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If you've recently started your business and it's succeeding, well done! Now you need to think about recruiting staff. As your new business grows its needs change quickly making it difficult to plan for recruiting. Anyone you take on now needs to remain an asset to your business rather than becoming a burden.
Tags: recruitment of staff, staff recruitment, how to recruit staff, interviewing, recruiting staff, recruiting
There were eight possible types of reason for claiming a GOQ in advertising a particular job:
Physiology or authenticity (for example, in choosing actors to play a role),
Privacy and decency of people the employee would be dealing with (for example, staff in a care home),
Private household's integrity (for example, professional carers for an individual, but not normally nannies),
Single-sex accommodation, when it is unreasonable to expect the employer to provide additional accommodation,
Single-sex establishments, for example special prisons and refuges,
Personal welfare and counselling, when sex is directly relevant to the welfare or counselling provided,
Jobs in foreign countries with specifically relevant laws or customs,
When a pair of jobs were advertised specifically for a married couple.
The Equalities Act 2010 has replaced GOQs with GOR, 'Genuine Occupational Requirement' . It may be lawful for you as an employer to treat people differently when recruiting. In very limited circumstances, if you can show that someone with a particular protected characteristic (on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion/belief, sex or sexual orientation) is central to a particular job, then you can insist that only someone who has that particular protected characteristic is suitable for the job. This would be a genuine ‘occupational requirement’ (GOR).
There is no definitive list of situations where a GOR will exist. It is therefore always best to take professional advice before advertising the job if you believe that there is a GOR.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 gives employees statutory rights, in certain circumstances, from the moment that they begin employment with you. It is legislation intended to encourage people to speak out about malpractice in organisations. These rights are commonly known as Whistle-Blowing rights. The law protects the "whistle-blower" if the matter is in the public interest.
Tags: whistle blowing, disciplinary decisions, unfair dismissal, disciplinary investigations, protected interest disclosure
Telling an employee they smell is one of the most unpleasant tasks a manager is called on to do. Follow these steps to plan the meeting to avoid claims of bullying and achieve an improvement in the employee's personal hygieneTags: personal hygiene, body odour at work, body odour, help telling someone they smell, smelly staff, how to tell someone they smell
The role of a Non-Executive Director on a Board is defined in The Companies Act 2006 as one which constructively challenges and helps develop proposals on strategy, scrutinising performance and monitoring company performance. In a new business a non-executive Director provides the voice of experience that can guide against common pitfalls which prevent companies achieving their full potential.
There is no legal distinction between executive directors and non-executive directors, the distinction lies in the role that they perform. Non-executive directors usually stand back from the day-to-day running of the business, sitting with the executive management team as required to facilitate the strategic decision-making process. Exactly what this entails will vary from company to company, depending on what is required at each stage of a company’s development.
It is good practice for non-executive directors to be provided with employment contracts specifying the hours to be worked, the company’s expectations, appropriate key performance indicators and the notice period. This contract may be for a fixed or indefinite period; however, advising the company for more than nine years may threaten the perceived independence of the non-executive Director. This contractual framework for the relationship between the company and the non-executive director is necessary to define the boundaries in relation to control of the company. Non-executive directors should be remunerated for time spent fulfilling their duties, but the proportion that this makes to a non-executive director’s overall income should not be significant or their ability to be an independent voice on a company’s board may be jeopardised.
An HR professional is a source of the vital knowledge and experience essential for assisting companies wishing to achieve optimal business performance. Alison Driver is an experienced non-executive Director. Check out our testimonials page for endorsements http://www.metishr.co.uk/testimonials.
Call now to see how Alison can professionally contribute to your Board.Tags: non exec HR director, non-exec director, non-executive director
Sometimes you may be left with no option but to suspend an employee from work if you believe the employee to be unfit for work but the employee doesn’t agree with you. It can be a costly route to take but to avoid breaching your health and safety obligations it may be the only option. The suspension must be on full pay pending the outcome of a medical assessment or report.
If you feel that the employee is unfit to undertake their usual duties but capable of undertaking other work for you you are able to offer this work to them on a temporary basis. If they unreasonably refuse you may be able to suspend them from work without pay.
Workers who have been employed for one month are entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks paid medical suspension on certain safety related medical grounds. For example, you may suspend a worker who becomes seriously allergic to a chemical at work, or if a newly expectant mother works in a lab that uses radiation. You must base your decision on a risk assessment. The pay should be equal to a normal week’s pay.
If an employee disagrees with your decision they are entitled to raise a grievance with you.
Do you need a medical assessment of an employee? Check out our partner resources tab on the left hand side of this page.
Tags: human resources help, human resources problems, advice for employers, suspension from work, absence from work, dealing with staff problems, medical suspension
Last In First Out, or LIFO, used to be the traditional way of selecting who should be made redundant as it was relatively easy and avoided using complex selection matrices.
