Employee Christmas Parties and HR issues to consider

posted by admin on November 21, 2017

Employee Christmas Parties and HR issues to consider

The Office Christmas Party is a long standing tradition and is not just limited to office staff. Although the economy is still in austere measures it doesn’t stop employers providing some sort of event, although many staff fund events themselves these days. This is often limited to bringing in food and drink into the workplace. It is the season of good will and a time for some employers to thank their staff with a festive event. Morale will be high so it’s important to plan to minimise any staffing issues that many arise as a direct result of the celebrations.

There are many tales of shenanigan’s and goings on that happen at or after Christmas ‘”do’s”.  In sober moments after the event there may be many red faces and for employers it can bring a host of issues. This can be potentially damaging for employers in numerous ways and not least when it gets into the media.

But it is also important that as an employer, you manage the risk of staff misconduct, grievance and other HR related issues.

What many staff seem to be ignorant of is that any Christmas event that is work related is an extension of the workplace and as such Employers are liable for third party actions.

As society and the workplace is more and more diverse today, many staff events cater for different religions, and not all the entire workforce may want to join in boozy events. Ensure that you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available. You must not make it compulsory for all staff to attend and you need to think about the composition of the workforce. Ensure that there is a vegetarian choice on the menu. The key area for a grievance to be raised is where an employee feels that they have been discriminated against is at the Christmas Party.

So what can you do to manage the issues that can arise from Christmas Parties:-

  • Remind staff that normal rules of behaviour apply even off the premises and that the party venue is an extension of the workplace. As an employer you have a duty of care so you are still responsible at the Company’s Christmas Party.
  • Remind staff about discrimination and sex discrimination policies. They need to be reminded that any inappropriate behaviour at the Christmas Party is considered in the same way as working hours.
  • Remind staff not to drink and drive and to make suitable arrangements to get home if they want to drink. Consider the use of organising a mini bus to pick up and take people home. If you don’t want to fund this then you could offer to arrange/organise this for staff on the basis that they will have to pay for this service. Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available.
  • Inform staff that over indulging at the Christmas Party doesn’t excuse them from coming into work the next day. If you operate a Monday to Friday business consider holding the event either on a Friday or Saturday night.
  • Don’t forget to invite staff who are on Maternity /Paternity. You must also include Agency workers, fixed term temporary and part time staff
  • Do not make it compulsory to attend. It might clash with non-Christian religious dates
  • If you employee under 18 years olds you need to consider the venue if you hold it off work premises to ensure that they allow under 18’s on the premises
  • If you employ disabled staff who have access requirements  you need to ensure that the venue is fully accessible
  • If you are providing alcoholic drinks don’t provide them free all night. Speak with the Bar staff so that they can remain vigilant in case any staff are drunk.
  • Alcohol can cause unwanted sexual advances and can fuel fights between even the best of friends.
  • If an employee becomes intoxicated it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the employee is taken home safely.
  • Employers can spend up to £150.00 per head on staff events without it being treated as a taxable perk. High value gifts are tax deductible for both employer and employee
Click here to view full article >>

SSP Rates

posted by admin on

Update – New SSP Rates

Now Effective

 

The government has published the new rates of statutory payments for employees who are on sick or family related leave,

IMPLICATIONS

All employers should ensure that those responsible for payroll in their organisation are aware of the new statutory rates and when they take effect so that employees are not inadvertently underpaid.

 

CHANGES

The new rates are set out in the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Order  which the government has now published.

The Order confirms that 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £87.55 per week to £89.35 per week.

  • The standard rate of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) will increase from £138.18 to £140.98 per week.

The standard rates of Statutory Adoption and Ordinary and Additional paternity pay will increase from £138.18 to £140.98 per week.

Click here to view full article >>

TERMINATION PAYMENTS – CHANGES TO THE TAX TREATMENT

posted by Nora Mendoza-Lee on

  • The Government has now confirmed the changes which will be made in how termination payments will be taxed, and published draft legislation for comment.
  • The changes will apply “from April 2018“.  It is not clear at this stage whether payments pursuant to settlement agreements entered into before that time will be grandfathered under the existing legislation, but that may well be the case.

Key points are:

  • the existing £30,000 income tax exemption for termination payments will continue to apply, as will the unlimited exemption for employee national insurance contributions (“NICs”) (provided, as now, the payment is not “earnings”).  However, employers’ NICs will be due on any termination payment in excess of £30,000, making termination payments more costly for employers;
  • all PILONs will now be taxed (irrespective of whether they are contractual or non-contractual).  In fact, any payment or benefit which the employee would have received during his notice period (had he worked it) will be subject to tax and NICs. Further details of how this provision will operate in practice are set out below;
  • the exemption for payments due to injury and disability will be retained, but will be amended so that it will not extend to injury to feelings unless the injury amounts to a “psychiatric injury or other recognised medical condition”;
  • foreign service relief will be withdrawn.  This may raise some interesting questions, for example, about whether a payment to an employee who has worked outside the UK for several years but for a UK employer, will be caught;
  • the other existing exemptions will remain, including payments made to tax exempt or registered pension schemes, and in respect of legal costs.1

1 Information provided by D L Piper UK LLP

Click here to view full article >>

Lay-Offs

posted by admin on

In the current economic environment, lay-offs are an unfortunate fact of life.

