How to manage gender reassignment in the workplace – Part 3

In yesterday’s blog we discussed disclosing gender identities, so in this blog we cover how to support your employees and what changes you can make in the workplace.

Managing changeover of an employee’s personal details:

Terminology – You should ask the employee how they wish to be addressed. If the employee is in agreement inform their colleagues and ensure they use the correct terminology.

Documentation – Employer and employee should agree what details need to be changed i.e personal records, access passes etc. A discussion of what will happen to previous records relating to gender should take place to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

Appearance and dress code – A gender neutral dress code could be applied or if not appropriate the employee should be able to follow the dress code in a way which best fits their gender identity.

Toilet, changing and shower facilities –  An employee should never be segregated and told to use particular facilities but be allowed to use those they feel best match their identity following gender reassignment.

Dealing with a sensitive gender identity matter – Issues such as names and/or gender not matching their passport/ID need to be handled sensitively whilst still ensuring the company is compliant in its checks.  Having a third party a business can turn to, to handle these issues can be reassuring for both employer and employee.

Company health insurance scheme – To ensure trans employees are treated fairly, it is recommended for an employer to include treatments and procedures for gender reassignment in its scheme.

Absence from work because of gender reassignment – It is discriminatory to treat an employee, who is absent from work to undergo gender reassignment, less favourably. Depending on an employer’s policy for managing absence, they may wish to record absences due to gender reassignment, but shouldn’t include them in ‘absence triggers’. It may be worth considering if you offer limited special leave (at your discretion) which maybe paid or unpaid

Performance – It is recommended to make allowances for the trans employee’s job performance during transition and a short period afterwards, as surgery is likely to have temporary side effects.  An employee may ask to move to another role or change some duties which may cause difficulties whilst they transition or they may request a phased return to work, wherever possible this should be considered and catered for.

Trans and mental health – A person questioning their gender may experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. An employer can support the employee, by providing a welcoming and safe environment at work.

Support an employee with a family member transitioning – It is a type of direct discrimination to treat an employee less favourably than another because of the gender reassignment of someone they are associated with. The impact on an employee with a family member who is transitioning can be considerable; therefore you should treat them with sensitivity and provide them with support such as time off.

Develop trans inclusive policies  – Trans inclusive policies will need to be rolled out. Matters covered should include:

  • Transitioning at work including leave and pay
  • Dress code
  • Toilet, changing and shower facilities
  • Employee’s personal records and how these will be dealt with
  • If possible how an employee can transition to another role/department
  • How an employee should report any gender reassignment discrimination
  • Unacceptable behaviour towards employees inclusive of those of non-binary identities
  • Maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental leave

These processes are always best supported by HR and it may be advisable to outsource your projects where possible. HR Revolution can carry out any project to ensure the process is performed unbiasedly.

If you need further information or guidance, give HR Revolution a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@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.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

 

How to manage gender reassignment in the workplace – Part 2

In yesterday’s blog we talked about discrimination in the workplace, today we discuss disclosing gender identities.

The job applicant: A ‘transsexual’ person is not required to tell a prospective employer they have changed gender when they apply for a job, it should always be up to them to decide whether to disclose or talk about their gender identity – for fear being misunderstood and/or treated unfairly.

The employee: A person who is starting (or intending) to go through gender reassignment will in practice have no choice but to tell their employer.  The employee will then agree with the employer what information can be shared with whom and when.

Other general rules: Employers and colleagues must not ‘out’ an employee or applicant as trans as they could breach laws. Also, apart from in certain circumstances, it is a criminal offence to reveal, without the person’s permission, that they hold a gender recognition certificate or have applied for one.

If an employee or applicant who is trans decides that some information can be shared, the employer should, without pressuring the employee, talk to them about:

  • What they do and don’t want their colleagues to know
  • Who will be told, who will do the telling, where, when and how, and
  • Whether the employee will be there.

It is advisable that communication of any information to be shared is noted and recorded, and happens before the employee changes their appearance.

Employees disclosing their trans identity to a supportive employer can feel more comfortable at work, with a likely improvement in their morale and productivity, too.

Depending on the employee’s role, it may be beneficial to discuss and agree whether some limited information about their trans identity or gender reassignment should be communicated to clients and customers the employee regularly deals with.

These processes are always best supported by HR and it may be advisable to outsource your projects where possible. HR Revolution can carry out any project to ensure the process is performed unbiasedly.

Look out for Part 3 of the blog tomorrow.