How do you protect your company’s knowledge?
Whilst sabotage is rare employees do leave, retire or are dismissed. Only then do you find out that their knowledge and their work wasn’t documented and that you have a problem. This is particularly difficult for technical or manufacturing companies where knowledge drives the company.
If formal systems for sharing knowledge in your company aren’t common place or you have a culture of ‘knowledge is power’ which encourages people to become the font of all knowledge changing your company culture is going to be challenging for you. Strong companies focus on setting standards for ensuring client needs are met, processes and systems are consistent and deliver quality.
There are some straight forward steps you can and should take to protect your company's knowledge:
Rewrite job descriptions and performance standards, to include maintaining and updating of relevant standards, procedures, processes, project results, etc.;
Include a "documentation audit" in all Performance Reviews—jointly review a check list of required documentation;
Require that all standards, policies, procedures, etc. be stored in the central database, not just on individual laptops;
Ensuring that your company's intellectual property and knowledge doesn't "go missing" takes commitment and consistent focus. High performing companies are created by clearly defining, communicating, and sharing knowledge. Ensure that your foundation for excellence doesn't disappear without a trace!
A job description is defined by ACAS as "a factual written account of the purpose, major tasks and main activities carried out by a job holder". The job description needs to communicate clearly and concisely what responsibilities and tasks the job entails.
Try to write a job description with no more than 12 points. Any job description containing 20-30 tasks is actually more like a part of an operational manual and can give rise to the "it's not in my job description" response when you as the employer want your employee to undertake another task not included.
Try to group tasks together under broad headings or areas of responsibility and always include the "any other duties commensurate with the role" point at the end of the document.
Having job descriptions for all the jobs in your company will improve your ability to manage people and roles in the following ways:
- clarify what's expected of the employee
- provide a basis for measuring job performance
- provide a clear description of role for job candidates during the interview process
- provide a structure for you the employer to understand all jobs and ensure necessary activities, duties and responsibilities are covered by one job or another
- enable pay and grading to be structured fairly and logically
- prevent arbitrary interpretation of role content and limit by employee and manager
- serve as an essential reference tool in issues of employee/employer dispute
- provide an important reference document for discipline issues
- provide an important reference points for training and development areas
- provide neutral and objective reference points for appraisals and performance reviews
If you need help writing job descriptions for your employees call Metis HR now on 0844 249 1133.
Tags: writing job descriptions, job dscription
Be aware that a complaint is not always the event that triggers a company's duty to investigate. That duty arises when an employer observes something, an act or statement, that suggests some kind of prohibited activity or when an employee complains about virtually any aspect of the employment relationship.
The most frequently raised concerns deal with harassment, discrimination and bullying but whatever the complaint, recent legal decisions have made it clear that employers have a duty to investigate promptly and thoroughly as soon as the employer is put on notice of possible wrongdoing.
Follow this link to read more about cases where investigations have been critical to the employers' defence (http://bit.ly/ruiwJ2)
Employers must ensure they distinguish between an investigation and any subsequent disciplinary proceedings. Separate meetings must be held for both. Even if an employee admits guilt during an investigatory interview, a further disciplinary meeting must still be convened in order that the employee can have an opportunity to state his/her case and possibly present evidence to explain any mitigating factors.
Once it's clear that an investigation is warranted, give careful thought to who should conduct the investigation. The same individual is not going to be right for every company investigation. In fact, multiple investigators could be useful in highly complex cases, or where timing is critical. Give consideration to the positions and authority of the complainant and accused; any perception of bias a proposed investigator might be perceived to have by witnesses; and potential impacts on business operations. Generally, a good investigator must actively listen, be able to process and rapidly respond to new information, possess critical thinking skills, and have a solid knowledge of company policies and practices. Other technical qualifications will depend on the type or complaint at issue. For example, an accounting background might be necessary for charges of financial mismanagement.
Once an Investigating Officer has been appointed, from the outset, he/she must be clear
• The reason for the investigation;
• The relevant policy and procedure under which the investigation is being
• The precise issues to be investigated;
• How the investigation will be conducted;
• The proposed time frame;
• All resources available to the investigator; and
• All key and relevant evidence.
Planning from the outset will ensure that the Investigating Officer has a clear focus upon how the investigation will be carried out.
Employers should respond promptly, thoroughly and in a systematic manner when conducting investigations if they are to avoid future liability.
