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MH claims on the rise

An increasing awareness of mental health issues is leading to higher rates of disability discrimination claims where mental rather than physical disability forms the basis of a claim. The number...

MH claims on the rise

An increasing awareness of mental health issues is leading to higher rates of disability discrimination claims where mental rather than physical disability forms the basis of a claim.

The number of disability discrimination claims has jumped by 11% over the last year from 6511 to 7211, the highest number since 2012/13.

Reasons for this rise include the abolition of tribunal fees in 2017 and a willingness for workers to lodge claims relating to mental health. Heightened media attention has also helped people talk more freely - without the stigma that once existed - and it's fair to say that doctors have a noticeable and growing preparedness to support workplace absences around stress, anxiety and other disorders.

The important point about disability discrimination claims, and where employers often trip up, is that claims can be brought if an employer has failed to make an adjustment for a pre-existing condition. Often when new employees join a new organisation these conditions are not well managed, which can trigger a claim.

HR need to manage these through the implementation of a mental health strategy. Strategies should contain a statement committing to relevant company values such as supporting staff, a positive environment for mental health at work and a zero tolerance towards discrimination.

The strategy should also link in relevant policies, for example Stress at Work and Absence Management or Flexible Working policies and ensure mental health objectives are measured.

What is furlough?

What is furlough? The word ‘furlough’ means temporary leave of absence from work. This can be due to economic conditions affecting one company, or matters affecting the whole country. Until...

What is furlough?

What is furlough?

The word ‘furlough’ means temporary leave of absence from work. This can be due to economic conditions affecting one company, or matters affecting the whole country.

Until now the expression has not carried any meaning in UK employment law but has been temporarily introduced in response to the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not mean that the fundamentals of employment law have changed, simply that this scheme adds to them.

It has been introduced to provide employers with an option to keep employees on the payroll without them working.

As furloughed staff are kept on the payroll it is different to being laid off without pay or being made redundant.

The ability to furlough employees is designed to support employers who are severely affected by coronavirus.

This provides employers another option when reviewing the circumstances of their business and is an alternative to redundancies or being laid off without pay. Employers will need to review this option carefully to pursue the best option for them.

Which employers are eligible?

Any employer (of any size) is eligible for the scheme and includes businesses, charities, recruitment agencies (if the agency workers are paid through PAYE) and public authorities.

To be eligible the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.

It has been confirmed that where a company is in administration, the administrator will be able to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

More information is available via gov.uk and further details are expected in due course. Do not use Google or other search engines to validate your opinions only use credible websites and agencies.

The government does not expect much public sector use of the scheme because many public sector employees are continuing to work throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs are expected to continue to pay staff and not to place them on furlough.

However, where staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, the furlough scheme will be applicable.

Which employees are eligible?

Employees that are working for businesses that would otherwise have to be dismissed as redundant or laid off.

Furloughed employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and include:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • agency employees on agency contracts (provided they are not working at all)
  • zero-hour contract workers (provided that they are employees albeit on flexible contracts).

For new employees who were not on the employer's payroll on 28 February 2020 complexities arise.

There are also certain complexities for employees who have been:

  • on sabbatical or unpaid leave
  • recently made redundant or laid-off
  • are pregnant or on maternity leave or adoption/paternity/shared parental leave
  • caring for children
  • migrant workers.

Employees who have been on sick leave can be placed on furlough leave after the period of sick leave has ended if there is no work for them to do and they would otherwise be laid off or made redundant and employees who are shielding themselves in line with government advice can also be placed on furlough leave.

For more information specific to employees that are potentially grouped in these categories please contact the office.

Employees who work elsewhere:

Employees with two or more employers can be furloughed for each job separately but the £2,500 cap applies to each employer individually.

This means that an employee with two jobs can have 80% of their salary reimbursed with a cap of £5,000, or more, if the employers top the salary up above the grant level.

Employees do have to agree to being furloughed, unless there are lay off provisions in their contract, so an informed employee may say they only agree to being furloughed and taking a 20% pay cut if the employer agrees to them working elsewhere during their normal working hours.

Alternatively, employers may ask employees to agree new or reconfirmed restrictions on working elsewhere, especially if for a competitor.

The employer may agree to furloughed employees working in limited sectors, for example, food, health and social care or other essential services.

Business owners and partners:

Owners of small businesses who pay themselves a PAYE salary are covered under the furlough scheme.

The scheme does not apply to dividend payments so director-shareholders who are paid partly or mainly in dividends will only be covered to the extent that they receive PAYE earnings.

The Coronavirus self-employment income support scheme has been introduced to provide similar support to those not eligible under the job retention scheme.

This means self-employed directors with taxable profits below a £50,000 annual threshold may be eligible to apply for support under the self-employment scheme.

Salaried partners who are paid through a PAYE payroll will be eligible under the furlough scheme.

Partner owners and LLP members who are treated as self-employed (and not paid through the PAYE payroll) will not be covered.

Like directors, self-employed partners with taxable profits below the annual threshold may be eligible to apply for support under the self-employment scheme.

How to apply to the scheme:

The ability to furlough employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be operational from the end of April.

The scheme is backdated and will apply from 1 March for at least three months until 31 May (unless extended).

Once employers have reached an agreement with employees about being furloughed, they should write to the affected employees confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this.

Employers access the scheme through an online portal, providing details of the affected furloughed employees and information about their earnings and any other information required (such as the employee’s NI number).

Employers should decide whether to pay 80% of salary or to supplement it to the full 100%, gaining the employees’ written consent unless contractual provisions already cover lay off and importantly stop the employees from working.

How to calculate and amount to claim from HMRC:

To work out what amounts they are claiming employers will have to work out the employer NI and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for all employees.

When the portal is operational employers will apply with their ePAYE reference number, bank account number and sort code and specify the:

  • number of employees being furloughed
  • claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (the minimum length of furlough is three weeks)
  • employer’s contact name and telephone number.

Employers are advised by the government to claim in advance of an imminent payroll or at the point when they run their payroll.

Employers make a collective claim for the group of furloughed employees under the scheme (not for individual employees) but employers will probably need to make more than one claim throughout the period of furlough.

Once HMRC have the claim and agree the employer’s eligibility a BACS payment will be made direct into the bank account supplied.

It’s important to be aware that HMRC retain the right to retrospectively investigate and audit employers’ claims.

People who get furloughed must not work for the employer during the period of furlough and they will return to their job afterwards (unless redundancies follow).

Summary of facts:

Under the scheme furloughed workers will receive either 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower.

The £2,500 a month figure has presumably been chosen as it is broadly £30,000 a year which is the national median net salary.

Employers will receive a grant to cover part of the salaries of any employees who would otherwise have been dismissed.

Employers do not have to pay this grant back.

Employers must pay over the entire grant received to the furloughed employees; plus, any top up payment they are choosing to pay.

Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included when working out the 80% figure.

Employers who furlough employees can also claim employers’ national insurance payments and minimum pension contributions.

Employees continue to accrue annual leave entitlement during furlough.

For regular salaried employees, employers should base calculations on actual salary before tax, as at 28 February 2020. For employees with variable pay employers can claim the higher of either:

  • the same month’s earning from 2019; or
  • average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 year.

If an employee with variable pay has been employed for under a year employer can claim for an average of monthly earnings since they started work. For workers who only started part way through February 2020, the wage will have to be taken pro-rata.

Home working?

Under normal circumstances, stress at work can be difficult to avoid, especially if you are stuck behind a desk, whether that be in the office or at home. But, in...

Home working?

Under normal circumstances, stress at work can be difficult to avoid, especially if you are stuck behind a desk, whether that be in the office or at home.

But, in these unprecedented times of global pandemic, the vast majority of people who are normally office-based will be trying to work remotely, in a new and hastily contrived workspace.

Many employees, across a range of professions, will already be used to working remotely and will be able to cope with the challenges that come with it, but for some, this will be their first time working from home and they may find the experience more difficult.

Typically, when working from home, people may feel more stressed and anxious because of the increase in social isolation, lack of structure and the feeling of being unable to “switch off”. According to a 2017 United Nations report, 41% of remote workers reported higher stress levels, compared to 25% of office workers.

Stress is the body’s way of protecting you from danger or a threat, and if managed properly moderate stress can even help people achieve goals. However, if left to build-up, stress can trigger mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

From your home working environment try these de-stress techniques:

  • Guided meditation apps
  • Deep breathing
  • Eat healthily
  • Prepare your day
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Put on headphones and listen to music
  • Stretch your legs and take a walk
  • Move around, change your environment
  • Remember that changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. So, accept what you cannot change and focus on the things you do have control over such as regularly connecting with your colleagues and professional network over video conferencing or online meetings.

