New National Minimum Rates announced

Effective from April 2018, the Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in his Autumn budget, national minimum wage increases and a new scheme affecting care sector employers who may have underpaid their employees.

New National Minimum Wage Rates

In line with the intention for the national minimum wage to increase to £9 per hour from 2020, it will increase from £7.50 to £7.83, representing a 4.4 percent uplift.  In practical terms, this will mean a pay rise of around £600 per year for a full time worker.

The other rates will increase as follows:

  • Workers aged 21-24 from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour
  • Workers aged 18-20 from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour
  • Workers aged 16-17 from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour
  • Apprentice rate from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour

The Budget was also used to announce a review of the flexibility in the way organisations may use their apprenticeship levy (large companies have been required to pay this levy since April 2017 which they can then use to fund apprenticeships) and a National Retraining Scheme to support worker’s career development.

Care employers advised to correct minimum wage wage under payments

A new scheme to encourage companies in the care sector to make good any minimum wage underpayments was launched on 1st November 2017.

Recent employment tribunal judgements have shifted a focus onto a companies minimum wage obligations in the specific area of sleep-in shifts.  HMRC’s interpretation of the legislation, in common circumstances, requires that all hours of a sleep-in shift attract the minimum wage, regardless of whether the worker is asleep.

In order to soften the impact of these decisions on social care companies, the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) will see any underpayments corrected but remove the enforcement measures applied to companies that are found to have underpaid their workers. Employers have until the end of 2018 to join up to the scheme.

Committees publish draft bill on gig economy workers

A joint draft bill containing enhanced proctections for gig economy workers has been published by two government committees.

The propsal focuses on giving individuals more certainty about their status by providing an automatic assumption of “worker” status, meaning that it would be for the company to prove otherwise at employment tribunal.  This would also mean that these workers would be entitled to certain employment rights from day one.

Some recommendations from the Taylor Report are also included in the Bill, such as considerations of a higher national minimum wage rate for those on zero hour contracts. The government is yet to provide its full response to the review and this Bill will add more pressure on the government to take action.

If you need any help or guidance on the above, get in touch with HR Revolution.

Give us a call +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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A version of this article first appeared on CIPD HR-inform.

Landmark employment law cases: Uber/Deliveroo – The decision on drivers and riders rights; what could this mean for your business?

This has been a very hot topic recently and we have been overloaded with articles about what the “workers” versus “self-employed” issues/rights means, so now the ruling has been made HR Revolution discuss what this means for businesses going forward.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled on Friday that Uber’s drivers qualify as workers, giving drivers rights such as the minimum wage and holiday pay, resulting in potentially damaging the way the company operates.  Currently the average hourly rate minus fees, petrol and expenses may mean an Uber driver is not earning the minimum wage.

Although Uber argued that their drivers have the freedom to choose when and where they work, the EAT ruled that drivers were effectively working for Uber while the app was switched on, and were not able to make themselves available to other operators as Uber had claimed.  In addition, the way Uber limits driver contact with customers, the language it uses when recruiting drivers and the way it treats those drivers who refuse a fare, resulted in the EAT concluding that Uber exerts control over the drivers, meaning they are to be deemed as workers as opposed to being self-employed and are therefore entitled to worker rights.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/11/10/uber-loses-key-appeal-drivers-rights/

Conversely in the case brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, Deliveroo riders have been ruled “self-employed” by the labour law body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).  This further highlights the complexity of determining the employment status and why it is imperative care is taken when considering whether the individual has worker rights including holiday pay and minimum wage.

The key to this case was that in the contract between Deliveroo and the riders; riders had the freedom to substitute the services to a “mate” both before and after they had accepted a particular job if they wished – allowing other riders to take their place on a job. The CAC found that the right to substitution was genuine in day to day practice and therefore found the riders be self-employed. To further support Deliveroo’s case, the new terms also stated that riders did not have to wear branded clothing.

Both of these decisions have been based on whether there is “control” from the employer to the employee and in the case of Deliveroo the lack of control meant the balance was tipped as the riders having self-employed status.

