whether there is another option available other than suspension.

In some cases, suspension will still be the right way forward. But only after carefully considering the facts and listening to the employee’s explanation. The letter informing the employee they are suspended must also make clear who has taken that decision.

With an increase of tribunal claims expected, it would be unwise to give a knee-jerk reaction resulting in your scoring an own goal!

Suspending an employee due to gross misconduct is never going to be easy. For help and advice to ensure you get it right at every stage, call us as soon as you realise there is a problem.


Flexible working for parents with children starting in reception

September means that chilly weather and a new school year are here. And for some parents, the start of their child’s first days of reception class.

Due to reception classes staggering their start times to acclimatise the new intake, you might notice an increase in parents with young children requesting flexible working hours.

Provided an employee has been working at your company for at least 26 weeks, they have a legal right to request flexible working hours. And although you are not legally obliged to grant it, as an employer you must consider any proposal for flexible working in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Considering a flexible working request reasonably could involve assessing the pros and cons of the employee’s request, holding a meeting with the employee to discuss it, and offering an appeal process if the request is denied.

It can be difficult to strike an equilibrium between family life and the interests of the business. But in the longer term, it’s in both the employee’s and employer’s best interests to achieve this balance.

For advice on managing employee requests for flexible working hours, contact the HR Dept.


How good is your onboarding?

According to some sources, a total of £28bn is lost annually in the UK and US on unproductive employees who don’t understand their job. After a quick online search of poor on-boarding, it’s easy to see why.

We came across one lady describing how, when she arrived at her desk on her first day, she was immediately told to visit HR to sort out paperwork… in a different building. When she got there, they didn’t even have her name on file!

One employee stated how they were escorted to their desk without being introduced to anyone or shown around. Another described an onboarding session consisting of the owner talking non-stop about themselves – for eight hours.

For a meaningful employer-employee relationship, it’s important to take time to settle new starters. And don’t forget to tell them what their job is!

Need help with onboarding? Give us a call.


Managing May Day mega holiday requests

Providing employees don’t work weekends and bank holidays, during May 2018 they can transform 14 days of annual leave into 24 days.

This is through a combination of the 7th May and 28th May bank holidays and weekends.

As an employer, it’s good to have this on your radar in case one, two or a flurry of holiday requests come in for next May.

But what should you do if this occurs? There are several issues to consider, including whether you can cope with people missing for so long, and how to manage conflicting holiday requests.

You should have a holiday policy, as this will be a useful tool for managing holiday requests effectively.

For help writing holiday policies or guidance on managing annual leave, contact The HR Dept.


Internships: A millennial could be your social media star

Southern Rail made headlines in July by delegating their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student. Although the thought might have some senior managers quivering in their boots, the student’s witty responses and endearing charm worked wonders for Southern Rail’s reputation.

Many companies rely on a strong social media presence to stay relevant these days. This task can lend itself to social media-savvy millennials who have grown up as digital natives. However, it’s important to define goals and strategies to make sure social media activity is aligned to your business, and offer training. A social media policy is also essential to set out what is and isn’t acceptable when representing the company and offer guidelines on tone of voice and messaging.

For a social media policy or advice on managing interns, contact The HR Dept.


Preparing for seasonal workers

Christmas may be some way off, but it’s important to plan ahead – no, we’re not talking about ordering your turkey or planning the Secret Santa! If your sector experiences a Christmas surge of business, it’s wise to consider your seasonal staffing requirements now.

Alongside getting ahead of the game by sourcing staff early, it will give you the chance to do it properly.

This includes deciding the person’s status, will they be an employee, a worker or an agency worker? All these need contracts and have different rights. We can help with the recruitment and ensure you are legally compliant.

Contact us for advice.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: Safety Matters: Summer 2017

A Case at A Warburtons

Warburtons Ltd. has been fined after an agency worker was injured when his arm got trapped in a conveyor belt.  The worker’s right arm became trapped between a conveyor belt and moulder as he attempted to clean out dough which had become caught between tins.

The company was fined £1.9m under the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

This highlights again the importance of assessing all risks faced by employees and training employees how to work safely.

Since the new Health & Safety sentencing guidelines were introduced in February 2016 there has been a significant increase in fine levels for companies prosecuted for offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act and the associated regulations.

In 2016 there were 19 fines of more than £1m compared to just three fines of over £1m in 2015 and none in 2014.

Health & Safety Myth

Health and Safety Regulations now ban the use of ladders.

This is a story that appears frequently.  There is no ban on ladders if they are used safely.  There are regulations to ensure that people do use ladders safely to reduce the numbers of workers seriously injured or killed falling off ladders every year.

There is no ban on ladders as long as they are secured and used appropriately.

ISO 45001

The latest draft of ISO 45001, the planned international standard for safety and health management systems, has been approved in an international ballot.  However further amendments to the standard, which is due to replace BS OHSAS 18001, may push the publication of the final text into next year.

Big Ben

Big Ben has fallen silent as of 12 noon on 21st August for 4 years due to health and safety concerns for workers who will be working on refurbishing the tower which holds the bell. Authorities have been criticised for halting the chimes because of health and safety, with many criticising that not even The Blitz halted the chimes of Big Ben.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter August 2017

The GCSE system is changing

We are all familiar with the GCSE grade format A* to G – GCSEs have been around since 1988. Well, it’s all about to change. So here is your lowdown on what’s coming up.

With the first wave of students being graded this summer, their GCSE results are set to be replaced with a new grading structure from 9 to 1 – with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest.

So how will this affect you as an employer? And what do you need to know to ensure you’re recruiting the right talent at the academic level you require? The good news is that these new grade boundaries will give employers a better breakdown of competence in each subject.