    Flexible Staffing During COVID-19

    As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it looks a reasonable assumption that it will pose real threats to some organisations. We live in a global economy and many employers have...

    Flexible Staffing During COVID-19

    As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it looks a reasonable assumption that it will pose real threats to some organisations.

    We live in a global economy and many employers have operations or supply chains based overseas. The level of risk an organisation may face will depend on whether it is directly or indirectly affected in this way.

    An organisation may also be affected if it employs people who have travelled back or been in contact with anyone who has returned from an area affected by the virus. If the virus becomes a pandemic it could lead to wider disruptions with suppliers and customers and to shortages of fuel and other basic commodities. There may also be disruptions to public transport.

    Develop a flexible resourcing plan.

    We can support you in developing and implementing a flexible plan to help protect and safeguard your business.

    Top LGBT Employers 2020

    Each year #stonewall publish a list of the 100 top employers who have done great work to help achieve acceptance without exception for all LGBT people. Participating employers demonstrate their...

    Top LGBT Employers 2020

    Each year #stonewall publish a list of the 100 top employers who have done great work to help achieve acceptance without exception for all LGBT people.

    Participating employers demonstrate their work in 10 areas of employment policy and practice. Staff from across the organisation also complete an anonymous survey about their experiences of diversity and inclusion at work.

    Organisations then receive their scores, enabling them to understand what’s going well and where they need to focus their efforts, as well as see how they’ve performed in comparison with their sector and region.

    The top 20 for 2020 are detailed below:

    Rank Organisation
    1 Newcastle City Council
    2 Gentoo Group
    3 Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
    4 Pinsent Masons (Top Northern Ireland Employer)
    5 Ministry of Justice
    6 GSK
    7 Citi
    8 National Assembly for Wales (Top Welsh Employer)
    9 Welsh Government
    10 Cardiff University
    11 The University of Sheffield
    =12 Baker McKenzie
    =12 Skills Development Scotland (Top Scottish Employer)
    =12 Travers Smith
    15 Slaughter and May
    16 Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
    17 Hogan Lovells
    18 Home Group
    =19 Clifford Chance
    =19 Vodafone

    Submissions for the 2021 list opens on Thursday 11 June 2020, closing midnight on Tuesday 8 September 2020. For the top 100 list, or for more information, visit stonewall.org.uk

    Minimum Wage 2020

    The Government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for the hours that they work. For under 25s this is called the national minimum wage (NMW) and for those...

    Minimum Wage 2020

    The Government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for the hours that they work. For under 25s this is called the national minimum wage (NMW) and for those over 25 years of age, and not in the first year of an apprenticeship, it is called the national living wage (NLW). Effective from April 2020, here's the new rates:
    • 25 and over: £8.72 per hour;
    • 21 to 24: £8.20 per hour;
    • 18 to 20: £6.45 per hour;
    • under 18: £4.45 per hour, and;
    • apprentice: £4.15
    Anyone classed as a worker is entitled to the NMW or NLW. There are however a handful of exceptions to this rule. These include:
    • self-employed (if you choose to be);
    • company directors;
    • volunteers (if you choose to be);
    • a member of the armed forces, and;
    • family members of the employer, living in the employers home.
    The above shouldn't be confused with the Living Wage (often referred to as the 'Real Living Wage') which can easily be researched at livingwage.org.uk.  

    Stress At Work

    Stress places demands on peoples physical and emotional mental health and general well-being impacting directly on an individuals behaviour, performance and workplace relationships. A cause of long-term work absence employers...

    Stress At Work

    Stress places demands on peoples physical and emotional mental health and general well-being impacting directly on an individuals behaviour, performance and workplace relationships.

    A cause of long-term work absence employers should conduct stress risk assessments whilst simultaneously managing workplace activities to help reduce the likelihood of stress developing.

    Employers should look to implement a well-being or stress policy making sure it:

  • includes a statement of commitment that promotes the well-being of employees;
  • has senior management support;
  • is kept under constant review to ensure employee well-being is maximised;
  • provides effective advice, support and training to enhance employee well-being, and;
  • incorporates a process for evaluating the effectiveness of all well-being initiatives.
  • Minimum Wage (2024)

    An independent report into the national living wage (NLW) found raising it has only a minimal effect on employment rates while significantly improving the financial position of the lowest paid....

    Minimum Wage (2024)

    An independent report into the national living wage (NLW) found raising it has only a minimal effect on employment rates while significantly improving the financial position of the lowest paid.

    The study, commissioned by former chancellor Philip Hammond to inform government policy on minimum wages, found that while a higher minimum wage would eventually lead to lower employment, there was 'room for exploring a more ambitious NLW remit in the UK.'

    Welcoming the report the treasury said its findings supported plans to increase the NLW (the statutory minimum wage for employees over the age of 25) to £10.50 an hour by 2024, equivalent to two-thirds of median hourly income. In September, the government also pledged to bring the age threshold for the NLW down to 21.

    The NLW is currently £8.21 per hour, and £7.70 for those aged between 21 and 24.

    It found the effects of a higher minimum wage on employment levels was muted, whilst significantly increasing the earnings of low-paid workers, and said there was good evidence that a higher minimum wage could reduce vacancies and turnover instead of destroying jobs.

    Reasonable Adjustments

    What are reasonable adjustments and what is an employer's duty Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers should ensure policies and practices do not put disabled...

    Reasonable Adjustments

    What are reasonable adjustments and what is an employer's duty Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers should ensure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage. When must an employer make reasonable adjustments An employer must consider making reasonable adjustments and involve the disabled worker or successful job applicant in the discussion about what can be done to support them and the decision if;
    • it becomes aware of their disability;
    • it could reasonably be expected to know they have a disability;
    • if the person asks for adjustments;
    • if the worker is having difficulty, problems or concerns with any part of their job, or;
    • if either the worker’s sickness record, or any delay in their return to work, is or can be linked to their disability
    What does reasonable mean What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each individual case and will depend on an assessment of factors including: Is the adjustment practical to make?, does the employer have the resources to pay for it?, will the adjustment be effective in overcoming or reducing the disadvantage in the workplace? and will the adjustment have an adverse impact on the health and safety of others? The size of the employers business can be a factor as can whether the employer has access to other funding, such as the governments access to work scheme. An employment tribunal may expect more from a large organisation than a small one because it may have greater means. An employer is not required to change the basic nature of a job and if there are times when suggested adjustments are unreasonable, an employer could lawfully refuse to make them. What reasonable adjustments need to be made In assessing what reasonable adjustments need to be made, the three main questions an employer should consider are: 1. Does the employer need to change how things are done including work practices or policies? 2. Does the employer need to physically change the workplace? 3. Does the employer need to provide extra equipment or get someone to assist the disabled worker or job applicant in some way? What might a reasonable adjustment look like? Many adjustments will be simple and inexpensive. Some examples may include a special chair because of back problems, a special keyboard because of arthritis, a ramp for a wheelchair user, changing working hours or patterns of work, a phased return after sick leave, a designated car park space or even modifying performance targets. Employers should remember the aim of an adjustment is to take away or minimise the disadvantage because of the persons disability so they can do their job or apply for one How can a worker request a reasonable adjustment Workers should bear in mind that an employer only has to make reasonable adjustments for a worker when it is aware, or could be expected to know, they have a disability. If unsure a worker should ask to talk to their manager about the matter. A meeting can provide a worker with the opportunity to explain the situation more clearly and suggest possible adjustments. It will help the employer understand how best they can support and help the worker. It is likely to be beneficial to have an agreed outcome confirmed in writing Making reasonable adjustments for job applicants As standard practice an employer should ask all job applicants whether they need any reasonable adjustments for any part of the recruitment process. An employer must make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process if:
    • the job applicant has indicated a disability in their application, or told the employer they have a disability;
    • the employer at any point becomes aware of the disability, and;
    • the applicant asks for reasonable adjustments.
    Employers should be acutely aware this is not the same as asking an applicant if they are disabled which they shouldn't do as asking could inadvertently imply potential discrimination Before offering a job, the employer must only ask a disabled applicant what reasonable adjustments are needed:
    • for and during any part of the recruitment process and once those are in place whether they are suitable and/or;
    • to determine whether the applicant could carry out a function essential to the role with the reasonable adjustments in place.
    Only after offering the job should an employer ask the successful applicant what adjustments they need to do the job and progress at work Failure to make reasonable adjustments An employer failing to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled job applicant or worker is one of the most common types of disability discrimination If a worker or job applicant feels they have been discriminated against they can make a claim of disability discrimination to an employment tribunal

    Employee Handbook

    If correctly developed employee handbooks are powerful tools that help establish and develop the employment relationship by communicating what the employer’s expectations are, and, in return, what the employee can...

