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Senior Management

Last week the sun decided to make an appearance (probably the only appearance we’ll have all Summer)!

That meant that we decided to take the opportunity to gather our Senior Management for a lovely team photograph, which we have shared with you above.

It’s been extremely busy the last few months and we’ve been growing and changing – we will be sharing the details with you soon!

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the lovely smiles of our Senior Management.

From left to right, Femi Ogunshakin, Andrew Fullelove, Heidi Lamont, Jikoa Monu, Holly Janaway and Ade Okubanjo.

Are you aware of the latest update for exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts?

Clauses that stop employees from working for another employer, whilst on a zero hour contract, will become unlawful from May 26th 2016 – so you may need to review your employment contracts!

It’s worth noting that there will be no qualifying period required, for an employee to bring forward an unfair dismissal claim.

Under the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts Regulations 2015, which came into action on January 11th 2016, if an employee is dismissed due to a breach of contract in relation to an exclusivity clause, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Need help reviewing your contracts? Contact us on 01909 512 120 or email phillipa@loftusstowe.com

Do you directly employ someone to provide you with care and support?

Auto enrolment is all over at the moment, but did you know that if you employ one or more people to help you with care and support, this means you are classed as an employer therefore auto enrolment duties apply to you.

If you receive care and support through an agency, they will pay for the workers national insurance contributions, making them responsible for the pension scheme.

It’s worth noting that if you use money provided to you from the NHS or local authority, you will still need to provide a pension scheme. If this is the case, they should build these costs into the money they provide you, including any national insurance contributions and other costs that may arise from auto enrolment – for support on this contact your local authority or NHS.

You can work out if you need to put your care/support worker into a pension scheme, by taking consideration of their age and earnings. If you do need to put them into a scheme, you will have to pay the minimum contribution into it, which currently stands at 1% of the workers earnings, but it will rise over the next few years.

To work out what contributions you need to make, you can use The Pensions Regulators calculator here.

If you want to find out when you need to provide a pension scheme, you will need to find out your staging date. If you are unsure how to do this, email phillipa@loftusstowe.com or call 01909 512 120

Probationary Period – What rights do employees have?

Just because an employee are on their probation period, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any statutory rights. It’s important for businesses to understand and comply with the rights employees hold.

A probation period doesn’t have a special legal status, so employees who are on probation have the same statutory employment rights, as all other employees. They are entitled to national minimum wage, statutory sick pay and are protected against unlawful discrimination – along with all the other statutory rights.

Not only this, but employees who are on probation usually only have a short period of service with the company, therefore are unable to claim unfair dismissal. Ordinary unfair dismissal requires two years’ service.

However, an employee on probation can claim they have been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason or unlawful discrimination. So when dealing with performance issues or disciplinary during a probation period, you should be able to demonstrate the grounds were genuine.

If a grievance is raised by an employee on probation, this should be investigated as it could relate to discriminatory behaviour or unlawful treatment. Failure to address these things, could result in a claim against the business – which could be costly!

Finally if an employee doesn’t pass their probation then you may have to terminate the contract. Although they are on probation, you still will need to comply with statutory notice as a minimum, or provide the notice which is stated in their employment contract.

The above is not a comprehensive list of rights which employees on probation hold, for more details on what you should and should not do, contact us on 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

What would you do if an employee requested a career break?

Career breaks are an extremely useful way of holding onto those valued employees. However, it’s been proven that there are areas of uncertainty when it comes to career breaks.

The simple solution? Ensure you have a clear career break policy.

A wide range of employees from different industries take advantage of career breaks to either study, travel, pursue other interests and much more. Yet employers also gain an advantage, as the employee normally gains experience and skills whilst they are away from the workplace.

Where do you begin? What even is a career break?

Generally speaking, career breaks are used to describe a period of agreed absence, which could be weeks, months or in some cases, years. The longer the break, the harder it tends to be for an employee to reintegrate into their old workplace, plus the employer may not be as committed to re-employing them.

They tend to be unpaid, although some employers choose to pay the employee but a lower rate, this is to try and secure the employee to come back to work at the end.

Can anyone take a career break? How does an employee qualify?

All requests should be considered fairly, as eligibility for the break should not discriminate against certain staff groups such as part-time employees.

Eligibility will differ depending on each employer, it is common for employers to require the employee to have a minimum period of continued employment with them, before they can apply for a career break. However if you are going to do this, bear in mind the age discrimination law when setting the minimum period.

What about on return, does the employee have any rights?

When an employee returns from their career break, they have no statutory right to return. It is up to the employer and employee to agree terms before the break begins – meaning it’s extremely important to be clear about terms on return. If these are foggy, unclear or misunderstood, you could be putting yourself at risk of a claim.

Employers should consider if the role is guaranteed, what will role, pay and conditions be? They should also consider the fact that the job may no longer exist.

All of these points should be explained in a career break policy, to allow employees to be aware of what the process is and what they can expect. If you need help with this, contact us on 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

Are you aware of the important employment law changes on their way this April?

Every April you can expect employment law changes to be coming your way, are you aware of the ones coming into force this April?

