Following the recent Chancellor’s unprecedented announcement about the Government covering up to 80% of employee costs if your business has no work for them, this will be a much needed lifeline for many of our clients during the current crisis. However, this does come with certain conditions which will require changing your existing employment contracts.
At present, there is growing uncertainty both within the UK and worldwide since the onset of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its ongoing spread. Given the effects and impact this has within the workplace and on business continuity as a whole, employers may need to consider placing their staff on short time working or temporary lay-off, in accordance with contractual and statutory rights.
This guide will provide further information for employers should they be in a position to ask their staff to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there is not enough work for them to do, and can act as measures to avoid compulsory redundancies.
What is IR35?
IR35 is a piece of legislation that allows HMRC to collect additional payment where a contractor is an employee in all but name. If a contractor is operating through an intermediary, such as a limited company, and but for that intermediary they would be an employee of their client, IR35 kicks in. IR35 requires the intermediary to make an extra payment to compensate for the additional tax and NI that HMRC would have received on an equivalent employee’s wages.
On the 6th April 2020, new legislation will be introduced in the UK to enforce paid parental bereavement leave in order to support parents of a child who dies on or after 6th April 2020. The new legislation refers to the Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020 and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay Regulations 2020.
Unfortunately, bereavement is something we all face at some point in our lives, but we sadly recognise that the death of a child is among the most devastating events that an individual can ever face. The new legislation coming into force has been put in place to ensure employers provide support to their employees by ensuring bereaved parents can take parental bereavement leave.
[Upload date: 9/3/20]
Current government guidance is that an individual should self-isolate at home for 14 days after visiting certain areas or after having close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
If an employee is self-isolating, following government guidance, but they do not have any symptoms, it is arguable that they do not have the right to statutory sick pay, as this applies only where the employee is incapable of work due to illness.
However, it would be good practice for employers to treat the absence as sick leave and pay the employee in accordance with their usual policy, or to pay them in full. Employers should aim to avoid the situation where an employee attends work against medical guidance, risking the spread of coronavirus, because they are concerned about not being paid or having to use up their annual leave allowance to cover any absence.
If an employee is absent following an instruction from their employer not to come to work as a preventative measure, they are entitled to be paid as usual.
On 26 February 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a statement to the House of Commons saying that “Self-isolation on medical advice is considered sickness for employment purposes. That is a very important message for employers and those who can go home and self-isolate as if they were sick, because it is for medical reasons.” Whether or not this is an accurate explanation of the legal position for all employees, it confirms that it is good practice for employers to pay sick pay to self-isolating employees as if they were in fact ill.
If an employee has tested positive for coronavirus, or has flu-like symptoms, they will be entitled to sick pay as usual.
On 4 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that emergency legislation would be brought forward, including “measures to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick, instead of four days under the current rules”. No further details are yet known about this measure, such as which individuals will be covered.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610
Arrangements may be in place to protect your staff and premises, but what about your business itself?
With recent events posing commercial vulnerabilities such as Brexit, COVID-19, severe adverse weather and many other unplanned events, it is key to any business to address risk and put plans in place for business continuity.
The latest versions of the following ISO standards all have a risk based approach and the ability to assist in planning for these types of occurrences:
- ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 27001 Information Security Management Systems Requirements
- ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements
All four standards contain clause 6.1 which relates to actions to address risks and opportunities. This requires risk identification and a process for mitigation and application of contingencies to reduce exposure. These risks are regularly monitored to ensure that arrangements are up to date and managed.
Section 7.4 of all four standards addresses internal and external communication which puts in place a structure to define what to communicate, who to communicate it to and when.
Section 8.4 of ISO 9001 outlines the requirements relating to control of externally provided products and services which works towards safeguarding your supply chain and putting contingencies in place. This has been tested by many of our clients recently with transport disruption during recent storms and has greatly assisted in making sure that service level agreements have been met.
Section 8.2 within ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 specifically addresses emergency preparedness and response which is regularly reviewed, tested and managed in line with risks. Many clients have developed this policy for a more global approach incorporating arrangements to manage events such as isolation.
