In recent months, we have all been preoccupied so we thought it would be helpful to provide a few important reminders and insights, which might have been missed.
New Immigration Plans Post Brexit
Plans to replace EU freedom of movement with a new set of rules and regulations have passed the first step in Parliament. We are advised to expect a points-based system with detail set out later this year.
Points can be scored for:
- Having a job offer from an approved sponsor.
- Job offers at a required skill level.
- The ability to speak English to a certain level.
- Extra points for those earning more than £25,600.
Tax Breaks for Staff
If buy equipment/home office furniture to enable employees to work from home, usually you have to declare that on P11Ds as a Benefit in Kind, which is subject to tax and NI. However, from 16th March 2020 to the end of the year, an exemption is coming in meaning that your employees will not have to pay the tax and NI.
Action: Ensure your finance team has picked up on this change in the law.
We picked up from HR Review that recruitment Firm Robert Walters has done some great research into remote working and mental health and as you seek to get your employees back on board and back to full productivity, we thought seeing some of the statistics from Robert Walters would be valuable:
Why is remote working causing a decline in mental health:
- 69% blamed lack of physical interaction with their team.
- 59% blamed the inability to separate home and work life.
- 47% blamed distractions at home.
- 37% blamed a lack of structure to the working day.
- 36% blamed longer working hours.
Impact of lockdown on women vs men:
- 34% women seen a decline in their mental wellbeing vs 24% men.
- 73% women missed the lack of interaction with the team vs 62% men.
Jaluch is running virtual seminars and some face to face sessions on mental health. If you think a session would be of value when people return to the workplace, an opportunity to discuss and understand their fears and concerns, then we would be delighted to run it. As a wider topic, Jaluch regularly delivers health and wellbeing training for managers so please do ask.
The Good Work Plan – April 2020
With the lockdown many companies will have missed the fact that you now need to add into your contracts of employment the following:
- The days of the week the individual will be working, whether these hours will vary and how they will vary.
- Details of paid leave entitlement (including maternity, paternity etc) or details of where this can be found.
- Details of remuneration and benefits offered.
- Any probationary period, its length and any conditions attached to it.
- Any training entitlement provided by the employer, including whether any training is mandatory and/or must be paid for by the worker.
- Any entitlement to paid leave, including maternity leave and paternity leave (or details about where this information can be found).
- Details of any mandatory training, provided by the employer, which the worker must complete, and any mandatory training that is required which the employer will not pay for.
- Details of the length of temporary or fixed-term work.
For current staff, you do not have to give them this information straight away. An employee can however can request this information, including up to three months after their employment ends, and, if they do request it, you will have 1 month to respond to the request.
Additionally, if there has been a change to an employees’ terms and conditions after 6th April 2020 that relates to the points above then you should inform them of this change within one month.
If you need new or updated contracts, we offer an annual subscription to our template document site from just £199+VAT. Full time, part time, term time, fixed term contracts plus 100’s of other documents to help you manage employees. Documents can be used by HR professionals or managers. Get in touch for more info.
Redundancy – Failure to Consult
There have been a lot of junior or inexperienced HR Staff thrust into very challenging roles and we just wanted to flag up that there are very clear expectations around consultation with staff if you intend to make redundancies. Failure to consult can result in a penalty of up to 90 days pay PER PERSON.
For support with redundancies including holding consultation meetings, creating letters etc. please do ask our experienced team.
Employment Tribunals – Time Limits and top tip for virtual hearings
In March 2020, instructions were issued relating to the management of Employment Tribunals during the Pandemic. This included:
“Whilst recognising that the pandemic may impact on compliance with time limits for presenting ET1s / ET3s, nonetheless time limits remain as normal (as they do for instituting appeals) with the caveat that Judges have discretion to allow matters to be presented out of time and still allow them to proceed”.
We also read the following as a useful tip if you have a virtual/online hearing coming up with the Employment Tribunal:
“Judges are likely to be working from 3 screens when conducting cases (bundle / witness statements / participants) and it is envisaged that representatives conducting hearings may well need the same to work efficiently.”
If we can support with an employment tribunal or grievance raised please do ask. We offer competitive rates.
Workplace Risk Assessments
Workplace risk assessments are now a legal requirement in every workplace, so ensure you have yours completed and regularly reviewed. If you have an employee representative forum then we recommend you involve them and get regular feedback on what is working and what is not working to ensure you continually keep your employees and your business as safe as is possible.
Be aware that COVID-19 is now a reportable disease under RIDDOR so any infections must be formally notified to the HSE.
You might also need to remember to add in a section on COVID to the risk assessment you undertake each time you are notified an employee is pregnant.
If you need a workplace risk assessment, an annual subscription to our template document site starts from just £199+VAT. Risk assessments plus 100’s of other documents to help you manage employees. Documents can be used by HR professionals or managers. Get in touch for more info.
If you need to elect or training reps, we can also provide online employee representative training.
Fear and Mediation
If you are struggling to get an employee back to work as a result of their fear following the Pandemic and lockdown then can we suggest that at a really early stage (i.e. don’t delay) you organise a mediation style meeting between the employee and a company representative facilitated by a mediator (or similar) to get the issues onto the table with a view to seeking a resolution as it would be tragic for formal issues to be raised around obeying a reasonable instruction or unauthorised absence from work just because you weren’t sure how to handle someone’s fears. Jaluch can support with this if required.