What Employment Law Changes Should Businesses Be Aware of In 2022?

We are now well into the second month of 2022; a year where no one really knew what to expect following on from the constant restrictions and uncertain futures we saw in 2020 and 2021 thanks to Covid-19 and Brexit.  As HR professionals, we have been sitting tight to see just how January and February have panned out in terms of what should we expect to see in terms of legislation changes as the year goes on.  Here are just a few measures that employers should be aware and planning for:-

 

  1. National Minimum/ Living Wage

The first change we know for certain that is coming is the increase of the National Minimum Wage at the beginning of April.  In an effort to counteract the rise in inflation rates and the increasing living costs, the government are applied the following minimum pay increases as follows:

 

The national living wage rate applies to those employees who are 23 years of age or older.

This is one of the highest pay increases applied since the introduction of the national minimum/Living wage rates with some rates seeing an increase of almost 12%!!

 

This brings with it another problem, employers are now seeing the pay gap narrowing between the higher skilled and experienced staff and those who are less so.  This has resulted in additional financial pressure to push those experienced workers pay rates up to avoid disharmony, recognise their additional responsibilities and contribution they bring to the business and also as a retention strategy so these key people don’t ‘walk’.

 

2. Increase To Other Statutory Payments

 

Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will also increase from £151.97 per week to £156.66 per week along with statutory sick pay increasing to £99.35 from £96.35.

 

3. Holidays

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the late May bank holiday, which normally would have fallen on 30th May 2022, will now move to Thursday 2nd June 2022, and there will be an additional bank holiday on Friday 3 June 2022 making way for a four-day weekend.  Not everyone will be automatically entitled to this bank holiday and will be dependent on what your employment contract says:-

  • If the employee’s contract says they are entitled to, for example 20 days plus bank holidays and does not specify the bank holidays or the number, the employee will be entitled to the additional bank holiday.
  • If the employee’s contract specifies the number of bank holidays or total number of holidays including bank holidays, the employee will not be automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday and therefore it is up to the discretion of the employer if they wish to give this additional holiday to their staff.

4. Family Friendly Rights

The beginning of February saw a bill of rights being passed in Stormont allowing Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay to be brought into line with the rest of the UK which strengthens an employee’s rights in the event of loosing a child.  In another revolutionary move, Northern Ireland is also now the first jurisdiction in Europe to have legislation in place for miscarriage employment rights, the finer detail is expected later in 2022.

We are also expecting a number of other employment bills to be finalised this year namely the introduction of statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies requiring neonatal care, and the extension of the redundancy protection period for employees on maternity leave to up to six months after they return to work and the introduction of carer’s leave.

 

5. Third Party Harassment

Changes to harassment laws are expected in 2022, including an extension to the time period employees have for raising tribunal claims and enhanced protection against harassment from third parties, such as clients, customers and members of the public.  There is currently protection for sexual harassment from third parties already in place but this protection is likely to be expanded into other areas. Training for employees will need to be updated on this point, as will organisational policies.

 

If your require HR support or have any staffing related issues you could benefit from some seeking advice on, please get in touch with Julie on 07858 089006 or by email to julie@consulthr.co.uk.

 

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Why You Need a HR Professional on Your Team

How do you know when it is time to get expert HR Advice? We are all facing a volatile working environment at the moment due to Covid-19. Employers have to make difficult decisions on staffing levels.  

This creates an increased risk that an employee will seek compensation if you get it wrong.  So now is the time to ensure you get professional HR advice, to protect you and your business.

HR professional advising clients

Should You Outsource HR or Keep it In-House?

Outsourcing works best for small and medium-sized businesses who don’t have their own HR departments. Given the current economic uncertainty, it may not be the right time to expand your management team. However, at such times, it’s crucially important that you have access to HR expertise.

Outsourcing your HR offers a flexible solution to match your needs and your budget. Contact us to arrange to discuss your HR needs on  07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk.

