Solutions For HR https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk Protecting you and your business Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:50:34 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cropped-Solutions-for-HR-Favicon-new-1-32x32.jpg Solutions For HR https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk 32 32 Changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/30/changes-to-terms-and-conditions-of-employment/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/30/changes-to-terms-and-conditions-of-employment/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 08:50:33 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3238 The post Changes to Terms and Conditions of Employment appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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As of the 6th April, the following changes have come into effect in relation to terms and conditions of employment:

  1. Employees and workers are entitled to a section 1 statement of particulars on the first day of employment.
  2. The exclusion for employees in short-term employment for a period of less than one month no longer applies – all employees and workers have the right to receive written particulars no later than the time their employment commences, regardless of how long the employment will last.
  3. The hours and days of the week the worker/ employee is required to work must be stated.
  4. If the hours and days may be variable, this must be stated and, if they may be, how they vary or how that variation is to be determined.
  5. Any additional rights to paid leave such as enhanced maternity, paternity, compassionate or study leave must be referred to.
  6. All benefits the employer/worker will receive must be included (including non-contractual benefits).
  7. The length of any probation period and the conditions applied
  8. Entitlement to training, whether this or any part of the training is compulsory and whether the employee has to pay for any compulsory training

Employers do not have to issue an updated statement of terms to existing employees with these changes although if they request one, you must provide this within one month of the request.

For retained clients, we are working through your documents to update with these changes where applicable.

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/22/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/22/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2020 17:18:25 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3233 The post Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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Businesses can apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month

The Government has announced the scheme to protect jobs during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Businesses can apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month per employee to cover 80% of salary for those retained but not working.

This scheme aims to protect staff and is an alternative to layoff.

The scheme will be available for at least three months and that there is unlimited funding available through the scheme.

The first grants will be paid within a matter of weeks and will be backdated to 1 March 2020.

To access this, employers must designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of this change.

How do I do this?

Speak to any affected employee.

You are changing their employment status so you can’t just enforce.

But, this is a similar communication to imposing lay off without a contractual right.

Explain to your employee that you want to do this to safeguard their job and that if they don’t agree to this change of status then you will have to look at redundancy.

On this basis, employees are very likely to agree as 80% of salary is better than not having a job.

What do I do once agreed?

Employers must submit the information on furloughed employees to HMRC through a new online portal.

This isn’t operational as yet but should be soon.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee.

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.

Q & A

It’s not yet clear whether the £2,500 cap is the maximum wage and you can get 80% of that, or whether the maximum of 80% is £2,500.

Employees can’t work whilst furloughed.

This raises questions about how to fairly implement this.

For example, you have 5 staff and need just 1.

You want to furlough 4 and retain 1.

The 4 get to sit at home and receive 80% of their wages but the 1 has to attend work full time for 20% more salary!

Employers can voluntarily choose to fund the additional 20% of wage costs (or any additional top up over and above the £2,500 cap), but don’t have to.

It is worth noting that an employee can’t say that they are furloughed.

The employer determines who is affected and seeks the employee’s agreement.

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Coronavirus Contingency Planning https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/19/coronavirus-contingency-planning/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/19/coronavirus-contingency-planning/#respond Thu, 19 Mar 2020 10:24:51 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3227 The post Coronavirus Contingency Planning appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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We are now all battling the business effects of the Coronavirus so it’s time to consider options in the event of adverse financial and commercial impacts on the business.

Recruitment freeze

Review current vacancies being advertised and pull where possible, reducing numbers through natural wastage.

Any interviews arranged, could be delayed/postponed.

Any pending starters could be reviewed and start dates delayed, ideally on agreement due to risks of breach of contract claims, brand reputation and liability for notice pay.

Explore options of taking unpaid leave immediately

Seek volunteers/interest in taking unpaid leave, addressing reduced weekly hours or blocks of leave.

Some employees may agree to reduce their daily working hours temporarily, for example starting later and/or finishing earlier for reduced pay.

Each will require agreement with each individual.

Holiday entitlement

Explore the feasibility of employees taking some holiday entitlement, perhaps combined with a period of unpaid leave so there is ease on cash flow without the employee being at a detriment.

Emergency and parental leave

With the school closure announcement, some employees may require emergency leave followed by unpaid parental leave, which may help reduce payroll costs.

Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid emergency leave to enable them to deal with an emergency involving a child or other dependant.

With most schools closing on Friday 20th March, if staff are unable to find childcare cover for the following Monday, this can be classed as emergency leave.

After 1 years’ service, employees with children are entitled to take unpaid parental leave.