HR Services Scotland have an experienced Commercial team who support organisations through ISO certification. When applied effectively to your organisation, ISO standards can support and assist in the sustainability of your organisation.
For more information please contact our Business Development Manager, Graham Hyslop on 0800 652 2610 or by email [email protected]
HR Services Scotland will soon be running a training course for The Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate.
Taking place on Friday 27th March 2020 from 9am til 4pm, this certificated course will involve training in the following emergency first aid procedures:
The Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate, also known as the EFAW Certificate, shows that you have completed the necessary First Aid training and are able to provide emergency treatment in the event of an individual injuring themselves or falling ill.
The EFAW Certificate is valid for 3 years and is issued by your first aid training provider, which in this case will be HR Services Scotland. As a Certified Emergency First Aider, you will have the necessary skills and knowledge to respond effectively to emergencies both in the workplace and beyond.
More details about the course can be found below:
Address: Mirren Court, 123 Renfrew Rd, Paisley PA3 4EA
Date: Friday 27th March 2020
Time: 9am – 4pm (Lunch Included)
Price: £95+ VAT
If you are interested in further information, or booking places on this course for members of your business, then please call 0800 6522610 or email [email protected]
The beginning of each year is an ideal opportunity to think about performance management within the workforce, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through staff appraisals.
Appraisals are a great way to underpin good performance management and promote staff development within the workforce, making each employee feel valued and recognised. They are also a good way to identify any training and development needs.
Good Practice for Staff Appraisals
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, so when implementing a staff appraisal system, this process should be straightforward. There must be commitment from management, making sure that time is set aside to allow the appraisals to take place without being rushed. Appraisals should also be monitored, firstly to make sure that they are being carried out, but also to record when the next date for review will be.
When designing a staff appraisal system, the employee job description should be referred to, as this will ensure focus can be placed on the correct areas of his/her job role, and a written record should be kept to provide feedback and to assist with monitoring.
There is no formal requirement for when appraisals should take place, but employers should set aside time for at least one per year with all employees. However, it can be beneficial for them to take place every 6 months to ensure that objectives still remain clear and progress doesn’t slip.
To ensure that employers get the most from staff appraisals, the following points should be considered:
Refer to agreed objectives and notes on performance throughout the year.
Create the Right Atmosphere
Make sure that the meeting is set in a neutral environment in the workplace where the employee feels comfortable.
Plan ahead and only cover points which have been pinned down during this time to allow time for the employee to express their own views during the meeting as well.
Be positive, providing praise where possible before discussing areas for improvement. Try to begin by highlighting the tasks done well, as this will allow the employee to relax and feel valued.
Let the Employee Get Things Off Their Chest
This is only fair and provides them with an opportunity to give an overview of how they are feeling within their role. This will also identify any desire for progression or need for improvement they may have.
Stick to the Facts
Focus on experiences around the time of the review, as feedback relating to performance issues should be immediate.
Agree on Measurable Objectives and an Action Plan
Agree what the objectives should be and how these will be achieved, as well as a timeframe for each objective being achieved.
Employees should leave the meeting feeling positive about themselves and their own development.
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.
During the Festive season, most businesses recognise that festive parties or other social gatherings are an excellent opportunity to build rapport with colleagues and let off some steam after a stressful year at work.
However, employees must remember that they are still responsible for conducting themselves in a way which promotes a positive company reputation, and that drunkenness should not be an excuse for misconduct. The best way to reinforce this is for HR officers, line managers and upper management to lead by example and effectively promote good company practice when it comes to appropriate behaviour.
Here are 5 HR issues for employers to consider when organising an office party during the Festive season:
It is important to be mindful of this when arranging work-related recreational events. Employers remain liable for acts of unlawful discrimination committed by employees during these types of events if appropriate steps have not taken to prevent this. This is regardless of whether the incident occurs during the champagne reception or the after party at the end of the evening.
