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More Unavoidable Red Tape: GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is due to come into force on 25th May 2018, which means that there is now less than a year to make some very significant changes to the way that businesses process data about people – and that includes their employees and job applicants. If you haven’t heard much about it yet, don’t worry - you will do over the next few months! This is going to be very time-consuming and so you need to start your preparations now, if you haven’t already done so.
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Posted on 11 Sep 2017
Guest Article: How do I ensure my non-English speaking employee has a fair hearing?
Sue Clark of the Kidderminster-based translation and interpretation company Midland Technical Translations (UK) Ltd. has recently written a very useful article about communicating with employees whose first language is not English - particularly when dealing with HR issues. The article can be found on her website at http://bit.ly/2voII39
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Posted on 23 Aug 2017
Blog Post: Motivation – one size doesn’t fit all
When it comes to encouraging your staff to be productive, there is no one magic solution. It will depend on many factors such as pay; working conditions; annual leave allowances; flexibility with regards to working hours; supervision; variety of activities; ability to control some aspects of the job; as well as where the employee is in their career etc. Those just starting out will have very different ideas about what they value to those of us who have been working for decades!

However, recently I have been asked by several clients about the sort of benefits that they can offer to their employees. There are pros and cons to all of them and it will depend on whether you are using the benefits as a means to incentivise or reward people. For example, gym membership or shopping discount schemes may only appeal to certain employees. Certainly some of the schemes previously offered by some employers are no longer viable with the government’s removal of some salary sacrifice benefits.
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Posted on 22 Aug 2017
Calm down dear! Be careful what you say
The Court of Appeal has recently ruled that BAE Systems must pay a former secretary £360,000 after one of its managers made a ‘clumsy’ comment that triggered a period of mental ill-health that ended her employment.

The secretary, Marion Konczak, had worked for the company for 9 years until she was dismissed in July 2007. She was based at one of their locations near Preston and was in the liaison team that worked with officers from the Royal Saudi Air Force. Originally she had got on well with the officers but became unhappy with changes to their staff and had made claims that she had been bullied and harassed including incidents of sexual harassment.
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Posted on 22 Aug 2017
How else can I help?
I may have provided you or your business with some HR assistance over the last few years, but some of my clients are not fully aware of the wide range of support that Cherington HR can provide. To give you an idea of the types of people problems I have helped resolve, I have published some case studies on the Cherington HR website.
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Posted on 22 Aug 2017
Want to win an hour of free HR Advice?
As a finalist at this year’s Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards, Cherington HR is exhibiting at the Expo at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern on Thursday October 5th. All visitors to the Cherington HR stand will have the opportunity to win an hour’s free consultancy, so if you have a knotty people problem that you’re wrestling with come and visit us there to see how we can help.

There are over 120 exhibitors and they are expecting over 800 visitors. Entry and parking are free and to book...
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Posted on 22 Aug 2017
Errors affect workplace pensions for NOW:Pensions
NOW:Pensions, one of the top three providers of workplace pensions in the UK with 1.3 M members across 26,000 employer schemes, has been asked to leave the list of approved providers by The Pensions Regulator after problems in its systems meant that some employer contributions were not passed on to the ultimate managers of the money.
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Posted on 27 Jul 2017
Supreme Court rules Employment Tribunal Fees are Unlawful
Since 2013, employees have had to pay a fee of up to £1,200 to take their employer to a tribunal. This led to a drop of around 70% in the number of claims, enabling some employers to take a robust approach to employee relations because of the heavily reduced risk of a claim.

The Supreme Court has now ruled these tribunal fees were unlawful, on the grounds that when parliament confers employment rights on individuals, the Lord Chancellor cannot effectively take them away by introducing prohibitively high fees. All fees paid by employees between 2013 and now will be refunded by the government.

Where does that leave employers?
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Posted on 26 Jul 2017
What’s the difference?
It has been reported that ten female BBC presenters are considering suing the Corporation after its annual report revealed huge pay gaps between female and male presenters. The list of those paid more than £150,000, upset many who shared the same job titles as others, but were paid considerably less.

The women have approached the BBC’s management to demand that their pay is brought into line with their male colleagues and if it is not they will consider legal action

However, it seems that if the BBC tries to reduce the men’s wages, they may also sue. It would be possible for them to dismiss the men concerned and then re-employ them on new terms, i.e. lower pay. But the male employees would have to agree to that, because legally it would appear that they would have a clear-cut case of unfair dismissal.
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Posted on 21 Jul 2017
If you’re well enough to go to the races, you’re well enough to come to work!
That was the view of a Gloucestershire Constabulary disciplinary panel when they found that PC Jonathan Adams had been to Ascot when he had told them that he was suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and was too ill to go to work.

Unfortunately for PC Adams, he was seen on Channel 4’s live coverage, jumping around for joy in the Royal Enclosure, when a horse owned by a syndicate he belonged to had won a race.
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Posted on 21 Jul 2017
Distinguishing between Employees and “Dependent Contractors”
The “Good Work” report by Matthew Taylor has looked in detail at some of the problems that have arisen as a result of the “gig” economy. Regular readers will be familiar with some of the cases that have challenged the categorisation of those engaged to work in certain sectors. (E.g. the cases brought against Uber, Pimlico Plumbers, and CitySprint UK) and so the rights of workers (as opposed to employees or those who are genuinely self-employed) have recently been highlighted. Workers are already entitled to holiday pay, sick pay and to be paid at least the national living wage,

The Good Work report suggests significant changes to the rights and entitlements for the different categories of working individuals as well as increasing entitlements for those who are engaged as employees.

Here are some of the proposals that Taylor has made in his report:
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Posted on 21 Jul 2017
Recording the right to work in the UK - Very Costly Mistake!
I have noticed recently that some clients have not been writing a signed statement when taking copies of proof of right to work in the UK for new workers and just dating the photocopy of the passport or other appropriate documents submitted.  This is important because the Home Office say that simply adding a date without the signed statement is not considered to be confirmation that the check was undertaken on that date.
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Posted on 21 Jul 2017
One to watch – Shared Parental Pay Discrimination?
A father has won his case at an employment tribunal by arguing that his employer’s failure to match enhanced rates of pay when taking shared parental leave (ShPL) amounted to direct discrimination

The government has previously issued technical guidance stating that there was no legal obligation to match enhanced rates of pay for parents taking shared parental leave (SPL), but there has been a view amongst many that failing to do so may result in a discrimination claim by a man and the first of such claims has now been made.
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Posted on 28 Jun 2017
Congratulations!
I would like to thank all those clients who wished Cherington HR well for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards, having got to the finals of the Excellence in Professional Services Award Category. However, there was some stiff competition against some large consultancy practices and these included Thursfields solicitors, Haines Watts Accountants (Hereford), ISO Quality Services and Focus Ecology.
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Posted on 28 Jun 2017
Potential liability for holiday pay for commission only workers
Regular readers will be aware that there have been lots of employment tribunal cases about the specific details of annual leave and how payment for that leave should be calculated – e.g. taking into account bonuses or commission etc. But a recent case (King v Sash Window Workshop) has resulted in The European Court of Justice publishing an opinion about liability for untaken leave. If followed, the opinion of the Advocate General would mean that workers (not just employees) would be allowed to carry holiday forward if they are unable to take it for “reasons beyond their control.”
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Posted on 13 Jun 2017
Taking time out?
I always get lots of queries at this time of year about annual leave. Employees are, quite understandably, asking to take time off to go on holiday or simply for childcare during the school holidays. But making sure you deal with requests properly is very important to avoid any accusations of unfairness or even discrimination, so making sure that you have a well-publicised policy in place is very important.
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Posted on 25 May 2017
The General Election - What might it mean for your business?
As a manager or business owner, do you know what each of the main political parties is putting forward in their election manifesto with regards to managing staff and employee rights?

Here’s a brief summary of what they’ve put forwards so far (of course given the “U” turns that have happened in other aspects already, these may be subject to change!)
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Posted on 24 May 2017
Latest Blogpost: Why do we need HR?
I’ve recently been asked to help some start-up companies with their HR support and this got me thinking about how I can add value to their fledgling businesses. When people start up new ventures it is usually because they are passionate about the new “widget” they want to manufacture or the service they want to deliver and either want to do things in a different or better way to competing businesses.

Unless you are setting up an employment agency, people do not normally go into business with the sole aim of employing others – that is just a consequence of needing people to make your business function. When starting out you will be told that you need an accountant and possibly H&S and IT support – but often that’s where it stops. I often hear that people say, “I don’t need HR advice; I’m a person, I understand people and in any case I can always find the answers I need on the internet. How difficult can it be?” That’s when the trouble starts…
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Posted on 09 May 2017
Get Well Soon?
I have recently dealt with several cases of long-term sickness. Some of these have been for over several months and others that started only shortly after the employee started work. They are invariably complicated – particularly if they involve employees who may be considered to have a disability. The pressure to get them back to work has increased since the Government stopped the reimbursement of Statutory Sick Pay to employers, but at the same time if an employee is genuinely ill, trying to get them back full-time too early may be counter-productive.
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Posted on 08 May 2017
Multiple choice questions – making reasonable adjustments
If you are recruiting new employees, or indeed have a selection process for internal candidates, you need to make sure that you consider any adjustments that are requested to accommodate any disabilities declared. This was highlighted in the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case of Government Legal services v Brookes. Ms Brookes, who had Asperger’s syndrome, had requested that instead of a multiple choice test answers being given as A,B, C or D etc. that she be given the opportunity to take the test in a different format.
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Posted on 08 May 2017
Do not assume employees will retire!
Four years ago I published an article about a client company that made a very costly mistake when it assumed that one of its employees would be retiring and had made arrangements to recruit and train a replacement – without actually having received a letter of resignation from the employee. He (quite rightly) complained that he was being constructively dismissed. He had long service with the employer and it cost them a lot to settle the dispute.

