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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Spoilsports?

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2019 at 11:20 am

It’s the summer which means it’s a peak time for sports tournaments – whether it’s the football world cup, Wimbledon, the Olympics or many other major events; your employees may be keen to keep up with the action.

But how can employers maintain productivity without being kill-joys? Can you boost morale by allowing staff to participate?

A Flexible Approach

  • One way to facilitate employees following major tournaments is to allow games/events to be screened or listened to in the work place if your type of business allows. Remember not all employees will be fans so consider a sport free zone as well.
  • Allow employees to start or finish earlier or work later to fit in around key events.
  • Consider your internet/social media/mobile phone policy – can this be relaxed to allow employees to follow the action?

Annual Leave Requests

  • More organised fans may have already requested time off but in the case of knock out competitions as teams progress to the next round you may get a flurry of leave requests. Follow your usual policy and be fair and consistent in how requests are granted.

Absence

  • An employee calls in sick or fails to arrive on the day of the big game? Follow your usual procedures.

Hungover Staff

  • Sport and a few drinks often go hand in hand. But what if your employees are turning up for work in an unfit state? Again, your usual policy should be followed. You should also have a policy in place regarding drinking during working hours.

And as we head to the finish line…

  • Don’t forget it’s not all about UK sports. You may have staff supporting a number of different countries so make sure any flexible arrangements include them as well.
  • Some people hate sport! Avoid them becoming resentful by being open in your communications and not allowing them to have an increased work load due to others taking advantage of a flexible working approach.

If you need advice on developing or implementing your workplace policies RBA would be pleased to hear from you.

Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444 www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

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A Burning Issue

In Employment law, Uncategorized, workers on June 27, 2019 at 9:38 am
Pineapple wearing a hat and sunglasses

So what has a pineapple wearing sunglasses and a hat got to do with your business?

Today (27th June 2019) is ‘International Sunglasses Day’; raising awareness of the damage that can be done to the eyes by the sun’s harmful rays.

Still wondering?… We’re talking about sun safety. With cases of skin cancer on the rise in the UK (since the early 1990’s incidence rates have more than doubled) consideration needs to be given to the risks of sun damage associated with outdoor working. This could particularly affect workers in construction, agriculture or leisure. Research has shown that 55% of skin cancer incidences are from those employed in the construction industry.

Some groups are particularly at risk:

  • Pale or freckled skin that tends to burn
  • Fair/red hair
  • Skin prone to moles
  • Family history of skin cancer

Although the risk is lower for those with darker skin, sun damage can still occur, along with the same need to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.

According to Cancer Research 86% of Melanoma skin cancer cases are preventable.

What can employers do?

  • Educate – make sure your employees know that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and what they can do to minimize the risks. Encourage them to check their skin regularly and report any concerns to their doctor. This can be part of your health and safety training.
  • Provide shaded space to take breaks
  • During particularly hot and sunny periods schedule work to avoid the midday sun / have more frequent rest breaks
  • Encourage workers to keep covered up and wear a hat.
  • Encourage workers to wear a high factor suncream and reapply during the day
  • Make sure water is available

For advice on all your employment matters contact Rob Bryan Associates – 01462 732444 / www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

More summer advice:

Heat Wave Hot Tips

Carers Week

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2019 at 12:18 pm

10th-17th June is Carers Week, raising awareness of the challenges carers face day to day.

Research by Carers UK shows that 600 people a day leave the workforce to provide care for a loved one. 5 million people juggle caring responsibilities with paid work. And the numbers are increasing.

Those in their thirties to fifties, known as the ‘sandwich generation’ may be balancing caring for elderly parents while also bringing up children and working.

How carer-friendly is your business? Do you have policies in place to support those who wish to more flexibly?

Carers who meet the qualifying criteria can make a request for flexible working and can also ask for ‘time off for dependants’ to cover an emergency or unforeseen circumstances. It is at the discretion of the employer whether this time off is paid or unpaid. Some employers offer further support such as carers leave or flexible leave situations when a more intensive period of care is required. Even simple adjustments such as allowing an employee to make a phone call can make a big difference to their ability to be in work.

If you would like help reviewing your employment policies please get in touch – 01462 732444

Social Media at Work

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2019 at 10:19 am

accounts-blur-button-267350 (1)

Along with benefits of social media for your business in terms of team building and visibility for your brand, there are a number of risks from time-wasting to defamation. How can employers navigate this issue responsibly without being heavy-handed?

