FRIDAY HR FAQS – First Aid at work – What do I need to do?

First aid at work is a very important element of ensuring compliance with your duty of care as an employer in regards to Health & Safety. While of course we hope it is never needed, you must consider the risks your employees may be exposed to while carrying out their duties to prevent any accidents, and if they do occur, are well prepared and able to deal with them.

As an employer, you are legally required to take care of your employees should they become ill or have an accident while at work. Having trained first aiders could make the difference in preventing minor incidents becoming major ones. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, state that employers should provide adequate and appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill employees.

The rules and regulations surrounding first aid at work can be confusing and perhaps a little vague, so we have put together the basics to help you understand what is needed, to meet you obligations as an employer.

Firstly you must assess the first aid needs based on the nature of your business and provide adequate equipment and appropriate training. So, start off by considering what are the potential health and safety risks within the business, in order to decide what needs to be put in place. For example, the number of employees, the nature of the work carried out, the layout of the office/site environment, whether any employees have any existing medical conditions or disabilities that need special consideration?, whether employees travel for work?, out of hours working/shift work, whether you have a high number of visitors to the site?

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Also consider practicalities, for example, if you decide to have one first aider, would all shifts be covered? and what happens if the appointed person is off sick or on holiday?

Businesses which are considered small low risk environments, may decide they only need to have a first aid box and someone responsible for stocking this, recording accidents and calling the emergency services if necessary.  Whereas larger or higher risk environments such as a factory or construction site, where there are greater health and safety risks, at least one fully trained first aider would be required. All first aid arrangements put in place must be communicated to employees.

We would recommend keeping a record of this risk assessment, to prove you have duly considered all risks and made a judgement on the provision for first aid within the workplace.

Once you have a risk assessment completed, you can decide how many first aiders are needed. As mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer by law, but it needs to be ‘adequate and appropriate’, but what does that mean?! This can be open to interpretation, but we would recommend as a guide that for low risk companies with 5 to 50 employees, you have at least one person formally trained in first aid, holding an Emergency First Aid at Work certificate, then another first aider per 50 additional employees. Under 5 employees, you should at least have an appointed person to take responsibility of first aid at work, they may not be first aid trained, but they will be responsible for ensuring the first aid box is fully stocked and calling the emergency services if required if an accident occurs.

First aid training is readily available from a variety of providers and locations, if you would like to have a discussion on how to implement it in your business, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee take annual leave whilst on long term sick leave?

Understandably an employee who is on long term sick leave and taking their annual holiday might make some employers raise their eyebrows, after all if they are well enough to take annual leave, why can’t they return to work?

Not quite, employees on long term sick leave are entitled to take annual leave and there are a multitude of reasons why an employee might be on long term sick leave from work and this does not impact their ability to use their accrued annual leave.

Some key points to consider:

  • Employees on sick leave continue to accrue holiday in line with the Working Time Directive.
  • If company policy is that holiday cannot be carried over into the following year, it is not lawful to enforce this onto employees on long term absence, they must be entitled to carry it over.
  • Even though employees are entitled to take annual leave, as an employer you are not able to force employees to take it whilst on sick leave nor are you able to tell them that if they don’t use it they will lose it on their return.

As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees so it is important to consider their rights in this situation.  Think about the reasons why they may be taking their annual leave, rather than presuming this is indicative of them being well enough to return to work.

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One key reason that employees might want to use some of their accrued leave during their absence is financial necessity. Whilst some employers are able to offer benefits to their employees such as Income Protection or Critical Illness, a large majority, particularly small to medium sized business, are not able to. For this reason and depending on the employer and the length of the absence, they may no longer be on company discretionary sick pay, but on statutory sick pay and beyond the 28 weeks of statutory sick pay, be living on no pay at all. Taking annual leave, which is paid at their usual salary rate, can be a financial necessity at a difficult time.

Other reasons for employees taking leave might be to reduce the amount they have in preparation of a return to work, or they may need to take annual leave for their own well being. Taking annual leave doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going abroad or taking a wild holiday!

