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.

breathehr - outsourced hr - hr revolution

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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.

Employment tribunals - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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:

Attract 2

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.

Recruit 2

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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.

adult-advice-boss-70292

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

 

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.

shutterstock_76755373

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

FRIDAY HR FAQS – Requesting a reference – why it’s important and what you can ask for

Bringing a new employee into your business is an important step no matter the size of your business. You’ve completed the recruitment process and believe they are the best candidate for the job. You’ve interviewed them, think that they have the right skills and attitude and found that they would fit in to the culture of the team. So why should you care about confirming their previous employment?

Why ask for references?

Receiving references is an invaluable tool to fact check that the candidate has been truthful about their experience on their CV, that they worked at the company for the time they said and that they performed the role listed on their CV. This confirmation can also provide reassurance that you have chosen the right candidate.

This process can also be used to check that there are no gaps in their employment which are unexplained and could be a cause for concern. Checking references, including a personal reference can explain this and ease your mind as to the reason for any employment gap e.g. career break, travel, job search post redundancy.

At what point do you ask for references?

References can be asked for at any point in the recruitment stage. Typically, they are requested once you have found your preferred candidate. This can be done at the point of making an offer to a candidate or afterwards. Often the candidate receives a conditional offer, with the contract stipulating that receiving satisfactory references are a requirement of the contract. This will offer you protection if the references you receive aren’t satisfactory as you may then be able to withdraw the offer or terminate their employment if they have already started.

You can also ask for a character reference; however, it is worth noting that this would usually be given on a personal basis from their referee and it is unlikely companies will provide one.

shutterstock_174314447

What can you ask for in a reference?

Before requesting a reference, you will need to get the candidate’s consent, they will at that point also give the contact details of their referees.

When contacting their reference, you should ask for the information that you want to know about the employee and what is relevant to the role and your business.

References can include:

  • basic facts about the job applicant, like employment dates and job descriptions
  • answers to questions that the potential employer has specifically asked about the job applicant that are not usually given as basic facts, like absence levels and confirming the reason for leaving
  • details about the job applicant’s skills and abilities
  • details about the job applicant’s character, strengths and weaknesses relating to the suitability for the role they have applied for

It is worth noting that regardless of what you ask for the respondent is not required, by law, to answer each question you ask or to even give a reference at all. Most companies now typically respond with an employment confirmation on their own company headed paper, and usually confirms their employment dates as well as their job title whilst they were working there. All references need to be fair, honest and consistent.

What if their previous employer refuses to give a reference?

Certain companies, such as ones regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority are required by law to give a reference when requested. However, companies in other industries have no obligation to provide you with a reference. If this is the case, you can then ask for other ways to prove their time at that company, such as the employee providing you with payslips or a P60/P45.

Doing your due diligence on new employees by requesting references is a useful way to provide reassurance that you have selected the right candidate, and can help prevent issues that may arise once they have already joined your business.

If you need any HR and talent help or advice, 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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

 

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:

Website Launch 1 - hr revolution - outsourced hrIf there are any of our services that you would like to discuss in more detail or
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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

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.

shutterstock_226385674

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.

shutterstock_156317591

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

The UKs 10 most irritating office habits

In a recent UK survey, employees were asked to list what the most irritating habits of their co-workers were, while some of the findings might surprise you, are there any of them that you are guilty of?

In reverse order…

10. Wearing the same clothes – what does this say to your bosses? could you be giving the impression that you don’t care about your appearance?

9. Cooking smelly foods – be mindful of what you bring in to the office to microwave, fish and eggs not being the best choice for lunch!

8. Smelling of cigarettes – if you do smoke – why not pop a mint in after having a cigarette break.

addiction-adult-ash-293402 (1)

7. Talking loudly on the phone – you could take calls in a meeting room or corridor, or lower your voice if you need to stay at your desk.

6. Staying in the toilet too long – don’t be seen a time waster, only go to the loo when you really need too!

5. Interrupting when people are speaking – implement the ’10 second rule’, listen and wait before you speak.

4. Messy desks – keep your work area clutter-free – get a desk organiser, filing tray…anything that helps you get organised.

3. Not washing up – don’t expect somebody else to do it for you,  it should go without saying that you do your own washing up.

emails - outsourced hr - hr revolution

2. Ignoring emails – this is unprofessional, if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive, allocate a particular time each day to deal with your inbox instead of dipping in and out and not actually achieving anything.

1. Offensive body odour – top of the list and this is a difficult one to deal with, as you might not notice it yourself, but wearing clean clothes and showering daily will help.

Can you think of any other annoying habits that weren’t listed, we’d love to hear them, why not comment below?

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr

 

 

 

 

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:

probation agreement - hr revolution - outsourced hr 1.jpg

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!’’

shutterstock_85385077

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.

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

The HR BLOG - hr revolution - outsourced hr