2021 is going to bring some challenges to the HR profession that are genuinely unprecedented. Brexit and Covid are wreaking change after change on UK businesses and it is our job to be prepared where we can be and agile if we can’t be prepared. Your HR policies need refreshing for 2021 to allow for that and protect the business and the rights of the staff.
In this blog, we will look at three key policies that are likely to need refreshing. We are assuming that you already have these policies in place since the first lockdown. If not, it is advisable to add them to your staff handbook and inform your staff of them as soon as possible.
Reviewing Your HR Policies In 2021
Whilst you shouldn’t be always tinkering with your HR policies, it is wise to set dates for when you want to review them-every year for example.
Our HR calendar for 2021 will help you plan when to review HR policies, so you don’t have to do them all at once. Download the HR calendar for 2021 here.
Once you have reviewed your HR policies for 2021, be sure to consult staff on the changes. You can summarise them in an email and ask staff if they have any comments or questions about the changes. Once you have finalised the changes get staff to respond to confirm they have received and understood the changes. You could also hold a meeting (virtually or in-person if restrictions allow) and ask staff to sign a confirmation that they have been made aware of the changes.
Change the date of issue on the bottom of the document. It is a good idea to keep a log of your policies and their last review date, so you know which you have done and which need doing.
Top Three HR Policies To Refresh In 2020
Remote Working/Flexible Working
Even if your staff don’t currently work remotely it is possible that self-isolation, social distancing, vaccination regulations and other as yet unforeseen external factors might force you to consider some staff working remotely at some point.
Whilst this might not be possible or wanted for your business, Covid fears might encourage some staff to request it. Having a policy in place that takes into account the latest government guidelines and laws will prevent any misunderstandings or loopholes in the future and ensure that your decision making is consistent
Some employers like to offer working from home as a benefit and already have a remote working policy. With government guidelines changing regularly, it is a good idea to review this policy as 2021 gets underway.
At the time of writing, two Covid 19 vaccines are being given in the UK and rapid testing in schools. Boris Johnson has repeatedly said during the Covid briefings that he hopes rapid testing will allow staff to test themselves before they go to work. This brings many hurdles for HR professionals to jump in the coming months.
What if staff don’t want to be tested? What if they lie about the results? What if they don’t administer the test accurately? What if they are positive? All these things, and more, should be considered.
There is some discussion at the moment about whether the ‘one meter plus’ rule needs reverting to two meters social distancing and tightening other Covid measures. No one can predict how Covid restrictions are likely to change over the next few months, but it is becoming very clear that they will change, and often at short notice.
Having HR policies that allow for these changes and adapt to them makes sense. Add and edit as you need to. Don’t forget to properly inform the staff about the changes you make and provide training where necessary.
Brexit has happened. After four long years of wrangling and uncertainty, the UK is no longer part of the EU. And that means recruitment practices need to change if you recruit from overseas.
If you are recruiting UK residents or people with a right to work in the UK, you should review your recruitment policy and processes to be certain you are carrying out the correct checks of new staff. You don’t need to start carrying out new checks until 30th June 2021, so you have time to review this HR policy. There is thorough advice from the government here.
If you are hiring or likely to be hiring a skilled worker from outside the UK you are probably going to need to sponsor them, under the new immigration rules. There are some exceptions and exemptions. Have a look here for more advice. Writing this into your HR policies for 2021 will mean you are prepared and can be compliant as soon as you need to be.
Are Your HR Policies Compliant And Sufficient?
It is one thing having HR policies that are compliant with the law, but they need to protect your business and the interests of all who work there too.
One of our specialties is creating comprehensive HR policies and reviewing them to keep them in line with the law. If you would like us to take a look at your policies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We will work on a one-off project or you can have us on hand whenever you need us.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01706 565 332. We look forward to helping you.