How a HR Service Can Ease Your Business Through This Pandemic 

Running a business during a global pandemic is a constant challenge but good HR makes sure you have a strong team to help. A specialist HR service supports your business with cost effective and flexible advice to get you back on track. 

HR experts like Consult HR can help you make the changes needed to navigate the post-Covid business world.  We have the experience you need to offer year-round support in key areas like employment law, redundancy and restructuring We also help you shape the management team you need to lead your business through this crisis.  

Covid-19 and Company Staffing 

For businesses who need to streamline their staff, redundancies may have to be an option. The redundancy process can be a complex area and the procedures vary depending on the number of redundancies involved. 

Redundancies and Covid-19

You may need to reduce your staffing costs but don’t know how. We help businesses map out their options and guide business owners through the statutory procedures Let us take care of the legalities and provide you with the framework to streamline your business. We create plans to deal sensitively and supportively with staff, while providing on-site and offsite support, as needed. 

HR professional consulting

Restructuring During Covid-19

Where appropriate, HR professionals can provide advice on alternative options to redundancies. We support business owners to create a plan that fits with the vision of their business.  Restructuring your business does not need to be a difficult undertaking and may allow you to keep on staff you’re reluctant to lose. Sometimes job losses can be avoided by changing the role of staffHR professionals can guide you through the legalities of restructuring your business and creating new positions for existing staff 

Employment Law during the Covid Pandemic

Most business owners do not have the time – or inclination – to learn the ins and outs of employment law. This is where a specialist HR professional can save you a lot of time and money. A good HR provider will work with you to develop robust terms and conditions of employment. They will ensure these terms comply with legislation and are specifically tailored to suit the requirements of your business. 

At Consult HR we take care of all aspects of employment policies and procedures for the businesses we work with. We ensure your business is compliant with all employment legislation, which can also protect your Company in litigation claims. 

HR proffessional working

 Coronavirus and Dismissals 

 Employment law is particularly important right now, as many business owners are letting go of staff. Consult HR can advise and guide you through the process to ensure you comply with legislative requirements  

Consult HR are experts in the field of employment law and can provide you with advice on legally binding agreements. This helps you to avoid future litigation and unfair dismissal claims through the industrial tribunals.  

At this time of great upheaval for businesses, a professional HR service can ease the burden and hassle of employment issues. Consult HR have a range of service options to meet all businesses needs and budgets, from project work to pay as you go. Contact us today to find out how we can support your business,  

 

Contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk.  

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

How to deal with underperforming staff

  • Do you have staff in your business who are not performing the job to the level that you are paying them to?

  • How much time do you spend managing staff who aren’t doing their job properly?

  • Have you ever thought on how this effects your business?

Research states that managers spend more than a quarter of their time managing staff members who don’t perform.

Costly mistakes, the loss of customers, and the loss of experienced staff have the potential to negatively impact on you and your business and therefore are too important to ignore.

Dealing with an employee who is underperforming is unfortunately something that as a manager or employer, you will have to face throughout your career. Poor performance can affect productivity, bring down the morale of the rest of the team and affect the overall goals of your business. Therefore, no doubt, when presented with this situation, you’ll want to deal with it right away.

While this is something that happens in most workplaces, there is definitely a right and wrong way to go about the situation. So with this in mind, here, Julie Pollock from Consult HR shares the most effective ways to deal with underperforming staff.

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Get to the source of the problem

Often, there is a reason an employee is making multiple mistakes or doesn’t seem to be putting in the effort anymore, so begin by questioning what the cause could be. Are they overwhelmed by their workload? Are they experiencing difficulty prioritising? Could they benefit from more training? Or, is there a personal reason for their lack of enthusiasm at work?

Prepare to give feedback

It’s important to plan your meeting with the employee in question so that you can offer feedback, which will hopefully lead to improvement. Before the meeting, gather as much evidence and material as possible, so that you have all the facts to hand in order to be specific. Choose a time to sit down together, rather than airing your grievances in the heat of the moment, especially in front of other employees. Be clear about the key messages you wish to get across and how a resolution can be reached.