Riders enjoy being their own boss – having the freedom to choose when and where they work, and riding with other delivery companies at the same time.  In practical terms, this implies they are genuinely self-employed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41983343

What could these rulings mean for your business?

Both of these rulings although contradictory, have significant implications for the gig economy in particular.  It also clearly demonstrates that there is still a lot of ambiguity and confusion around employment status, which is expected to be given clarity by the government by the end of the year.

The outcomes of both these cases emphasises the importance of ensuring you are giving those entitled to employment rights, just that and also ensuring any contractors are complying with any IR35 rules.  It means care and consideration should be exercised by both the employer and employee when entering into an independent contractor agreement on a self-employed basis.

Any business should take guidance from both of these cases as they demonstrate how important it is that your employee status is. Make sure the use of self-employed contractors are being used correctly within your business and not just as a label to get around the rules.  With the number of self-employed contractors increasing significantly, both of these rulings are likely to be significant for employment law in the UK.

The lesson from both of these cases lies around the control identified in the terms and conditions of an independent contractor agreement.  Although this doesn’t set a new precedent as all cases will be judged on their own merits, the control you exert over anyone self-employed within your business should be carefully considered to avoid any similar claims.

Deciding on the appropriate employment status can be difficult for many companies. If you have concerns regarding this, HR Revolution are here to help, get in touch with one of our consultants who can offer you a free consultation to ensure that you are compliant.

Give HR Revolution a call +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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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

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Your new improved bespoke HR Outsourcing website has landed

At HR Revolution we have streamlined our website, so all our great HR solutions are in one place. So whether you’re looking to outsource your HR support or download a contract of employment, it’s all just one click away.

With more small businesses outsourcing their HR function, you need to know you are making the right choice.  As your outsourced HR Partner we work alongside you to tailor a bespoke HR solution, ensuring your employees are properly contracted, fully committed, highly engaged and your business thoroughly protected.

HR Revolution are real people, providing real solutions for businesses with real drive. Performance focused HR that builds your business with you.

Take a look and see how we can help you revolutionise the way in which you use HR…

Flexible HR solutions to suit any business… come and have a browse…

Contact HR Revolution for practical HR support and advice +203 538 5311 or email: customerservices@hrrevolution.co.uk

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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

What exactly is a Zero Hours Contract?

With the rise of the “gig” economy, many peoples’ working circumstances considerable strays from the traditional 9-5 job thinking. In March 2017 research recorded that there are nearly 1 million UK workers on zero hour contracts. This is a four fold increase in this type of contract from 2000 and there is still much controversy around it with the Sports Direct and Uber cases and also the Labour party wanting to make the contract illegal in their 2017 manifesto.

So what is a zero hours contract?

A zero hours contract is an employment contract between employer and worker. It effectively means that as an employer, you are not obliged to guarantee any working hours to an individual. Equally, your worker is not obliged to accept any work you offer them and they are free to work for other employers.

Zero hours contract – when would you use it?

You may engage workers on a zero hours contract basis if you want a flexible workforce that can temporarily cover any shortfalls in staffing that you have. Examples can include:

  • Unexpected or last minute events (e.g a restaurant needing extra staff to cater for wedding party that had their original venue cancel a the last minute).
  • Temporary staff cover (e.g an office loses an essential specialist work for a few weeks due to a bereavement).
  • On-call/bank workers (e.g. a client of a care-worker company requires extra care staff for a short period of time).

Zero hours contract employment status

In most cases zero hours contracts mean that an employer recruits a ‘worker.’ However the way the relationship with that worker develops may enhance the employment status to that of an ’employee’, who has additional employment rights. For example, employee status provides statutory notice rights. Developments that contribute to such a change could include subjecting the worker to disciplinary procedures or punishing them in some way if they don’t accept all the hours they are offered.