As an employer, it can be beneficial for the employee to take some of their accruing annual leave whilst on long term sickness:

  • It can help improve the well being of the employee – financially and psychologically.
  • Allowing leave to be taken during extended periods of absence, will reduce the amount that they will be entitled to when they return to work, which would then therefore reduce them needing to take more time out of the business for holiday.
  • If the employee decided to leave the company, any accrued leave not taken would need to be paid out and depending on the length of the absence, this could be a substantial sum of monies to be paid at one time.
  • Remember, there is no real reason for refusing annual leave and doing so could potentially put an employer under breach of contract (for lack of trust and confidence), as they have no valid reason for declining leave, as they can not claim operational reasons.

Whilst we acknowledge that employers generally want to encourage employees to return to work, they should also support them to improve their well being.

One way to ensure clarity for all parties, is to have comprehensive annual leave and sickness policies, which need to be reviewed regularly to ensure legal compliance.

If you would like further HR advice on handling long term absence get in touch with HR Revolution:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – How long do I have to take someone to tribunal?

Hopefully this won’t ever happen, but if you do find yourself in a situation where you feel you have been unlawfully treated at work, you can make a discrimination claim at an employment tribunal and if this is the case there are time limits during which you need to make your claim.

The normal time limit for making your discrimination claim at an employment tribunal is 3 months less one day from the date when the discrimination happened. But before making your claim you should put a request in to ACAS, who will then offer you the chance to try and settle the dispute using early conciliation, which is a free service.  To avoid going to court, most people and employers choose to take part in the early conciliation process to settle their workplace dispute, the conciliator will talk through the issues with you or your representative and work with you and your employer to see if a resolution can be found.

If you choose to take advantage of the early conciliation process, don’t worry, the time limit for raising a claim is paused and extended for the duration of the early conciliation period.

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Situations where you may choose to make a claim maybe in situations of unfair dismissal, discrimination or contractual breaches such as unfair deductions from your pay. When the time limit starts, can in some instances be difficult to identify, but in any of these situations the time limit will generally start to run from when the decision was made, not when you were told about it.  If in a situation of discrimination, it takes place over a period of time, the time limit starts to run at the end of that period. If you’re dismissed, it’s much more straight forward and the time limit simply starts to run from the date your employment is terminated.

An employment tribunal will have the final say as to whether your claim was brought in time and will consider any links between incidents of discrimination, the evidence of an ongoing situation and whether there is a continuing relationship between you and your employer.

Although time limits for bringing a claim in the employment tribunal are quite strictly enforced, an employment tribunal does have discretion to extend the time limits where it thinks necessary to do so and fair to both you and your employer. In making this decision, an employment tribunal will consider the reasons for the delay, whether the delay affects the evidence and your actions once you knew you may be taking action.

If you do make a claim it is important that you try to get as much information about your legal rights as possible first.

If you would like further advice on making claims or if an employee has made a claim against your company, get in touch with HR Revolution:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Why is speed important in the recruitment process?

Stand-out talent with forward-thinking mindsets are in high demand, which means businesses need to be reactive to the market and move quickly to secure the best people for their teams.

The recruitment process works at its best when it is quick and there are no delays from the employer’s side, which could risk a good candidate being snapped up by a competitor.  This is particularly true for the junior and middle management market, where strong candidates can take their pick of jobs.

On top of this technological advancement means the hiring process has sped up and candidates are being matched to potential employers by AI powered tools.

To remain competitive and in with a chance of welcoming engaging minds to your team, here are some considerations you need to think about before beginning a recruitment project:

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Be quick to respond

If you want to have great talent in your team, then you need to prioritise hiring.

Recruiters might seem like they are nagging you to respond, but the reason for this is because they know what a great candidate looks like and that they will be on the radar of your competitors – so they are acting quickly to secure them.

If you’re too busy too manage the admin of a hiring project, then consider using an HR consultancy who can manage the process for you.

Know who you’re after

It pays to have a plan in place before you start looking for someone new to bring on board – even if they’re a replacement – taking the time to evaluate what you need from the role that might have been lacking before is a sensible process to go through.

You should plan the specifics of the job role, how it fits into your business vision, what skills you need, how you culture will work for you to attract talent and so forth.