Unfortunately it seems that companies are still making the same mistake. Just recently a company accountant received £182,000 for age discrimination after being pushed out of his job. In this particular case John Peters successfully argued in a Liverpool tribunal that his former employer, Rock Oil, had unfairly dismissed and discriminated against him in a bid to get him to retire. He was aged 67 at that time.
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Posted on 08 May 2017
Dress Codes – Heeling over to meet Equality Act requirements
You may remember the news of the petition raised by Nicola Thorp over her employer’s requirement that she wear shoes with heels of between two to four inches as part of her receptionist role. It acquired 152,000 signatures and so was reviewed as part of a panel discussion and parliamentary debate on high heels and workplace dress codes.

The MPs heard that some women had found that their feet hurt so much at the end of the day that they could not walk and others spoke of being in tears because their feet were bleeding. Others said that they had been forced to wear high heels through pregnancy.
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Posted on 27 Apr 2017
Going to the Polls (yet) again!
Since my last newsletter, most people were taken somewhat by surprise when the Prime Minister announced a snap general election for June 2017.

We are still awaiting for the political parties to publish the details of their manifestos but it is clear that when it comes to businesses, employers are going to need to consider the main issues carefully.
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Posted on 27 Apr 2017
Auto-enrolment pension arrangements – Are yours sorted?
Have you reached your staging date for your auto-enrolment pension yet? I speak to lots of employers and find that some of the smaller ones in particular have been putting it off. However, this is not a good idea for three very important reasons:

• It takes much longer than you may think to put a scheme into place. The staging date is the date it has to be operational and registered with the Pensions Regulator – not the date you start to contact a provider. Ideally you should start the process at least 6 months before your staging date.

• If you leave it too late, you will find that not many providers will be interested in giving you a quote – particularly if you are a small employer. You will be limited in your choice and will not be able to shop around for the best value schemes.

• If you are thinking about pay increases now for your employees, it will be even more costly when you get to putting in place an auto-enrolment pension because you will have to factor in the additional employer contributions on top of the pay increases. It would be better to put in place the pension scheme earlier instead as an employee benefit and would save your company money.
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Posted on 27 Apr 2017
Latest Blogpost: Mis-selling the job
Dealing with failing employees is unfortunately quite a frequent aspect of an HR consultant’s role. However, it struck me after having looked at all the occasions I have been asked to do this, the vast majority are for sales or business development employees who have not met their targets. It seems that the candidates have been very successful at selling themselves and their capabilities to the prospective employers, but that they don’t always live up to the promises they make.
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Posted on 19 Apr 2017
Double Celebration for Cherington HR
Cherington HR, the Upton upon Severn based consultancy specialising in advising local employers on people management matters, has a double celebration this month. Not only is it marking its 11th anniversary since it was founded in April 2006, but has heard that it has made it through to the 2017 finals of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards in the Professional Services Award Category.
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Posted on 18 Apr 2017
Can you dismiss someone on long-term sickness absence?
If you have an employee who has been absent for a long time and you are struggling to know what to do about it, a recent Court of Appeal (CoA) case concerning a teacher who had been off for over a year with stress following a classroom incident (O’Brien v Bolton St Catherine’s Academy) has given some useful indicators.
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Posted on 28 Mar 2017
What is a “reasonable” adjustment?
The word “reasonable” crops up frequently when managing staff with regards to employment law. If you have an employee with a disability and you are told you have to make a “reasonable adjustment” do you know what this might entail?
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Posted on 28 Mar 2017
Salary Sacrifice changes
Don’t forget that from 6 April 2017, if you use salary sacrifice schemes, only certain benefits will be allowed to continue. These changes were introduced as part of the Finance Bill 2017.
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Posted on 28 Mar 2017
Latest Blogpost - New Job: Surviving the probationary period
If you’re working as an interim manager or simply moving to a new employer, you’ll know that it is important to get to grips with the culture of the organisation as soon as possible to get through that all-important probationary period.

Getting through the first few months

If you have moved roles you’ll be concerned about the first few months of a new job and passing the probationary period hurdle. Different employers tend to have different periods of scrutiny – usually three or six months during which they review the new employee’s progress closely. There should be regular review meetings, but some employers are not as well organised and only tend to make notes and give you feedback at the end of the period – by which time it may be too late to correct any shortcomings.
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Posted on 22 Mar 2017
Guest Blog from Robert Bradley: Contractor IR35 changes from April 2007
The changes affecting limited company contractors working for public sector organisations will soon be with us. Transport for London (TfL) has already reportedly imposed a blanket ban on workers who operate through their own limited company. Under the reforms to be brought in on 6 April 2017 public bodies will for the first time become responsible for the difficult decision of assessing whether their limited company contractors fall inside or outside of IR35.
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Posted on 22 Mar 2017
Increase to the awards payable for Unfair Dismissal and Redundancy from 6 April 2017
The maximum statutory cap to the compensatory award payable for Unfair Dismissal claims will increase from the current cap of £78,962 to £80,541 with effect from 6 April 2017. This is subject to the limit of one year's pay.
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Posted on 24 Feb 2017
How many weeks are there in a year?
Most people would say that there are 52 weeks in a calendar year – but for payroll purposes that is not the correct answer and it seems it cost Debenhams £63,000 for getting that wrong.
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Posted on 24 Feb 2017
The Plumber's Tale
It would have been difficult to have missed the news about the latest case involving a dispute over the employment status of an individual working for a London plumbing company.

Gary Smith worked full-time for Pimlico Plumbers for six years apparently as a self-employed plumber. However he had a heart attack in 2010 and subsequently asked if he could reduce his working hours to three days a week. The company refused his request and took away his hired company van. Mr Smith took his case to an employment tribunal and argued that he was entitled to basic workers’ rights, including the right to the national minimum wage, paid holiday and the ability to bring discrimination claims
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Posted on 22 Feb 2017
Latest Blogpost: Never judge a book by its cover!
Recently I gave a talk at a local business networking meeting about how learning styles can change over time and gave personal examples of how my initial preferences for theory and reflection have changed to take in more activist and pragmatist styles. I explained how this had happened with respect to new hobbies I had developed over the last few years. These included Scuba diving, dinghy sailing and more lately, yacht sailing; things I would never have contemplated in my younger years for fear of looking stupid if I made a mistake. I described my journey and realisation that for more practical subjects, reading a book wasn’t sufficient – you actually had to have a go at mooring the boat to experience the effects of tricky wind and tide conditions.

A couple of weeks after the talk, one of the attendees came up to me and said that she would never have guessed that I was interested in sailing. She said, “You don’t look like someone who would do that.” It got me thinking.
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Posted on 22 Feb 2017
Did you know?
As well as providing services directly through Cherington HR, we also have connections with many local and national service providers that dovetail with the people management service we provide. So if you are looking for guidance or recommendations for tried and tested service providers (with no obligation) please get in touch. The list of providers includes:
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Posted on 15 Feb 2017
What else can you do?
Speaking to one of my clients recently, I realised that they were only aware of a couple of the services offered by Cherington HR. I had been keeping their employment documentation and related policies up to date for some time but from our conversation it dawned on me that they were unaware that I could help in many more ways and they had been struggling to tackle an issue alone not knowing they already had help at hand. They had a problem with one of their employees and were not quite sure how to handle the associated performance management process.
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Posted on 15 Feb 2017
Latest Blogpost: Making heavy weather of people management
Some of my clients will know that I enjoy sailing, although haven’t been doing this for very long. So recently I went on a heavy weather sailing course to learn more about being prepared for, and dealing with difficult conditions.

It got me thinking about the way in which business owners need to prepare for difficult situations and the same principles apply – namely that you keep a watch out for potential storms brewing (particularly when they are caused by, or will affect staff) before you set out and make decisions based on the information you have. If it doesn’t look right then you check it with information from different sources. One weather forecast is generally not enough! You may also have to use different tools, to those you regularly apply. In sailing, you might need to put up a storm jib – but with people you may need to use different processes and procedures to the ones you use when dealing with more routine matters.
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Posted on 08 Feb 2017
New Minimum Wage Rates - April 2017
This is just a reminder that the National Living Wage and the Minimum Wage rates will be increasing again on 1st April 2017.
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Posted on 07 Feb 2017
“Playing the System”
Do you have employees that “play the system” by making sure written warnings expire before they commit another act of misconduct so that you can’t take it into account? If so you might be interested to hear about the case of Stratford v Auto Trail VR Ltd.

In this case, Mr Stratford had a very long history of warnings - 17 of them in fact, but all of them had expired when he was disciplined for an 18th time for an act of misconduct. As a consequence the company took the view that although the particular act did not constitute gross misconduct and under normal circumstances would merit a final written warning, it believed that on the basis of his past history, Mr Stratford would not break his pattern of behavior and dismissed him. The case went to tribunal with Mr Stratford arguing that the previous warnings should not have been taken into account.
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Posted on 07 Feb 2017
Cycling to Work?
Last month a tribunal found that a CitySprint bicycle courier should be classed as a worker, rather than self-employed as described in their written agreement.

Although this ruling has been made on the basis of the specific details of the case, the judgment in Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd could have wider implications for the those employers often described as being in the “gig economy” that claim their workers undertake services on a self-employed basis and that the individuals effectively run their own businesses. It follows on from a similar ruling with regards to Uber drivers last year.
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Posted on 07 Feb 2017
Changing working arrangements could be discriminatory
Trying to make changes to working arrangements can be fraught with difficulties and cost one employer £18,000 recently when an Employment Tribunal found that the employer had unfairly dismissed an employee and subjected her to indirect sex discrimination.