Doubts have been cast on the integrity of the A* grade because of the high numbers awarded. This new system aims to tackle this perceived lack of rigor, with 9 being a more difficult grade to attain than an A*.

This is particularly relevant for employers that take on apprentices. Also, for employers who hire young workers, this new system should give them a clearer idea of their specific skillset.

The new grading system won’t come into effect across all subjects immediately. English Language, English Literature and Mathematics will be the first GCSEs to be graded from 9 to 1.

In 2018, 20 more subjects including History, Geography and the sciences will adopt the new grading system. All will be using it by 2020. Also, these new grades are only being implemented in England – Wales and Northern Ireland have no current plans to apply them. Scotland has a different system altogether.

If you are an employer who focuses on GCSE results, perhaps taking on young workers, you’ll need to get your head around this new grading system. If you need advice or have any questions, contact your local HR Dept. We can also help you consider other recruitment strategies and techniques that take in softer skills which aren’t measured by GCSEs.

 

How autumn can affect employee productivity

The varying seasons affect the way many of us function. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, you might find that the upcoming autumn months have an impact on the workplace too.

Some employees become more efficient as there is no glorious sunshine to distract them from their daily tasks. But on the other hand, it’ll come as no surprise that cold weather often leads to increased rates of illness and sick days.

Rainy days may affect the mood of your staff – particularly those who commute in cold, wet weather. And when the daylight really starts to diminish, some find SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicks in.

If you need any advice on keeping your employees happy and productive throughout the next few months, contact The HR Dept.

 

Employers recount the worst interview candidates

A recent Reddit post asked employers to reveal some of their most painful experiences with interviewees. And the results might astound the most seasoned of hiring managers. We selected some of our favourites to highlight just how interesting the world of HR can get!

One manager asked a candidate, “What would you do if you had a conflict with another co-worker?”. The applicant responded with an anecdote about how a previous co-worker had had an affair with his then-girlfriend and he’d had to encounter him every day at work and “resist beating his ass”. The candidate then felt the need to follow this statement with, “I mean, I got him outside of work, but I never touched him at work!”.

Another hiring manager reported the downright brashness of one candidate who said, “You guys would be lucky to have me. Google is trying to recruit me too!”. The manager promptly wished him the best of luck at his job at Google.

During an interview for a restaurant position, one candidate was asked to give an example of his leadership abilities. The candidate replied by telling the interviewer how, in his previous job, he disliked the head chef so much that he organised the kitchen staff to walk out during the Friday night rush. There’s no denying this shows leadership qualities – but maybe not the right kind!

The hiring process can be just as frustrating for those on either side of the table. If you need advice on how to avoid car crash interviews, contact The HR Dept.

 

It’s a busy time for holiday requests

Managing conflicting holiday requests, ensuring your business is adequately staffed during busy periods… It’s enough to make you want to take a holiday yourself!

Next up it will be the Christmas period, so check out our HR Dept Toolkit quick!

It’s a cloud-based, simple platform that can be used by you and your employees.  The Toolkit manages a variety of HR tasks such as staff holidays, employment contracts, inductions, appraisals and sickness.

A key feature of the Toolkit is that it has three tiers of access – owner, manager and employee.

This means that everyone in your organisation can control and view information at their appropriate level.

So, if you would like to find out more about this stress-free, low-cost way of managing your HR, contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange a demo for you.

 

Latest update on tribunal fees

We hope you saw our report on this big employment news: The Supreme Court has ruled fees for employment tribunals are unlawful because they restrict access to justice a basic principle in UK law.

The introduction of fees of up to £1,200 saw a 79% drop in tribunal claims in 2013. The government immediately stopped charging the fees and are looking at refunding the £32m charged in recent years.

The big question now is will they allow people who did not make a claim because of the fees to make one now even if technically out of time.
Undoubtedly, more employees will now take their bosses to a tribunal even though it is thought a lower fee will be introduced.

Many of our clients have expressed concern about the increased risk posed by increased tribunals. Sound, practical and pragmatic professional advice is the answer.

Our Advice Line service – which covers unlimited telephone and email support – is backed by our market-leading tribunal insurance. So, if you follow our HR professional’s advice, you’re completely covered from any award at a tribunal.

 

Gender pay gap update

The BBC gender pay gap has been well publicised.

At the time of writing, the latest news was that female stars were calling on the BBC to take action.

Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in having a gender pay gap. In the case of the screen stars, the BBC may not be breaking the law.

But generally, not only is it illegal to pay employees differently based on gender, it can result in low morale and employer/employee trust issues, as the BBC is discovering.

More work needs to happen on abolishing the gender pay gap.

At the current rate of progress it’ll take 62 years to close it fully.

For help getting this right, give us a call.

 

T H E  I N D I C A T O R
Employment and litigation issues

STATUTORY PAY
Maternity/Adoption pay – SMP/SAP is paid for 39 weeks. Pay rate for first 6 weeks of SMP: 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings. SMP remaining weeks/SAP: £140.98 or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is less. Sick pay (SSP) – £89.35 per week provided employees meet criteria.

REDUNDANCY PAY
Pay rate – 0.5 week’s pay for each year of service for employees aged under 22 (1 week’s pay is calculated at £489 or the weekly amount if it is less). 1 week’s pay for each year of service for employees between the ages of 22 and 40. 1.5 week’s pay for each year of service for employees aged 41 and older.

NATIONAL MINIMUM/LIVING WAGE
National Living Wage hourly pay rate – £7.50 for workers aged 25 and over. National Minimum Wage hourly pay rate – £7.05 for workers aged 21 and over, £5.60 for workers aged 18 to 20, and £4.05 for workers aged 16 to 17. Apprentice minimum wage £3.50 per hour (apprentices under 19 or 19 and over who are in the first year of apprenticeship).