If you would like to talk to someone about a situation that you are currently facing that you feel may require investigating calls us now for a free consultation 0844 249 1133Tags: complaint, HR disciplinary investigations Lancashire, HR Consultant Lancashire, Investigations Lancashire, disciplinary investigations, investigations, workplace investigation
Hours of Work are covered by the Working Time Regulations (WTR), as are rest breaks, holidays and night working. The WTR currently provide employees with the following basic rights and protections:
• a limit of an average of 48 hours a week over a 17 week period which a worker can be required to work
• a limit of an average of 8 hours work in 24 hours which night workers can work
• a right to 11 hours rest a day
• a right to a day off each week
• a right to an in-work rest break if the working day is longer than 6 hours
• a right to 28 days paid leave for full-time workers per year.
Employers have a responsibility to make sure that they are adhering to the Working Time Regulations by ensuring that employees are taking the appropriate rest breaks, including holidays and that they don’t work more than 48 hours a week (averaged over 17 weeks).
Organisations in Britain actively implement the opt-out clause to the 48 hour limit which allows for companies to ask employees to agree to work more than 48 hours a week in a 4-month period but employers can't force employees to sign an opt-out. Employers cannot fairly dismiss anyone refusing to sign an opt out clause.If you have employees who do choose to work more than 48 hours a week (averaged over 17 weeks), minimise the risk to your business by making sure that the employees have signed a form stating that they agree to opt out of the Working Time Regulations.
Periods of paternity, adoption and parental leave count towards working time for the purposes of the Regulations.
For advice on the WTR contact us now on 0844 249 1133Tags: Untagged
Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints raised with you by your employees. They can be related to a wide range of issues from the work environment and their colleagues to employment terms and conditions or statutory rights.
Where possible, you should encourage employees to settle them informally with their line manager, but you should also have formal procedures available to your employees. Having a formal grievance procedure allows you to give reasonable consideration to any issues which can't be resolved informally and to deal with them fairly and consistently.
Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied by a companion (a trade union representative or a work colleague) at a grievance meeting which deals with a complaint about a duty owed by the employer to the worker. So this would apply where the complaint is, for example, that the employer is not honouring the worker's contract, or is in breach of legislation.
We would strongly advise that you listen to all employee complaints, problems and concerns; even a moan could be interpreted as a grievance, and if not dealt with these things can easily and quickly escalate!
Tags: employee's grievance, responding to a grievance, how you deal with a grievance, HR Jargon, HR jargon buster, managing grievances, grievance
A fixed term contract refers to a contract that will terminate at the end of a specific time period or on the completion of a particular task or project e.g. you may want to take on someone for just three months to cover the busy run-up to Christmas, or you may wish to employ someone specifically to cover for another person who is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, mean that you must treat fixed-term employees the same as comparable permanent employees. You must give them:
the same pay and conditions
the same or equivalent benefits package
the same or equivalent pension scheme
the same opportunity to apply for vacancies for permanent posts in the business
Fixed-term employees also have access to the same employment rights as their permanent equivalents. Any employee who has been on a fixed-term contract for four or more years will usually be classed in law as a permanent employee if their contract is renewed, or if they are re-engaged on a new fixed-term contract.
These regulations don’t apply to apprentices, students on work experience of a year or less or people on certain training courses and temporary work schemes.
Ending a fixed term contract
Generally you will not need to give notice of the contract reaching its end date. However, failing to renew a fixed-term contract is considered to be a dismissal. The employee has the right:
not to be unfairly dismissed (after one year’s service)
to a written statement of reasons for the dismissal (after one year’s service)
to statutory redundancy payments (after two years' service)
to a minimum notice period of your contract ending before the agreed end date, task or event
The minimum notice period the employee is entitled to is:
after one month’s continuous service, but less than two years: one week’s notice
after two years continuous employment: two weeks’ notice if you have been continuously employed for two years
Ending fixed-term contacts early
Ensure that you write into the contract a clause enabling you to end the fixed-term contract early and give proper notice. If your contract doesn’t make provision for this and you terminate the contract early you may be in breach of contract.
Working longer than the contract's end date
If you extend the period of working past the end the contract e.g. you kept the employee on for a year when the original contract was for three months, there is an implied agreement to change the end date. You must give proper notice to end the contract and dismiss the employee.
Tags: fixed term contracts, contracts of employment, Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations, flexible working
An ET1 is the name of the application form submitted by an employee wishing to pursue a tribunal claim against their employer. It’s likely to be the first you know that an employee or ex-employee is taking their case against you to an employment tribunal.
In most cases employees must submit their claim to the tribunal within three months. This three months begins with the date their employment ended or when the matter they are complaining about happened.
In general to claim unfair dismissal an employee must have worked continuously for you for not less than one year. However, in certain circumstances in which unfair dismissal is claimed it may not be necessary to have worked for you for one year. These include
Being involved with a union.
Joining a union or choosing not to join one.
Being involved in Health and safety activities either as an employer’s health and safety ‘officer’ or a worker’s representative.
Taking part in activities as a pension scheme trustee.
Being, or proposing to become, an ‘employee representative’.
Being a shop worker or a betting worker who refuses to work on a Sunday.