Emma Holt worked for a fitness centre for almost 10 years and had a flexible working agreement with her employers to work only on Mondays to Fridays to accommodate her son and childcare needs. She had told them that she would only work weekends in exceptional circumstances – to cover a sick colleague, for example – because she was unable to arrange childcare cover.
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Posted on 05 Jan 2017
A break is a break!
You may have seen in the news that France has brought in the ‘right to disconnect’ giving workers a legal right to ignore work-related emails outside of their normal working hours from 1st January this year. The UK is unlikely to follow their lead, but employers should take the issue seriously.

This development should prompt employers to consider the health and wellbeing of their workers. Over the last few years I have seen an increasing number of cases where employees are claiming that their health is being affected as a result of work-related stress and employers need to be concerned about the impact excessive job pressure could be having on productivity and the potential tribunal cost. However, some employers seem to think that it is OK for employees to be permanently available.
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Posted on 05 Jan 2017
Washing your dirty linen in public?
Until now only the verdicts from Employment Appeal Tribunals and higher courts have been published online, but that is set to change this year. Currently if employers have been involved in tribunal cases that have not been appealed, these are unlikely to have been publicised widely because judgments are only available by request or in person from HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). However from a yet-to-be-stated date in early 2017 this will change and any member of the public will be able to search online for new tribunal judgments, by company name or by topic.
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Posted on 05 Jan 2017
New Blogpost: Do you let Rudolph play in your Christmas games?
As we get closer to Christmas when thoughts are turning to the holidays and celebrations, I’m still being called in by clients to deal with grievance and disciplinary cases, some of which involve allegations of bullying and harassment. These are not pleasant at the best of times, but it struck me that sometimes cases of bullying can get worse at this time of year. It is not just about physical or verbal bullying, but can be more manipulative – for example excluding others from an activity or poking fun at them.

Just think of Rudolph in the famous song:
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Posted on 22 Dec 2016
Are you sensitive enough during redundancy proceedings?
It can be very difficult dealing with redundancy situations at the best of times, but it is still important to ensure that the consultations are handled sensitively. In a recent case (Thomas v. BNP Paribas) the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that being insensitive and giving indications that an outcome is pre-determined during the consultation phase could amount to rendering any such dismissal as unfair.
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Posted on 05 Dec 2016
When do your employees take their rest breaks?
A recent case (Grange v Abellio London) at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) involved a company that had asked its employee to work through his breaks and take them at the end of his 8½ hour shift instead of during it.

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, workers are entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes if they work for more than six hours (increased to 30 minutes for young workers of shifts of more than 4½ hours). The break is intended to be taken during the shift, not at the beginning or end because it is there for health, safety and welfare reasons.
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Posted on 05 Dec 2016
Costing you More: How Will the Changes in the Autumn Statement Affect your Business?
New Chancellor, Philip Hammond recently gave his first (and last!) Autumn Statement deciding to move future announcements to the spring. He has made a few changes that may affect the way businesses pay their staff. As well as changes to the taxing of termination payments and salary sacrifice arrangements, he has announced an increase in the National Living Wage and the other age related minimum wage rates.
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Posted on 05 Dec 2016
Increase in Employment Costs announced for Next Year
The Government has published the statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and sick pay from April 2017. The current weekly rate of statutory maternity pay is £139.58, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate.
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Posted on 05 Dec 2016
Uber Alles – Are you aware of the important differences between worker and employee rights?
You are unlikely to have missed the news that an Employment Tribunal has recently found that Uber taxi drivers are workers and are therefore entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.

Although this is only a Tribunal decision and is therefore not binding on other cases, the ruling is important as it will have an immediate impact on the thousands of Uber drivers who have previously been regarded as self-employed and may influence the thinking behind other similar cases because it was won by the GMB Union and argued by eminent barristers
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Posted on 02 Nov 2016
Are your contractors really employees in disguise?
Your accountant may already have informed you that HMRC has announced it is to form a specialist team to examine working practices at organisations that use freelance staff to fill what amount to full-time roles.

So how will this affect you?
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Posted on 24 Oct 2016
Worried about handling flexible working requests from new mothers?
There has been a lot of publicity recently about the apparent rise of discriminatory treatment of pregnant women and returning mothers. Hopefully you will be aware that to dismiss an employee or subject her to a detriment because she is pregnant would be considered to be an unfair dismissal – and Employment Tribunals could make significant awards against employers who do so.

But were you aware that rejecting flexible working requests for returning mothers could also be seen to be indirectly discriminatory in some circumstances?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you employ EU Workers? Do you worry how Brexit will affect them?
We are now all aware that the Prime Minister has announced that she intends to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which starts two years of formal negotiations, before the end of March 2017. This means that the UK is expected to be out of the EU by the summer of 2019.

However it is estimated that there are over 2 million EU nationals working in the UK. Given the amount of uncertainty surrounding impact on them, it is very important for employers to support staff from the EU who will be feeling particularly vulnerable after the Brexit vote.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Paying Piece Work Rates? Beware of the NMW Requirements
If you pay your employees using piece work rates you need to be aware of a recent case against Midcounties Co-op, the UK’s largest independent co-operative which saw them having to pay out £14,000 to one newspaper delivery man and £4,000 to another after they repeatedly received less than the minimum wage for their rounds.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Discrimination against Breastfeeding Mums – The easyJet Case
There has been much in the media recently to suggest that many pregnant women and new mothers are suffering from discrimination in the way they are treated by their employers. In fact the Women and Equalities Committee has reported that the number of new and expectant mothers forced to leave their jobs has doubled since 2005. Such problems do not only apply to dealing with a pregnant employee and keeping her job for her on return – but what happens when she returns.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Equality in Shared Parental Pay
Employers who pay mothers different rates of shared parental pay to fathers run the risk of sex discrimination claims, following the first tribunal decision of its kind.

In the recent case of Snell v Network Rail, a father was awarded £28,000 in a sex discrimination case after his employer refused to pay him the same as his wife while on shared parental leave.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Foreign Workers & Skill Shortages
During the recent Conservative Party Conference, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that companies could be forced to publish the number of foreign workers that they employ. This is one of the measures being considered as the government tries to work out practical ways of tightening the net migration target as part of its Brexit strategy.

It seems the intention is to tighten the regulations regarding employment of people from within the UK before looking for international candidates.

The proposals, which also target the numbers of foreign students, are expected in a forthcoming consultation and could oblige businesses to “be clear about the proportion of their workforce which is international”.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost - Hitting the ground running: Using your Emotional Intelligence to get under the cultural skin of a new organisation
What are Companies Looking for in an Interim?

If you’re working as an interim manager, you’ll know that the companies who engage you are expecting you to “hit the ground running” when you start work for them. The reasons businesses look for interims vary, but can include the need to work on urgent and specific projects, such as mergers, acquisitions or restructures. However, they can be as straightforward as maternity/ shared parental leave/ long-term sickness absence covers or because they’re not quite sure yet how they want to fill a vacancy.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage increases October 2016
On 1st October 2016 the National Minimum Wage rates will increase. This is the last time it will happen in October. From next year the increases for each of the age groups will apply in April.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Brexit: New recruits
Many employers suspended their recruitment activities before the EU referendum and some have done so since citing uncertainty about the impact the Brexit vote will have on the future of their businesses. If you need to take on new employees, remember that you are not permitted to discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of their nationality, including during the recruitment process.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Brexit: What happens to employment law?
With the referendum vote earlier this year, the UK has set a course on leaving the European Union (EU). Whether you voted for or against the decision, it will affect all aspects of our lives over the next few years.

The vote has led to uncertainty about what changes may or may not take place and the timescales involved. In particular it raises concerns for employers with regards to potential changes to employment law.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Brexit: Reports of harassment
Following the EU referendum, hate crime reporting rates have increased across the UK.

