When Lost Voice Guy won Britain’s Got Talent I jumped for joy!

Lee Ridley has cerebral palsy, which affects his ability to speak. The comedian uses a voice synthesiser to deliver his act and gained £250,000 in prize money and the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance by winning Britain’s Got Talent.

When Lost Voice Guy won I jumped for joy!

Why was I so ecstatic?

Well, I have a personal interest in seeing people with health challenges succeed. This stems from my own experiences from being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 17 and in particular the way I was treated when suffering a relapse aged 25.

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Data Protection Policy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into force on 25th May 2018 has been keeping us really busy writing and updating data protection policies.

Companies have been reviewing their employee handbook to ensure that their data protection policy is up to date, or in some cases plugging the gap where there wasn’t an existing policy.

A data protection policy needs to be tailored to each business’s circumstance, but broadly speaking the policy should cover:

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Avoiding a Tribunal Claim

Prevention is better than finding your company facing a Tribunal claim.

Employment laws in the UK are complex in nature, but reviews of the modern day working practices, have been put in place to protect both employer and employee alike.

The Government commissioned Matthew Taylor to conduct an independent review of modern working practices. The Taylor Review was published in June 2017. Speaking at an HR conference he stated, “Small businesses don’t end up at tribunal because they’re evil people. They end up there because they don’t have any HR to guide them through complex employment law”.

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How to review your annual leave policy

Beating the January blues

Following the highs of Christmas and New Year and the exhaustion brought on from the aftermath of partying and overindulging with too many chocolates, it’s understandable that returning to work in January can be a struggle for many.

So, it’s no surprise that the most depressing day of the year, known as Blue Monday, falls in January.

Holiday companies see a peak in enquiries and bookings, with people wanting to have a break firmly in the diary to look forward.

The knock-on effect is that business owners find themselves inundated with holiday requests, especially as employees jockey to get their days off booked to avoid clashing with their colleagues.

How to review your Annual Leave Policy

January is a good time to review and that includes your company policies. And since we’re talking about holidays, let’s review your annual policy (assuming that you have one!).

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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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