    Employee Handbook

    If correctly developed employee handbooks are powerful tools that help establish and develop the employment relationship by communicating what the employer’s expectations are, and, in return, what the employee can expect.

    For example they can:

    • Introduce an organisations ethos and values to its employees;
    • Set out the expectations of the employment relationship;
    • Provide people with the information they need to deal with situations;
    • Detail the benefits an organisation offers its employees;
    • Consistency and fairness are maintained;
    • Protect the organisation, and;
    • Showcase an organisations culture.

    Should it be contractual or non-contractual?

    There’s an argument for both sides but if the handbook is split, labelled and clearly categorises contractual and non-contractual terms and policies and procedures there’s no need to be concerned.

    What do you think a handbook should contain?

    There are staples that must be in there to make sure the handbooks effective and fit for purpose, like sickness, disciplinary, grievance, health and safety, equal opportunity and social media but there are many more that should be considered and many bespoke to an organisation and the industry(ies) they work in.

    Email andy@crawfordhr.com for a free no-obligation chat about your existing handbook.

    Menopause at Work

    The menopause affects every woman differently, both physically and emotionally. It’s proven the impact on an individual’s health can affect absence and productivity, how they work and their relationships with...

    Menopause at Work

    The menopause affects every woman differently, both physically and emotionally.

    It’s proven the impact on an individual’s health can affect absence and productivity, how they work and their relationships with colleagues.

    Who’s doing what?

    The HR community is helping drive and shape what’s needed to tackle this taboo yet as it’s unlikely to receive significant government attention its important organisations are challenged by their own employees on current and future provisions and adjustments.

    Culture is key

    Common symptoms such as night sweats, insomnia, lack of concentration and forgetfulness can lead to problems with work performance, difficulties in making decisions and decreased confidence, so excellent line management and a supportive and understanding culture is key.

    If this is lacking, it might not only be employee perception of the company that takes a blow.

    Discrimination

    Organisations risk facing claims for sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 if they fail to properly support their female employees and this in turn can have an adverse effect on a business’s reputation.

    What next?

    Check existing company policies, portals and handbooks. If there’s nothing specific, ask if this is due to change and if so, when.

    Sexual Orientation

    What is sexual orientation discrimination? This is when you're treated differently because of your sexual orientation in one of the situations that are covered by the Equality Act The treatment...

    Sexual Orientation

    What is sexual orientation discrimination?

    This is when you're treated differently because of your sexual orientation in one of the situations that are covered by the Equality Act

    The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful

    There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to sexual orientation is lawful which we explain at the end of this post

    What the Equality Act says about sexual orientation discrimination

    The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because you are heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual or because someone thinks you have a particular sexual orientation (this is known as discrimination by perception) or because you are connected to someone who has a particular sexual orientation (this is known as discrimination by association)

    In the Equality Act, sexual orientation includes how you choose to express your sexual orientation, such as through your appearance or the places you visit

    Different types of sexual orientation discrimination

    There are four main types of sexual orientation discrimination:

    1. Direct discrimination:

    This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your sexual orientation. For example at a job interview, a woman makes a reference to her girlfriend. The employer decides not to offer her the job, even though she is the best candidate they have interviewed or a hotel owner refuses to provide a double bedroom to two men

    2. Indirect discrimination:

    Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies to everyone but which puts people of your sexual orientation at a disadvantage. Indirect discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show that there is a good reason for the policy. This is known as objective justification

    3. Harassment:

    Harassment in the workplace occurs when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded. For example colleagues keep greeting a male worker by the feminine version of his name although he has asked them to use his proper name. The colleagues say this is just banter but the worker is upset and offended by it

    Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

    Outside of the workplace, if you are harassed or receive offensive treatment because of your sexual orientation, this may be direct discrimination

    4. Victimisation:

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of sexual orientation related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of sexual orientation related discrimination under the Equality Act. For example a gay worker complains that he has been 'outed' by his manager against his wishes and his employer sacks him

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to sexual orientation is lawful:

    A difference in treatment may be lawful if belonging to a particular sexual orientation is essential for a job. This is called an occupational requirement. For example, an employer wants to recruit an advice worker who has experience of coming out for a young person's LGBT helpline. The employer can specify that applicants must be lesbian or gay or that an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop gay, lesbian or bisexual people to participate in a role or activity

    equalityhumanrights.com

    Bank Holiday Working

    Most of the UK has eight permanent bank holidays. There are slight variations between Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales however these key rules apply to them all: There's no...

    Bank Holiday Working

    Most of the UK has eight permanent bank holidays. There are slight variations between Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales however these key rules apply to them all:

    • There's no statutory right for employees to take bank holidays off work and any right to time off depends entirely on the contract of employment;
    • Working a bank holiday doesn't entitle the employee to extra or enhanced pay. Any right to pay depends entirely on the contract of employment;
    • Part-time employees have the right to not be treated less favorably than a comparable full-time employee. This includes entitlement to bank holidays, and;
    • If an employee is required to work bank holidays under (and included in) the terms of their employment contract they cannot refuse to work, even for religious reasons

    If an organisation is closed bank holidays employers can request employees take these days as part of annual leave entitlement.

    It remains the employers choice as to whether or not bank holiday working is required, outlining such in the employment contract.

    Use the website contact form to ask a question; it's free and with no obligation.

    Turnover v Attrition

    Every time an employee leaves a business there's a cost to replace them. Understanding the difference between employee attrition and turnover will help reduce turnover, prepare better and forecast costs...

    Turnover v Attrition

    Every time an employee leaves a business there's a cost to replace them. Understanding the difference between employee attrition and turnover will help reduce turnover, prepare better and forecast costs

    Employee Attrition: Attrition is often seen as the normal life cycle of employment. People leave a job because life takes them in a different direction. Examples of this include retirement, moving away, passing-away or leaving the company to raise a family

    Employee Turnover: Turnover is when employees resign to take a different job for reasons that could include a lack of progression and development, because they feel under-valued or because of discrimination they have witnessed or have suffered in the workplace

    Preventing people from abandoning a job starts with the hiring process and the importance of a detailed and relevant job description or job score card shouldn't be underestimated

     

    May Bank Holiday Change 2020

    May Day bank holiday is to be moved back four days next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day The national day off will be changed from...

    May Bank Holiday Change 2020

    May Day bank holiday is to be moved back four days next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day

    The national day off will be changed from its normal slot on the first Monday of the month to the Friday of that week, signalling the start of a three-day weekend of commemorative events

    Victory in Europe Day, when the Allies accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, is marked on 8 May 1945

    Welcomed by Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, described it as a "fitting" idea saying "it's our duty to keep the events of the past alive in collective memory, including future generations - this is how we ensure that such a conflict never happens again."

    Mr Gregory asked people to take a moment "to reflect on the significance of this date, as a milestone that changed the course of history for the whole world."

    Outsourced Payroll

    Convenience, time and the effectiveness of managing an in-house PAYE scheme is a strategic decision for businesses as managing your payroll isn't as simple as it once was. In today's...

    Outsourced Payroll

    Convenience, time and the effectiveness of managing an in-house PAYE scheme is a strategic decision for businesses as managing your payroll isn't as simple as it once was.

    In today's world of real-time technology business owners and payroll personnel require up to date knowledge of tax, a solid understanding of pay, reward and benefits, a comprehensive grasp of all associated legalities and sufficient time to navigate areas such as auto-enrolment.

    As more onus is placed on organisations to get it right or face financial penalties the demand for professional outsourcing increases.

     

    Brexit Guide

    What's Brexit? Brexit is short for "British exit" and is the word people use to talk about the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union (EU) What's the EU?...