It is possible that such incidents may occur in the workplace, so as an employer you are advised to be alert to complaints of incidents involving discriminatory acts or harassment.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Importance of Being Consistent - New Blogpost
When entrepreneurs start up a new business, they might have one or two employees – or maybe even a few more in the early stages. Managing them may be relatively straightforward if they are good and as passionate as the business owner with regards getting the business up and running it. There may be times when situations need people to put in extra hours to get the orders completed, but often this is rewarded by the owner, who may be happy for them to take time off in lieu. Flexibility is the key to meet tight schedules as the business gets off the ground. But what happens when it starts to grow?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR celebrates 10th Anniversary!
Cherington HR is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing people management support to local businesses in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The company will be marking the occasion throughout the year with special promotions for both new and existing clients. It counts many local companies amongst both its clients and suppliers and is proud to say that it has been a finalist in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards on two separate occasions, one of them being for Service Excellence.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Scared of your staff? - New Blogpost
I have often found that when managers try to deal with poorly performing staff, they are extremely surprised by the response. In some cases as the employees find themselves under scrutiny, they retaliate with an accusation of bullying by the manager. Either that or they become so aggressive that the manager feels bullied and doesn’t know how to deal with it. The manager becomes so wary of the employee that matters are not tackled promptly which makes it even more difficult to raise them later. This then develops into a vicious circle and the employee creates a scenario where he/she starts to manipulate and control the situation.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Childcare vouchers and maternity leave
Do you provide a scheme for your staff to purchase childcare vouchers using a salary sacrifice scheme? If so, you are likely to be very interested to hear the outcome of a recent case of an employer who suspended the scheme when its employees were on maternity leave.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Nicknames and Banter – at what cost?
An employment tribunal has awarded more than £63,000 for age discrimination to a salesperson who was nicknamed “Gramps” by his younger colleagues and later dismissed after customer complaints that he was “old fashioned” and “long in the tooth”.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Being Responsible for your Employees’ Behaviour
Until recently, the subject of vicarious liability was mostly dealt with by insurers. However, following a judgment from the Supreme Court, employers could now be deemed legally responsible for a far greater range of staff behaviour, after it found that Morrisons - the supermarket firm - was accountable for one of its employees attacking a member of the public.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Taking Dyslexia Seriously
You may have heard in the news that a Starbucks employee has won a disability discrimination case against her employer, after problems arising from her dyslexia led her to make mistakes. The British Dyslexia Association estimates that as many as 1 in 10 people suffer from dyslexic difficulties, (although many have not been formally diagnosed) so employers need to be aware of the implications of this case.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Apprentice Levy – How will it affect you?
The Government has recently published draft legislation on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. It confirms that from April 2017, employers with a wage bill of more than £3 million will have to pay a 0.5% levy of their paybill to fund apprenticeships.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Whistleblowing - Prescribed People list Updated
A qualifying disclosure will normally be protected, for whistle-blowing purposes, if made to the employer. It will also be protected if made to a 'prescribed person' and is within their remit, and if the information disclosed within it is substantially true.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Commissioning a Holiday
Regular readers may remember that around this time last year a decision by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) was sent back to the UK for consideration. It related to the loss of ability to earn commission whilst on leave. In this case (Lock vs British Gas) the Employment Tribunal was asked to consider whether the UK Regulations could allow for the findings of the CJEU. The Judge had decided that such cases should be treated in the same way as an individual with a variable amount of pay and as such should be calculated in the same way (i.e. averaged over the 12 weeks prior to the leave being taken.)
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016
This Order has just been laid before Parliament. It increases the limits applying to certain awards of employment tribunals, and other amounts payable under employment legislation. It applies to dismissals (or detriments, etc.) occurring on or after 6 April 2016.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Gender Pay Gap – Reporting arrangements Announced
The government has announced that from 2018, companies with more than 250 employees will be required to make their gender pay gap publicly available on-line. Furthermore, employers that fail to address gender pay disparities will be highlighted in new league tables intended to drive progress. The guidelines will require large companies to publish their gender gap and bonus pay details on an annual basis and indicate how many women and men are in each pay range.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Reading Private Emails – Is it allowed?
You may have heard of the relatively recent ruling European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that an organisation was within its rights to read a worker’s personal messages sent whilst he was at work. However, you are advised that this does not give employers a “Carte Blanche” right to snoop on employees and will always depend on the facts of the case.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost - New Year, New Habit!
At this time of the year the media is full of helpful (and not so helpful) advice on how to keep your new year’s resolutions. Most frequently this is about losing weight, stopping smoking or getting active. The numbers of people who subscribe to slimming clubs or join gyms always seems to peak around January. Some of us manage to keep it going into February, but then the numbers start to dwindle – either because of other distractions or because we’re not seeing immediate results.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Zero Hour Contracts – New Regulations
Much debate has been had over the use and abuse of zero hours contracts, but today (11th January 2016) new legislation comes into effect. The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations (2015) will now apply. These mean that the dismissal of a zero hour contract employee will automatically be unfair if the principal reason is that s/he breached a contractual clause prohibiting him/her from working for another employer.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Auto-enrolment changes to timing of contribution rises
There is a big campaign in the media at the moment to alert businesses and employees to the fact that employers are required to offer pensions to eligible employees. Many employers have their schemes set up and running, with the remainder due to follow shortly. If, as an employer, you have not found out your staging date yet, go to www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk to get the relevant information. It may take several months to put in place, so you are urged to take action now even if your staging date is not until 2017. The Regulator is already fining those who do not comply with the regulations, so take advice now and make sure you get ready in good time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Statutory Leave Rates Frozen
Statutory maternity pay and statutory sick pay rates are not expected to rise in 2016. The Government has proposed that there be no annual increase in various statutory rates, including maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and sick pay this year.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you ready for the National Living Wage?
According to a government report published in December the majority of employers across the UK were not yet ready for the introduction of the national living wage, despite having only a months until the rate becomes a legal requirement.

At that point just 39% of the 1000 businesses polled had communicated the upcoming changes to staff, and less than half (45 per cent) had updated payroll to take the increased rate into account.

From 1 April 2016, the hourly rate for those aged 25 and over will rise to £7.20, an 11% increase on the current mandatory pay rate.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Disrupted holidays and security implications of business travel
Recent security events such as those which disrupted flights in and out of Sharm El Sheikh airport in Egypt earlier this month and the more recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Mali as well as those in Tunisia in July have meant that heightened security is likely to cause travel delays. Some of those trapped by the disruption in Egypt took several days to get back to the UK and were unable to return to work as originally planned. In the past we have also seen extensive travel disruption due to natural events such as severe weather problems, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In circumstances where employees cannot get into work for reasons beyond their control, such as their return holiday flights being cancelled, employers need to understand their rights, duties and obligations in relation to those employees. They also need to consider the safety implications with regards to the welfare of their employees travelling on business.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What's in a Name? - Latest Blogpost
The Government has recently pledged support to a scheme aimed at ending what the Prime Minister called “disgraceful” discrimination – where recruiters reject CVs based purely on reading the names of applicants.

He announced that the civil service will begin to process applications on a so-called ‘name blind’ basis, where only the skills, not names of applicants are considered. This is to try to end bias where applicants with “ethnic-sounding” names are apparently not as likely to get through the first stage of short-listing as those with “white-sounding” names.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Mobile Workers - Working Time
In a previous news item I mentioned the fact that the Advocate General had provided his opinion that for mobile workers (those not having a permanent office base) were at the employer's disposal when they were travelling to their first customer of the day and travelling back from their last customer.

The case involved engineers installing and servicing security systems who worked from home and the European Court of Justice has now issued its judgement on the case.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Shared Parental Leave to be extended to Grandparents
The new Shared Parental Leave arrangements introduced in April have not yet bedded in, but already the government has announced that this will be extended further so that the time can be shared with grandparents as well from 2018.

It may be seen to be useful to provide additional support to new parents, but the administrative arrangements are likely to add further burdens on employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Modern Slavery Act - Does it apply to your business?
Many SMEs will not pay much attention to the Modern Slavery Act as it will only apply to commercial organisations turning over more than £36M per annum. Under Section 54 of the 2015 Act which came into force on 29th October such businesses must publish an annual ‘slavery and human trafficking statement’.

However, if your business is part of a franchise or a subsidiary of a larger organisation - or indeed is a supplier to businesses captured by the legislation, you need to be aware of the requirements of the new legislation in case it affects you.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Fit for Work opens for business
Last month, the Government's long-awaited Fit for Work occupational health service opened its doors for employers in England and Wales.

It is intended particularly for SME employers who may not have their own occupational health service providers and can be used when an employee has been off for at least four weeks.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do your pay and bonuses stand up to scrutiny?
The government is pushing ahead with plans to compel large companies to publish data on the pay gap between male and female employees in their organisation. The intention to require organisations with more than 250 employees to be subject to gender pay audits from the first half of 2016 onwards was announced earlier this year and a consultation has been in place to look into how this would work.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Criminal redundancy exercises
Many employers know that they are required to consult collectively with employees at risk of redundancy, for a minimum of 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect where redundancies in excess of 20 employees are proposed within a 90-day period, or 45 days where 100 or more employees are affected

However, it seems that some have forgotten a crucial requirement of Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and there have been recent cases of criminal proceedings being taken against company directors.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Monsoon - weathering the storm. But are you affected too?
Retailer Monsoon Accessorize has been “named and shamed” by the government for failing to pay more than a quarter of its UK store staff the national minimum wage (NMW).

It seems that the retailer neglected to pay 1,438 workers, a total of £104,507.83 and it has now been forced to reimburse staff and pay a fine of £28,147.81.

Monsoon requires all staff to wear Monsoon clothes on duty. Employees had been required to purchase these at a discounted rate out of their wages, but the compulsory expense meant that many staff were taking home less than the legally required minimum wage. This is one aspect that many employers overlook.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Agency Worker's Rights and Vacancies
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 require that agency workers must have access to information about job vacancies at the hirer and to have the “same opportunity as a comparable worker to find permanent employment with the hirer”.

However, the question posed to an Employment Appeal Tribunal was, does this just mean making the advert available to Agency Workers currently working for the Organisation or does it mean that they have an equal right to apply alongside employees?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Zero hours guidance
As you may be aware, the ban on exclusivity clauses became law in May 2015 as part of a number of employment-law related measures contained in the first commencement order under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

But if you are still confused about the nature of zero hours contracts and how you can use them, new guidance has been produced. Draft regulations intended to deal with employers trying to avoid the exclusivity clauses have also been published, although there is no date given on when they are expected to come into force.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
October pay rises
As reported previously a new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April (2016) for all working people aged 25 and over.

In the meantime, don't forget that the National Minimum Wage was increased on the 1st October.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Holiday Back-Pay Deduction Claims Limited
Until recently, there was no limit on how far back in time an employee could go in seeking to reclaim unlawful deductions from wages made by their employer (as long as they formed part of the same series of deductions or payments).
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Sick of Holidays?
In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal looked at the case of an employee who had been off sick for nearly four years and who had not taken, or requested, any holiday. He wanted to be paid for all of this untaken leave when his employment ended.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Trade Union Bill – Restricting Action
The Government introduced the Trade Union Bill to the Commons on 15 July 2015. This Bill proposes the biggest shake up to the laws governing industrial action in 30 years and it could come into force as early as next year. This will of course only affect employers with unionised employees, but there are specific terms which will apply to those public sectors such as transport and health that provide services to all of us.

