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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Why you need to hire in December…

As with most things work related there is a quieting down towards the end of the year, especially recruitment, but it should be the optimum time and here’s three reasons how hiring in December can actually help you.
Get ahead of your competition
There’s a common thought-process (often misguided) when hiring new talent that anyone would be lucky to work for you. You’re doing the world a favour by having a job vacancy.
Ok this may be true, you might be a great business to work for, but unless you’re Google or Apple, Joe Bloggs won’t know that. They don’t know you as being any better than your competitor, so what reason do they have to join you?
By hiring in December, there’s at least one reason… you are hiring now. Most of your  competitors are waiting until January, due to winding down in the festive season.

Hiring in December means you will avoid the January dogfight when businesses start hiring again and because of the abundance of jobs, the candidates get their pick, and you might have to offer more money to entice them… more so in January than the rest of the year; up to 10-15% more, in fact.

No time wasting

Did you know, it also takes up to 5-10 days longer to hire in January! By hiring in December you free up the start of the new year to do business, rather than carrying out interviews.

Additionally you’ll save even more time because you won’t be wasting January training new employee, hopefully, they will have picked up the job in a relaxed, pre-holiday environment. You can even invite them to the Christmas do, get them to know the team in an informal setting. No better time to get to know your new colleagues in an informal setting it sure beats those January blues.
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Make your life easier

Statistics show that job applications are 3% higher in November and December. The reason being that people tend to have more free time, with work winding down.

That’s more free time on social media and the web – meaning it’s more likely they will see your job advert, have time to take your calls and time to interview.
It is also a time of excessive spending – shopping, travel and parties. Some may start to reconsider their financial situation and the need for a better paid job.
And if you think job seekers will be too busy swigging mulled wine and opening presents to bother with recruitment, think again, applications are made on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day!!!
Get your 2019 off to a flying start, get hiring now.

If you need any HR advice on, attracting, recruiting and onboarding, get in touch today: +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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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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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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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Employee or Contractor?

The rules around distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor may be subtle, but getting it wrong and breaching IR35 rule can result in serious tax and legal consequences for your business!

We thought we’d try and clear this blurred line and clarify the differences!

The three main differences are:

1. Control

Employees generally have limited control over their work, their hours these are set in place at the commencement of employment and the relationship is ongoing. They are restricted from working for another company, customer or generating their own work. Contractors on the other hand cannot be treated with the same level of control, dictating their own working hours, working on multiple projects for multiple businesses simultaneously. A business has no obligation to provide the contractor with work and employment rights do not apply to the relationship.

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2. Pay

Employees are generally paid a regular set amount, agreed on the commencement of their employment in return for working the set agreed hours. The employer will also deduct tax and national insurance contributions from their wages, whereas contractors will need to invoice for their services at an agreed rate per day/week month or fixed price basis. They are not paid via PAYE therefore are responsible for looking after their own tax and NI contributions.

3. Benefits

Whilst contractors do have certain protections, for example for their health and safety whilst on business premises and, in some instances, protection against discrimination, they are not entitled to any employee benefits such as paid holidays, sick pay, company pension or medical insurance.

This can be a grey area, which many employers struggle with, so hopefully the above has given you some starting points to think about!

There is a third status known as a ‘worker’, sitting somewhere between an employee and contractor. This category of the workforce have some, but not all employment rights, as an employee would but more than a contractor. The classification depends on the level of flexibility of the working relationship … but we’ll leave that for another day!

If you need any HR help, advice or tips, 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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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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FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.

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1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.

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3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, 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 – What are the implications of AI in talent management?

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) within the HR sector and its ability to transform the way we interact with candidates and employees is a topic of interest for many businesses.

Recent surveys have revealed the buzz around AI and it’s potential to change HR practices. An IBM survey revealed that almost half of employers believe AI would transform their talent acquisition capabilities as well as transform their payroll and benefits administration.

Businesses are using AI technologies to reduce costs and save time when it comes to their HR – and talent management is an area that AI promises innovation for.

Recruitment is traditionally a labour and time intensive process and can cost your business thousands in recruitment fees and HR salaries when you total all of the time invested in the process.

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AI presents a way to streamline a business’s approach to talent management and to bolster their understanding of talent pools and existing teams, helping businesses to find their next employee and nurture them once they’re onboard.

We’ve explored some of the talent management areas that AI is impacting upon, as well as the potential downsides that the AI trend could have upon candidates and employers alike.

1. Automate candidate screening

AI can be used to reduce the time businesses spend finding the right employee by automating the process and providing more rigorous selection methods that filter out unsuitable CVs before a shortlist reaches the hiring manager.

2. Candidate assessment

AI software is changing the candidate assessment stage by combining techniques such as digital video and overlapping this with predicative analysis, thereby allowing the hiring manager to gain a data-driven understanding of the candidate’s suitability.

3. Skills matching

An applicant’s skill-sets, personality traits, and salary preferences can all be determined by an AI enhanced application system. Similarly, AI is also reinventing the traditional personality test and can produce a ‘score’ which candidates can publicise on their CV so that hiring managers can quickly assess their suitability.

4. Reduce human error

Human error is an inevitability of traditional talent management approaches and one that AI is supposedly able to eradicate completely, whilst also speeding up the process of collecting and compiling candidate and employee data.

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5. Employee onboarding

Ensuring your new hire is regularly contacted throughout the onboarding process can now be overseen by a bot, meaning that tasks such as document collating through to answering employee questions can all be relived of HR teams and carried out by AI powered virtual assistants.

6. Customise training

Once your new team member is onboard it’s vital that they remain engaged. Businesses are using AI to provide the right training for employees by creating a needs-based learning experience using learning data.

7. Entrenching biases

There are concerns that AI designed to enhance talent management could instead serve to perpetuate established biases within hiring and promotions – a very real concern when you consider that AI is a software which will inevitably be infiltrated by the biases of those who set it up.

8. Lack of humanisation

A lack of human interaction throughout the people management process due to the rise of automation is a concern for many within the HR sector. Nothing can compare to a human touch when it comes to talent management, and so while the transactional elements of the process can be enhanced by AI, businesses will need to work hard not to overlook the importance of human interaction – and hopefully in time come to realise it’s ever growing importance.

If you need any HR advice or guidance, 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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