    Brexit Guide

    What's Brexit? Brexit is short for "British exit" and is the word people use to talk about the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union (EU)

    What's the EU? The EU is a political and economic union of 28 countries which trade with each other and allow citizens to move easily between the countries to live and work. The UK joined the EU, then known as the EEC (European Economic Community), in 1973

    Why is the UK leaving? A public vote - called a referendum - was held on Thursday 23 June 2016 when voters were asked just one question - whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The Leave side won by nearly 52% to 48% - 17.4m votes to 16.1m - but the exit didn't happen straight away. It was due to take place on 29 March 2019 - but the departure date has been delayed

    What's happened so far? The 2016 vote was just the start. Since then, negotiations have been taking place between the UK and the other EU countries. The discussions have been mainly over the "divorce" deal, which sets out exactly how the UK leaves - not what will happen afterwards. This deal is known as the Withdrawal Agreement

    What does the withdrawal agreement say? The withdrawal agreement covers some of these key points: (1) How much money the UK will have to pay the EU in order to break the partnership - that's about £39bn (2) What will happen to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, and equally, what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK (3) How to avoid the return of a physical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland when it becomes the frontier between the UK and the EU. A length of time, called the transition period, has been agreed to allow the UK and EU to agree a trade deal and to give businesses the time to adjust. That means that if the withdrawal agreement gets the green light, there will be no huge changes between the date of Brexit and 31 December 2020

    Have MPs backed the Withdrawal Agreement? No, they've have voted against it three times. On 15 January they rejected the deal by 432 votes to 202 - a record defeat. Then on 12 March, after Theresa May had gone back to the EU to secure further legal assurances, it was rejected again. And, on 29 March, the original day that the UK was due to leave the EU, MPs rejected it for a third time

    Is that why the UK didn't leave on 29 March as planned? Yes. As MPs did not approve Theresa May's withdrawal deal, the prime minister was forced to ask other EU leaders to delay Brexit. The new deadline is 31 October. However, the UK can leave before then if the prime minister can somehow get her deal approved by Parliament

    So what happens now? If MPs had passed the deal, there would have been one more step - putting the deal into UK law with the Withdrawal Agreement Bill being passed by MPs in Parliament. But now the prime minister is putting the Bill to Parliament anyway - using it as a kind of alternative way to allow MPs to vote on the deal to try to get it into law. It hasn't yet been published so we don't know exactly what it will say, but the PM has said it contains new guarantees on workers' rights, environmental protections and the Northern Irish border. Mrs May also said MPs will get a vote on whether to hold another referendum - but only if they back her deal in Parliament. It is expected to come to Parliament in the first week of June. It could be thrown out almost straightaway on its "second reading". If that happens, Mrs May is expected to resign. But if it gets through that it will go on to the next stage where it is gone through line by line and changes can be introduced. It could contain wording which would get rid of the need for another "yes/no" vote on the deal

    And then...? If the Bill passes, Brexit could happen before the 31 October deadline. If the Bill fails, then the way forward is totally unclear - though senior politicians have warned it would lead to either leaving the EU without a deal, or Brexit being cancelled entirely. The government had been talking with Labour to try to come up with a way of getting enough votes for the Bill to pass. But those talks have now ended without agreement

    Why do people oppose the deal? There are a broad range of complaints, many of which claim the deal fails to give back to the UK control of its own affairs from the EU. One of the biggest sticking points has been over what happens at the Irish border. Both the EU and UK want to avoid the return of guard posts and checks, so something called the backstop - a sort of safety net - was included in the deal

    What is the backstop? The backstop is meant to be a last resort to keep an open border on the island of Ireland - whatever happens in the Brexit negotiations. It would mean that Northern Ireland, but not the rest of the UK, would still follow some EU rules on things such as food products. The prime minister insists that if all goes as planned it will never be used. But it has annoyed some MPs, who are angry that the UK would not be able to end it without the EU's permission and so EU rules could remain in place for good. Other MPs would prefer the UK to stay closer to the EU - or even still, in it. And others say Northern Ireland should not be treated separately from the rest of the UK. On 11 March, Mrs May and the EU released a statement, giving added legal reassurances that the backstop plan, if it ever needed to be used, would only be temporary. Mrs May hoped the statement would persuade her MPs to vote for her deal, but it was still rejected

    So could Brexit actually not happen at all? It is still written into law that the UK will be leaving, even though the deadline has shifted. The European Court of Justice has said the UK could cancel Brexit altogether without the agreement of other nations, but politically, that's not likely to happen

    What happens if the UK leaves without a deal? "No deal" means the UK would have failed to agree a withdrawal agreement. That would mean there would be no transition period after the UK leaves, and EU laws would stop applying to the UK immediately. The government says it is preparing for this potential situation. It expects some food prices could rise and checks at customs could cost businesses billions of pounds

    Minimum Wage 2019

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Under 25s it is called the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and for over 25s the...

    Minimum Wage 2019

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Under 25s it is called the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and for over 25s the National Living Wage (NLW). Here's the current rates (from April 1st 2019):
    • 25 and over: £8.21 per hour;
    • 21 to 24: £7.70 per hour;
    • 18 to 20: £6.15 per hour;
    • under 18: £4.35 per hour, and;
    • apprentice: £3.90
    Anyone classed as a worker is entitled to and should get the NMW or NLW:
    • full-time workers;
    • part-time workers;
    • agency workers;
    • casual workers;
    • zero hours workers;
    • apprentices;
    • workers, paid by commission;
    • workers, paid by items you make;
    • home workers;
    • casual labourers;
    • trainees, or on probation;
    • disabled workers;
    • agricultural workers;
    • foreign workers;
    • seafarers, or;
    • offshore workers
    You're not entitled to the NMW or NLW if you're:
    • self-employed (if you choose to be);
    • a volunteer (if you choose to be);
    • a company director;
    • a member of the armed forces;
    • a work experience student, and/or;
    • under school leaving age
     

    Age Discrimination

    What is age discrimination? Age discrimination is when you're treated differently because of your age in one of the situations that are covered by the Equality Act The Equality Act...

    Age Discrimination

    What is age discrimination?

    Age discrimination is when you're treated differently because of your age in one of the situations that are covered by the Equality Act

    The Equality Act has some exceptions. For example, students are not protected from age discrimination at school

    The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on age. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful. There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to age is lawful, these are explained at the end of this post

    What the Equality Act says about age discrimination:

    The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because you are (or are not) a certain age or in a certain age group, because someone thinks you are (or are not) a specific age or age group (known as discrimination by perception) or because you are connected to someone of a specific age or age group (known as discrimination by association)

    Age groups can be quite wide (for example, ‘people under 50’ or 'under 18s'). They can also be quite specific (for example, ‘people in their mid-40s’). Terms such as ‘young person’ and ‘youthful’ or ‘elderly’ and ‘pensioner’ can also indicate an age group

    Different types of age discrimination

    There are four main types of age discrimination:

    1. Direct discrimination:

    This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your age. For example your employer refuses to allow you to do a training course because she thinks you are ‘too old’, but allows younger colleagues to do the training. Direct age discrimination is permitted provided that the organisation or employer can show that there is a good reason for the discrimination. This is known as objective justification. For example you are 17 and apply for a job on a construction site. The building company refuses to employ under-18s on that site because accident statistics show that it can be dangerous for them. The company’s treatment of you is probably justified

    2. Indirect discrimination:

    Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies to everyone but which puts people of your age group at a disadvantage. For example you are 22 and you find you are not eligible to be promoted because your employer has a policy that only workers with a post graduate qualification (such as a Masters) can be promoted. Although this applies to everyone it disadvantages people of your age because they are less likely to have that qualification or an optician allows customers to pay for their glasses by instalments, provided they are in employment. This could indirectly discriminate against older people, who are less likely to be working. Like direct age discrimination, indirect age discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show that there is a good reason for the policy. This is known as objective justification

    3. Harassment:

    Harassment occurs when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded. For example during a training session at work, the trainer keeps commenting how slow an older employee is at learning how to use a new software package because of his age. The employee finds this distressing. This could be considered harassment related to age

    Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

    4. Victimisation:

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of age discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of age discrimination. For example your colleague complains of being called a 'wrinkly' at work. You help them complain to your manager. Your manager treats you badly as a result of getting involved

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to age is lawful:

    A difference in treatment may be lawful if belonging to a particular age group is essential for a job: this is called an occupational requirement. For example, a film company making a film of Oliver Twist may lawfully hire a young boy to play Oliver or an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people in an age group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity

    It is also lawful if the circumstances fall under one of the exceptions to the Equality Act that allow organisations to provide different treatment in employment or services based on age or if a service provider is making age-related concessions and benefits. For example, a cinema can offer over 60s cheap tickets and special screenings or a GP can offer flu jabs to over 65s

    Does TUPE apply?

    The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 is TUPE. The underlying purpose of TUPE is to protect employees if the business they work for changes hands is very...

    Does TUPE apply?

    The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 is TUPE.