So what changes are proposed in the Trade Union Bill?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Time Travel?
Over the years there has been much discussion as to when travelling counts as working time and it is generally accepted that employees who travel between seeing clients during the working day are working. However, with the advent of more people working from home rather than from a specified office or other work premises it has not been clear how to treat the first and last journeys of the day – i.e. those to the first client and from the last one. This is because for those employees who work at their employer’s premises they cannot claim to be working when they are travelling to or from work. But for those who work from home, this is not so clear cut. Employers are therefore waiting for a ruling from the European Court on this matter. Already the Advocate General has said that employers must treat journeys by workers between customers or clients as working time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pay restructuring – Further Increase of the Minimum Wage
A new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April (2016) for all working people aged 25 and over, the Government announced in its summer budget.

The “national living wage” (NLW) will be compulsory and the Low Pay Commission (LPC) will recommend future rises, with the Government aiming for it to reach £9 an hour by 2020.

The adult national minimum wage currently stands at £6.50, rising to £6.70 in October. For those aged 25 and above, their hourly rate will rise to £7.20 in April 2016, an 11% increase on the current mandatory pay rate.

This will add pressure to increase pay for other employees to maintain pay differentials or to ensure that new staff are not paid more than qualified or experienced existing ones. It will also add complications for those employers who stick to the age-related minimum wage bands. At the moment the adult rate is payable to those aged 21 and over, so employees aged 21 to 24 are likely to feel upset that they are not being paid the same as colleagues aged 25 especially if they are doing the same job to the same degree of competency.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employees – Assets or Liabilities? - Latest Blogpost
I used to have a neighbour who was a builder by trade, but his passion was collecting Morris Minor classic cars. He had a barn full of them from the standard grey/blue Morris Minors through the green and wood Morris Travellers, to a rare lilac Morris Million. He lavished all his spare time on the cars, restoring them and polishing them. They were cars of beauty and people started asking if they could use them for weddings and other occasions and film crews often hired them for their productions.

“What’s this got to do with employees?” I hear you ask. Bear with me and I will explain.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Selecting the right candidate! - Latest Blog post
Recruiting someone to work for you can be a tricky business. You need to work out what the job entails and what skills and previous experience is necessary as well as any appropriate aptitudes. We often describe these in documents such as job descriptions and person specifications – but sometimes it is easy to confuse the previous post holder with what you need going forward. Does the successful applicant really have to have a degree in classics just because the previous post holder did? Probably not, unless it was a key subject area for the role. You may simply be looking for someone who is educated to a degree level – the subject matter may be less important. Indeed – do they actually need a degree at all or would equivalent experience be sufficient?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Ban on exclusivity clauses in “Zero Hours” contracts becomes law
Given the amount of discussion on the subject, you may been under the impression that the Government had already banned the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts. However, the ban only finally became law on 26th May 2015.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The risks of taking previous warnings into account
Many employers will have dismissed an employee on the basis of previous warnings for misconduct under a “totting up” system. However a recent case in the Court of Appeal has indicated that to dismiss an employee if there is any cause for concern about the nature of those warnings – i.e. if there is any indication that they have been given in “bad faith” could render a subsequent dismissal to be unfair.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Whistle-blowing: Is a failure to pay a bonus of public interest?
In June 2013 the protection for whistle-blowers was changed so that the disclosure had to be in the “public interest”. The change in law was made to avoid the situation where an employee could claim to be a whistle-blower even though their only complaint was a breach of their own contract of employment. However, a recent case has shown that the test for being in the public interest will not be difficult to meet.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Banking on a holiday?
Some employees will gain additional annual leave as a result of the way that Easter bank holidays fall this year, next year and in 2017.

The wording in some employees’ contracts could land their employers with an unanticipated liability for paying additional holiday, as a result of variations in Easter dates.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Give me a break! Dealing with meetings for shift workers
If you have employees who work shifts do you make sure that if you ask them to attend meetings at other times, that they still get their 11 hour break before resuming their shift work?

This was the matter being addressed in a recent case for night-shift employees who were attending health and safety and trade union meetings to represent colleagues during the day. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) had to consider whether attending a health and safety or a trade union meeting should be considered ‘work’ for the purposes of Working Time Regulations 1998.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
All Change: Collective Consultation and the “Woolworths” Decision
Regular readers will remember that when Woolworths and Ethel Austin ceased trading, claims had been made that the employers had not engaged in collective consultation in those branches with fewer than 20 employees and that the UK’s interpretation of the EU legislation was correct. The claim had been that because more than 20 people in total were being made redundant, all the employees should have been encompassed in any collective consultation, not just those in the larger stores.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Finding out about convictions without the risk of prosecution
Under the Data Protection Act it is now a crime to ask someone to exercise their subject access rights to reveal data held about them by someone else and to reveal that data to another person. This means that you could be prosecuted if you ask an employee, a job candidate or a contractor, for example, to request and disclose information to you about their convictions and cautions.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Deductions and the Minimum Wage
Do you make deductions from your employees for course attendance when they leave within a certain period, but worried that this might leave you open to action from HMRC if this takes the employee below the National Minimum Wage? If so, you will be interested to know of a recent case which addressed this issue.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Blogpost: Thumping Colleagues is not OK!
The recent high-profile case of Jeremy Clarkson hitting a colleague because the hotel he was staying at did not have a hot meal waiting for him at the end of a day’s work has raised a lot of comment. Whether or not you’re a fan of Top Gear and Clarkson’s antics, the fact of the matter is that he crossed a line.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
It pays to go on holiday!
Regular readers will know that there have been several cases taken to the European Court to decide how to calculate holiday pay and that at the end of last year they ruled that it should be calculated on the basis of "normal" pay so that if someone did regular overtime, this should be included in the average pay rate calculation for leave pay purposes. Another case relating to loss of ability to earn commission whilst on leave has recently been returned to the UK for consideration.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Revised Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures has been recently revised. The amendment is minor but it reflects an Employment Appeal Tribunal Judgment that ruled that the Code of Practice did not reflect the law accurately regarding the "reasonableness" of an employee's choice of companion.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Type II diabetes - disability or not?
I recently mentioned an EU Court ruling indicated that if an employee is obese to the extent that it, "may hinder the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers, and the limitation is a long-term one," it could amount to a disability. In such cases an individual would be protected under the Equality Act with regards to the need to make reasonable adjustments etc.

However, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal looked at a case of an employee with Type II diabetes controlled solely by diet. Unfortunately Type II diabetes is becoming more prevalent as the level of obesity increases in the UK and so this is of interest to many employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increases in National Minimum Wage from October 2015
The National Minimum Wage rates rates will increase on 1 October 2015 as follows:

* The adult rate (employees aged 21+) will increase by 20 pence to £6.70 per hour.
* The rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour.
* The rate for 16 to 17 year olds will increase by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour.
* The apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour.

The accommodation offset rate also increases from the current £5.08 to £5.35
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Rate increases for Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave from 5th April 2015
The set rate for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) will increase from £138.18 per week to £139.58 from 5 April 2015.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase in SSP rates from 6th April 2015
The set rate for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £87.55 per week to £88.45 from 6 April 2015
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase to the awards payable for Unfair Dismissal from 6 April 2015
The maximum statutory cap to the compensatory award payable for Unfair Dismissal claims will increase from the current cap of £76,574 to 78,335 with effect from 6 April 2015, This is of course subject to the limit of one year's pay.

The maximum for a week's pay with regards to statutory redundancy calculations also increases on that date.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employers - did you know that the UK driving licence counterpart will soon no longer be valid?
From 8th June 2015, the DVLA will no longer be issuing counterpart driving licences and existing ones will no longer be valid. Employers will need another way of checking employees' driving status and endorsements if they are driving on company business.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Blogpost: Work creation through procrastination!
Recently I’ve dealt with a number of cases from a variety of clients where procrastination has made straightforward situations much, much more complicated. These include tolerating unacceptable behaviour for many months (in some cases years) and then wondering why the employee gets upset when he is taken to task over it. This inevitably takes a lot more management time and resources to resolve the matters as arguments fly.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Extension of unpaid parental leave
As well as the introduction of Shared Parental Leave, the (quite separate) parental leave rules for leave are due to be amended on 5 April 2015 to extend employees’ rights so that the age of a child, up to which unpaid parental leave may be taken, will be increased.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Fit for Work Guidance
The Government has published guidance for employers on its new Fit for Work service aimed at cutting long-term sickness absence, which is set to be launched early this year.

The free service is intended to help employees return to work after they have been on sickness absence for four weeks or more. It will be rolled out in phases over a period of months, with further details expected to be published soon. However, the advice websites are already available.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Obesity
The European Court (CJEU) has recently confirmed that, whilst obesity itself cannot be regarded as a ground for protection against discrimination, where obesity, “may hinder the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers, and the limitation is a long-term one”, it could amount to a disability. This rule is binding across all EU states. Note that this does not give a specific definition with regards to a certain Body Mass Index (BMI) so each case will need to be considered individually.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Enhanced Holiday Pay
A landmark judgment from the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) to include overtime in holiday pay with potentially costly implications for UK businesses was announced towards the end of last year. It attracted a lot of publicity because it could affect up to 5 million workers according to government figures and confirms that elements of remuneration such as regular overtime and commission must be included in the calculation of holiday pay.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Shared Parental Leave
Any employee who is expecting a child on or after the 5th April 2015 will be interested in the details of the new Shared Parental Leave (SPL) Regulations that have now come into effect. (This is not to be confused with the existing unpaid parental leave entitlement which will remain!)

SPL will replace the current additional paternity leave entitlements – although those will still apply to those people expecting a baby or adoption placement before 5th April (irrespective of the actual date of birth/ placement.)
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Right to Accompany Partner to Ante-natal Appointments
Since October 2014 fathers and partners of pregnant women have the right to take unpaid time off work to accompany their partner to a midwife or obstetrician antenatal appointment.