If you need further information or guidance, give HR Revolution a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@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.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

 

Hung parliament – what does it mean for HR and employment law?

We have a new government of sorts, after all the campaigning, the Conservative party didn’t get enough votes to form a majority government meaning they will be forming a minority government in alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The main priority for the Government will be Brexit negotiations but the following points will be good to keep an eye out for:

  • There will be lots of attention to those working the in the “gig economy” and the introduction of legislation to make clear their worker/employed status.
  • There could be limited changes to National Insurance payments – they could rise but this has not be stated clearly yet.
  • It is likely there will be an increase in the personal tax allowance to £12.5k and £50k for higher tax payers.

Things for businesses to look out for

Brexit negotiations around the rights to work, both for UK and EU nationals and EU workers currently in the UK, should be kept under careful review for any developments.

With increased attention on the “gig economy”, it may result in the re-assessment of contracts between businesses and self-employed workers and will also require greater analysis of the status of an employee, worker or contractor.

If you need any HR advice give us a call, we are here to help +203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

How will the political parties manifestos effect employment and HR?

Today, Thursday 8th June is the General Election 2017, where the people of the UK will head to the polls and elect a new government.

So what is each political party pledging around employment, talent and pensions? and which of the major parties’ policies will affect HR?

All the main parties have focused on employment matters and worker rights as fertile ground for winning votes – perhaps more than ever before.

Here’s our detailed round-up of who’s pledging what:

The Conservative party will:

  • Introduce a national retraining scheme. Under it the costs of training will be met by the government, with companies able to use the apprenticeship levy to support wage costs during the training period
  • Continue the campaign for fairer corporate governance. The party has stated that there will be new rules for takeovers and executive pay, with proposals around annual shareholder votes on pay packages and a requirement to publish pay ratios
  • Reduce the ‘triple lock’ on pensions to a ‘double lock’, with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation
  • Not increase VAT, but scrap a 2015 election pledge not to raise income tax or National Insurance
  • Make universities that are charging maximum tuition fees sponsor academies or help found free schools
  • Retain all workers’ rights currently guaranteed by EU law
  • Put worker representation on listed company boards
  • Introduce a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative, and statutory leave for parents whose child has died.

The Labour party will:

  • Ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships
  • Raise the minimum wage to £10 by 2020 and scrap the public sector pay cap
  • Abolish university tuition fees
  • Offer an immediate guarantee about the status of EU nationals in the UK
  • Stop all planned increases to the state pension age after 66
  • Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether they’re part time or full time, temporary or permanent
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining
  • Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay
  • Strengthen protections against unfair redundancy for women
  • Create a million “good jobs” and rebalance the regions through setting up a National Investment Bank (which will leverage enough private finance to invest £250 billion in infrastructure over 10 years), a network of regional development banks, and a national transformation fund
  • Add four new public holidays per year.

The Liberal Democrats will:

  • Initiate a second EU referendum, with an option to remain in the EU
  • Expand Shared Parental Leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off with young children
  • Unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK
  • Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board
  • Introduce a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships, and using name-blind recruitment
  • Introduce a right for those on zero-hours contracts to request a fixed contract. The party would also consult on rights to request more regular working patterns
  • Aim to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices.

The Green Party will:

  • Phase in a four-day working week with a maximum of 35 hours
  • Scrap age-related wage bands and raise the national minimum wage to living wage levels for all
  • Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income
  • Introduce a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts
  • Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid
  • Ensure a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards are women
  • Abolish the cap on National Insurance contributions so the wealthiest pay more
  • Provide free early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age seven
  • Initiate a referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU
  • Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens living in the EU.

UKIP will:

  • Declare 23 June Independence Day, and make it a bank holiday
  • Introduce a flexible state pension window, so people can opt to retire earlier for a lower state pension or work longer for a slightly higher pension, as is the case at the moment
  • Bring forward legislation requiring employers to advertise jobs to British citizens before they offer them overseas.

The SNP will:

  • Devolve to allow Scotland to have its own policies after Brexit
  • Guarantee a living wage to all adults aged 18 and over
  • Lobby for the scrapping of the Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year
  • Call for the full reinstatement of the Post-Study Work Visa scheme, which allows foreign students to stay in the UK after graduation
  • Increase free childcare to 30 hours a week by 2020
  • Ensure companies engaging in blacklisting or ‘exploitative’ zero-hours contracts are barred from publicly-procured contracts
  • Incentivise oil and gas businesses to invest in renewables to protect jobs in the energy sector.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

A version of this article first appeared in HR Magazine

The CIPD ‘good work’ Manifesto ahead of the general election

The CIPD want politicians to make employment central on the next government’s agenda.  They are urging whoever the next government is, to put ‘good work’ at the heart of its thinking to improve the economy and boost individual welfare and prosperity.