    The underlying purpose of TUPE is to protect employees if the business they work for changes hands is very straightforward.

    TUPE applies to employees of UK businesses and the size of the business doesn’t matter.

    When TUPE applies the employees’ jobs usually transfer over to the new company - exceptions could be if they’re made redundant or, in some cases, where the business is insolvent, or if they are not employees.

    Their employment terms and conditions transfer and continuity of employment is maintained.

    There are 2 types of transfer protected under TUPE regulations:

    1. business transfers, and;
    2. service provision changes

    Business transfers

    This is where a business or part of a business moves from one employer to another. This can include mergers where 2 companies close and combine to form a new one. The identity of the employer must change, to be protected under TUPE during a business transfer.

    Service provision changes

    This is when a service provided in-house (for example cleaning, workplace catering etc) is awarded to a contractor, a contract ends and is given to a new contractor or a contract ends and the work is transferred in-house by the former customer.

    Employees aren’t protected under TUPE if the contract is for a single event or short-term task, for example a catering company being used for a large corporate event

    Whilst experienced HR professionals handle aspects of TUPE themselves, the area is constantly evolving; something employers should be mindful about.

    Consideration should be given to taking trusted legal advice when conducting TUPE.

     

    Sexual Harassment

    Before you can eradicate workplace sexual harassment you have to understand what it is. Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile,...

    Sexual Harassment

    Before you can eradicate workplace sexual harassment you have to understand what it is. Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them is sexual harassment. Examples may include but are not exhaustive to one, or more, of the following:
    • Sexual comments or jokes, displaying sexually graphic pictures, posters or photos;
    • Propositions and sexual advances;
    • Sexual posts or contact on social media;
    • Intrusive questions about a person’s private sex life or discussing your own sex life, and;
    • Spreading sexual rumours about a person
    Remember that sexual harassment can be between persons of the same or different sex and one-off occurrences are harassment. What may be considered a joke to one person can be harmful to another. Understanding this, section 109 of the Equality Act 2010 confirms employers are liable for any such acts carried out by employees in the course of their employment. If not managed correctly it will be financially and reputationally costly to the business.

    Gaslighting

    Gaslighting is a psychological term referring to a specific pattern of behavior where a person manipulates, or attempts to manipulate, another persons perception of reality. Not to be confused with...

    Gaslighting

    Gaslighting is a psychological term referring to a specific pattern of behavior where a person manipulates, or attempts to manipulate, another persons perception of reality.

    Not to be confused with a poor manager or awkward co-worker gaslighting is a recognised type of work harassment.

    It takes on a whole new level of emotional and psychological distress to the person affected and specialist advice should be sought.

    Facing Redundancy

    Redundancy ranks as one of the most stressful and emotional life experiences people will face. Sadly it's become an all too frequent reality in today's working environment so we think...

    Facing Redundancy

    Redundancy ranks as one of the most stressful and emotional life experiences people will face.

    Sadly it's become an all too frequent reality in today's working environment so we think it's good practice to prepare and protect the best you can:

    1. Don't Panic easier said than done! Email us for a no-names chat about how you're feeling. Believe us when we say that with redundancy, a problem shared...
    2. Know Your Rights it goes without saying that its imperative you know your rights. Employees can email us we'll give you some free pointers or check out the ACAS website
    3. Set Out Your Case And Negotiate ask for more or talk about the length of time you can hold onto your benefits. Nothing to loose after all and we've seen it work plenty of times
    4. Remove The Emotion it's vital to do this. Don't take it personally, keep to the facts and don't single out or criticise any individuals during the negotiation process
    5. Don't React it's best to maintain good relations even if you disagree with the situation. If possible, get some introductions from your boss or colleagues or ask about consultancy work
    6. Plan Your Money keep it realistic and, should you have no job lined up, liaise with the relevant government agencies sooner rather than later
    7. Take A Course last thing on your mind? Change your mindset! Any skills gaps on your CV, fill them with a course, it shows prospective employees you're committed to your own continuous professional development even whilst job hunting
    8. Think Positive now's the time to move forward even if you didn't want a few weeks ago. The emotion will be raw but this will be the catalyst needed to re-focus your career.

    Whistleblowing

    Whistleblowing draws attention to perceived wrongdoing, misconduct or unethical activity within public, private or third-sector organisations. Corruption, fraud, bullying, health and safety, cover-ups and discrimination are common activities highlighted by...

    Whistleblowing

    Whistleblowing draws attention to perceived wrongdoing, misconduct or unethical activity within public, private or third-sector organisations.

    Corruption, fraud, bullying, health and safety, cover-ups and discrimination are common activities highlighted by whistle-blowers.

    Employers should have a policy that encourages employees to draw attention to wrongdoing or risky behaviour as having and promoting such a policy may act in part as legal defence.

    Marriage & Civil Partnerships

    What is marriage and civil partnership discrimination? It is when you are treated differently at work because you are married or in a civil partnership What the Equality Act says...

    Marriage & Civil Partnerships

    What is marriage and civil partnership discrimination?

    It is when you are treated differently at work because you are married or in a civil partnership

    What the Equality Act says about marriage and civil partnership discrimination:

    The Equality Act says you must not be discriminated against in employment because you are married or in a civil partnership

    In the Equality Act marriage and civil partnership means someone who is legally married or in a civil partnership. Marriage can either be between a man and a woman, or between partners of the same sex. Civil partnership is between partners of the same sex

    People do not have this characteristic if they are single, living with someone as a couple neither married nor civil partners, engaged to be married but not married, divorced or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved

    There are three types of marriage and civil partnership discrimination:

    Direct discrimination

    This happens when you are treated worse than other workers in your workplace because you are married or in a civil partnership. For example a woman works night shifts in a distribution warehouse but is dismissed when she gets married because her employer thinks a married woman should be at home in the evening

    Indirect discrimination

    Indirect discrimination happens when an employer has a policy or way of working that puts people who are married or in a civil partnership at a disadvantage. Such a policy is only permitted if your employer is able to show that there is a good reason for it and if the implementation of the policy is appropriate and necessary. This is known as objective justification

    Victimisation

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of marriage or civil partnership related discrimination. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of marriage or civil partnership related discrimination

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to marriage or civil partnership is lawful:

    The Equality Act only protects you from discrimination at work because you are married or in a civil partnership. In some specified circumstances an employer can refuse to employ you because you are married or in a civil partnership if the work is for the purposes of an organised religion, for example as a Catholic priest

    The harassment provisions that relate to other protected characteristics do not apply to marriage or civil partnership. However, if you are subjected to hostile, intimidating, humiliating, degrading or offensive treatment because you are married or a civil partner you could bring a claim for direct discrimination, if you can show that you have been treated worse than others who are not married or in a civil partnership. Alternatively, you may be able to bring a claim for sexual orientation harassment

    equalityhumanrights.com

    Maternity Leave

    Whilst on maternity leave an employee remains precisely that, an employee. Treating them different to this will likely lead to a discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010. Throughout maternity...

    Maternity Leave

    Whilst on maternity leave an employee remains precisely that, an employee. Treating them different to this will likely lead to a discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010.

    Throughout maternity an employers obligations to the employee remain the same, as do the employees to the employer.

    Examples include continuity of accrual of annual leave and length of service and the right for the employer to expect employee confidentiality.

    The only contractual term that is not mandatory and clearly set out is that of remuneration.

    GDPR

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents without question the most significant shift in European data protection legislation since the Data Protection Directive (enacted in the UK through the Data...

    GDPR

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents without question the most significant shift in European data protection legislation since the Data Protection Directive (enacted in the UK through the Data Protection Act) of the late 1990's.

    GDPR presents a very significant challenge to all data-driven units of modern business, not least human resources (HR) and the HR function across all departments of all businesses of all shapes and sizes within the UK.

    Minimum Wage 2018

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Under 25s it is called the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and for over 25s the...

    Minimum Wage 2018

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Under 25s it is called the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and for over 25s the National Living Wage (NLW). Here's the current rates (from April 1st 2018):
    • 25 and over: £7.83 per hour;
    • 21 to 24: £7.38 per hour;
    • 18 to 20: £5.90 per hour;
    • under 18: £4.20 per hour, and;
    • apprentice: £3.70
    Anyone classed as a worker is entitled to and should get the NMW or NLW:
    • full-time workers;
    • part-time workers;
    • agency workers;
    • casual workers;
    • zero hours workers;
    • apprentices;
    • workers, paid by commission;
    • workers, paid by items you make;
    • home workers;
    • casual labourers;
    • trainees, or on probation;
    • disabled workers;
    • agricultural workers;
    • foreign workers;
    • seafarers, or;
    • offshore workers
    You're not entitled to the NMW or NLW if you're:
    • self-employed (if you choose to be);
    • a volunteer (if you choose to be);
    • a company director;
    • a member of the armed forces;
    • a work experience student, and/or;
    • under school leaving age
     

    Race Discrimination

    What is race discrimination? Race discrimination is when someone is treated differently because of race in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act The treatment could be a...