The right is to unpaid time off on up to two occasions for a maximum of 6.5 hours each, although employers can be more generous if they wish. Pregnant women already have the right to paid time off to attend any appointments for ante-natal care.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Managing Bereavement Leave Sensitively
As you will be aware, all employees are entitled by law to reasonable time off work to deal with an emergency such as bereavement. Unfortunately however, reasonableness is not defined and the law only entitles an employee to unpaid leave. So Acas has published new non-binding guidance on managing the impact of bereavement in the workplace on its website www.acas.org.uk
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Protecting your Business from the Impact of Demoralising Staff Behaviours: Free Interactive Seminar
I am very pleased to be one of the main speakers at an event in Worcester on Wednesday 24th September, which covers an extremely important subject.

Protecting your Business from the Impact of Demoralising Staff Behaviours deals with those challenging, awkward, stressful and sometimes very expensive day-to-day people issues that arise at work.

In particular the seminar addresses why it is absolutely crucial for managers to be able to handle people issues well; why they often can’t, and how to get them to be good at it.

We'll be talking about people issues which result in disruptive behaviour such as:-
* Bullying and harassment
* Conflict
* Under-performance
* Miscommunication, and so on.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Sporting absence?
Apparently (so my husband tells me) the 2014 Football World Cup is almost upon us and it will continue until 13th July 2014.

As with any large sporting event, there are a few employment issues that employers should be aware of, including:
• annual leave requests
• sickness absence
• fitness to work
• websites accessed during working hours

Here is a quick summary on how to tackle some likely employment issues during that time:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Right to work changes and increased penalties: Act now to ensure you are looking at the right documents
In May 2014 the maximum civil penalty that employers can receive for employing someone without the right to work increased from £10,000 to £20,000 per illegal worker. It is therefore even more important that employers ensure that all their employees have the right to work in the UK and that the process and list of acceptable documents is updated without delay.

To avoid any potential claims of discrimination, the new code of practice published by the Home Office emphasises that checks should be made on ALL job candidates. The checks also have to be completed BEFORE the individual starts working for you.

The checks themselves have also changed, particularly in relation to their timing and the records that must be kept. The list of acceptable documents has been significantly reduced and employers no longer need to examine documents annually for those people with a limited right to stay and work in the UK. Instead they are required to ensure that documents are checked before the date of expiry, so placing a greater reliance on making sure those dates are put in the diary!
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes this month: How Flexible is your business?
From 30 June 2014, all employees with 26 weeks’ service will have the right to request flexible working for any reason. As before, there will be no obligation on the employer to agree to a request, just to consider it.

The current statutory procedure for dealing with requests for those with children or certain caring responsibilities is being abolished. Instead, employers will be able to use their own HR processes, provided requests are dealt with reasonably and decided on within three months (unless an extension is agreed). As is the case now, employers will only be able to refuse a flexible working application for one of the eight business reasons as listed here:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you saving up to pay for your employees’ holidays?
Back in January I mentioned the case of Lock Vs British Gas Trading concerning the issue of holiday pay for an employee whose remuneration included an amount of commission. The opinion of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was that his pay should include an amount to reflect his average income including the commission. This was because that when Lock was away on holiday, he could not generate any sales and so his pay was reduced when he returned from leave. We have since been waiting for the CJEU’s decision which has now been announced.

In its judgment, the court has confirmed the basic principle that workers must be put in a comparable position during annual leave when compared to a period when they are working. So, they must not lose out by taking leave, as Lock did. The court emphasised that any other outcome might deter the worker from taking annual leave.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Ignore pension auto-enrolment at your peril
The law on auto-enrolment requires all employers to enrol eligible workers in a pension scheme automatically and to pay mandatory minimum contributions for those employees. Large employers are already required to comply, with smaller ones being required to follow on over the next couple of years.

The Pensions Regulator has recently issued its first progress report on automatic enrolment. In the report it identified Dunelm Soft Furnishings as a company that had failed to complete its auto-enrolment registration by its deadline (1 April 2013.) The regulator issued a compliance notice, requiring the company to complete its registration. When this was completed, the regulator considered that the company may have failed to comply in other respects with its auto-enrolment duties. So it carried out an inspection of the company's premises using other powers under the Act.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Minimum wage – HMRC “naming and shaming”
A group of 25 employers, including a school, a retail outlet and a construction firm, have recently been “named and shamed” for failing to pay employees the minimum wage. In total, the employers owed workers more than £43,000 in outstanding pay and they will also have to pay fines worth more than £21,000.

HMRC investigated wage underpayments after workers complained to its confidential helpline. The introduction of tougher rules last October means that as well as being publicly named for failing to pay the legally required amount, employers could be fined up to £20,000 for each employee they have underpaid. This is four times the amount of financial penalties previously faced by employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Blogpost: EQ vs IQ when dealing with conflict
I have worked with some highly intelligent people over the years, but it never ceases to amaze me how some of them have trouble dealing with their peers, staff or managers. In many cases it is because they have thought through some logical answers to the problems they were trying to solve, but were completely thrown by the emotional response they got from those affected as a result.

When you look at highly qualified scientists, engineers, or any other professionals, they have often got where they are as a result of passing exams or studying for long periods to time. These are the people we often think of as having a high level of intelligence (IQ) but this does not mean that they will automatically be good at dealing with people.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage increases announced for October 2014
The Government has announced that the main rate of the national minimum wage will increase by 3% in October 2014.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Right to request flexible working - new implementation date announced
Delays to the Children and Families Bill mean that the well trailed plans to introduce the right to request flexible working for all employees on 6 April 2014 had been postponed.

Currently, only employees with children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or who are carers have the right to request a flexible pattern of work.

However, the new date for extending the right to all employees with 26 weeks' service has just been announced. It will take effect from 30th June 2014.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase to the awards payable for Unfair Dismissal from 6 April 2014
The maximum statutory cap to the compensatory award payable for Unfair Dismissal claims will increase from the current cap of £74,200 to £76,574 with effect from 6 April 2014, This is of course subject to the limit of one year's pay.

The maximum for a week's pay is also increased from that date and this will impact on any redundancies occurring on or after that date.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase to Statutory Benefit Payments - April 2014
Statutory payment rates for sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay will all increase on 6th April 2014 as follows:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Give and Take: The Health and Work Assessment Advisory Service
Last year the Government announced that it was going to introduce a free occupational health service to address the growing problem of sickness absence in the UK. It intends the scheme to help people who are off sick for longer than 4 weeks get back to work by making occupational health advice “more readily available to employers and employees.”

The idea is that it will assess employees’ physical and/or mental functions and their ability to work (rather than simply do their job) with a view to getting them back into the workplace quickly and efficiently. It is expected to include:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Acas Early Conciliation - New Service
There are changes to the Employment Tribunal Service coming into effect from April 6th 2014. Any employee thinking of making an Employment Tribunal claim will need to notify Acas first. Acas will be offering a new free service called Early Conciliation to try to resolve the dispute quickly without the need for legal action. This will allow an extra month to attempt to resolve the dispute before employees hit the deadline for making their claim.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Stop Press: Flexibility put on hold
Delays to the Children and Families Bill mean that the well trailed plans to introduce the right to request flexible working for all employees on 6 April 2014 have been postponed until sometime later this year.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Annual leave and school holidays
Many companies have a “first come, first served” approach to granting annual leave entitlement for their employees, and often parents with school-age children will ask to have theirs granted as a priority for childcare reasons. However, it can cause issues for those who either do not have children, or whose children are no longer at school and so managers sometimes try not to grant any special approvals. But this situation has now become more difficult due to the fact that parents are no longer allowed to take their children on holiday during term time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Delay in Statutory Rate increases
Annual increases to some statutory rates such as redundancy pay and the basic award of compensation for unfair dismissal will be implemented on 6 April in 2014, rather than the usual date of 1 February.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage penalties to increase to £20,000
Employers who fail to pay their staff the national minimum wage will face an increased penalty of up to £20,000 as part of a government crackdown.

At the moment, employers found breaking the law must pay the wages that are due to their workers, plus an additional financial penalty to HMRC. The fine is calculated as 50% of the total underpayment for all workers found to be underpaid, with a maximum penalty of £5,000.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost: New Year’s Resolutions: Integrating personal and business aims
It is at this time of year that people all over the world resolve to start afresh and make resolutions to get fitter; spend more time with the family; work harder; change jobs; move house etc. The list is endless, but do you do the same for your business and can you link your employees’ personal resolutions with those of your business?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Extending Flexibility – coming soon
In April The Government is extending the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ service – not just parents of children aged 16 or under (or under 18 for disabled children) as it is currently.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Weather disruption?
We've had bad flooding in many parts of the country over the last few weeks and we haven't got into the cold part of winter yet, so before it causes more problems for your staff in getting to work, it may be worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather or Business Disruption Policy in place if you don’t already have one. This will have the advantage of ensuring that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
CRATUPEAR - Changes from 31st January 2014
The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (CRATUPEAR) come into force at the end of this month.

This mouthful of an acronym relates to the long-awaited amendments to TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006) which is the law that requires employers who take over a business, or take over certain contracts from another employer, to take on the employees who worked for that previous employer. It is a complex area, but there are some welcome improvements to the regulations for employers. These include:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Holiday pay should include commission, says EU
A recent legal opinion from the European court could have huge implications for UK employers whose staff receive commission payments.

According to an opinion of an advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on a recent case [Lock v British Gas Trading], holiday pay should include an amount that reflects average commission previously earned by workers over a prior period of months. This decision will be of major importance to employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Can employers safely rely on medical opinion? Apparently not!
In a recent case [Gallop v Newport City Council] the Court of Appeal had to decide whether a disability discrimination claim could be defended by an employer trusting medical advice that an employee is not disabled.

