Category

Employment Law

Are you ready for April 6th?

By Employment Law No Comments

We understand how easy it is to get side-tracked and forget important deadlines, particularly with the current situation with Covid-19. So we want to remind you that from next week, Monday 6th April, there is a change in legislation and all business must be ready to comply.

Currently we have not had word from the Government to suggest any delay in the introduction and requirement of employers to comply to this new legislation, therefore we strongly advise you act now, if you haven’t already, to avoid possibly falling foul of increased penalties for those that breach their new employment law obligations. Read More

Working 9 till 5 – A way to make a living?

By Employment Law, Human Resources

A recent survey undertaken by YouGov has revealed that only 6% of UK workers are working the traditional working hours of 9am – 5pm.

There are many reasons for the shift in this approach, including:

  • employment law allows any employee who has more than 26 weeks’ continuous service to make a flexible working request, which the employer then has a duty to consider and can only refuse it on specific grounds;
  • industries have become more accessible and functional outside of the traditional set working hours;
  • the advances in internet and technology means that business can be made and emails be sent in the touch or swipe of a button.

Read More

Are Unpaid Trial Shifts Fair?

By Employment Law, Human Resources

It was widely reported in the press last week that job-seekers desperate for work are being asked by multiple employers to do unpaid shifts without any guarantee of employment at the end of it. In some cases, unpaid shifts with some employers added up to more than 40 hours.

As a result of this practice, a group of MPs have called for unpaid trial shifts to be banned in a private members bill that had a second reading last week.

A report in Personnel Today states that:  “The Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Probation) Bill, led by SNP MP Stewart McDonald, seeks to make unpaid shifts – used to determine whether a person has the skills necessary to be offered an employment contract – illegal.

“It said organisations that would like to offer a prospective employee a trial period should pay them at least the national minimum wage.”  Read more here.

It’s usually employers in the leisure industry like bars and restaurants that, after an initial job interview, ask potential employees to come and work a ‘trial shift’ to see if they are up to the job.

Whilst the private members’ bill is being considered, there is not a lot of advice available to potential employees who are asked to work an unpaid shift.  However, ACAS has said that generally an employer does not have to pay you for a trail shift as long as this is truly a trial. It would be possible for employer and trial worker to agree to ‘ a couple of hours’ of unpaid work.

However, problems arise when the work ceases to be a trial and becomes actual employment. So generally, the guidance is that if you are asked to work more than a few hours to prove your worth, you should be paid at least National Minimum Wage.

ACAS also advises workers that it is best to agree payment or expenses in advance, this way you enter into a contract with the employer and so you have the right to be paid anything that is agreed.

At HCHR we are anticipating the result of the bill and its implications on both businesses and workers.

Holiday and sick pay break through for gig workers

By Employment Law

The BBC has reported today that the UK Government is looking at making changes to employment rights and to improving the conditions of millions of workers, including people working in the so-called ‘gig’ economy.

The BBC online news channel states that: “the changes include stricter enforcement of holiday and sick pay rights, and higher fines for firms that breach contracts or mistreat staff.”

Read more here.

The gig economy is a “labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.”

In the UK it’s estimated that five million people are employed in this type of capacity which is classed as independent contractors. (source BBC news).

Gig workers are usually those in jobs such as couriers, ride-hailing drivers and video producers for example.  Those who are for the gig economy believe that these workers benefit from flexible hours, with control over how much time they can work as they juggle family and work life.  There is no doubt that this flexible nature very much benefits employers as they only  pay when the work is available, and don’t incur employee costs when the demand is not there.

On the negative side, gig workers have no protection against unfair dismissal, no right to redundancy payment and no right to receive the national minimum wage, paid holiday or sickness pay.

The government’s planned overhaul comes as a result of the Taylor Review published last July.  However, the plans are going above and beyond the recommendations from the review and will include:

  • The enforcement of holiday and sick pay entitlements
  • Giving all workers the right to demand payslip
  • Allowing flexible workers to demand more stable contracts.

So if you’re a business worker who routinely uses flexible workers within your organisation, you need to seek advice and guidance on how to implement these changes.

HCHR is an experienced and professional independent consultancy working with SME’s across the UK to develop policies and procedures that protect employers from changes such as those outlined above.

For a free, half hour phone consultation, call us today on the number below:

Office Christmas Party

Employment Law and Bank Holidays

By Employment Law

Employment Tribunal FeesIt’s bank holiday weekend and we’re all hoping for an improvement in the weather compared to recent weeks.   But how clued up are you when it comes to employment law and bank holidays?