    Race Discrimination

    What is race discrimination?

    Race discrimination is when someone is treated differently because of race in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act

    The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on race. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful

    There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful, these are explained at the bottom of this post

    What the Equality Act says about race discrimination:

    The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because of your race

    In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour or nationality (including your citizenship) and can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. For example, you may have Chinese national origins and be living in Britain with a British passport. Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. This means a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race. A racial group can be made up of two or more distinct racial groups, for example black Britons, British Asians, British Sikhs, British Jews, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers. You may be discriminated against because of one or more aspects of your race, for example people born in Britain to Jamaican parents could be discriminated against because they are British citizens, or because of their Jamaican national origins

    Different types of race discrimination

    There are four main types of race discrimination;

    1. Direct discrimination:

    This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your race. For example if a letting agency would not let a flat to you because of your race, this would be direct race discrimination

    2. Indirect discrimination:

    This happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that puts people of your racial group at a disadvantage. For example a hairdresser refuses to employ stylists that cover their own hair, this would put any Muslim women or Sikh men who cover their hair at a disadvantage when applying for a position as a stylist. Sometimes indirect race discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show to show that there is a good reason for the discrimination. This is known as objective justification. For example a Somalian asylum seeker tries to open a bank account but the bank states that in order to be eligible you need to have been resident in the UK for 12 months and have a permanent address. The Somalian man is not able to open a bank account. The bank would need to prove that its policy was necessary for business reasons (such as to prevent fraud) and that there was no practical alternative

    3. Harassment:

    Harassment occurs when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded. For example a young British Asian man at work keeps being called a racist name by colleagues. His colleagues say it is just banter, but the employee is insulted and offended by it. Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

    4. Victimisation:

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of race related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of race related discrimination. For example the young man in the example above wants to make a formal complaint about his treatment. His manager threatens to sack him unless he drops the complaint

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful:

    (1) A difference in treatment may be lawful in employment situations if belonging to a particular race is essential for the job. This is called an occupational requirement. For example, an organisation wants to recruit a support worker for a domestic violence advice service for South Asian women. The organisation can say that it only wants to employ someone with South Asian origins, or;

    (2) an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people in a racial group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity. For example, a broadcaster gets hardly any applicants for its graduate recruitment programme from Black Caribbean candidates. It sets up a work experience and mentoring programme for Black Caribbean students to encourage them into the industry

    equalityhumanrights.com

    Schools Closed!

    If an office or workplace is open but a child’s school is closed, or childcare arrangements are disrupted due to snow, employees are legally entitled to take time off This...

    Schools Closed!

    If an office or workplace is open but a child’s school is closed, or childcare arrangements are disrupted due to snow, employees are legally entitled to take time off

    This is because it's considered an official emergency. It does however remain up to an employer whether an employee gets paid for this or not. Different employers offer different solutions that could include taking the day as annual leave, working from home (full or part day) or an agreement to some flexible working hours

    If practical to do so employers and employees should try and reach an agreement in advance and have it adopted into handbooks and other relevant particulars of employment

    Annual Leave

    Almost all employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday (annual leave) a year. This includes: agency workers; workers with irregular hours, and; workers on zero-hours contracts Employers may chose...

    Annual Leave

    Almost all employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday (annual leave) a year. This includes:

    • agency workers;
    • workers with irregular hours, and;
    • workers on zero-hours contracts

    Employers may chose to include bank holidays as part of an employees statutory annual leave.

    Employees who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28-days paid leave a year (5.6 weeks) whilst part-time entitlement varies slightly:

    • if a part-time employee works 3 days, they're entitled to 16.8 days (3 x 5.6)

    People working irregular hours are entitled to paid time of work for the hours they work. Both the ACAS.org and GOV.uk websites have calculators for employees wanting to work out entitlement.

    Entitlement includes the employee right to:

    • accrue holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave;
    • accrue holiday entitlement whilst absent from work due to sickness, and;
    • request to use already accrued holiday at the same time as sick leave.

    Sex Discrimination

    What is sex discrimination? Sex Discrimination is when you're treated differently because of your sex, in certain situations covered by the Equality Act 2010 The treatment could be a one-off...

    Sex Discrimination

    What is sex discrimination?

    Sex Discrimination is when you're treated differently because of your sex, in certain situations covered by the Equality Act 2010

    The treatment could be a one-off action or could be caused by a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful

    There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to sex is lawful, these are explained at the bottom of this post

    What the Equality Act says about sex discrimination:

    The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because you are (or are not) a particular sex or that someone thinks you are the opposite sex (this is known as discrimination by perception) or that you are connected to someone of a particular sex (this is known as discrimination by association)

    In the Equality Act, sex can mean either male or female, or a group of people like men or boys, or women or girls

    Different types of sex discrimination

    There are four main types of sex discrimination:

    1. Direct discrimination:

    This happens when, because of your sex, someone treats you worse than someone of the opposite sex who is in a similar situation. For example a nightclub offers free entry to women but charges men to get in

    2. Indirect discrimination:

    Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies in the same way to both sexes but which puts you at a disadvantage because of your sex. For example an employer decides to change shift patterns for staff so that they finish at 5pm instead of 3pm. Female employees with primary caring responsibilities could be at a disadvantage if the new shift pattern means they cannot collect their children from school or childcare. Indirect sex discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show that there is a good reason for the policy. This is known as objective justification

    3. Harassment:

    There are three types of harassment relating to sex:

    The first type of harassment is the same for all of the protected characteristics. It is when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded

    The second type of harassment is called sexual harassment. This is when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because they treat you in a sexual way. This is known as 'unwanted conduct of a sexual nature' and covers verbal and physical treatment, like sexual comments or jokes, touching, or assault. It also covers sending emails of a sexual nature, or putting up pornographic pictures

    The third type of harassment is when someone treats you unfairly because you refused to put up with sexual harassment. For example a manager or supervisor invites one of his female employees home after they have been out for a drink. She declines. A couple of weeks later she is turned down for a promotion. She believes this is because she turned down the proposition. It can also cover unfair treatment even if you had previously accepted sexual conduct. For example the employee above did have a brief relationship with her manager or supervisor and after it ended, she applied for a promotion but was turned down. She believes this is because the relationship with her manager had ended

    Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

    4. Victimisation:

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of sex related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of sex discrimination. For example a male colleague is helping a female co-worker with their claim of sex discrimination and makes a statement at an Employment Tribunal. The male colleague is then sacked or treated badly by their employer. This is victimisation because of sex

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to sex is lawful:

    The Equality Act has some exceptions that allow employers or organisations to discriminate because of your sex. A difference in treatment may be lawful if (1) Being a particular sex is essential for a job. This is called an occupational requirement. This includes some jobs which require someone of a particular sex for reasons of privacy and decency or where personal services are provided. For example, a gym could employ a changing room attendant that is the same sex as the users of that room, or (2) An organisation is taking positive action. Positive action might be used to encourage or develop people of a sex that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity. For example, an engineering firm places a job advert for a trainee engineer stating that applications from women are welcome

    Other notable exceptions include:

    The armed forces can refuse to employ a woman, or limit her access to training or promotion if it means they can ensure the combat effectiveness of the armed forces

    In competitive sports the organisers can hold separate events for men and women because the differences in stamina, strength and physique would otherwise make the competition unfair

    There are several situations in which an organisation can lawfully provide single sex services. In all circumstances they must be able to justify it. For example offering a women-only support service to victims of domestic violence who are women is likely to be justifiable even if there is no parallel service for men due to insufficient demand

    equalityhumanrights.com

    Parental Leave

    Changes and enhancements in parental leave legislation is commonplace. These rights give parents time to maintain family responsibilities whilst keeping their right to return to work open. Maternity, paternity and...

    Parental Leave

    Changes and enhancements in parental leave legislation is commonplace. These rights give parents time to maintain family responsibilities whilst keeping their right to return to work open.

    Maternity, paternity and adoption rights apply to parents before and after birth or adoption.