Zero hours status also has to stand up on paper (in the contract) as well as in practice. Where there is a dispute over this, an employment tribunal may decide for themselves what contractual relationship exists between employer and worker and any associated employment rights, including enhancements such as accruing the right to take maternity leave or pay and the right to ask to request flexible working.

Breaks between employment

Depending on what agreements are outlined, a zero hours contract might mean that the contract only exists when work is provided to the employee. If this is the case a break in employment is considered as when no work is provided for a full calendar week (from Sunday to Saturday).

If employment is continuous then the worker has rights that accumulate over time. Equally, workers are also entitled to the minimum living wage, paid holiday, rest breaks and protection against discrimination, overwork and unlawful wage deductions.

When an employment is broken, the employer has responsibilities too, including the need to pay the worker for any accrued and untaken holiday pay. In event of the employment being broken, the worker is not required to notify the employer or provide a period of notice.

If you need any further help or clarification on the above, get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we look forward to hearing from you.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

Employ nightshift workers? A few tips to share with them

According to research carried out by the TUC, the number of people regularly working through the night has rocketed to over 3 million since the start of the recession. Interestingly, more and more females than ever before are working the nightshift.

Regardless of the industry that you operate in, it’s quite likely that there may come a time when you need your team to work a nightshift, even if it’s just temporarily. Maybe your IT employees will have to install important updates outside of normal working hours or employees on your shop floor will be asked to change their shift patterns to stack the shelves in the run up to the festive period.

The potential health and lifestyle implications are well documented and you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re giving your workforce the support they need. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that could make all the difference to your employees when the times comes that they have to work unsociable hours.

Think carefully about the journey home

Most of us know what it’s like to feel exhausted after a long day, and drive home almost on autopilot. After a nightshift though, tiredness can become a serious problem that can quite quickly escalate into a potentially dangerous situation.

It makes sense to consider how you could help with provisions for getting home at the end of a nightshift. It might make good business sense to provide financial support for the cost of taxis, or to share information about local public transport arrangements.

Create good sleep routines

Sleeping during the day can feel unnatural, so it’s important to get into a good routine if you want to enjoy quality rest. Blackout curtains can make a big difference, as well as avoiding using mobile phones before sleeping, and ensuring that you aren’t exposed to too much daylight before trying to nod off. In other words, it can really help if night workers get straight to bed after their shift.

Of course, every individual is different, and there’ll be a strong element of trial and error when it comes to finding the best pattern and routine. Make sure you support your employees, by sharing guidance and positive suggestions.

Never underestimate the value of quality sleep

Many of us would agree that there’s no better feeling than crashing out in a comfortable bed, but it’s way too easy to underestimate just how important sleep really is. There’s a whole host of medical problems and conditions that have been linked to poor sleep patterns, including heart attacks and diabetes.

Make sure you stress the importance of good sleep to your workers. If they’re struggling, do the right thing and suggest that they make an appointment with their GP to discuss their options.

There have been  various calls to give extra rights to staff working nightshifts, to help protect them from the physical, mental, and emotional strain of working such unsociable hours, although whether this is something that will happen remains to be seen. Right now, you need to focus on doing all you can to support your employees and ensure that you’re taking reasonable steps to protect their wellbeing.

If you’re unsure about your responsibilities, download our free Guide to Nightworking below, or get in touch and HR Revolution will help you understand exactly what you need to know.

 

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Zero Hours Contract workers to be protected

Zero Hours Workers 

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, used to tie workers into working for only one employer even when no work is offered, became unenforceable in May 2015 under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

From 11th January 2016, the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations give zero hours employees the right not to be unfairly dismissed for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause, and zero hours workers the right not to suffer detrimental treatment for working elsewhere.  The unfair dismissal protection will be a ‘day one’ right – employees won’t need the usual two years’ service to claim it.

The government has also produced new guidance for employers on zero hours contracts dealing with when it’s appropriate – and inappropriate – to use them, the employment rights associated with them, suitable alternatives to them and exclusivity clauses.

HR Revolution offer a free guide to Zero Hours Contracts ready to download HERE now.

Thank you to the CIPD for the update