It’s likely that the majority of your employees will have some form of personal social media account e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Although according to the Human Rights Act 1998 employees can expect the right to privacy in their home life, lines can become blurred when people identify the company or their colleagues in social media activity. This can result in damage to the company’s reputation, accusations of cyber bullying or harassment.

There are examples of employers becoming aware of workers who are on sick leave behaving in a way that undermines their reason for absence. However, managers should be wary of snooping – if you are to access and act on information available in social media platforms you must be able to prove that there is a legitimate business need and that it is reasonable and proportionate.

If your business has a company social media account, you should be clear about who has access to it and the passwords should be secured. Train those responsible in the type of information that should be shared and whether posts need to be authorised.

Some businesses will use online collaboration tools which include messaging between colleagues so you may need consider best practice for these.

Rules on the personal use of social media and the internet etc. will partly depend on the working environment. An office environment will have different considerations to one where there may be safety or safeguarding issues. You want to avoid time-wasting without alienating your hard-working employees. In most cases an outright ban could seem extreme.

In all these points having a clear policy is key. This can be included in your staff handbook and should set our clear boundaries on when/if it is permissible to use social media and the internet within the work context. The right to monitor should also be included, as should the repercussions for breaches of the policy. The online world is rapidly changing so review your policies regularly to keep up to date.

For employers our key message is to have a policy and make sure your employees are aware of it.
For employees, always apply common sense before posting and remember that anything shared online has the potential to be public.
 
If you would like to discuss including a social media policy in your handbook please contact us
 
Examples of cases involving social media related dismissals

Changes to sick pay rules from April 2019

In absence, Employment law, Uncategorized on April 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

As of 6th April 2019 entitlement to sick pay is changing. The amount employees need to earn in order for Statutory Sick Pay to apply is rising from £116 per week to £118. The rate of pay will also increase by £2.20 to £94.25 per week.

As before employees need to have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days) to qualify and SSP can be paid for up to 28 weeks.

 

If you would like guidance on managing absence in your workplace, contact us at Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

5 Important Employment Law updates in April 2019

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2019 at 11:34 am

April 2019

1. New minimum wage rates

The National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) are set to rise in April.
The new rates will be:

  • NLW (25+) – £8.21 per hour
  • NMW for 21-24-year-olds – £7.70 per hour
  • NMW for 18-20-year-olds – £6.15 per hour
  • NMW for 16-17-year-olds – £4.35 per hour
  • NMW apprentice rate – £3.90 per hour

Employers with staff earning the NLW or NMW, or close to it should check what adjustments need to be made ready for April.

 

2. Increases in statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay

  • Statutory sick pay will rise to £94.25 per week
  • Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental payments will rise to £148.68 per week
  • Accommodation offset will rise to £7.55 per day

 

3. New statutory compensation rates

  • the limit on the daily amount of statutory guarantee pay will increase from £28 to £29
  • the limit on the amount of the unfair dismissal compensatory award will rise from £83,682 to £86,444 (there is an additional cap of one year’s gross salary on the compensatory award)
  • the minimum basic award for certain unfair dismissals will go up from £6,203 to £6,408.
  • The main change is that the amount of a “week’s pay” for calculating statutory redundancy pay and certain unfair dismissal awards is to go up from £508 to £525 from 6 April 2019. The maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award will increase from £83,682 to £86,444 and the limit on the daily amount of statutory guarantee pay will rise from £28 to £29.

 

4. Workplace Pension Auto-enrolment increases

  • The minimum contribution will now be a total of 8%. The employer minimum contribution will be 3%.
Date Employer minimum contribution Total minimum contribution
Currently, from 6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 2% 5% (including 3% staff contribution)
6 April 2019 onwards 3% 8% (including 5% staff contribution)

5.  Payslips

  • Changes to the way employers issue payslips will also come into force on 6th April 2019 as from this date onwards the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as ‘workers’.
  • Employers are required to:
  • provide payslips to all workers
  • show hours on payslips where the pay varies by the amount of time worked
  • Employers should work with their payroll departments to ensure that correct procedures are in place by April.

Mental Health in the Workplace

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2019 at 10:32 am

Let's talk about mental healthAround 25% of workers in the UK will suffer from poor mental health at some point in their working life. The cost to business, work teams, workers and their families is high.
As a manger or business owner what can you do to support your workers and aid recovery?

Recognise the issue
If you employ enough people for long enough then you will, if you haven’t already, encounter a worker with a mental health problem. Be prepared and informed. Find out about the 6 standards that the HSE have identified as factors in workplace stress.