It is appreciated that employers do not readily resort to this step and some industries are more susceptible than others.  Used indiscriminately they can damage employee relations in a workplace which can have an impact on a business for a very long time.

Employers should ensure that they keep their employees informed of what is happening and the likelihood of the lay-off being lifted as this can have serious implications for employers should they have laid off staff for a long period of time and then suddenly work picks up.

If the employer has not kept staff in the loop it is likely that they will start to look elsewhere for employment of decide to ask the employer to make them redundant.

So what are their rights if they decide that they no longer wish to be employed?

If an employee has been laid off for a period of 4 weeks or 6 weeks in a 13 week period, they can write to the employer to claim redundancy.

If the employer has work that the employee can do and:

  • the employer responds to the employee within 7 days of receipt of the letter
  • they can guarantee that the employee can return to work within 1 month of receipt of the letter
  • they can further guarantee work for a period of 13 weeks.

The employer can refuse the redundancy payment.

If the employer does not fulfil the above, the employee is entitled to redundancy.

For more information on how to deal with lay-offs and/or redundancy issues, Contact Us to support you through the process.

Click here to view full article >>

Rights for Time off to Attend Ante-Natal Appointments

posted by admin on

From 1 October 2014 an expectant father or a pregnant woman’s partner became entitled to unpaid time off to accompany the pregnant woman to 2 ante-natal appointments.

IMPLICATIONS

The right applies to all employees with no qualifying period. Agency workers are entitled to the time off once they have reached the 12 week qualifying period under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

Employees and qualifying agency workers are eligible to the time off if they are either:

1. the baby’s father or parent; 2. the expectant mother’s spouse, civil partner or partner in an enduring relationship; or 3. intended parents of a child in a surrogacy arrangement where they expect to be entitled and apply for a parental order in respect of that child.

DETAILS

Eligible employees and qualifying agency workers are entitled to accompany the pregnant woman to 2 appointments. The maximum time permitted per appointment is six and half hours which includes time for travelling, waiting and attendance at the appointment.

Employers will not be entitled to ask for evidence of the appointment, such as the appointment card, as this is not the property of the employee but the pregnant woman.

However, the employer can ask for a declaration from the employee stating:

1. they are in a qualifying relationship either with the pregnant woman or the expected child; 2. are taking the time off to accompany the pregnant woman to the ante-natal appointment which has been arranged on the advice of a registered medial practitioner, midwife or nurse; and 3. the date and time of the appointment.

If employers do not permit the time off a complaint can be bought in the Employment Tribunal and if the complaint is upheld an award can be made of twice the hourly rate of pay for each hour that could have been taken off.

Employees and qualifying agency workers are also protected from any detriment arising from the exercise of their right to the time off. Dismissing an employee will be automatically unfair if the principal reason is for exercising their right to time off and the normal qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will not apply.

The Department of Business Innovation & Skills have produced an employer’s guide to the new right which can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351413/bis-14-1063-time-off-to-accompany-a-pregnant-woman-to-ante-natal-appointments-employer-guide.pdf

 

Click here to view full article >>

Tougher identity check for DBS applications

posted by admin on

New ID checking guidelines are being introduced on 24 October 2017. These guidelines will apply to all applications for standard or enhanced checks.

The new guidelines will run in parallel with the existing guidelines from 24 October 2017 to 25 January 2018, when the existing guidelines will cease to apply.

What is a DBS check?

Previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a record of an individual’s relevant criminal history and may also contain police intelligence and DBS barred list information (depending on the level of check). The purpose of a DBS check is to assist employers in making a recruitment decision.

What happened to the CRB and ISA?

On December 1st 2012, as part of the many changes brought about by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) closed and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was formed to take their place.

The DBS continues to be responsible for the functions previously carried out by the CRB and ISA with the exception of the ISA Registration Scheme, which has been discontinued. From September 2017, the DBS also carry out Basic level DBS checks for applicants in England or Wales (a function previously carried out by Disclosure Scotland).

Who Needs a DBS Check?

If there is ever a safeguarding issue within your organisation and the people working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults have not been adequately checked, your organisation could be held legally liable. To prevent this possibility SAFE advises standard or enhanced DBS checks are conducted on all eligible staff and volunteers within your organisation.