Its Manifesto for Work, released ahead of the general election on 8 June, calls for:

  • A pilot of revised Individual Learning Accounts, designed to encourage people to invest in their own lifelong learning, in collaboration with their employer.
  • A new voluntary target for 20% of FTSE 350 board-level executive directors to be women by 2020, as a stepping stone towards achieving equal gender representation on boards by 2030.
  • Legislation to allow workers on zero-hours contracts to request a minimum number of hours after 12 months of employment.
  • Voluntary human capital reporting standards to encourage more publicly listed companies to provide better information on how they invest in, lead and manage their workforce for the long term.
  • A Know Your Rights campaign, run by the government alongside employers, which would help inform people on the different types of employment status and their associated rights, to tackle the lack of knowledge about employment rights in an increasingly fragmented world of work.
  • Widening out the apprenticeship levy into a training levy to make it more flexible to employers’ skills development requirements.

CIPDs Chief Executive Peter Cheese said the next government must focus on improving trust in business. “The world of work and the notion of ‘good work’ must be at the heart of the next government’s thinking in order to improve trust in business, accelerate economic growth, and improve outcomes for Britain’s workforce,” he said.

“The key to building better businesses, and a better economy, is dealing with the longstanding challenges that have led us to a point where pay is stagnating, trust in business is declining, and there is falling investment in skills. We can only solve these challenges by investing in people through skills and training, reforming corporate governance to improve public trust, and increasing diversity in our workplaces.”

He hoped the measures would help Britain cope with the “challenges”, such as Brexit, coming over the horizon. “By investing in skills and lifelong learning, boosting diversity in the workplace, and ensuring that we enhance and protect the rights of employees, we can not only transform corporate cultures but also help build the high-skill economy needed to cope with the challenges we’re facing.  This election should be about the future of work, and it is vital that the next government puts the workplace at the heart of its agenda.”

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

A version of this article first appeared in HR Magazine.

Make sure you download your HR policies from a reputable source…

As an employer you need people policies and procedures, employee handbooks etc, to make sure that you are compliant with the law.   Maybe you carried out a quick Google search to get some guidance as to what you need, I’m sure it seems an obvious place to start, as search engines often become your trusted advisor when it comes to the things that you just don’t know.

In reality though it pays to exercise more than just a little bit of caution. You wouldn’t search for medical advice online… or I hope not… So should you really trust Google to give you the policies and templates that have the power to make or destroy your business?

Here are 3 reasons why you might want to have a rethink…

  1. You have no real idea where your advice is coming from

You don’t have to be an expert legal advisor, or HR consultant, to create a website and share your views and opinions online.  These days pretty much anyone with a laptop and access to YouTube videos can do it.  You might argue that it would be pretty pointless for a someone to intentionally give you the wrong advice, but it is not worth leaving anything to chance is it?

Working with HR Revolution, we will make sure that your documentation is informed by legal requirements and forward looking best practice, after all it’s our speciality!

2. The law changes regularly

What applies right now in terms of good HR advice isn’t necessarily going to be good advice in 6 months from now. New legislation is released on a regular basis, so you need to make sure that you are compliant.

You need a reliable source of information when you access information and templates online, you can never be certain when they were last updated. Of course, at HR Revolution we will always keep you up to date with what you really need to know, go to our HR online shop with up-to-date people polices, templates and free guides.

3. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all

It’s true that the law applies across the board, regardless of what kind of business you run. You’re not exempt from following the rules just because you have just a few employees, for example. Still though, there are certain things that only apply to businesses of a certain size, and what works for a large multinational corporation isn’t necessarily going to work for a small family business.

When you work with a professional to get what you need, you can ensure that your practices are fit for purpose. HR Revolution can get to know your individual needs, and craft a strategy accordingly.

There are times in your business when doing a few online searches is going to give you exactly what you need. But when it comes to managing your most valuable asset – your people – it’s never worth cutting corners.

If you’re concerned about whether your practices are hitting the mark, get in touch with HR Revolution and we can have a no-obligation chat about where you stand, and what your options are, or visit our online shop and download all the up-to date HR policies you will ever need.