This article posted in Personnel Today, outlines the five things you really should know when it comes to this issue.

“Most of the the UK has eight permanent bank holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, Scotland has omissions and additions and Northern Ireland has two extra public holidays in relation to the bank holidays taken in England and Wales. But how much do you as an employer know about employment law concerning bank holidays? Here are five things you really should know.”

Read more here.

At HCHR, we advise many local businesses when it comes to employment law and how they have to comply and that includes holiday pay and entitlements.  So if this article has given you food for thought, then call us today for a free half hour consultation:

Employment right

The most important employment right of all

By Employment Law, Policies and Procedures

Employment right

There has been a lot of mention on employment rights lately in the news.  But as we all know, when the law changes for any reason, it has a huge impact on HR within an organisation. The knock-on effect requires having to make the relevant changes to HR policies to comply with new legislation.

However, when employment law changes, business owners often find themselves looking for a new policy on the intranet to ensure that they comply with the new legislation.  However, by responding in this way, we sometimes find that we are missing a very important point.

 

 

The Most Important Employment Right of All

In essence, we face the risk of losing our ability to see employees as the individuals that they are and the opportunity to consider them in their own unique context.

When we defer our decisions to documents, we lose our ability to be compassionate; to apply a little tolerance; and to treat people as humans and not resources.

The one right we should all have at work, is to be our imperfect human self. A simple human conversation is our most significant opportunity to change any work situation for the better.

Creating a People Culture

The heart and soul of every great company is its people and the most successful organisations are those in which the passions of its employees match the guiding principles of the business.

One of the most important challenges business owners face when growing and developing the organisation is to fulfil its people with opportunities for them to grow and learn. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of the business, focus on competition and changes in the external environment, but driving a fulfilling culture is a task leaders must not lose sight of.

People change and their aspirations and interests evolve. What’s more, the world we live in is also changing at a more accelerated pace, which means businesses must adapt. But at the same time, we need to maintain a business that offers opportunity for all and stays deeply rooted in the passions of its employees. This should be a top priority on the agendas of all business owners and in particular the HR department.

Shared values

An organisation’s values don’t have to hang on the wall as the company’s mission, but they should be engrained at the deepest level. This is how employees treat each other, the ethical standards by which you run your business, and the types of projects you decide to take on.

It’s business owners’ responsibility to understand what makes their employees tick, touching the emotional core of employees and helping them to excel.  The most successful businesses, allow employees to try something new, by providing growth opportunities and expanding at the same time.

Business owners also need to be the driving force by cheering employees on and helping them accomplish their goals. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when you have someone in your corner, and the inspiration cascades to others and builds momentum.

Make learning a part of the job

A learning environment always encourages employees to try to look at a problem or solution through a new lens, looking for new skills to apply to a challenge and adopting best practices from those around them.

It is not all about the training, but instead making learning a part of the everyday job. Businesses should create an environment in which knowledge is power and having an open mindset that enables fine tuning of skills.

Ensuring that you have the right policies and procedures are in place is of course important as these are the standards by which you expect your employees to behave.   However, don’t let a rigid approach to compliance overshadow the fact that your employees are human beings, with rights that go beyond the rules and who, if treated correctly, can make or break a business.

HCHR

The team at HCHR can not only help business owners to develop a set of policies that comply with employment law, but can also help to guide and nurture leaders to ensure they themselves have the skills to manage their people as effectively as possible.

For more information and a free half hour consultation, call us today on the number below:

Employment right

HR Myth: Employees must have at least two years’ service to be able to claim unfair dismissal.

By Employment Law, Human Resources

Unfair dismissal

In most cases, for an employee to be able to claim unfair dismissal, they have a minimum period of qualifying service with the employer. An employee must have been continuously employed for a period of at least two years if the period of continuous employment commenced on or after 6 April 2012.

A misconception by some employers is that this service requirement applies to claims in relation to any reason for dismissal. However, there are a wide range of reasons for dismissal for which there is no qualifying service.

An employer that is unaware of this may be lulled into a false sense of security believing that an employee does not have the right to claim unfair dismissal.