Once you have a plan in place and have got cracking then the process needs to be smooth, with regular communication between you and the candidates and time set aside to dedicate to the process.

This will mean that when you find your perfect candidate, you are able to keep them engaged and get them in front of the team within days of submitting their application and show you are a proactive and organised business.

If you know they’re good, then remember that it’s likely they will be a star candidate for other job vacancies too. So, act quickly and if you don’t have anyone else to compare them to, it may be that you won’t have time to run a longer, robust process in order to have other candidates to square them up against. Be confident that they are right for the role and get them in the bag.

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Be flexible with your offer

It would be a great shame to have planned and executed your hiring process and found your star candidate only then discover that what you’re offering them isn’t enough to convince them to accept your job.

Candidates expect fair remuneration, generous benefits, interesting perks and flexible working to name a few!

If you are going to risk losing a great candidate because you don’t match up to what others in your sector are offering, then it may be time to revise your offer package.

Even if you are on a tight budget, there are still things you can do to swing the balance – such as offering a few extra days holiday, contributions towards travel costs or investing in softer benefits that add to your overall offering.

After all, if a candidate has the potential to boost your business productivity and increase your bottom line, then finding ways to bring them over the line will be well worth the effort.

If you need any recruitment advice or guidance, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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10 inappropriate questions interviewers need to stop asking!

According to new research, the vast majority of organisations have asked candidates inappropriate and potentially illegal questions during a job interview.

Researchers of the study found that 85% of interviewers have asked questions such as ‘Are you physically fit and healthy’, ‘Have you any plans to start a family’ or ‘Did you grow up outside of the UK’.

All of the above questions are potentially breaching the law, which requires all potential employers to treat candidates fairly.

It’s true though however that many interviewers could be completely unaware that what they think is innocent questioning could be a legal grey area, with 47% saying they have never had official training on what questions to ask in an interview.

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Below are the top 10 inappropriate interview questions that hiring managers have asked:

  • What year did you graduate? (59%)
  • What year were you born? (55%)
  • Do you have any children? (56%)
  • Are you physically fit and healthy? (53%
  • Are you in a relationship or married? (51%)
  • Have you got any plans to start a family? (42%)
  • Where is your accent from? (46%)
  • Will you need flexible time for family life? (46%)
  • Did you grow up outside of the UK? (45%)
  • Will you need time off during half term? (43%)

This highlights the need for training for any person involved in the process of interviewing prospective candidates, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process.  Ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices.

If you need any HR help, advice or tips on interviewing, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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What are the signs of a toxic workplace culture?

I’m sure most businesses don’t have a toxic workplace culture per se, so the point of this blog is to identify the clearest signs and what you need to do to change them.  Remember a toxic workplace can cover such a broad range of physical environments and human behaviours, that for the most we don’t actually realise we are operating in it.

Quite often business owners and managers don’t notice there is a problem until it’s much too late and that can cause a catastrophic result of low morale, flatlining productivity, and employee retention issues, end result little or no business success.

This situation must be avoided at all costs and here is what to look out for.

Be proactive

Make sure that you are proactive in taking steps to avoid a toxic culture ever developing by creating a happy and positive working environment. Remember it doesn’t always take or cost a lot to boost morale, perks like sweet treats, a team meal or maybe even financial incentives  for top performing employees.

Just busy… or drowning?

Unrealistic expectations, big workloads and pressure from business owners and managers can all be root causes of a toxic culture.

You need to combat this by reviewing your team’s to-do lists and share the work out equally. Make sure you watch out encourage for employees that seem to be struggling and give them the support they need.

By reducing extreme workloads it gives you a good chance of keeping employee stress levels low and productivity high.

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 “Banter” is that all it is?

One of the possible elements of a toxic culture, is at how your employees behave.

Bullying and harassment always create a distressing working environment, but remember this can sometimes take a subtler form; an aggressive behaviour that crosses the line but gets shrugged off as “banter.”

Always make sure you have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, and make you have robust policies in place that explain your company’s position on these matters.  It is also essential that you have reliable grievance procedures in place so you can address complaints in a serious and professional manner.

