Annual Leave Policies

Who are flying your planes?

Ryanair has a lot of angry customers to placate, due to a series of cancelled flights that are reported to affect 400,000 passengers. We’re not PR specialists so we won’t comment on how this has been handled, but we are HR experts so we do have an opinion on the crux of the matter.

The problem as Ryanair admits “we messed up in the planning of pilot holidays”.¹

Ryanair’s business is seasonal. As we understand it, pilots are encouraged to take a block of 4 weeks annual leave between September and March, out of peak season, with the remainder on an ad-hoc basis. We assume this should leave enough pilots available through the busy periods from Easter and through the summer.

However, there are a couple of further complications: 1) the number of hours pilots can work in a given period and 2) a new regulation that they have to comply with (Irish Aviation Authority told the airline that, by the end of 2017, they must adopt the rules set by European regulators and use a calendar year).

Whilst we’re certainly not providing an excuse for the mess Ryanair find themselves in, the point is, annual leave needs to be managed properly.

Annual leave needs to be managed

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Workplace Pensions – Headache or Opportunity?

The law has changed. All employers must provide a workplace pension – and contribute to it.

Mandatory Auto Enrolment commenced in 2012 for companies with over 250 employees and finally, in April 2017, this applied to companies with less than 30 employees or those without PAYE schemes. Now all employers have to have a qualifying pension scheme in place, whether their employees are eligible or not.

Auto Enrolment: headache or an opportunity?

As a business owner and depending on your view Auto Enrolment is either a pain that you can do without or an opportunity to be embraced.

From an HR perspective, we see this as a great employee engagement opportunity.

It’s our duty to encourage employees to save

Workplace Pensions

Whilst the State Pension age set out by the government has been increased, (see https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age for the latest information) so too has life expectancy, with many people now expecting to have over 20+ years enjoying their hard-earned retirement, or will they?

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Managing grievances in your business

This month we’ve had to manage a grievance on behalf of a client.

It is of the utmost importance that grievances, whether they be verbal or in writing, are dealt with as soon as possible. An early resolution is the objective, avoiding a lengthy situation that could end in a costly tribunal. Addressing the grievance swiftly and in accordance with the correct procedure will reduce the stress for all parties concerned.

A Grievance Procedure is a legal requirement

It is a legal requirement that all businesses have a grievance procedure, this ensures that all employees are treated fairly. Should the dispute go to tribunal the employer will able to demonstrate that the correct procedure has been followed.

If an employee states they are resigning because of something negative, then this should also be followed up formally following the grievance procedure.

Handling grievances

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Summer HR Policies

When the May Bank Holiday is over it feels as though Summer is just around the corner.

It’s a time of year that many of us look forward to; planning holidays, a change in wardrobe and the therapeutic feeling of sunshine on our skin.

However, for a business owner, these summertime joys can feel more like a nightmare; juggling tasks whilst members of staff are off, a little bit too much flesh being displayed and soaring temperatures making working conditions uncomfortable.

Whilst it’s not possible for these stresses to disappear, it is possible to assuage them by having clear policies set out in the employee handbook.

Summer HR Policies

 

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Handling awkward conversations

This is not a conversation I want to have

How many times have you put off having an awkward conversation with an employee, hoping things will improve and the problem will go away?

The reality is, this doesn’t often happen. The situation gets worse and you regret not nipping it in the bud when you had the chance.

The boss’s problem

Awkward conversations with employees are particularly difficult within small businesses.

Chances are you, the boss, work closely with your small team. Over time you get to know each other quite well; sharing a drink after work, learning about families and what’s happening at the weekend. Friendships are made.

But there will be times when awkward conversations must be had. There are several reasons why these situations arise; poor performance, bad time keeping, a resignation even personal hygiene.

That awkward conversation can’t be put off any longer.

Nobody’s baby is ugly!

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Changes to HR legislation from April 2017

There are a number of HR legislation changes that occur in April 2017. You have probably heard about the imminent increase to the National Living Wage as this has been widely reported on the news.

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

Changes to National Minimum Wage

The National Living Wage (NLW), currently set at £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over, will increase to £7.50 from 1st April 2017.

At the same time the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for 21 to 24-year-old workers will rise to £7.05 an hour.

The rate for 18 to 20-year-old workers will increase to £5.60 an hour

The rate for 16 and 17-year-old workers will go up to £4.05 an hour.

The minimum hourly rate for apprentices will be £3.50 an hour.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay

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When to ask for HR help

How big does my business need to be before I think about HR matters?

We recently visited a rapidly growing company just taking on their sixth member of staff. The Managing Director had not experienced any problems to date, but he wanted peace of mind going forward.

This is a typical scenario. It’s possibly not until you’ve employed 3 or 4 people that you start to think that you should have some formal HR procedures in place.

If I’m asked ‘When do I need HR help?’ my answer would be “As soon as you employ one person”.

The reason for this is that every single employee should have a contract and terms and conditions of employment. In addition, there should be three or four basic HR policies in place. These would include disciplinary, absence, holiday and severe weather. There may be additional policies that are relevant to your industry or if for example you employ shift workers.

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Appraisals

How do you know you are getting the best out of your staff?

Well there is one way to find out and that is to talk to them! And the best way to do this is through the form of an annual appraisal.

What is an appraisal?

The annual appraisal is essentially a dialogue between your employee and you as the employer or manager. It is not intended as a stick to beat anyone with, but a two-way conversation that allows you to review how your employee has performed over the last period and gives the employee the opportunity to express their views on what they have done and what they would like to be doing going forward.

Once the appraisal has been conducted and agreed it will form the basis of what the employer and employee can expect to be delivered over the next year. It is a plan by which you can both be held to account.

Spending time conducting appraisals correctly, takes you away from your general business tasks, so it is vitally important that you have the right preparation in place and do it right first time.

Top 10 tips to getting the most from the appraisal and the best from your staff:

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Impact of Brexit on UK employment laws

Some time has now passed following the historic decision by Great Britain to leave the EU, having been a member for over 40 years. During that period, the landscape of this country has changed dramatically and many of the laws by which we are governed have been taken in Brussels.

One thing is clear, and that is, there is great deal of work to be done before Britain finally exits the EU, once it formally evokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. This will undoubtedly lead to confusion, concern and uncertainty as to where many employers and employees stand in relation to the UK’s employment laws.

So I thought I would share with you, a pretty comprehensive article I read on the matter titled The impact of Brexit on UK employment law – Summer 2016 by CMS Cameron McKenna. This gives an excellent insight as to where many of us stand and where we may find ourselves in the future of Britain.

The message is “Keep calm and carry on”.

Keep calm and carry on post Brexit decisionWe do hope you find the article useful.  If you have any questions please contact Charlie Lloyd who has a wealth of experience in this area.

You can email Charlie or call 01737 336336.

 

 

 

 

 

Recruiting is a PR opportunity

It has been said so many times before, that the people that work in your company, are your most important asset, so ensuring you have the best people possible, can be key to the success of your business.

Recruiting the right individuals in the first place, is therefore of paramount importance and…

“the manner by which you recruit can say much about the ethos of your business.”

Are you making the most of the PR opportunity when you are hiring?

When following the correct recruitment process, it can deliver a number of positive messages to your customers, employees, stake holders and competitors.

On the other hand, when the process is not professionally managed, the opposite is true and the costs to your business can be significant.

Recruitment best practice

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