The first change, national living wage rate of £7.20 is to be introduced for workers aged 25 and over. This is effective from the first pay reference period, which begins on or after April 1st 2016, so don’t get caught out!

Whilst on the topic of pay rates, the penalties for non-payment of the national minimum wage is increasing. If you are found not to have paid the national minimum wage, then the penalty doubles from April 1st 2016.

Another change you need to be aware of, is employers will no longer pay employer national insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25, from April 6th 2016. This is due to the Government trying to encourage employers to create more apprenticeships for young people.

Another change worth noting, legislation is expected to come into force sometime during April 2016, which allows tribunal enforcement officers, to impose a financial penalty onto an employer, who fails to pay a tribunal award or Acas settlement sum.

This isn’t a full list of all the changes coming into force, but just a starting point of the ones which are just around the corner.

For any help or guidance, contact us on 01909 512 120 or email phillipa@loftusstowe.com

Have you heard about Shared Grandparental Leave?

Proposals are to be launched in May this year as an extension of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), the Chancellor announced in the Budget.

SPL came into force 5 April 2015, which allows the parents of babies which were due on or after 5 April, to cut short their maternity leave and allow their partner to share the leave with them.

At the moment under the SPL legislation, only the mother’s partner are entitled to share the leave.

However, it’s been announced that plans are in place, to extend this from 2018, and allow one nominated working grandparent share the leave with them.

Osborne believes that it will allow families to keep childcare costs down, as grandparents typically hold a central role when it comes down to caring for grandchildren. Sounds pretty good?

There are some worries to this of course, it’s worried that employers are likely to become more concerned on the complexity to the SPL rules which already makes employees feel put off using this method of leave.

Let us know your thoughts, or for support or guidance contact us on 01909 512 120 or email phillipa@loftusstowe.com

Update on Persons with significant control register (PSR)

In May 2015 it was announced that all companies would be required to maintain a register of persons with significant control (PSC) as from January 2016.

As part of company law under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, there is a requirement for the majority of UK companies, directors, secretaries and administrators to;

  1. Identify persons with significant control over the company; both directly and indirectly
  2. Contact anyone with such relevant information on your company’s ownership and control
  3. Consider who is registrable
  4. Maintain a written register of those persons, known as a PSC register

Even if a company is dormant, the PSC register cannot be left blank, and where there is non-compliance with the above, criminal sanctions will be actioned.

The above information is then required to be filed with Companies House, where it will be added to a public register.

You are probably aware that the above change has not being implemented yet.

However, these requirements have not been dropped, and it has now been confirmed that the legal requirement to maintain a PSC register will start 6 APRIL 2016 and the requirement to fill the information with Companies House is set to commence on 30 JUNE 2016.

Remember, this is not going to disappear, so do not avoid this change and start thinking now.

 

You could be responsible, for a crime your employee committed.

Did you know, as an employer, you can be held responsible for crimes which were committed by your staff at work?

The UK supreme court has ruled, that any employer can be held responsible for crimes which their staff have committed, whilst at work – which has extreme consequences on vicarious liability (when someone is held liable for another’s acts).

This has come from a case where, in brief, a Morrisons customer was suffered a violent, racist assault which happened on Morrison’s petrol station forecourts in 2008.

The customer asked the Morrisons employee to print off a document from a USB stick he had; the employee refused and told the customer to drive away, using foul, racist and threating language. The employee then followed the customer to his car, opened his door and punched him in the head.

The customer was knocked to the floor and kicked repeatedly by the employee and a supervisor had to intervene to stop the fight which led to a claim for compensation against Morrisons.

The high court and court of appeal both agreed that Morrisons were not responsible, due there not being a close enough connection to the employee’s job role and his conduct in the attack. However, it’s was argued and the supreme court disagreed with their decision.

This just goes to show the importance of having policies and procedures in place, to protect your business – let us know your thoughts!

Have you seen our revamped HR Services?!

No matter what industry your business operates in, having a HR department that works well is a must. Which is why our HR consultancy is a great option – and here’s why:

You get expert advice, as and when you need it – This can be done either over the phone or face-to-face. This advice can cover dealing with non-performing staff, sickness absence, right through to termination of employment and much more.

A lot of the hassle is taken away – Without having access to experts, it’s hard to know where to start and things can start piling up. For example, when you’re looking for new members of staff, you have to send out interview invitations, check documentation that’s sent back and ensure the induction takes place. This can be a lot of hassle, particularly if you’ve a lot of other tasks to complete. Which is why, in our Silver package, we take care of all of that for you.

You can ensure all situations are dealt with in the best way – When it comes to managing staff, complying with employment law, or employment tribunals, it’s important to know you’re getting things right. And it’s important to know you’re giving them 100% of your attention. Having an external HR consultant can make all the difference – especially if they have legal knowledge too.

You’ll know you’re getting the most from your staff – You’ll notice that when things are running smoothly in the HR department, your staff appear more productive too. Maybe this is because they know they’re receiving the best training, maybe it’s because they know that should any conflict arise, you’re on top of it. Whatever it may be, it’s always nice to know your staff are performing to their highest standard.

What are you waiting for? If none of our package services suit your needs, speak to a member of our team as we are always able to tailor packages to suit each individual.

Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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