The maximum entitlement is eighteen weeks unpaid leave for each child, which may be taken in blocks of one week at any time up to the child’s eighteenth birthday.

Lay off/Short-time working

Check employee contracts to see if the Company has the right to lay employees off or enforce short-time working.

Before executing layoffs or short time working, careful consideration should be given to determine roles, to ensure that the service level demand at the time can be maintained.

If employees are laid off for a full day, for each workless day in any 3 month period, up to a maximum of 5 days, the employee is entitled to be paid a “guarantee payment” in respect of that day.

The guarantee payment is not made if any work has been done in the day in question, so if you decide to reduce hours by a few a day they are not entitled.

The maximum amount of statutory guarantee payment payable to each employee in respect of any day is currently £29 (soon to rise to £30 per day).

This is a short-term solution as there are time limits that an employer can impose short-time working and lay-offs before employees become entitled to resign and claim a redundancy payment.

If there is no contractual right then lay off/short-time working must be reached in agreement with the workforce.

Steps to take if considering layoffs

  1. Check you have the right to impose this.
  2. Determine which roles are affected and by how much time you are looking to reduce.
  3. Communicate the proposal – prepare a brief statement to explain the rationale and entitlements to statutory guarantee pay.
  4. Agree on a start date.
  5. Confirm it in writing.
  6. Monitor timescales so you are aware at what point you may receive claims for redundancy pay.

Redundancy

If the situation became acute for the business, you can address redundancy.

Determine which roles can be reduced or are surplus and the reason why.

Employees would need to be put at risk of redundancy and consulted with in accordance with all usual consultation requirements.

Be mindful of collective consultation requirements if you’re making 20 or more employees redundant within any 90-day period at a single establishment.

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What should I do if my employee has Coronavirus? https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/11/what-should-i-do-if-my-employee-has-coronavirus/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/03/11/what-should-i-do-if-my-employee-has-coronavirus/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:31:54 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3220 The post What should I do if my employee has Coronavirus? appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is mounting concern over the spread of the coronavirus that has become a worldwide issue over the past few months.

As this is a developing issue, employers are recommended to follow the latest government advice, which can be found here government advice on COVID-19.

The website updates at 2pm each day with the latest information and advice.

Currently, the advice is that anyone returning from Iran, lockdown areas of Italy and South Korea or Hubei province in China, should remain at home even if they have no symptoms of a respiratory condition.

Employees who have returned from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, anywhere in Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar should remain at home if they show any symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, however mild.

If this is the case for any employee then they should call NHS 111.

As a basic precaution, employees should be reminded that good hygiene is always important and the World Health Organisation recommends the following measures to protect yourself from a virus:

  • Wash your hands – soap or hand gel can kill the virus;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – ideally with a tissue – and wash your hands afterwards, to prevent the virus spreading;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if your hands touch a surface contaminated by the virus, this could transfer it into your body;
  • Don’t get too close to people coughing, sneezing or with a fever – they can propel small droplets containing the virus into the air – ideally, keep 1m (3ft) away.

Employees travelling overseas from the UK, should monitor the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the World Health Organisation.

The FCO is currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province and the city of Daegu in South Korea, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China, the city Cheongdo, in South Korea and Italy.

Employers should consider other options if travel to these regions is planned such as Skype Calls or other video conferencing resources.

Travel advice can be found by clicking the links below:

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH TRAVEL OFFICE

What do I do with employees who are quarantined or in self-isolation?

You may be able to agree to homeworking.

If not then employees are entitled to receive statutory sick pay.

On the 4th March, the Government announced that for individuals who have been advised to self-isolate or are quarantined, statutory sick pay rules will be changed to allow statutory sick pay (SSP) to come into force on the first day of absence, rather than the current fourth day.

This is taking into consideration the public health recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus.

Employees can self certify as normal for the first seven days of a self-isolation/quarantined period.

Patients with suspected Coronavirus (Covid-19) who self-isolate can request a confirmation email from NHS 111 instead of a sick note from their GP.

Whether you pay contractual sick pay is entirely at your discretion although it is recommended that usual Company sick pay rules are maintained.

What about employees who state that they do not want to come to work?

You may find that an employee is refusing to work because they’re worried about contracting the virus.

In this situation:

  • Listen to the employee’s concerns carefully to understand why they are in fear.
  • Reassure and share government guidance.
  • If you can offer to work from home then do so.
  • You can look at unpaid or annual leave if this is an option.
  • If they still refuse to come in, we may need to consider a formal process but this is a last resort and we need to be mindful of their reasons including underlying family health or mental ill health.

What if I send employees home?

In this situation, you would be liable to pay employees full pay.