Implementing Clear Policies
If employers have policies that provide clear guidelines on the standard of behaviour expected at work-related events, and what possible implications (up to and including dismissal) could result from inappropriate behaviour, then this will go a long way towards ensuring the entire workforce understand what is expected of them during a Festive party, or any other work-related social events.
Larger organisations may also benefit from appointing individuals to supervise social events so that staff can come to them to raise any concerns. They should be provided with guidelines on dealing with drunk or disorderly employees and they should be advised to remain sober during the event.
While your employees will relish the thought, having a free bar also encourages excessive drinking, so it can be advisable to limit free alcohol and ensure that some low alcohol or alcohol–free alternatives are also available.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees and so must consider how they get home after any work-related events. It may also be beneficial to consider hiring taxis or coaches for the end of the night. Employers may also provide telephone numbers for local taxi firms, or public transport times well in advance.
The morning after the night before
If you do find yourself receiving calls from employees the following morning, advising that they are feeling unwell, it is important not to jump to conclusions and reserve judgement until return to work meetings have been conducted in the normal way.
When referring to the case of Bhara vs Ikea Ltd, two employees were dismissed from their roles, following a fight which occurred after the Christmas party, despite both parties maintaining this was nothing more than a playful wrestling match, so it is well worth reminding employees that their actions have consequences.
However, it is equally important for all staff to be given an opportunity to enjoy themselves and dance the night away so, making sure the required preventative measures are taken will ensure that an enjoyable night is had by all!
If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.
For more information about the services that we provide at HR Services Scotland, please get in touch with us here.
All work-related activities will at some point expose employees to some form of hazard, these hazards could include but not limited to:
- Loads which have to be manually handled
- Working with hazardous substances
- Working at height (this may even be ground level where the potential of falling in to something exists)
- Fire safety
New statistics from the HSE show that 147 people were killed whilst at work in the UK in 2018/19. Working at Height still remains the biggest cause of workplace fatalities in the UK with 40 people in 2018/19.
Every employee and every self-employed person is entitled to work in a safe and healthy environment where the risks within that workplace have been assessed and are managed accordingly. The management of health & safety within the workplace lies directly with the employer.
Training can play a vital part in reducing the risk of a workplace accident. Providing effective health and safety training will help to ensure that the people who work for you know how to work safely and without causing risk to themselves or others. As defined Under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, “employers have a duty to provide training for their employees to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, their health and safety at work”.
Who needs health and safety training?
You do! Whether you are an employer or self-employed, are you sure that you’re up to date with how to identify the hazards and control the risks from your work activities?
Do you know what you have to do about consulting with your employees on health and safety issues? If not, you would benefit from some health and safety training.
Your managers and supervisors do! If you employ managers or supervisors they need to know what you expect from them in terms of health and safety and how you expect them to deliver.
They may also require training in the specific hazards of your processes and how you expect the risks to be controlled.
Your employees do! Everyone who works for you including self-employed personnel need to know how to work safely. Like your supervisors, they need to know about your health and safety policy, your arrangements for implementing it, and the part they play. They also need to know how they can raise any health and safety concerns with you.
Contractors and self-employed people who may be working for you do! Remember, these people might not be familiar with your working environment and safety systems that you have put in place for regular employees.
- Take into account the capabilities, training, knowledge and experience of workers; and
- Ensure that the demands of the job do not exceed their ability to carry out their work without risk to themselves and others.
Some employees may have particular training needs, for example:
- New recruits will require basic induction training into how to work safely, including arrangements for first aid, fire, accident reporting and evacuations etc.;
- People changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities need to know about any new health and safety implications relevant to the role;
- Young employees are particularly vulnerable to accidents and you need to pay particular attention to their needs, therefor their training should be a priority. It is also important that new, inexperienced or young employees are adequately supervised at all times;
How can I do it?
Firstly, you should show your commitment so that the people being trained recognise that the training is important. Whether the training you require is specialist i.e. First Aid, Fire Warden/ Extinguisher etc. or online training i.e. fire awareness, manual handing, asbestos awareness etc. HR Services Scotland can assist with your training needs.