Think healthy

Supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees is vitally important, making sure your company has policies outlining what support will be offered during times of ill health is essential for your company handbook.

Why not consider offering sick pay or even give your employees access to an employee assistance programme (EAP) which can offer health and wellbeing support either in person or over the phone or online.

If you look out for these signs you will be on the right road to avoiding a toxic workplace culture and the outcome?  you keep your business, your people in a happier, healthier and more productive situation.

If you need any HR help or advice on workplace culture, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Our new website has launched…

We are excited to announce our new and improved website has been launched…

We’ve listened to our clients and customers and made some key changes.

We our proud that we take an innovative approach to HR, cutting through the industry jargon to help make a real difference to any business, by providing excellent HR consultancy and HR support.

We know HR can be a scary prospect for businesses both big and small and there is a lot to take in.  However we ask questions that other HR consultancies don’t, because we want to make a positive impact on your business and understand your people, by providing excellent HR and Talent services in the form of employee documentation, support, management and advice regarding employment queries and processes.

Come and take a look:

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might be interested in then please give us a call on: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Signs it might be time to initiate a disciplinary

Disciplining an employee is always a difficult decision for an employer or manager to face and equally being disciplined is one of the most stressful things that can happen in a person’s life, so taking this decision can weigh on a someone’s conscience. However, disciplinary action can sometimes be necessary to maintain the health of a business and the satisfaction of its workforce.

Before making a final decision about whether to go down the disciplinary route with an employee, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to distinguish between an employee that needs extra help and one where disciplinary action is necessary.

Habitual Lateness and Absence

If lateness or absence is a perpetual problem with an employee, it’s important to first speak with them to establish whether there may be personal problems that can be addressed with scheduling changes or other means, before making the decision to initiate the disciplinary process.  However, if these types of conversations have not resolved the issues, it will be time to follow the formal disciplinary process.

Noticeable Apathy

Apathy can be a sign that an employee isn’t feeling challenged enough, but it can also be a sign that an employee has given up on a company or is considering leaving. Before assuming that an employee has given up on their job, try to find out whether they are feeling unchallenged or whether they are overwhelmed and inadequately prepared to handle tasks. A simple conversation can often be instrumental in identifying the source.

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Performance Issues

Organisational performance can be unpredictable and multiple factors can influence it. However, if one employee’s performance has noticeably declined or is lagging way behind organisational trends, it can be concerning. Coaching or mentoring should be offered and if their performance still doesn’t improve then disciplinary action will be required.

Frequent Conflicts

If an employee is argumentative with colleagues or management, it may be because they are no longer satisfied with their job or are having personal problems that are affecting their work attitude. While employees should be encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems, ideas should be expressed respectfully. Continual argumentative tones and behavioral issues should be addressed with disciplinary action.

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Unwillingness to Adapt to Changes

Changes are bound to occur within any type of business, especially as technology develops and more efficient processes are discovered. While adapting to change is difficult for many, a complete unwillingness to make adjustments or a poor attitude about every change that’s introduced can be warning sign that an employee isn’t going to fit into your company culture well anymore.

Lack of Development

If there are programs in place to educate employees and development is encouraged, a lack of development can be a warning sign that an employee is no longer as interested in or as loyal to your company as they may have been previously. While not every employee hopes to move into management, employees should at least show interest in learning about making developments relevant to their job. Employees that refuse to learn may burden a company.

I think the main point that we are trying to highlight here is that in the first instance you should always talk to your employees to establish if there are bigger issues at play, but when this doesn’t work as hard as it may be, disciplinary action may be necessary. If that is the case for you, then the one thing you must remember is disciplinary action is a formal process that must be followed correctly, or it can result in costly repercussions for your business.

If you are unsure whether disciplinary action is the right course of action or if the process you have in place is compliant please get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Probation reviews – how to make them work for you…

The first day, the first week, perhaps even the first month! These are generally key milestones for you as a new employee. Hopefully, by the first month you’ve mastered the tea/coffee round, you’ve found your place within the team and you’ve fallen into the pattern of the day-to-day routine; you may even have even forgotten that you’re still a newbie… until you’re reminded of the, often, dreaded probation review.