What should I do if an employee is tested positive for Coronavirus?

Ask the affected employee to self-isolate and communicate calmly with co-workers.

The relevant local authority health protection team should be notified and their advice followed.

Communication with colleagues should be calm and the advice of the authorities followed which could include self-isolation for all or some staff.

The confidentiality of an employee with confirmed Coronavirus must be maintained.

What should I do if schools are closed?

Assess whether employees can work from home or whether holiday entitlement can be taken.

Employees may, however, require immediate emergency leave or a period of unpaid parental leave.

Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid emergency leave to enable them to deal with an emergency involving a child or other dependant.

This is likely to be the case immediately if a school closes.

After 1 years’ service, employees with children are entitled to take unpaid parental leave.

The maximum entitlement is eighteen weeks’ unpaid leave for each child, which may be taken in blocks of one week at any time up to the child’s eighteenth birthday.

You may experience an increased number of requests for this type of leave.

Also, explore other options of taking holiday entitlement or unpaid leave, perhaps combined so there is an ease on cash flow without the employee being without any pay.

Employee Conduct

A number of reports in the media have shown increased hostility and/or harassment towards those who are of Asian origin or, perceived to be from an affected area.

Employers are best to remind employees, that whist you will do everything you can to keep people informed, they are still bound by dignity at work policies and inappropriate comments or ‘banter’ will not be tolerated.

Do I need to minimise UK travel?

Whilst there is no current Government advice, a common sense approach should be taken in an attempt to minimise risk and potential spread.

Encourage phone or remote meetings.

Industry downturn in work

If there is a downturn in work due to the virus, you may need to consider some short time working or layoffs.

Check your contracts for the contractual right to lay people off.

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EHRC guidance on sexual harassment https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/ehrc-guidance-on-sexual-harassment/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/ehrc-guidance-on-sexual-harassment/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:16:36 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3084 The post EHRC guidance on sexual harassment appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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The guidance promotes a preventative approach

We are all now accustomed to the #MeToo movement which shone the spotlight on workplace harassment.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have produced a guidance document which places additional responsibility on employers to proactively tackle and manage workplace harassment.

The is not statutory, but similarly to the ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievance, tribunals will likely take it into account in harassment cases.

Additionally, the government does still plan to introduce a statutory code of practice and as such the guidance represents a draft version of the code.

The guidance promotes a preventative approach to tackle harassment at work.

Practically, if faced with a harassment claim, employers need to demonstrate what they have done to prevent harassment in the workplace.

In demonstrating such measures, an employer can have a “reasonable steps defence” and can avoid liability for the actions of an employee.

The guidance promotes the following:

  1. Having an anti-harassment policy and enforcing it robustly.
  2. Introduce workplace “harassment champions” to assist in resolving informal issues, risk assess and develop tactical plans for future prevention.
  3. Developing an open culture to encourage individuals to report issues and even intervene.
  4. Set out steps to deal with third party harassment complaints.
  5. Consider setting out strategic action plans to prevent different types of harassment.
  6. Create a central record of harassment complaints and the identification of trends in order to feed into preventative measures.
  7. Address policies relating to the disclosure of information relating to harassment complaints specifically around informing a complainant about steps taken against the harasser.
  8. Review training for managers and staff.

The guidance document can be found at Sexual harassment and harassment at work: technical guidance.

 

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Statutory pay changes 2020 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/statutory-pay-changes-2020/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/statutory-pay-changes-2020/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:06:25 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3081 The post Statutory pay changes 2020 appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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On the 1st April 2020, the national living wage (NLW) and the four national minimum wage (NMW) rates will increase as follows:

  • NLW, which is payable to all workers aged 25 and over, will rise from £8.21 to £8.72 per hour
  • The Adult rate of the NMW, which is payable to all workers who are aged 21 to 24 years old, will rise from £7.72 to £8.20 per hour.
  • The youth development rate, which is payable to all workers who are aged 18 to 20 years old, will rise from £6.15 to £6.45 per hour
  • The young workers rate, which is payable to workers aged under 18 will rise from £4.35 to £4.55 per hour
  • The apprentice rate will rise from £3.90 to £4.15 per hour.

On the on 5 April 2020 Statutory maternity, paternity, Shared Parental and Adoption pay will all rise from £148.68 to £151.20 per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is lower than the statutory rate).

On 6 April 2020 Statutory sick pay will increase from £94.25 to £95.85 per week.

To qualify for these statutory payments an employee must earn at least the lower earnings limit (LEL) which is currently £118 per week but is set to increase from April 2020.

