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

HR Expert: Planning the Works Christmas Party

Q- My client is planning their work’s Christmas party and has asked me what things they need to consider to ensure this runs smoothly?

A- As we head into December most staff across the country will be looking forward to their respective Christmas parties and the chance to celebrate with their colleagues outside of the typical working environment. However, the thought of planning a Christmas party can be a stressful proposition for your client, bringing with it a number of risks that need to be addressed in order for it to run smoothly.

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HR Expert: Wrongly Classed as Self-Employed

Q- My client has heard several stories in the news about ‘workers’ being owed compensation after being wrongly classed as ‘self-employed’. How can they be sure they have got the employment status of their own staff correct? 

A- Understanding employment status can be tricky at times, particularly for those who work in the gig economy. In light of recent cases, your client is advised to review their business practices to ensure they are acting in accordance with the law.

To determine the employment status of their staff your client will need to carry out the appropriate employment status test. This will confirm which of the three employment categories individuals fall into employee, worker or self-employed. These categories determine what employment rights individuals are entitled to, such as annual leave and statutory sick pay.  Read More

HR Expert: Staff Bullying on Whatsapp

Q- My client has received complaints from a member of staff that they have been bullied by a colleague on a works’ WhatsApp group chat. What should they do about this?

A- Whilst work related WhatsApp groups can be a force for good, creating an informal environment to brainstorm ideas and share important information quickly, their use does carry some risk with employees often seeing this as a grey area where the normal rules of work conduct do not apply.  Read More

HR Expert: Keeping in contact on Maternity Leave

Q- My client runs a small business and has an employee that is about to go off for a year on maternity leave and want to know if they are allowed to contact the employee during her leave. Are there any rules on this? 

A- Business owners can often feel uneasy at the prospect of communicating with staff during a period of leave, however, your client should understand that keeping in contact with an employee on maternity leave is perfectly acceptable and widely encouraged.

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HR Expert: Planning Annual Leave During Christmas Period

Q- My client wants to put plans in place to manage time off over Christmas and New Year, how should they do this?

A- Annual leave can be an important topic in any workplace, particularly in the period around Christmas and New Year, which is often the end of the leave year. Your client may be concerned at the thought of handling an influx of annual leave requests during this time, however, this can easily be done so long as they plan accordingly.  Read More

HR EXPERT: Tipping Waiters

Q- My client has heard that the law on dealing with tips is going to change. He runs a restaurant and currently passes on only 75% of tips to the employees. Will he be able to carry on doing this?

A- Recently, many high-profile businesses have attracted criticism for making tip deductions and using the funds to cover business charges in other areas. Although taking a percentage of tips given to employees can be common practice for employers it can also be significantly frustrating for the workforce. Despite the fact that a voluntary code of conduct for fair tipping procedures exists there is currently no law prohibiting employers from making deductions from tips. However, this position is due to change. Read More