    As well as maternity, paternity and adoption rights other ‘family-friendly’ measures are available including the right to unpaid parental leave, the right to time off for dependent emergencies and the right to request flexible working.

     

    Too Hot To Work?

    When is it too hot to work? There's no legislation regulating the maximum temperature at work contrary to rumours you may hear, however, and this is the important part, employers...

    Too Hot To Work?

    When is it too hot to work?

    There's no legislation regulating the maximum temperature at work contrary to rumours you may hear, however, and this is the important part, employers should be mindful of Health and Safety Law and must;

    • keep temperatures at a level comfortable for their employees, and;
    • provide clean and fresh air

    Employees should speak with their employer if the temperature isn't comfortable for them.

    Terminating Employment

    Both the employee and employer are normally entitled to a minimum period of notice on termination of employment Notice periods should be one of the main terms and conditions of...

    Terminating Employment

    Both the employee and employer are normally entitled to a minimum period of notice on termination of employment

    Notice periods should be one of the main terms and conditions of employment and included in the employee's written statement

    It's always best to write out any form of notice to make it clear it is the termination of employment and in most cases employees should be paid their normal pay during the notice period

    Normal notice applies when employment is being terminated due to redundancy. An employment contract can be terminated at any time by either party, it could be a resignation or dismissal, redundancy or retirement. For a notice to be effective it should be in writing and specify as a minimum the date of termination

    Gender Reassignment

    What is gender reassignment discrimination? This is when you are treated differently because you are transsexual, in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act The treatment could be...

    Gender Reassignment

    What is gender reassignment discrimination?

    This is when you are treated differently because you are transsexual, in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act

    The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful

    There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to gender reassignment is lawful, these are explained at the end of this post

    What the Equality Act says about gender reassignment discrimination:

    The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because you are transsexual, when your gender identity is different from the gender assigned to you when you were born. In the Equality Act it is known as gender reassignment. All transsexual people share the common characteristic of gender reassignment

    To be protected from gender reassignment discrimination, you do not need to have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender. This is because changing your physiological or other gender attributes is a personal process rather than a medical one

    You can be at any stage in the transition process – from proposing to reassign your gender, to undergoing a process to reassign your gender, or having completed it. The Equality Act says that you must not be discriminated against because of your gender reassignment as a transsexual. You may prefer the description transgender person or trans male or female. A wide range of people are included in the terms ‘trans’ or ‘transgender’ but you are not protected as transgender unless you propose to change your gender or have done so

    There are four types of gender reassignment discrimination:

    Direct discrimination

    This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because you are transsexual. For example you inform employer that you intend to spend the rest of your life living as a different gender. Your employer transfers you off your role against your wishes because they don’t want you to have client contact

    Absences from work

    If you are absent from work because of gender reassignment, your employer cannot treat you worse than you would be treated if you were off due to an illness or injury. For example your employer cannot pay you less than you would have received if you were off sick due to some other reason. However in this case it is only discrimination if your employer is acting unreasonably. For example, if your employer would agree to a request for time off for someone to attend their child’s graduation ceremony, then it may be unreasonable to refuse you time off for part of a gender reassignment process. This would include, for example, time off for counselling

    Indirect discrimination

    Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that puts transsexual people at a disadvantage. Sometimes indirect gender assignment discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show that there is a good reason for the discrimination. This is known as objective justification. For example a local health authority decides that it will not fund breast implants. As a result the health authority refuses to provide this treatment for a woman undergoing gender reassignment even though she considers it essential to make her look more feminine. The same policy is applied to all women but puts transsexuals at a greater disadvantage. The health authority may be able to justify its policy if it can prove that it has legitimate reasons

    Harassment

    Harassment is when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because you are transsexual. For example a transsexual woman is having a drink in a pub with friends, the landlord keeps calling her ‘Sir’ and ‘he’ when serving drinks, despite her complaining about it. Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser

    Victimisation

    This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of gender reassignment related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of gender reassignment related discrimination. For example a transsexual is being harassed by a colleague at work, he makes a complaint about the way his colleague is treating him and is sacked

    Circumstances when being treated differently due to gender reassignment is lawful:

    A difference in treatment may be lawful if an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop transsexuals to participate in a role or activity in which they are under-represented or disadvantaged or the circumstances fall under one of the exceptions to the Equality Act that allow organisations to provide different treatment or services but they must remember that if you are accessing a service provided for men-only or women-only, the organisation should treat you according to your acquired gender. In very restricted circumstances it is lawful for an organisation to provide a different service or to refuse the service to someone who is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment

    equalityhumanrights.com

    Onboarding

    Onboarding

    Minimum Wage 2017

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Here's the current rates (from April 1st 2017): 25 and over: £7.50 per hour; 21 to...

    Minimum Wage 2017

    The government sets a minimum amount workers must be paid for hours that they work. Here's the current rates (from April 1st 2017):
    • 25 and over: £7.50 per hour;
    • 21 to 24: £7.05 per hour;
    • 18 to 20: £5.60 per hour;
    • under 18: £4.05 per hour, and;
    • apprentice: £3.50
    Anyone classed as a worker is entitled to and should get the minimum wage:
    • full-time workers;
    • part-time workers;
    • agency workers;
    • casual workers;
    • zero hours workers;
    • apprentices;
    • workers, paid by commission;
    • workers, paid by items you make;
    • home workers;
    • casual labourers;
    • trainees, or on probation;
    • disabled workers;
    • agricultural workers;
    • foreign workers;
    • seafarers, or;
    • offshore workers
    You're not entitled to the minimum wage if you're:
    • self-employed (if you choose to be);
    • a volunteer (if you choose to be);
    • a company director;
    • a member of the armed forces;
    • a work experience student, and/or;
    • under school leaving age
     

    Equality and Diversity

    Equality and Diversity

    Salary Reviews

    Salary Reviews

    Crawford_HR_News

    MH claims on the rise

    An increasing awareness of mental health issues is leading to higher rates of disability discrimination claims where mental rather than physical disability forms the basis of a claim. The number...

    MH claims on the rise

    An increasing awareness of mental health issues is leading to higher rates of disability discrimination claims where mental rather than physical disability forms the basis of a claim.

    The number of disability discrimination claims has jumped by 11% over the last year from 6511 to 7211, the highest number since 2012/13.

    Reasons for this rise include the abolition of tribunal fees in 2017 and a willingness for workers to lodge claims relating to mental health. Heightened media attention has also helped people talk more freely - without the stigma that once existed - and it's fair to say that doctors have a noticeable and growing preparedness to support workplace absences around stress, anxiety and other disorders.

    The important point about disability discrimination claims, and where employers often trip up, is that claims can be brought if an employer has failed to make an adjustment for a pre-existing condition. Often when new employees join a new organisation these conditions are not well managed, which can trigger a claim.

    HR need to manage these through the implementation of a mental health strategy. Strategies should contain a statement committing to relevant company values such as supporting staff, a positive environment for mental health at work and a zero tolerance towards discrimination.

    The strategy should also link in relevant policies, for example Stress at Work and Absence Management or Flexible Working policies and ensure mental health objectives are measured.

    What is furlough?

    What is furlough? The word ‘furlough’ means temporary leave of absence from work. This can be due to economic conditions affecting one company, or matters affecting the whole country. Until...

    What is furlough?

    What is furlough?

    The word ‘furlough’ means temporary leave of absence from work. This can be due to economic conditions affecting one company, or matters affecting the whole country.

    Until now the expression has not carried any meaning in UK employment law but has been temporarily introduced in response to the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This does not mean that the fundamentals of employment law have changed, simply that this scheme adds to them.

    It has been introduced to provide employers with an option to keep employees on the payroll without them working.

    As furloughed staff are kept on the payroll it is different to being laid off without pay or being made redundant.

    The ability to furlough employees is designed to support employers who are severely affected by coronavirus.

    This provides employers another option when reviewing the circumstances of their business and is an alternative to redundancies or being laid off without pay. Employers will need to review this option carefully to pursue the best option for them.

    Which employers are eligible?

    Any employer (of any size) is eligible for the scheme and includes businesses, charities, recruitment agencies (if the agency workers are paid through PAYE) and public authorities.

    To be eligible the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.

    It has been confirmed that where a company is in administration, the administrator will be able to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

    More information is available via gov.uk and further details are expected in due course. Do not use Google or other search engines to validate your opinions only use credible websites and agencies.

    The government does not expect much public sector use of the scheme because many public sector employees are continuing to work throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

    Non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs are expected to continue to pay staff and not to place them on furlough.

    However, where staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, the furlough scheme will be applicable.