In this case the employee had informed his employer, Newport City Council, that he was suffering from stress. Efforts were made to adjust his workload, but he was signed off sick and thereafter had long discontinuous periods of absence for over two years. During this time two different occupational health advisers stated that he was not disabled within the statutory definition. When he did eventually return to work, he was dismissed following allegations of bullying by other members of staff, who said they would not work with him.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Hands up – Who knows the difference between parental leave and shared parental leave?
The government has confirmed its proposals to introduce shared parental leave (SPL) for new mothers and fathers from April 2015. This should not be confused with the right some employees have to take unpaid parental leave of up to 18 weeks to care for a child. That right will continue alongside the new scheme although it is due to be extended to working parents of children aged under 18 years rather than under 5 as it is now.

Under the plans, the first two weeks of leave after the birth of a child will be reserved for the mother, but the remaining 50 weeks can be shared between the mother and father until the child’s first birthday and will not have to be taken in one continuous block.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Paying employees for being available (whether asleep or not) and travel time between assignments
The issue of whether the national minimum wage (NMW) applies to workers who are allowed to sleep on the job has often caused tribunals difficulties.

Regulation 15 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 specifies that work includes time when a worker is available at, or near, the place of work in order to carry out work, unless the worker lives nearby or is entitled to be at home. It goes on to say that workers given sleeping facilities at work will only be entitled to be paid the NMW when awake and performing their duties.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has reconsidered this issue and provided guidance in a recent case [Whittlestone v BGP Support Ltd.]
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Temporary Short-time working and implications for guarantee payments
If you are a business that has experienced a downturn in trading you may have chosen to lay off employees or put them on short-time working as an alternative to dismissal. In such cases employees on short-time working may be entitled to a guarantee payment (currently £24.20) for those days when they would normally work, but do not have work because their employer has imposed a temporary reduction in working hours.

The Court of Appeal has recently been asked to consider what “normally” required to work actually means. In the case they looked at [Abercrombie v AGA Rangemaster] the employees had entered into an agreement with the employer to reduce their working hours temporarily and to shorten their working week so that they did not work on Fridays. The agreement, which ran for several months, allowed the employer to call back the employees to their full working hours on one week’s notice.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
How far does an employer have to go? Reasonable adjustments for psychiatric disability
A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case (EAT) had to decide whether an employment tribunal was right to find that an employer failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee suffering from depression when it did not act on a doctor’s recommendation to pay for private psychiatric services.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Age-Related Benefits and Discrimination
A recent Employment Tribunal case has ruled that an employer had directly discriminated against one of its employees when it changed its permanent health insurance (PHI) scheme. The new scheme entitled employees to claim PHI payments up to the age of 65, rather than 55 - the age limit under the original scheme. However as a result of a health condition he was suffering from at the time of the move to the new arrangements, he was not included in the new scheme because the insurance company declined to indemnify any employee who was not actively in work on the implementation date of the new scheme.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Establishing a collective redundancy appeal
Readers may remember that earlier in the year, the Usdaw v Woolworths case heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) resulted in a finding that deemed that collective redundancies need not be "at one establishment" for there to be a requirement for the employer to consult.

There have now been further developments and The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has been granted permission to appeal the EAT judgement,
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Sickness tide rising again
A recent survey by the CIPD and Simplyhealth has found that after a small decrease in sickness absence last year, average levels are back up to 7.6 days per employee. This is similar to levels recorded in 2010 and 2011.

The survey found that the public service sector recorded the highest absence levels, with employees off sick for an average of 8.7 days. This is a rise on last year’s 7.9 days, which had previously represented the lowest levels of recorded absence in the sector for a decade.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Health & Safety changes – October 2013
Changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) came into effect at the beginning of this month. Under the regulations, employers must report any work-related deaths, and certain work-related injuries, cases of disease, and near misses involving employees. They also have to ensure that they provide suitably trained personnel and have adequate equipment and facilities for giving first-aid to employees who are injured or become ill at work. This is a requirement under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (as amended) (FAR).
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost - Psychometric profiling: Knowing Me, Knowing You
Over the last few months I've been asked to undertake personality profiling using occupational psychometric testing. This has been done for a variety of reasons including: selection assessment; helping improve the workings of dysfunctional teams; and for career planning purposes for individuals who have been made redundant. I have also used it for succession planning and strategic team development purposes.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage Increases
The National Minimum Wage rates increased with effect from 1st October 2013 with the adult rate increasing from £6.19 to £6.31 per hour. The other changes are as follows...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employed or Self Employed?
Whether a contractor working through a limited company is genuinely in business on his/her own account or employed for tax purposes is now at least partly determined by the business entity tests used by the HMRC. Note that that an employment tribunal may not interpret this in quite the same way, but Robert Bradley of Bradley and Associates has set out the tax implications of IR35.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employee Shareholders - the new Employee Status
On 1 September 2013, a new kind of employment contract - the employee-shareholder contract - was introduced. Employee-shareholders will benefit from tax advantages on shares worth between £2,000 and £50,000 that they receive from their employer. However, they will have to give up important employment rights. What does this mean in practice?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Calculating Annual Leave Payments – more difficult that it looks
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that it is paying out a total of £40M backpay to staff, having discovered that it had been calculating holiday pay incorrectly for several years. It had not included the premium rates paid for Sundays and Bank Holidays when calculating the average weekly pay and had based it solely on numbers of standard hours the partners worked per week.

This is not the only problem that has recently come to light with the issue of calculating holiday pay.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Managing assertively or bullying: where do you draw the line?
* Why is it that when managers try to deal with poorly performing employees, they are often accused of bullying?

* Do you have “over-sensitive” employees who can’t take instruction or criticism?

* Are you worried about the risk of a harassment claim against your business?

If you would like to know the answers to any of these questions – or have more of your own about bullying or harassment at work that you’d like answered, come to the H&W breakfast networking meeting at 7.30 am on 19th September at the Abbey Hotel Malvern to hear Helen Astill of Cherington HR talk about some of the issues these situations raise and give tips on how to deal with them.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost - Zero hours – Fair or not?
Zero hours – Fair or not? - Much has been written lately about the “Zero Hours” contracts and I have to... http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xsyDsNi
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
An Objectionable Companion?
When workers choose companions to accompany them to a grievance hearing, employers have tended to assume that they can decide whether the person chosen is reasonable – at least that is what the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures grievances suggests. However a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case has revealed that this is not legal.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What is an Establishment and does it matter?
The recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling on what constitutes "one establishment" when making 20 or more redundancies has made a huge difference to the way employers need to review any restructuring plans and the consultation requirements.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Fees in the Employment Tribunal Introduced
Controversially, any employee or ex-employee wishing to present a claim to the Employment Tribunal on or after 29 July 2013 must now pay a fee depending on the type of claim.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Compensation for Unfair Dismissal - from 29th July 2013
Where dismissal takes effect on or after 29 July 2013, the compensatory award in any unfair dismissal case will now be capped at 12 months’ gross pay for the individual employee (excluding pension contributions, benefits, expenses or discretionary bonuses).
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Resolving disputes – Settlement Agreements
Since the end of July this year, there have been some significant changes in the way in which employers can handle disputes. This has been discussed at length for some time, but the first of these changes has finally come into being.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Agricultural Wages Board - England & Wales to be abolished
As part of the The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, The Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales will be abolished on 25 June 2013 - or will it?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New DBS Checking System - Update Service
If you are not already aware, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

On 17 June 2013, the DBS is launching a new service, called the Update Service which is designed to help employers ensure that the information they have remains up to date.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Mercenary Payments?
Small businesses are to be offered cash incentives to encourage them to hire members of the military reserves, defence secretary Phillip Hammond has announced.

With the Government cutting the Army to its smallest size in 100 years, it announced last July that it would be placing more emphasis on using volunteers. It plans to cut the numbers of soldiers by 20,000 by 2018 but is planning on doubling the number of reservists to 30,000. This is likely to have a big impact on employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The “Free Intern” Myth
Last month Employment minister Jo Swinson referred 100 employers accused of flouting national minimum wage legislation - by hiring "free interns" - to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Were you one of them?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013
This Act, passed in April 2013, introduces a new type of employee ownership arrangement known as “Employee Shareholders” under which employees give up some of their employment rights in exchange for shares in the employer. It is expected to come into being on 1st September 2013. However, this is a controversial plan which had a bumpy ride through Parliament, having been rejected by the House of Lords twice. The Government has had to introduce concessions to get it passed…
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013
This Act was passed in April 2013 and contains a number of key changes which are due to come into effect in stages over the next 2 years. The key elements cover changes to compromise agreements; protection over unfair dismissal where related to political opinions/ affiliations; changes to “Whistleblowing” protections; changes to the cap on compensatory awards; Employment Tribunal hearing arrangements and financial penalties; the introduction of a mandatory early conciliation process through Acas; and changes to the Equality Act…
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Latest Blogpost - Untying Procedural Knots
Untying Procedural Knots - I have dealt with several disciplinary and grievance cases recently. They have all… http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xkuBfHa
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage Rises for October 2013
The national minimum wage (NMW) will increase by 12p to £6.31 from October 2013, the Government has announced today
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Harassed at work?
Workers who are harassed or attacked at work by third parties such as members of the public are going to lose the right to bring a discrimination claim against their employer for failing to protect them, under new legislation.

Next month, the Government is repealing the 'third party harassment' provisions in the Equality Act 2010, which gave the responsibility with employers for staff who are repeatedly harassed at work.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Paying your employees: Are you ready for the introduction of RTI?
Real Time Information (RTI ) is a new way of reporting PAYE information that will be introduced by HMRC early this year. Small and medium sized businesses will have to start reporting using RTI from April 2013 onwards, and will need to do so using either up to date payroll software or an RTI ready payroll bureau.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Help for employers to tackle long-term sickness absence – next year!
The Government has announced that it intends to set up an independent assessment and advisory service to help employers get staff back to work when they have been off sick for 4 weeks or more.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Managing the dismissal process and minimising the costs of unfair dismissal claims
A package of measures aimed at reducing the number of workplace disputes that end up at employment tribunal has been set out recently by the Government.