Using certain rights covered by the Working Time Regulations.
Being dismissed for pregnancy/pregnancy related reason.
Generally, the employee or ex-employee does not have to pay your (the employer’s) costs. However, the tribunal can make an order for costs if it believes that the claimant or their representative have behaved unreasonably in the way they have conducted their case or thinks that their claim was so weak that it should not have been brought.
What should you do if you receive an ET1?
DON’T PANIC! Metis HR specialises in protecting employers from their employees.
Check out our dealing with difficult people case studies http://www.metishr.co.uk/dealing-with-difficult-people or call us on 0844 249 1133Tags: responding to ET1, employment tribunal claim, ET1, HR Jargon, HR jargon buster, help with tribunal claim, advice for employers
If you have a policy on the wearing of jewellery, having tattoos or other markings, it should try and be flexible and reasonable concerning these matters which are traditional within some religions or beliefs. Unjustifiable policies and rules may constitute indirect discrimination.
As with any other policy, employers should ensure that it is incorporated in the contract of employment, is easily accessible, and that employees are aware of it, so that failure to follow the policy can be treated as a disciplinary matter.
Tags: jewellery at work, dress codes for work, indirect discrimination, dress code
A Compensatory Award is the name given to the award which an employment tribunal must make to a successful claimant in an unfair dismissal case. This award compensates for financial loss suffered as a result of the dismissal. It is worth remembering though that in calculating the financial loss the tribunal only considers loss that is "attributable to action taken by the employer".
Compensatory Awards are only made where the Tribunal conclude that reinstatement or re-engagement are not suitable remedies. These Awards compensate for financial loss only.
Tribunals have considerable discretion over the amount that they award as compensation subject to a cap set by law.
If an employer hasn't followed proper disciplinary and dismissal procedures (as per the ACAS Code of Practice) when dismissing an employee it can result in an increase of up to 25% in the amount awarded. Things that can lead to the Compensatory Award being reduced are
- any contributory conduct by the employee
- any likelihood that the employee would have been dismissed anyway
- any failure by the employee to mitigate his loss by looking for other work
If you are considering dismissing an employee see how Metis HR can help you check out our case studies page http://www.metishr.co.uk/dealing-with-difficult-peopleTags: unfair dismissal awards, unfair dismissal payouts, employment tribunal, tribunal payout, tribunal, compensatory award, successful tribunal case
A Basic Award is often awarded as part of a compensation package to an employee who has successfully taken their employer to Tribunal. The Basic Award is not related to loss suffered, it's simply a multiple of a week's pay defined according to a formula which takes into account years of service and age of the claimant.
The practical application of the formula is:
- 1/2 a week's pay for each year worked before 22nd birthday;
- 1 week's pay for each year worked between 22nd and 41st birthday;
- 1 1/2 week's pay for each year worked after 41st birthday.
The most recent 20 years (only) are taken into account for the purposes of this calculation if a long service employee is being dismissed. Wages above £400 per week (£380 pw if the dismissal took place before 1st February 2011) are disregarded. The basic award formula is the same as that used for calculating statutory redundancy pay.
The tribunal will likely reduce the Basic Award in the following circumstances:
1. If the employee refuses an offer to be reinstated and it is unreasonable to refuse the offer.
2. The employee is partly to blame for their own dismissal.
3. Conduct before the employee was dismissed, this does not have to be linked with the actual dismissal. The conduct can still be taken into account if it is discovered after the dismissal.
4. Redundancy payments already paid to the employee where the dismissal was due to redundancy.
5. Ex gratia payments expressly or impliedly connected to the basic award.
The Basic Award is often supplemented with a Compensatory Award.
See the next blog for C is for Compensation Award
Tags: Basic Award, tribunal, dismissal, successful tribunal case, unfair dismissal
Annual hours or annualised hours contracts is the term used to describe a contract which states a number of guaranteed hours the employee is contracted to work in a twelve month period. It's different from a standard weekly or monthly contract which states the number of hours every week or month eg 35 or 40.
An ‘Annualised Contract’ allows the organisation to increase or reduce, in advance, the required numbers of hours to be worked at a given time to match the needs of the business often helping it cope more effectively with peaks and troughs of demand. The introduction of these systems can help organisations move away from a high overtime, traditional working environment to one which demonstrates real employee commitment, flexibility and cohesive team working.
Implementing annualised hours contracts can deliver real benefits:
- Increased employee commitment
- Staff more willing to be flexible
- A cohesive team environment developed
- Payroll administration and over-time costs drastically reduced
- Manufacturing efficiency Production waste halved
Metis HR can provide expert advice to help organisations introduce annual hours contracts and systems for their workforce. Find out more about how we work with you by following this link http://www.metishr.co.uk/dealing-with-problems-with-staffTags: Untagged