 

Don’t ignore your HR responsibilities

Often here at HR Revolution we are approached by a new client because they haven’t put the right HR measures in place for their employees, which has resulted in a situation they are not equipped to deal with.   Unfortunately HR always gets pushed down the priority list, but is a vitally important role and something else to be aware of is ignoring employment responsibilities may also have financial implications when it does go wrong.

If this has caught your attention read on, in this blog we have listed the most common HR risks that many small businesses take and the potential penalties for ignoring or getting them wrong.

Ignoring legal compliance or ignoring the law
By law you are required to have a number of written employment policies in place, such as disciplinary and grievance procedure and equal opportunities to name but a few.  This is where an employee handbook is imperative as it lays out what you expect of the employee.

The risk if you don’t have these policies in place is, if an employee makes an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim it would most certainly count against you if you didn’t have the appropriate policies in place, leading to a larger compensation award.

Not having a written employment contract
You are required by law to provide employees with a written statement of terms and conditions of their employment (i.e. employment contract), within 2 months of them starting to work with you.  If this is not in place, you could be taken to an employment tribunal and fined between 2-4 weeks pay.

More importantly, if you don’t have any terms of employment put in writing for an employee and there is a disagreement later down the line about what was agreed, you could be looking at a breach of contract claim.  Compensation payouts for breach of contract claims can be up to £25,000 if taken to an employment tribunal or £50,000 at the High Court.  Definitely not worth taking any risks.

Not checking an employee’s right to work evidence
You need to check that all your employees have the right to work in the UK (by taking copies of evidence, such as a passport or work permit).  If this not carried out and and employee is found not to have the right to work in the UK, you can be fined up to £20,000 per person for employing illegal workers.

Discriminating against an employee
In employment law, employees are protected against being discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, race, nationality, sex/sexual orientation, ethnic origin, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief and colour.

In cases of discrimination, tribunals can award unlimited compensation and there is NO length of service requirement for employees to make a claim.  Also there is a particular risk with discrimination cases that if an employee has shown that discrimination could have taken place, it is then up to the employer to prove to the tribunal that this is not the case, which can be extremely difficult to do.

Unfair dismissal of an employee
Dismissing an employee without having a legally fair reason or not following the correct legal process, can lead to an employment tribunal awarding the employee up to £74,000 compensation or a year’s pay if this is lower.

In addition to that, you will have to pay your employment lawyer’s fee even if you win, which could amount to several thousands of pounds!  However, employees need to have had 2 years service to claim unfair dismissal, although if they can show that they were discriminated against unfairly when dismissed they can make a tribunal claim regardless of their length of service (see above).

Underestimatinng the knowledge of employees
Employees can now find any information about their rights on the internet, so tend to be very knowledgeable about their rights at work and processes their employers should be following.

As an employer if you don’t do things properly this can lead to your employees being demotivated and lower productivity. So make sure you treat your employees fairly and lawfully and it will lead them to be happier and more productive at work.

If you are struggling with any of the issues we have outlined above and need some HR help, please do give HR Revolution a call, we know we can save you time with practical guidance on how to handle your daily HR tasks.  Call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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MPs say lax laws on sexist dress codes are ‘failing female employees’

Today’s press is awash with the news regarding the lax laws on sexist dress codes.  As an employer you need to be aware of this, I don’t think this topic is going away anytime soon – read on…
Campaigners say too many employers are “stuck in the past” and are forcing women to wear inappropriate shoes and uniforms at work.

Dress codes which discriminate against women are still widespread in UK workplaces, a group of MPs has warned – with a report claiming current laws to prevent discrimination are not “fully effective”.

The Women and Equalities Committee’s investigation follows a petition calling for “outdated and sexist” dress codes to be changed so women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work.

More than 152,000 people supported the campaign after Nicola Thorp, 27, lost her job as a receptionist because she refused to wear high heels.

The parliamentary committee’s report uncovered further examples of discrimination – hearing evidence from female employees who have been told to dye their hair blonde, wear revealing clothes, and use more make-up.

Ms Thorp said: “This may have started over a pair of high heels but what it has revealed about discrimination in the UK workplace is vital, as demonstrated by the hundreds of women who came forward.

“The current system favours the employer and is failing employees. It is crucial that the law is amended so that gender neutral dress codes become the norm.”

In its report, the Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee said: “We call on the Government to review this area of the law and to ask Parliament to change it, if necessary, to make it more effective.”

It also concluded that more needs to be done to help educate employees so they understand how to make formal complaints and make the costly tribunal process easier.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Far too many employers are still stuck in the past when it comes to dress codes.