    Which employees are eligible?

    Employees that are working for businesses that would otherwise have to be dismissed as redundant or laid off.

    Furloughed employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and include:

    • full-time employees
    • part-time employees
    • agency employees on agency contracts (provided they are not working at all)
    • zero-hour contract workers (provided that they are employees albeit on flexible contracts).

    For new employees who were not on the employer's payroll on 28 February 2020 complexities arise.

    There are also certain complexities for employees who have been:

    • on sabbatical or unpaid leave
    • recently made redundant or laid-off
    • are pregnant or on maternity leave or adoption/paternity/shared parental leave
    • caring for children
    • migrant workers.

    Employees who have been on sick leave can be placed on furlough leave after the period of sick leave has ended if there is no work for them to do and they would otherwise be laid off or made redundant and employees who are shielding themselves in line with government advice can also be placed on furlough leave.

    For more information specific to employees that are potentially grouped in these categories please contact the office.

    Employees who work elsewhere:

    Employees with two or more employers can be furloughed for each job separately but the £2,500 cap applies to each employer individually.

    This means that an employee with two jobs can have 80% of their salary reimbursed with a cap of £5,000, or more, if the employers top the salary up above the grant level.

    Employees do have to agree to being furloughed, unless there are lay off provisions in their contract, so an informed employee may say they only agree to being furloughed and taking a 20% pay cut if the employer agrees to them working elsewhere during their normal working hours.

    Alternatively, employers may ask employees to agree new or reconfirmed restrictions on working elsewhere, especially if for a competitor.

    The employer may agree to furloughed employees working in limited sectors, for example, food, health and social care or other essential services.

    Business owners and partners:

    Owners of small businesses who pay themselves a PAYE salary are covered under the furlough scheme.

    The scheme does not apply to dividend payments so director-shareholders who are paid partly or mainly in dividends will only be covered to the extent that they receive PAYE earnings.

    The Coronavirus self-employment income support scheme has been introduced to provide similar support to those not eligible under the job retention scheme.

    This means self-employed directors with taxable profits below a £50,000 annual threshold may be eligible to apply for support under the self-employment scheme.

    Salaried partners who are paid through a PAYE payroll will be eligible under the furlough scheme.

    Partner owners and LLP members who are treated as self-employed (and not paid through the PAYE payroll) will not be covered.

    Like directors, self-employed partners with taxable profits below the annual threshold may be eligible to apply for support under the self-employment scheme.

    How to apply to the scheme:

    The ability to furlough employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be operational from the end of April.

    The scheme is backdated and will apply from 1 March for at least three months until 31 May (unless extended).

    Once employers have reached an agreement with employees about being furloughed, they should write to the affected employees confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this.

    Employers access the scheme through an online portal, providing details of the affected furloughed employees and information about their earnings and any other information required (such as the employee’s NI number).

    Employers should decide whether to pay 80% of salary or to supplement it to the full 100%, gaining the employees’ written consent unless contractual provisions already cover lay off and importantly stop the employees from working.

    How to calculate and amount to claim from HMRC:

    To work out what amounts they are claiming employers will have to work out the employer NI and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for all employees.

    When the portal is operational employers will apply with their ePAYE reference number, bank account number and sort code and specify the:

    • number of employees being furloughed
    • claim period (start and end date)
    • amount claimed (the minimum length of furlough is three weeks)
    • employer’s contact name and telephone number.

    Employers are advised by the government to claim in advance of an imminent payroll or at the point when they run their payroll.

    Employers make a collective claim for the group of furloughed employees under the scheme (not for individual employees) but employers will probably need to make more than one claim throughout the period of furlough.

    Once HMRC have the claim and agree the employer’s eligibility a BACS payment will be made direct into the bank account supplied.

    It’s important to be aware that HMRC retain the right to retrospectively investigate and audit employers’ claims.

    People who get furloughed must not work for the employer during the period of furlough and they will return to their job afterwards (unless redundancies follow).

    Summary of facts:

    Under the scheme furloughed workers will receive either 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower.

    The £2,500 a month figure has presumably been chosen as it is broadly £30,000 a year which is the national median net salary.

    Employers will receive a grant to cover part of the salaries of any employees who would otherwise have been dismissed.

    Employers do not have to pay this grant back.

    Employers must pay over the entire grant received to the furloughed employees; plus, any top up payment they are choosing to pay.

    Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included when working out the 80% figure.

    Employers who furlough employees can also claim employers’ national insurance payments and minimum pension contributions.

    Employees continue to accrue annual leave entitlement during furlough.

    For regular salaried employees, employers should base calculations on actual salary before tax, as at 28 February 2020. For employees with variable pay employers can claim the higher of either:

    • the same month’s earning from 2019; or
    • average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 year.

    If an employee with variable pay has been employed for under a year employer can claim for an average of monthly earnings since they started work. For workers who only started part way through February 2020, the wage will have to be taken pro-rata.

    Home working?

    Under normal circumstances, stress at work can be difficult to avoid, especially if you are stuck behind a desk, whether that be in the office or at home. But, in...

    Home working?

    Under normal circumstances, stress at work can be difficult to avoid, especially if you are stuck behind a desk, whether that be in the office or at home.

    But, in these unprecedented times of global pandemic, the vast majority of people who are normally office-based will be trying to work remotely, in a new and hastily contrived workspace.

    Many employees, across a range of professions, will already be used to working remotely and will be able to cope with the challenges that come with it, but for some, this will be their first time working from home and they may find the experience more difficult.

    Typically, when working from home, people may feel more stressed and anxious because of the increase in social isolation, lack of structure and the feeling of being unable to “switch off”. According to a 2017 United Nations report, 41% of remote workers reported higher stress levels, compared to 25% of office workers.

    Stress is the body’s way of protecting you from danger or a threat, and if managed properly moderate stress can even help people achieve goals. However, if left to build-up, stress can trigger mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

    From your home working environment try these de-stress techniques:

  • Guided meditation apps
  • Deep breathing
  • Eat healthily
  • Prepare your day
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Put on headphones and listen to music
  • Stretch your legs and take a walk
  • Move around, change your environment
  • Remember that changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. So, accept what you cannot change and focus on the things you do have control over such as regularly connecting with your colleagues and professional network over video conferencing or online meetings.

    Flexible Staffing During COVID-19

    As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it looks a reasonable assumption that it will pose real threats to some organisations. We live in a global economy and many employers have...

    Flexible Staffing During COVID-19

    As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it looks a reasonable assumption that it will pose real threats to some organisations.

    We live in a global economy and many employers have operations or supply chains based overseas. The level of risk an organisation may face will depend on whether it is directly or indirectly affected in this way.

    An organisation may also be affected if it employs people who have travelled back or been in contact with anyone who has returned from an area affected by the virus. If the virus becomes a pandemic it could lead to wider disruptions with suppliers and customers and to shortages of fuel and other basic commodities. There may also be disruptions to public transport.

    Develop a flexible resourcing plan.

    We can support you in developing and implementing a flexible plan to help protect and safeguard your business.

    Top LGBT Employers 2020

    Each year #stonewall publish a list of the 100 top employers who have done great work to help achieve acceptance without exception for all LGBT people. Participating employers demonstrate their...

    Top LGBT Employers 2020

    Each year #stonewall publish a list of the 100 top employers who have done great work to help achieve acceptance without exception for all LGBT people.

    Participating employers demonstrate their work in 10 areas of employment policy and practice. Staff from across the organisation also complete an anonymous survey about their experiences of diversity and inclusion at work.

    Organisations then receive their scores, enabling them to understand what’s going well and where they need to focus their efforts, as well as see how they’ve performed in comparison with their sector and region.

    The top 20 for 2020 are detailed below:

    Rank Organisation
    1 Newcastle City Council
    2 Gentoo Group
    3 Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
    4 Pinsent Masons (Top Northern Ireland Employer)
    5 Ministry of Justice
    6 GSK
    7 Citi
    8 National Assembly for Wales (Top Welsh Employer)
    9 Welsh Government
    10 Cardiff University
    11 The University of Sheffield
    =12 Baker McKenzie
    =12 Skills Development Scotland (Top Scottish Employer)
    =12 Travers Smith
    15 Slaughter and May
    16 Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
    17 Hogan Lovells
    18 Home Group
    =19 Clifford Chance
    =19 Vodafone

    Submissions for the 2021 list opens on Thursday 11 June 2020, closing midnight on Tuesday 8 September 2020. For the top 100 list, or for more information, visit stonewall.org.uk

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