SAFE has produced a short handiguide to help you discover whether a position is eligible for an enhanced DBS check: Who can be enhanced DBS/Barred list checked. Please note, this is a brief overview and should be read in tandem with current legislation.

Who can ask for a DBS check?

Organisations can request that their staff, volunteers or applicants have standard or enhanced DBS checks only if the post they are working/volunteering/applying for is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

For roles that are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, employers can request Basic DBS checks via Disclosure Scotland (for applicants in Scotland, England or wales), a DBS Responsible Organisation (for applicants in England or Wales) or Access NI (for applicants in Northern Ireland).

Note: from January 2018, Disclosure Scotland will cease processing basic disclosures for applicants in England or Wales. From this point, employers can request checks via DBS Responsible Organisations or have the individual apply directly through the DBS.

What types of checks are there?

There are four different levels of criminal record check available:

  • Basic checks: These can be requested by an individual or by the employer (with the applicant’s permission) for any role. A basic check will show all unspent convictions. SAFEcic does not provide Basic checks as they are available directly from Disclosure Scotland (England, Wales and Scotland), AccessNI (Northern Ireland) or a DBS Responsible Organisation (England and Wales). Note: From Jan 2018, Disclosure Scotland will stop processing basic disclosures for applicants in England and Wales – these will then become available directly through the DBS.
  • Standard checks: These are suitable for eligible roles that do not involve regular contact with children or vulnerable groups such as finance or security. A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering.
  • Enhanced checks: These are suitable for eligible roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering with children, young people and/or vulnerable groups. An enhanced check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. Intelligence held by the police may also be included if the Police reasonably believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision.
  • Enhanced with DBS Barred List checks: These are suitable for roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering in a regulated activity with children and / or vulnerable adults. An enhanced check with DBS Barred list check will show the same information as an enhanced check along with any information held on the barred list(s) being checked.

What is considered a valid ID?

Group 1: Primary identity documents

Document Notes
Passport Any current and valid passport
Biometric residence permit UK
Current driving licence photocard – (full or provisional) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and EU
Birth certificate – issued within 12 months of birth UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands – including those issued by UK authorities overseas, for example embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces
Adoption certificate UK and Channel Islands

Group 2a: Trusted government documents

Document Notes
Current driving licence photocard – (full or provisional) All countries outside the EU (excluding Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
Current driving licence (full or provisional) – paper version (if issued before 1998) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and EU
Birth certificate – issued after time of birth UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
Marriage/civil partnership certificate UK and Channel Islands
HM Forces ID card UK
Firearms licence UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man

All driving licences must be valid

Group 2b: Financial and social history documents

Document Notes Issue date and validity
Mortgage statement UK or EEA Issued in last 12 months
Bank or building society statement UK and Channel Islands or EEA Issued in last 3 months
Bank or building society account opening confirmation letter UK Issued in last 3 months
Credit card statement UK or EEA Issued in last 3 months
Financial statement, for example pension or endowment UK Issued in last 12 months
P45 or P60 statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Council Tax statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Work permit or visa UK Valid up to expiry date
Letter of sponsorship from future employment provider Non-UK or non-EEA only – valid only for applicants residing outside of the UK at time of application Must still be valid
Utility bill UK – not mobile telephone bill Issued in last 3 months
Benefit statement, for example Child Benefit, Pension UK Issued in last 3 months
Central or local government, government agency, or local council document giving entitlement, for example from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Service, HMRC UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 3 months
EU National ID card Must still be valid
Cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands Must still be valid
Letter from head teacher or college principal UK – for 16 to 19 year olds in full time education – only used in exceptional circumstances if other documents cannot be provided Must still be valid

What is Filtering?

Filtering or ‘weeding’ is the process the DBS use to determine whether information is ‘protected’ by current legislation and should be removed from a person’s DBS certificate before it is printed.

Filtering of Convictions

If an applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of the offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

  • It has been 11 or more years since the date of conviction, and
  • the applicant has not commited any other offence, and
  • the conviction did not result in a custodial sentence, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences that will never be filtered from a DBS certificate.

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

  • It has been 5.5 or more years since the date of conviction, and
  • the applicant only has one conviction offence, and
  • the conviction did not result in a custodial sentence, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences that will never be filtered from a DBS certificate

Filtering of Cautions

If the applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of offence, the caution will be elgible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

  • It has been 6 or more years since the date of caution, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences that will never be filtered from a DBS certificate

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the caution will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

  • It has been 2 or more years since the date of caution, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences that will never be filtered from a DBS certificate

NB: prior to May 29th 2013, nothing was filtered from an applicant’s certificate. This change to procedure and the introduction of Filtering came about as a result of a Court of Appeal ruling in January 2013 which allowed for new legislation to be introduced.

Click here to view full article >>

Employment Law Changes in 2017

posted by admin on

2017 brought some significant employment law changes for both employer and employee alike.

