Maternity Policies

I’ve just done the maths and realise why we’re getting so many clients asking us for support on all things maternity. The babies are arriving; Valentine’s Day was clearly a very romantic one! Maternity policies

This means we’ve been drafting rather a lot of Maternity Policies recently.

Here is a summary of elements that should be included in your Maternity Policy.

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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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