Talk
This doesn’t have to be a direct question about their mental health – try to find out what circumstances are impacting them within the workplace. The HSE standards can be used as a framework for your discussion. Look for ways you can support and assist. You may be able to communicate some of your observations but remember that it is not a disciplinary hearing. Make sure you agree a date to talk again. It may take a number of discussions before an employee is willing to open up.

Plan a recovery programme
Recovery periods in cases of mental health can be uncertain and each person is different. Obtain a report from the worker’s GP and include specific advice in your plan. Record what steps are agreed and put in dates for review.

Create a supportive working environment
Improve your awareness and knowledge – promotion of well-being is as important as assisting with recovery. You could also look into offering an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
Be aware of unusual patterns of absence, behaviour or productivity as these can be signs of an issue.
A temporary period of flexibility may help.
Some larger organisations have well-being ‘first-aiders’ a person can approach if they are feeling overwhelmed.

Let’s be knowledgeable and prepared to tackle these issues and let us have the courage to act on what we see around us and create a workplace that can support those working within it.

For more resources to help you approach Mental Health see our website.

New Rights for Bereaved Parents

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2018 at 10:26 am

For the first time parents who suffer the loss of a child will have a legal right to time off work and, subject to eligibility, statutory bereavement pay.

two person holding hands while sitting on grey cushionThe Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 was given royal assent on 13 September 2018 and is expected to come into force in April 2020.

The Act will offer, as a day one right, two weeks’ leave to any employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employees will also be eligible for statutory bereavement pay if they meet certain criteria, including that they have been employed for at least 26 weeks, and have given the correct notice.

Currently, employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off following a bereavement.

Will Quince MP, who first brought the issue to Parliament in a Ten-Minute Rule motion said:

There can be few worse life experiences than the loss of a child and while most employers treat their staff with dignity and compassion when this tragedy occurs, all too often we have heard stories of grieving parents being forced back to work too early.

I am delighted that parents in this awful situation will now have the protection of paid leave enshrined in law, and we should be very proud that the UK now has one of the best worker’s rights in this area in the world.

Action:

Whilst many employers would be sensitive to a bereavement of a child, this legislation is setting out mandatory obligations. This is a good example for having a clear written policy ahead of time.

Once the regulations for the implementation of the Act are published, employers should review their policies and procedures regarding bereavement to ensure compliance. If you would like advice on implementing this legislation, contact us at Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

RBA Autumn Newsletter

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2018 at 10:23 am

Newsletter

Our Autumn edition addresses issues around immigration and Brexit, the EHRC report on sexual harassment in the light of the #MeToo campaign, new guidance on overtime as well as recent cases of interest.

As ever, if there is a topic that you wish to specifically address in your own business, we will be only too happy to talk through your options for change and implementation. Past newsletter updates are available at robbryanassociates.org.uk.

If you would like to sign up to receive our newsletter direct to your inbox please email sarah@robertbryan.co.uk

Employee screening – are you up to date with changes to DBS ID checking?

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2018 at 10:00 am

From the 3rd September 2018 the documentation accepted for DBS checks for non-EEA nationals will be changing. This is to better align the system with Right to Work checks. The current guidelines will continue to run until 3rd December 2018 to allow employers a transition period to adjust their internal procedures.

The changes will apply to all levels of DBS check.

It will no longer be necessary to supply a Passport as an additional item to the following 3 documents:

  • A current Residence Card (including an Accession Residence Card or a Derivative Residence Card) issued by the Home Office to a non-European Economic Area national who is a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland or who has a derivative right of residence.
  • A current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK, and is allowed to do the type of work in question, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
  • A current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.

The following documents  have been added to list of items that can be used as the Primary Document for non-EEA nationals seeking paid employment:

  • A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland – added to documents available for Non EE applicants.
  • A Positive Verification Notice issued by the Home Office Employer Checking Service to the employer or prospective employer, which indicates that the named person may stay in the UK and is permitted to do the work in question – added to documents available for Non EE applicants.

The document below has been added to  the Group 2b document options for all applicant types (UK, EEA and non-EEA nationals):

  • Irish Passport Card

Guidance on the list of supporting documents that can be used by countersignatories in the ID checking process can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-identity-checking-guidelines/id-checking-guidelines-for-countersignatory-applications 

Do you need advice regarding your employee screening processes? Contact RBA to discuss how we can help. 

Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  rob@robertbryan.co.uk