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Deal with underperformance sooner rather than later

If you don’t deal with an underperforming employee sooner rather than later, you are delivering the message that what they are doing is okay. Furthermore, other members of staff may believe that their behaviour is acceptable and follow suit. During the meeting, highlight the fact that the aim of the discussion is to find a solution, rather than as an opportunity to vent. It is also worth highlighting some positive attributes of the employee so that it isn’t an entirely negative experience.

Make your expectations known

While from time-to-time there will be employees who don’t take a role seriously and try to get away with doing as little as they can, most people don’t deliberately set out to under perform. Poor performance can arise as a result of someone not being 100 per cent clear on what exactly is expected of them. In this instance, it is important to make the expectations of the role known. Be clear on boundaries, who they are responsible for reporting to, any targets they must meet and timelines for outstanding tasks. Ideally, this show be made known to an employee as soon as they join your company. Furthermore, regular appraisals are key for keeping staff motivated and productivity levels high.

underperforming

Offer feedback on performance not personality

Unfortunately, we won’t like and respect everyone we work with over the years. There will be personality clashes and we won’t enjoy spending time with everyone, but this should not impact on your view of an employee’s performance. If a staff member falls into this category, make sure you are offering feedback on their work only. It is vital that your personal opinion of them does not impact your view of their work, especially if they are hitting targets and performing well.

Learn what motivates your employees

It’s worthwhile noting that different things keep different people motivated. Ideally, you should regularly get to know your employees, and specifically, their long term goals and aspirations, and what you can do to better support them.

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Reward improvement

A great habit to get into, is following up with underperforming employees to review their progress. For those who have made improvements, give credit where credit is due. Rewarding their change in attitude is a surefire way to ensure they continue to meet your expectations and take pride in the job at hand.

We are here to help

If you are experiencing difficulties with underperforming employees, help is at hand. If underperforming employees are causing you some problems, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.

Love is in the air; potential problems with workplace romances

Is love in the air in your workplace? As an employer have you ever thought of the problems associated with workplace romances? Here, we get to the heart of the topic by looking at how to effectively deal with relationships in the office.

A survey conducted by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), revealed that 41 per cent of office workers have experienced a romantic relationship in the workplace. With figures higher than a lot of us probably expected, this topic definitely deserves discussion.

Here, we reveal the potential problems that can arise as the result of workplace romances and how to effectively deal with them.

workplace romances

A ban is a no-no!

While as an employer you may deem it appropriate to have an all-out ban on personal relationships at work, this is both unrealistic and a breach of the Human Rights Act. A blanket ban on romantic relationships is likely to aggravate employees, fuel the relationship and create friction between the employer and employee, not to mention the potential law suits that could arise.

workplace romances

Make it clear

Having a clear policy will ensure that everyone knows exactly where they stand. In the policy, define what you deem as “inappropriate conduct” in the workplace, which could lead to disciplinary action. It is also worth outlining a broad ban on “intimate behaviour” while at work, such as kissing, holding hands or touching. The employer is also within their rights to ensure couples keep communications at work, strictly professional, which extends to electronic communications. For example, sending and receiving emails, should not focus on subjects which are not related to work. Employees should be made aware that management have the right to monitor such exchanges and intervene if necessary.

workplace romances

Talk is cheap

Often the biggest worry about workplace romances is the exchange of information between the two parties. Employees should be made aware that it is a breach of their contract to share confidential information. This extends to discussing the proceedings in meetings, staff changes or other commercially sensitive information. Again, this is an area which can be outlined in the company’s policy, highlighting that discussing confidential matters with a partner can lead to disciplinary action.

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When love becomes heartbreak

The breakup of a work relationship often has the biggest impact on the workplace. When relationships turn sour, this can lead to a feeling of unease between the two individuals involved with the impact being felt by the rest of the workplace. And of course, not forgetting the headache it can give a manager! In order to deal with this effectively, having a rule in your policy, which states that employees should inform management if there is a change in their personal relationship, can help with this. Notifying employers gives management time to address any potential problems early, as well as reminding employees of what is expected of them in the workplace, in light of the separation.