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Bereavement Leave https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/bereavement-leave/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/bereavement-leave/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:56:30 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3077 The post Bereavement Leave appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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Workers are better supported

On the 6th April 2020, the Government introduces “Jack’s Law”, ensuring workers are better supported following the loss of a child by providing two week’s paid bereavement leave upon the death of a child aged under 18 or if a baby is stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The Regulations allow any working parent, no matter how long they have worked for an employer, to take either one or two weeks’ leave.

Parents employed for six months or longer will also be able to claim statutory pay for their bereavement period in line with the approach for other entitlements such as parental leave, currently set at the lower of £151.20 per week or 90% of salary.

The leave can be taken in either a single block of two weeks or as separate blocks of one week across the first year after their child’s death.

It is worth remembering that this is a basic legal entitlement and employers should consider how else they can support bereaved parents, with additional paid leave, flexible working provisions and employee wellbeing and support initiatives.

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Terms and conditions – a day one right https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/terms-and-conditions-a-day-one-right/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/02/12/terms-and-conditions-a-day-one-right/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:45:01 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3074 The post Terms and conditions – a day one right appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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The government is extending the right to receive a written statement of employment

From the 6th April 2020 the government is extending the right to receive a written statement of employment particulars to all “workers” and from day one of employment.

The current legislation around receiving your written statement of terms and conditions is that you must receive this within 2 months of starting work.

Whilst most of us incorporate the issuing of contracts or a written statement of employment particulars into our offer and induction procedures to ensure clarity at this early stage, this will become law from “day one” from April 2020.

As such, for those not already doing so, now is the time to get into the habit to ensure no hiccups when the legislation is introduced.

A qualifying employee, who has not received a written statement of employment particulars may refer the matter to an employment tribunal.

A tribunal can award compensation of two or four weeks’ pay (at the tribunal’s discretion).

A week’s pay for this purpose is subject to a statutory limit of £525 per week.

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Sikh refused work because of a no beards policy https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/01/23/sikh-refused-work-because-of-a-no-beards-policy/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/01/23/sikh-refused-work-because-of-a-no-beards-policy/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 12:15:36 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3058 The post Sikh refused work because of a no beards policy appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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Sikh refused work on the grounds of a ‘no beards’ policy wins religious discrimination case

A tribunal recently found that a Sikh job hunter, denied work because of a recruitment agency’s ‘no beards’ policy, was discriminated against on the grounds of his religion.

The London based recruitment agency, Elements Personnel Services, refused to offer work to bearded Raman Sethi because of their clients’ requirements in relation to facial hair, grooming and dress code.

Elements provided temporary staff to some high-end London hotels including the Grosvenor House Hotel and Claridge’s however they enforced their “neatly trimmed” facial hair policy to the letter, refusing Sethi to join their temporary staff bank because he wouldn’t trim his beard.

The problem for Elements is that they didn’t actually speak with their clients on the subject to see what their actual stance was, instead choosing to apply their own blanket policy that discriminated against Sethi as a practising Sikh, who was unable to abide by the rules on religious grounds.

The tribunal awarded Sethi over £7,000 in compensation for indirect religious discrimination.

This decision provides real clarity on the subject of dress and appearance codes.

Great care must be taken to ensure that any particular requirement isn’t discriminatory.

If there is a possibility that it could be, this must be objectively justified to give a defence against applying a policy, rule or practice that would otherwise be unlawful indirect discrimination.

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Ethical veganism is now a protected belief https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/01/23/ethical-veganism-is-now-a-protected-belief/ https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/2020/01/23/ethical-veganism-is-now-a-protected-belief/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 12:08:32 +0000 https://www.solutionsforhr.co.uk/?p=3055 The post Ethical veganism is now a protected belief appeared first on Solutions For HR.

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Protected under the Equality Act

An employment tribunal recently ruled that ethical veganism is now protected under the Equality Act in the same way as a religious belief.

So, what does that mean for you?

Think about any day to day comments and chat that may be happening in your business… “Why on earth are you eating that fake food, no wonder you look anorexic – you just don’t get the vitamins that you need from that rubbish”.

It is now possible that this is a comment that constitutes unlawful harassment under the Equality Act if it creates a “hostile, humiliating or offensive environment”.

And what about those businesses where “meat” is their trade?

If you have a vegan employee expressing their animal protection and anti-meat views in public, that you feel are detrimental to your business, it could be seen as discriminatory to discipline because this could be treating the individual less favourably and putting them at a disadvantage because of their vegan beliefs.

It is certainly another area to be mindful of and for our clients, we have updated our handbook policy to reflect this, which shall be available in your next general update.

Also, consider training on anti-harassment in the workplace to drive home the message of zero tolerance.

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