How to improve your HR practices by the end of the year…

Ok business owners it’s now the final quarter of 2018! if you still have some goals that you haven’t quite achieved, now’s the time to do it and make that final push.  It’s also time to look back and see over the year and work out your wins, losses and what needs to be done differently in 2019!!

When you are reflecting on the year make sure that you don’t forget to factor in your people practices and how they have performed over the last 12 months.  Of course we know that most HR challenges can’t just be achieved overnight, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t act now to make positive and noticeable changes.

We outline/suggest a few ways in which you can take control and start making changes before 31 December.

Make a plan for 2019

You may be looking at what is needed to be done around the Christmas period, maybe recruiting temporary employees or tying up any loose ends an that is great.  But what about the bigger picture, will you be facing any challenges it the coming months?, are there any opportunities you can look at to help you meet your wider strategic goals?

Planning or having a plan will help to put your mind at ease that you have thought about things and hopefully not be faced with any nasty surprises.

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How compliant are your legislative changes?

I’m sure you would like to say that you are fully compliant, but when it comes down to it are you absolutely positive that you’re doing everything you should be?

We understand that the day-to-day complexities of running a business can sometimes get in the way, but if you haven’t done everything that’s required of you, you could be leaving yourself very vulnerable to problems in the future.

Do you need an HR audit?

Keeping on top of everything people orientated as your business grows can be a daunting process, but it need not be and as an early Christmas present why don’t you benefit from an having an experienced HR professional come in and assess what is working and what needs to be improved.

By having an end-of-year HR audit HR Revolution can help, let us carry out a HR healthcheck on your company and assess what’s working and what needs to be improved, this could be just what you need to make sure that you end the year on a high note and put practical steps in place to raise your game.

If you like to book an HR audit or need any HR advice please do 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.

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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.

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

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Don’t forget about HR

When many of us think about companies that have made big HR mistakes, we’re quick to jump to the assumption that it’s all the fault of greedy bosses who are more interested in lining their own pockets than doing the right thing by their loyal employees.

Mistakes with administrative processes that result in employees receiving their wages far later than expected.

Employees forced to give up their holiday entitlement because of a last-minute crisis.

Disgruntled employees who are vocal about their negative experiences at work.

The list goes on and there’s no smoke without fire right?

Not always.

Employment legislation exists for a reason, and for the greater good. As an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant and you’re implementing the best working practices to create an environment that’s fair and nurturing for your employees.

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However, mistakes can happen, and even the most dedicated and ethical employers can find themselves facing extremely difficult circumstances.

When your business is growing fast, and you have a million and one things to balance, you can take your eye off the ball. You can overlook important details. And you can find yourself facing circumstances that you never imagined, but which can put your entire business in jeopardy.

So at this stage, it is imperative what you do next and how you decide to put things right.

If you’re worried that there could be an HR nightmare on the horizon, then we can help. We can assess your current circumstances, and help you to create an action plan that gets things back on the right track as quickly as possible, with the least amount of fuss.

We’re not here to judge – we’re passionate about getting things right, and we understand the challenges that you’re facing. 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.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can I make someone redundant on Maternity Leave?

There is a common misconception you can’t make someone on maternity leave redundant. While it is possible, you should always exercise caution as it is likely to be risky and should only be used as a last resort.

To begin you must ensure that the redundancy is lawful and genuine under these three qualifying reasons:

  • when the business closes down either temporarily or permanently;
  • when the business moves and the employee cannot get to the new place of work;
  • when fewer employees are required for existing work.

If the redundancy qualifies under any of the above, then you must make sure you follow the correct process.

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Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to disadvantage someone because of their pregnancy and maternity leave and they have protected employment rights regardless of their length of service. This essentially means that their pregnancy or maternity should have no effect on your decision to make the individual redundant and the full redundancy process should be followed. Just because you have managed without someone on maternity leave by distributing their work is also not a valid reason to make them redundant and likely to be classed as unfair dismissal. That said if there is a genuine reason for the redundancy decision that would have been exactly the same if they weren’t pregnant (i.e. their pregnancy or maternity has no bearing on your decision – and you can prove it) you can terminate their employment fairly, as long as you have followed the proper process and are able to prove their maternity or pregnancy has not disadvantaged them if they made a claim.

