HR Expert: Agency Workers Rules

Q- My client will be taking on an agency worker for the first time in a few weeks, what things do they need to be aware of?

A- Many employers regularly turn to agency workers to fill short term needs in their business, however as this will be your client’s first time using an agency worker there are some key things they should know.
First of all, it will be important for your client to have a clear understanding of the definition of an agency worker. This is an individual who is engaged in a contractual agreement with a temporary work agency to work temporarily for, and under the supervision and direction of, the hirer i.e. your client. Read More

HR Expet: Change in NMW

Q- My client is wary of the new National Minimum Wage rates that will come into effect from 1st April. What things do they need to consider from an employment law perspective?

A- As we head into Spring the latest set of employment law changes are set to come thick and fast, with the first of these being a change in national minimum wage (NMW) rates.

From 1st April 2019, the national living wage (NLW) for those aged 25 years and over will increase to £8.21 per hour. Minimum wage rates will also increase across the various age categories, rising to £7.70 per hour for 21-24 year olds, £6.15 per hour for 18-20 year olds and £4.35 per hour for those over the compulsory school age but not yet 18. The apprenticeship rate for those under the age of 19, or 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship, will also increase to £3.90 per hour. Read More

HR Expert: Dogs in Work

Q- My client has been asked by a couple of employees whether they can bring their dogs to work. What things do they need to consider?

A- Whilst it may not necessarily be widespread, there is a growing trend of businesses allowing employees to bring their dogs to work with them. Although your client is under no obligation to agree to this themselves, there are several points that are worth considering before they make a decision. Read More

HR Expert: Sickness & Holidays

Q- My client has informed me that they have an ‘unwritten policy’ which lets staff who are unable to attend work due to sickness book this as annual leave so they don’t miss out on full pay. Is that OK?

A- Your client is not alone in encouraging this practice as many employers will allow their staff to do the same, particularly in the absence of any company sick pay. Although this is often thought of as a mutually beneficial arrangement, your client should consider where this may create issues further down the line. Read More

HR Experts: Dress Codes for Hairstyles

Q- My client has read in the news that having a dress code which place restrictions on hairstyles may be discriminatory, is this right?

A-It is likely that your client is referring to the recent decision of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, who in efforts to tackle racial prejudice, have prevented organisations from banning specific hairstyles in their company. Although this relates to US law, it would be a good idea for your client to apply the same principle to their own dress code and consider where certain requirements may be discriminatory. Read More

HR Expert: Preventing Annual Leave Carry Over

Q- My client had a number of staff who didn’t take their full allocation of annual leave during 2018 which meant this time was ‘lost’, what can they do to prevent this from happening again this year?

A- It is understandable why your client may feel uneasy with staff having to forfeit their untaken leave at the end of the year, however, the good news is there are a number of steps they can take to avoid this situation occurring in the future. Read More

HR Expert: Help with a Capability Procedure

Q- My client has an employee who is struggling to meet the standards they expect and believes this is an issue with capability. How should they deal with this?

A- If an employee is failing to meet the required standards at work, then your client should first consider holding an informal meeting with them to discuss this in the hope that they improve their performance on their own accord.

If, after a suitable length of time, the employee does not improve then your client may begin a formal capability procedure. As a first step they should complete an investigation into the employee’s performance, gathering suitable evidence which highlights where they are falling short. This may vary depending on their job role, however it could include evidence of poorly executed work or customer complaints.  Read More

HR Expert: Personal Hygiene

Q- My client has received a number of complaints from customers and staff about the personal hygiene of one of their employees. As this is a sensitive topic how should they go about addressing this with the individual?

A- It is only natural that your client will want staff to maintain a good standard of personal hygiene to present the best possible image for their business. However, having a conversation with an employee about their poor personal hygiene can be difficult, with many employers choosing to avoid this altogether.  Read More

HR Expert: Zero Hours & Good Work Plan

Q- My client has heard in the news that their zero hours’ staff may be able to ask for more stable contracts in the future. Is this right?

A- Judging from your client’s query it would appear that they are referring to a proposal taken from the government’s Good Work Plan, which outlines a series of future initiatives designed to grant additional rights to those working in unsecure employment. Read More

HR Expert: Change in Working Hours

Q- My client has informed me that financial restrictions mean they will need to ask one of their employees to go from full time to part time in 2019 – How should they go about this?

A- Asking staff to shift from full-time to part-time work can be a difficult conversation to have, especially as this will typically require them to take a drop in wages. However, providing your client has a solid business reason and follows the correct procedure they should be able to do this with minimum fuss. Read More