Claiming Unfair Dismissal

There is a list of reasons for dismissal that do not require the employee to have a period of continuous service with the employer to be able to claim unfair dismissal. These are dismissals that are defined in certain sections of the Act as automatically unfair and include dismissals for reasons related to:

  • protected characteristics i.e. age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sexual orientationreligion or belief, and marriage and civil partnership as defined by the Equality act 2010
  • health and safety, such as reporting a health and safety risk or acting as a health and safety representative;
  • working time, such as refusing to opt out of the 48-hour week;
  • the making of public interest disclosures (i.e. whistleblowing);
  • the national minimum wage; and
  • trade union membership or activities.

If you’re still confused about what reasons for dismissal for which there is no qualifying service, then call HCHR today on the number below for a free ½ hour consultation:

Potential Impact of a Hung Parliament for Human Resources

By Employment Law, Human Resources

Policy and ProcedureThe results of yesterday’s general election have left the country reeling!  We now find ourselves in a position where we have a hung parliament which instantly creates uncertainty in all industries, and HR is no exception.  Why?  Because planned changes to areas such as employment law and workplace policies are now completely up in the air.

An article published online today in People Management by Marianne Calnan, an employment law expert, states that: “Promise of ‘greatest expansion of workers’ rights in history’ now in question.”

The article goes on report, “Although the Conservatives won the greatest number of seats, the party has not gained the 326 required to get an overall majority in the House of Commons, raising questions as to which policies it will be able to implement.”  Read full article here.

We wait with interest to see how this uncertain picture will pan out and what impact it will have on some of the key employment issues as outlined in the above article.

Business owners who are unsure about employment law issues or workplace policies, can contact HCHR today on the number below:Policy and Procedure

Don’t shoot the messenger

By Employment Law, Human Resources Specialists Policies & Procedures

It has been revealed that Parcelforce charge self-employed drivers £250 per day if they are sick and unable to find a replacement driver.

Approximately 25% of Parcelforce’s couriers are self-employed and, as you can imagine, this has not gone down well!

This is only the latest in a long line of “gig economy” stories where the balance of the relationship between the company and person doing the work seems to have tipped too much in favour of the company.

There are two issues here. First is legal compliance. Here the waters are muddied by confusing variances in different worker statuses and the rights that go with them. At what point is someone considered self-employed, a worker or employed? Second is treating people decently, which is one of the hallmarks of a good employer and one that we believe will add value to a business in the long run.

At HCHR, we provide HR support to a range of businesses across the UK, including guidance on employment law which, as many of us know, can be a minefield for business owners.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team on any HR or employment law issues, please call us on the number below:

Equal Pay in the Face of Diversity?

By Employment Law, equal pay, Human Resources

Policy and ProcedureFrom April 2017, employers with 250 or more employees in the private and voluntary sectors must calculate and publish, on an annual basis, the mean and median gender pay gap and how many men and women appear in each quartile of pay in their workforce. If you’re not familiar with mathematical jargon then that sentence won’t fill you with much confidence.

The reporting date of the 30th April is to be a yearly occurrence, with the first report to be published in April 2018.

2018 may sound like a far off twinkle in the distant future but when you bear in mind that the data needs to be collected and correlated, how much time realistically do employers have to act? If you aren’t ready, and don’t have the information ready to hand (and let’s be honest, who has), it will be some task to get to grips with what is being asked of you, and to get your equal pay ducks in perfectly straight lines.

Back to Basics

What is it, and more importantly, will it affect you? The answer is yes. It will affect larger companies with more than 250 employees first, but in the years following it will eventually be affecting everybody. It is worth noting that it can be done voluntarily – perhaps not a concept that the masses will jump to, but just think of the relief when you have already been publishing the data for years when it is your turn to step up to the plate? To be ahead of the game is to be well and truly winning the game.

What should you do?

There is no better time to get your payroll data in order. Remember, there is more to payroll than the monthly pay cheque. Look at your rates of pay in black and white, and see where the land lies – you might just have a shock. What constitutes pay? Does maternity count? Is overtime in? Perhaps it is the first time that you will have collected your pay data all in one place.

The information will be published on your website, amongst other places. So it is important (and desirable) to get it spot on first time.

This will certainly be a case of bad publicity definitely isn’t good publicity. Looking at it in monetary terms, equal pay claims can go back 6 years. I repeat, 6 years. With a workforce of over 250 employees, that’s scary.

Why should you speak to HCHR?

The best advice that we can give is to be proactive and carry out an equal pay review NOW. Do this right and it will avoid a negative impact on publicity, retention, recruitment and morale.

At HCHR we can take the pressure off and do the legwork for you, so you can concentrate on developing your business.

Just call us on the number  below and we’ll do the rest:

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