The redundancy process for these employees includes:

  • Ensuring employees on maternity leave are kept up to date with any Company announcements while they are off.
  • Consulting with employees on maternity leave who are at risk  – redundancy with failure to consult would be classed as unfair dismissal.
  • Selecting those employees for redundancy fairly.
  • Ensuring their notice period and any accrued holiday are paid.
  • Ensure that anyone on maternity has preference for any suitable alternative roles that maybe available.

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If there are multiple people to select from, there would need to be a very clear reason why someone on maternity leave was made redundant over an employee who wasn’t.

HR Revolution would highly recommend that you don’t pick someone on maternity leave or pregnant unless there is a very clear reason for doing this. If there are alternative available roles that are suitable then someone on maternity leave should get preference to minimise any risk of unfair dismissal.

It is also worth noting that if an employee is on maternity leave or pregnant and is made redundant after the 15th week before their due date, they will still be entitled to their full 39 weeks SMP.

Always seek advice before making someone who is pregnant or on maternity leave redundant, HR Revolution can guide you seamlessly through the process to ensure you do not put yourself at risk of an unfair dismissal claim!

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.

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Why don’t employees take their annual leave?

Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However a number of surveys have highlighted the fact that us Brits are terrible at taking time out. A survey carried out by Glassdoor found that 40% of employees in the UK only used a maximum of half their annual leave over the past holiday year. While 23% of us can’t help but check work emails while away, and a stressed out 15% even did some work to avoid falling behind before their return to the office!

So it is always in a company’s best interest to make sure their employees have a healthy work-life balance, below we list a few benefits of taking annual leave including:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

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Health benefits

Taking time away from business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of the very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritised. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out, this is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you a chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

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Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s an important part of a companies culture to lead the way in ensuring employees take the holiday they deserve and reinforce that the business won’t fall apart just because employees have been away for a few weeks!

So if your company, or indeed you, are less about sun, sea and sangria and more about spreadsheets, skills and stress maybe it’s time to rethink – after all, even sunburn has to be preferable to burn out!

If you need any advice, 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.

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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.

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

A version of this article first appeared on CIPD HR-inform.

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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Need HR help, it’s time to admit you’re only human

When many of us think about companies that have made big HR mistakes, we’re quick to jump to the assumption that it’s all the fault of greedy bosses who are more interested in lining their own pockets than doing the right thing by their loyal employees.

Mistakes with administrative processes that result in employees receiving their wages far later than expected? Obviously a ploy so the business can keep hold of their cash for as long as possible and make some interest from your hard earned cash!

Employees forced to give up their holiday entitlement because of a last-minute crisis? Probably a crafty trick concocted to make sure that staff are worked to the bone.

Disgruntled staff who are vocal about their negative experiences at work? Well, there’s no smoke without fire.

We’ve all seen the stories in the press, often sensationalised for the purpose of selling more newspapers, and we’ve made our own judgements about the moral standing of those in charge. Sometimes as in life, it isn’t  black and white.

However, let’s not get too cynical.   This is the reason that legislation exists and as an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant, that you’re implementing best practices, an employee handbook (download below) would be a good place to start, in making sure that you’re doing everything you can to create an environment that’s fair and nurturing for your employees.

However,  mistakes can and will happen, we are human after all, and even the most dedicated and ethical employers can find themselves facing extremely difficult circumstances.

When your business is growing fast, and you have a million and one things to balance, you can take your eye off the ball. You can overlook important details and you can find yourself facing circumstances that you never imagined, which can put your entire business in jeopardy.

The thing is though, what really matters is what you do next, and how you decide to put things right.

If you are worried there could be an HR nightmare on the horizon, then we want to help. We can assess your current circumstances, and help you to create an action plan that gets things back on track as quickly as possible, with the least amount of fuss.

At HR Revolution we’re just passionate about getting things right, and we understand the challenges that you’re facing. Give us a call today and see how we can help.

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Visit HR Revolution’s document shop, for all your HR document needs