“It is unacceptable that in 2017 bosses are still forcing women to wear painful, inappropriate shoes and uniforms.

“But with employment tribunals costing up to £1,200 – even if you’re on the minimum wage – many women can’t afford to challenge sexist policies.

“If ministers are serious about enforcing equality legislation then they should scrap tribunal fees immediately.”

The report comes as new research from the Chartered Management Institute shows four out of five managers have witnessed some form of gender discrimination or bias in the last 12 months, such as women struggling to make themselves heard and getting paid less than a male colleague.

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This article appeared on Skynews.com

Key Employment Law changes to look out for in 2017

The saying is so true, there are few things in life you can guarantee but death, taxes and employment law changes are among them!!  So we’ve outlined 3 changes that will be coming this year, so make sure you get 2017 off to a flying start by being prepared.

Remember you need to be compliant and there are absolutely no excuses when it comes to employment law, let HR Revolution advise you.

Let’s take a look at the changes you need to pencil in your diary…

Gender pay gap reporting

For the first time, private sector, public sector, and voluntary sector employers with 250+ members of staff will be required to publish information relating to the gender pay gap, and how they are performing in terms of driving forward equality.

At the moment, the exact requirements are still being drafted, though it’s expected that the deadline for the first report will be 4th April 2018, based on data from 2016/2017. We’ll release more guidance on this once it’s available.

Changes to regulations surrounding employment of foreign workers

From April 2017, employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will have to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker. This will be reduced to £364 for small employers and charities.

In addition to this, the minimum annual salary threshold for ‘experienced workers’ applying for a tier 2 visa will be increased to £30,000. If you employ foreign workers, or plan to open up your recruitment channels in the near future? You need to make sure you’re compliant.

National minimum wage and living wage changes to be aligned

The dates for changes to national minimum wage and national minimum wage will be brought into alignment, so the good news here is that there are less dates to keep track of!

From April 2017, the national living wage for staff aged 25 or over will increase to £7.50 per hour.

All things considered, there’s plenty to think about in 2017, and plenty that you need to plan for. And of course, there’s the tricky issue of Brexit…

There’s still a grey area over what we should really expect, though things are likely to become clearer in the coming months. Make sure that you keep an eye on our updates for practical, no-nonsense guidance on what you really need to know.

Do you need help ensuring compliance? Give HR Revolution a call today: +44 203 538 5311 we’d love to help.

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Calling all small business owners, are you making these costly HR mistakes

As a small business owner, would you call yourself a ‘reluctant leader’? is it a title that you identify with.

Did you start your company because you had an exciting product or service to share, and believed in the impact that it could have on the world, only to realise as you grow there are a ton of extra responsibilities that end up on your agenda.

Hopefully, one of these is building and managing a team of productive and motivated employees, who can help you to reach these goals, but it’s easier said than done!

There are a few common mistakes that many owners make, often without realising, let’s take a look at what they are, and what you should do about them…

Acting with the best intentions, without understanding the law

You value your employees and want to do your best by them.  You have absolutely no intention of doing anything that could potentially harm your business or bring it into disrepute. The reality is though, that simply trying to do what feels right and fair often just doesn’t cut it.

Employment law can be complex, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that your business is compliant. Do you understand, for example, the legislation around acceptable working hours? Or how you should support disabled members of staff? Or what to do if a worker is expecting a baby? If not, then you need to either improve your knowledge, or take advice from an expert.

Developing policies and procedures as the need arises

Perhaps you’ve never really considered how you would handle the situation if a member of staff started to underperform, or if their behaviour became unacceptable. Surely, you can address issues like this as and when they arise? This approach certainly isn’t ideal, and it can result in all sorts of problems.

If you don’t have robust policies and procedures in place, then consider this your wake-up call. Not only will making changes reduce your risk of running into difficulties, but it can also help you to drive your business forward.

Investing in HR

While many business owners think about working with an HR consultant, they imagine that it might be something that they’ll do in the future, once they’ve built a huge team. In actual fact though, we can provide affordable solutions to businesses with just a few employees, and really help nip any potential problems in the bud, and create a clear growth plan for the future.

Seeking out HR help earlier can ensure that any niggling issues don’t become the norm in your workplace and can give you peace of mind in your role as an employer.

If you’re reading this and you know that you’re guilty of making any of these mistakes, then please do get in touch, we can arrange to have a no-obligation consultation and make a plan for getting your business firmly on the right track!

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