Workplace romances

Refrain from playing cupid

It’s worth bearing in mind, that sexual harassment can take a wide variety of forms. In the employment tribunal case of Craddock v Fontoura t/a Countyclean, the business owner’s behaviour was deemed as sexual harassment after he frequently suggested that a male and female colleague should form a relationship. Despite honourable intentions, the employer’s need to play cupid between staff was unwelcome.

workplace romances

In summary, office romances aren’t always hearts and flowers. Employees are entitled to a private life, and employers should only interfere when this has a direct impact on the workplace. Consult HR can help you with your staffing problems. If you need help with this, contact one of our HR experts on 078 5808 9006 or get in touch here.

Top HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace

This month, keep morale and productivity high, thanks to our top HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace.

Whether it’s fact, or a mere fragment of our imagination, this year, so-called Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year –  falls on the 15th of January. Christmas is but a distant memory, the credit card bills have arrived and that next holiday seems an eternity away. All of this can leave your workforce feeling a little sluggish, which is turn can see a decrease in productivity. So what steps can you take to keep the office a hive of activity? Here are our top 10 HR tips to beat the January blues in the workplace…

January blues

TIP #1: A survey by Investors in People revealed that 44% of employees questioned said that a welcome back from bosses would increase their motivation. So on a Monday morning, kick start the working week by showing an interest in employees’ weekends; the perfect way to boost morale.

TIP #2: There’s no denying that staff like to feel part of the company and in the loop. A weekly company newsletter is the perfect way to communicate new year wishes and set out plans for a great year ahead.

TIP #3: No doubt after the festive period, staff will be keen to book their next holiday. You may find that you are inundated with holiday requests after Christmas and rather than increasing stress levels and fobbing staff off, ensure you have a good holiday request process in place. Dealing with holiday requests swiftly will make sure staff feel valued, which in turn will affect their productivity and work quality.

January blues

TIP #5: Don’t forget to acknowledge staff who have worked antisocial or additional hours over the festive period. Let’s face it – no one likes working when others are on holidays so ensure this is highlighted at their next appraisal.

TIP #6: January is the perfect time to set out your plans for the year. A recent survey revealed that 47% of UK workers are looking to change jobs in 2018. The main reason? Poor management was citied by a huge 49%. With this in mind, communication is key to retaining staff. It’s a great idea for line managers to sit down with staff to discuss the key role they play in the success of the business and how the work they carry out meets this. This should be a two-way conversation, allowing the employee to contribute their objectives too.

TIP #7: The come-down after the festive season brings with it increased stress levels and lower moods. Evidence links physical exercise to good mental health so ensure your employees can get out at lunchtime. A quick walk in the fresh air can do wonders for a person’s mood and in-turn, help them regain their focus for the afternoon’s work. And when it comes to breaks, encourage staff to take theirs away from their desk. So many people are guilty of eating while they work so ensure your office boasts a welcoming staff room, canteen etc, so staff have a place of respite to escape to for a few minutes each day.

TIP #8: Give praise where praise is due! During a time when moods are low, the easiest way to pick staff up is by telling them you appreciate the good job they’re doing. Acknowledging hard work is an instant mood booster and staff will be keen to keep the momentum going!

January blues

TIP #9: Assess employee training needs for the year ahead. Learning and self development go hand-in-hand and are the perfect staff incentive, with both the employee and the employer benefiting. Encouraging learning and development of skills increases staff retention levels and motivation.

TIP #10: Be stress-aware! Post-Christmas blues, changes in staff, performance reviews and new goals for the year ahead can trigger stress in staff. Promote an open discussion on stress in the workplace, offering advice to staff on stress management, which they can use to their advantage. Plus, ensure managers and supervisors are aware of the symptoms of stress and how best to approach it.

If it suits your business, give flexible working hours some thought. A flexi hours system can help reduce stress and has been shown to increase productivity in the workplace.

This January, use these top tips in your workplace to keep moods and productivity high.