 

Employment legislation changes in 2017

Effective date

Trade Union Act

The Act reforms the rules on trade union ballots for taking industrial action. The main provisions of the Act are :

  • 50% turnout threshold for there to be a valid ballot on industrial action.
  • Threshold of 40% support from all members in order to take industrial action in key sectors.
  • Four month time limit for which the ballot will remain valid to authorise industrial action.
March 2017

Gender pay gap reporting

To address the gender pay gap, the Government is introducing a completely new requirement for all large organisations to publish their gender pay gap. Employers will need to publish key wage information, and these details will need to include the difference in hourly earnings as well as the gap in bonus pay.

 

April 2017

Apprenticeship Levy

Employers with a wage bill of more than £3 million per year will be liable to pay a new apprenticeship levy. The levy will apply to all industry sectors, in both the public- and private-sector, for the purpose of raising money to meet the cost of apprenticeship schemes across the UK.

April 2017

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

Increases in hourly rates of pay for both the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. Details in the table below.

Future changes for both will take place in April of each year.

 

April 2017

The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017

From April 2017 employers who sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the points based system will have to pay £1,000 per certificate.

Employers should confirm that they have checked that all their current employees have the right to work in the UK, and that they can prove that those checks have taken place. A paper trail will be essential.

April 2017

General Data Protection Regulations

Employers will be required to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect and process to ensure it meets the General Data Protection Regulations. The ICO have published a booklet “Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations – 12 steps to take”

May 2018

Statutory payments – April 2017

 

Maternity/Paternity/Adoption  £140.98
Sick pay £89.35
Lower Earnings Threshold £113
National Living Wage £7.50
National Minimum Wage
Workers aged 21-24 £7.05
Workers aged 18-20 £5.60
Workers ages 16-17 £4.05
Apprentice rate £3.50

source

ACAS Employment law changes 2017

Click here to view full article >>

Employment Law Changes

posted by admin on

On the 31 July 2014 the Government made a number of changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE”) legislation.

Changes

Employers with less than 10 employees no longer need to inform and consult with appropriate representatives in a TUPE situation if there are no existing appropriate representatives and the employer has not already invited any of the employees affected by a potential TUPE transfer to elect employee representatives.

If the exception applies, employers with less than 10 employees can inform and consult with the employees affected by any proposed changes directly.

For those of you who have small businesses and are thinking of either selling or buying a business I am sure that this change will be very welcome.

For small businesses it often makes sense for the employer to talk to the individuals themselves rather than going through representatives, or indeed asking employees to elect such representatives.

Click here to view full article >>

Social Care

posted by admin on November 20, 2017

Working in the social care sector is without doubt one of the most demanding and potentially stressful occupations in existence – but if approached correctly and professionally, it can also be the most rewarding.

At Jay Webb Consultancy Services, we have particular experience of the care sector and its ever-changing rules and functions.

While we don’t doubt that as a manager in the social care sector, you are more than capable of offering your teams some form of training, we would urge you to take advantage of returning to the classroom for a day or so yourself.

Not only will this help to strengthen team cohesion and re-introduce you as a key part of your team, but it will take the pressure off you for a day or two and re-acquaint you with the fundamentals of your profession.

And because of this, we know how essential it is for those working in the care sector to experience a training environment where they can relax, explore the subject in hand, and to feel that they can ask any questions within this closed environment without fear of reprisal or judgement.

As always, our courses are bespoke and can take a variety of forms. As the service user, the choices are all down to you.

For example, if team-building is part of the plan, we don’t have to confine your course to the conventional classroom set-up – we have been known to take advantage of the Great Outdoors on occasion to get those creative juices flowing.

Click here to view full article >>

HMRC crackdown on employers not paying minimum wage

posted by admin on April 1, 2017

HMRC continues to crack down on employers who have not been paying the national minimum wage to it’s employees.

Recently 708 employers, employing 26,519 staff have been forced to pay over £4m in back pay, and were fined up to £5000.

The current national minimum wage from 1st April 2017 is:

25 and over – £7.50 per hour

21 to 24 – £7.05 per hour

18 to 20 – £5.60 per hour

Under 18 – £4.05 per hour

Apprentices* – £3.50 per hour

*This rate is for apprentices under 19 or those in their first year.

If your employee is 19 or over and past their first year of employment, they are entitled to the rate that applies to their age.

 

 

 

Click here to view full article >>

Contact details
13 Dunholme Avenue
Loughborough
Leicestershire
LE11 4SG
Click here to
get in touch >

Telephone:
01509 216395


jaywebb@jaywebbconsultancy.co.uk

quote

A problem which, until I approached Jay, had been playing on my mind, was sorted swiftly in under a month, and very cost-effectively.

quote

Nigel Armitage
Millington Independent Travel

Click here to read more testimonials >

  • Quick Links