‘Is it a test?’, ‘Have I been doing my job as well as they’d like?’, ‘This is a waste of time!’, ‘What is the point of this?’  the questions are endless and I presume the feelings are mixed.

An employers approach to the probation review varies from company to company. Some have a very structured approach and almost treat it as a ‘test’, whereas others have a 5 minute chat over coffee to ‘check in’. However, either approach can bring about negative feelings for the employee if not managed properly, so employers beware!

The probation review is often viewed as a tool only for the employer.

  1. To check the employees true skills and understanding of the role and job.
  2. A check to ensure the company have hired correctly and effectively an employer’s safety net, as you will.

However it can also be a powerful tool for you the employee, here’s how:

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Review

The review provides you with a chance to check the work you have done so far against what you were employed to do. You can do this by looking at your job description. This will highlight areas that you may not have covered yet, which is something you can discuss with your employer to ensure you are covering the full responsibilities of your role.

Assess

Use the review as an opportunity to assess whether the job has met YOUR expectations. Think about what you have liked so far and what you have disliked. Reflect on your initial perception of the job before starting and how the reality matches up. Do you have any concerns?

This is very useful for your well being, if you feel any negativity towards the role this is a great time to put this to bed. It could be resolved with a change in your working environment, a change or clarification of a complicated process or simply some reassurance that ‘’you are doing a great job, keep it up!’’

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Discuss

Employers use reviews as a way to assess your performance. You can use this as a way to show off and reaffirm what you have learnt to date. Don’t be scared to ask questions about things you aren’t sure of or may need extra training on. To experience the full benefits of a review it is important to be completely open with areas you are struggling with. This allows your employer to support you and ultimately strengthens your relationship.

Also use this as an opportunity to show your employer your aspirations! A helpful tip: go in there with a project, perhaps there is something you have noticed that could be developed or implemented or something you would like to learn, big or small, that will not only aid in your development but add value to the business.

Ask

Ask for feedback for your own progression and improvement. This will give you a good understanding of how you’re doing. It also gives you an idea on what you need to work on in the coming months leading up to your first quarterly or annual appraisal and the willingness to improve will always be noted by an employer.

Take ownership of your probation review, don’t treat it as an examination or a quick conversation by the photocopier. Treat it as an adult discussion, where both parties can benefit and support each other; a discussion that will pave the way to a healthy and strong employment relationship.

If you need any advice or guidance, please get in touch with us to find out more:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can you fire an employee for lying on their CV?

Well you might think that lying on your CV may seem harmless, but in the eyes of the law it’s committing fraud by false representation, which could certainly lead to dismissal or a maximum penalty of ten years in prison! A seemingly little white lie on paper, in an email or even an interview is a crime under the Fraud Act of 2006, if the candidate knows the lie to be untrue.

The lie could be anything from making up exam grades to over elaborating previous job responsibilities. A misinterpretation could even be made through body language – a nod or shake of the head can lead to questions if they appear to confirm a lie, such as in an interview.

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Lying about qualifications is especially serious in industries like healthcare, engineering and roles in the public sector. When an employee in one of these sectors says they have a particular qualification and it turns out they have lied, they could be putting their colleagues, your customers and the general public in danger. A dishonest employee could damage the reputation of your company, especially if you have clients who rely on expert knowledge and it also doesn’t make you look like a very diligent employer.

If you decide to dismiss an employee because you found out they have lied on their CV, the longer your employee has been working for you, the harder it will be to justify the dismissal as fair. An employee may have been with you for a few years before you discover they lied and they could argue that they are still good at their job, even without the qualifications fabricated on their CV.

How to avoid the risk of employing someone who has lied on their CV?

Employing someone who has lied on their CV can be both time consuming and costly to an employer. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can adopt in order to avoid this happening:

  • Make sure to carryout checks before you onboard the employee.
  • Ask to see proof of certificates/qualifications which have been detailed on their CV.
  • Carry out DBS checks to ensure your employee hasn’t been convicted of any crime.
  • Check previous employer references in advance and ask for details regarding the employees previous role.

If you need any HR help or advice on vetting a new employee. Get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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