It plans to limit payouts to employees in cases of unfair dismissal to a cap of 12 months' pay of the employee in question. This will apply where this amount is less than the overall cap, which is currently £72,300 (rising to £74,200 in February.)
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Balancing an Employee’s Human Rights with the needs of an Employer
A recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that a Christian employee had her human rights breached by not being allowed to wear a visible cross at work has been talked about a lot in the media, but what does it mean for employers?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Is your business prepared for winter weather disruption?
OK - so here we go again with more forecasts of snow and icy weather for many parts of the country. This may mean that many employees will struggle to get to work. Even if it doesn’t affect your business this time, it is worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather or Business Disruption Policy in place if you don’t already have one, so that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Adoption Reform
Over Christmas, the government announced a new package of support for people who want to adopt, which will include a new right for adoptive parents to take time off work to meet the child they are set to adopt before the child moves in with them, and improvements to statutory adoption leave and pay.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase in Unpaid Parental Leave from March 2013
The right to unpaid parental leave will increase from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013.

The change is required to implement the EU Parental Leave Directive which increased the minimum parental leave provision from three to four months.

The Directive came into force on 8 March 2012, however the UK Government has made use of an exception that allows member states an extra year for implementation.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase to Statutory Benefit Payments - April 2013
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced increases to Statutory payments for Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase to the awards payable for Unfair Dismissal from 1 February 2013
The maximum statutory cap to the compensatory award payable for Unfair Dismissal claims will increase from the current cap of £72,300 to £74,200 with effect from 1 February 2013.

The minimum basic award also increases in certain circumstances ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Statutory Redundancy Pay - Increase From February 2013
A week’s pay for calculating Statutory Redundancy Pay is subject to a cap (currently £430 per week). From 1 February 2013 the cap on a week’s pay will increase to £450.

Statutory guarantee payments will also increase ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Change to Collective Redundancy Consultation Period
The government has announced changes to the minimum period for collective redundancy consultations where more than 100 redundancies are proposed.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Even more flexibility
The Government has recently announced that from 2015, a new fully flexible system of parental leave in England, Scotland and Wales will replace the current arrangements for maternity and paternity leave. New mothers will be able to return to work two weeks after childbirth and share the rest of their maternity leave with their partner under new plans announced by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Cost of Equal Pay
A recent Supreme Court ruling that 170 women and four men who worked for Birmingham City Council will be able to bring an equal pay case through the civil courts rather than an employment tribunal opens the way for other workers to pursue equal pay compensation claims, extending the time limit from six months to six years.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Would you appoint Employee-Owners?
Last month, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to allow employees to forfeit some employment rights in exchange for a stake in their firm.

He said the proposal is be aimed at small, fast-growing companies and believed thousands of workers would be taken on as "employee owners". He said the contract would be voluntary on both sides and would see employees given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that would be exempt from capital gains tax. In exchange, they would give up their UK employment rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and would be required to provide 16 weeks' notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual eight.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you expecting them to retire?
It is now a year since the Default Retirement Age was removed but I still get clients telling me that they have an employee who is due to retire shortly and that they are planning accordingly.

However, as one client found out to their cost recently, unless the employee has actually given written notice that they are leaving, you cannot take any actions on the assumption that employees will actually go when they have said they will. For the latest blog post see http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xUcqlAr
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
October Changes
There are a couple of important changes for employers to note that take effect from today (1st October 2012) with regards to minimum pay rates and pension enrolment.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Government announces further proposals for changes to employment law
Last week the Government made an announcement about its proposals following on from the Beecroft Report and other discussions regarding options to change certain aspects of employment law as reported earlier in the year. In particular:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Sunday Trading
You may be aware that during the Olympic and Paralympic games, the government temporarily suspended the restricted times shops could open under the Sunday Trading laws. However, it is now contemplating extending this suspension.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you employ overseas students?
If like Tesco you employee overseas students, do you monitor the number of hours they work to ensure that they don’t breach the terms of their visas?

Unfortunately for Tesco it appears that they may not have done in some cases. They employed some overseas nationals who were in the UK on student visas which allowed them to work for no more than 20 hours per week...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Cost of Bringing a Tribunal Claim in 2013
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced the level of fees that it intends to charge Employment Tribunal claimants from summer next year.

Claimants who want to take an unfair dismissal, equal pay or discrimination claim to a full employment tribunal hearing will have to pay a fee of £1,200 in advance. This comprises £250 to lodge the complaint and a further £950 when the hearing begins.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employment Protection of Volunteer TA Reservists
With the Government cutting the Army to its smallest size in 100 years, it announced in early July that it would be placing more emphasis on using volunteers. It is cutting the numbers of soldiers by 20,000 but is planning on doubling the number of reservists to 30,000. This is likely to have a big impact on employers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pension auto-enrolment safeguards already in place - July 2012
You may not yet have reached the pension auto-enrolment staging date for your business, but did you know that there are safeguards already in place to protect the pension rights of your staff? Employers who breach these safeguards could be fined up to £50k?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill
This Bill was laid before Parliament in June and covers a variety of employment-related legislation, some of which resulted from the “Red Tape Challenge” which was intended to remove unnecessary regulation. So what is it likely to do?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Happy families
The Government intends to change maternity and paternity arrangements to help families with their childcare commitments.

For many years, fathers have been entitled to up to two weeks of statutory paternity leave paid at a flat rate on the birth or adoption of their child, providing they meet certain qualifying criteria. And those whose children were born on or after April 2011 have been entitled to additional paternity leave if the mother didn’t take all of her maternity leave. However it appears that take up of the additional leave has been very low.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Sick of Holidays?
Workers who fall sick during their annual leave are entitled to take corresponding paid leave at a later date, the EU's top court has ruled.

The European Court of Justice (EJC) ruling, which was prompted by a Spanish trade union case against a group of department stores, is legally binding throughout the EU.

The court in Luxembourg said the EU Working Time Directive grants workers a right to at least four weeks' paid annual leave, "even where such leave coincides with periods of sick leave".
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Redundancy Consultation Period to be reduced – but only for 100 or more employees
The government has recently confirmed that it intends to scrap the requirement that employers carry out consultation for at least 90 days when they have to make 100 or more employees redundant.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Compulsory Pay Audits
The Government has recently announced that as part of its response to the Modern Workplaces consultation it is planning on introducing new powers for Employment Tribunals to order compulsory pay audits.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Beecroft Report - Good for Business?
There has been lots of discussion recently about changes to employment legislation – most of it confusing to many employers – and alarming to others. So what exactly has been proposed by Adrian Beecroft and are the ideas likely to result in changes in the way you manage your staff?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Bad relations or just a bad headache?
When people talk to me about relations at work I normally tend to assume that they are referring to working relationships or employee relations in terms of consultation with TU representatives. However, of late I’ve found that more and more organisations are having problems because of close personal relationships between the staff or between managers arising from family ties. Sometimes this comes about because the organisation has had origins as a family business – but in other cases it happens because they have a referral recruitment scheme. Either way, I would always urge an employer to stop and think before taking on a family relation or close personal friend of theirs or that of another employee.

For the latest blog post .... see http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xNqQPH2 How does your organisation deal with employee relations?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you ready for Pensions Auto-enrolment? What do you need to do?
Many employers have still not taken steps to work out when they must make arrangements to ensure that they can comply with the new statutory obligations regarding company pensions. Are you one of them and do you know what is involved?

There are lots of questions that employers should be asking now – so that they can get their procedures in place ready for their staging date. It is quite complicated and if you are not sure about the arrangements you need to put in place, you are advised to consult an independent financial advisor who will be able to help. But what are the key issues?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Failure to give feedback to failed candidates can be costly
When recruiting what feedback do you give to unsuccessful candidates?

A recent case heard by the European Court of Justice (EJC) involved a candidate who had not been shortlisted for interview and was not given any reasons for her non-selection. She had claimed that she had been discriminated on the grounds of her sex, age and ethnic origin because she believed that she was more highly qualified than the successful candidate.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Olympic Hurdles?
We’re now well into 2012 and the Olympic Games will soon be here. Whether or not you are based within the M25, this will have an impact on your employees and you need to plan how to deal with this sooner rather than later to avoid complaints and staff performance issues.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage Rates - October 2012
Some rates frozen and some increased

Ministers have accepted the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to freeze the rate for 18-20 year olds at £4.98 per hour, and the rate for 16-17 year olds at £3.68 per hour...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Stressed Workforce? Legal and Practical Ways to Develop Resilience
If you need help to support your employees deal with a pressured business environment, come to this free half-day business networking and seminar event in Worcester on 16th April 2012.

Presenters

* Lisa Kemp of Stallard March & Edwards - Legal Resilience
* Helen Astill of Cherington HR - HR Implications
* Anne Thompson of Change Potential - Resilience Coaching
* Claire Henman of Spire South Bank Hospital - Lifestyle Assessment

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience - but if you would like to discuss any issues relating to this topic, please get in touch.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Making difficult discussions more difficult!
Having a “difficult” discussion with an employee can make some managers quite anxious...

See the latest blog on holding "difficult" meetings at http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xGnCKNY
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pensions Auto-enrolment - the new timetable
A revised timetable to show when employers of all sizes must start enrolling their staff in a workplace pension has been set out by the Government today.

Large employers, those with 250 or more employees, will not face any change in the date they are due to start enrolling their staff.

This follows the announcement in November that small businesses would be given more time to prepare for automatic enrolment to help them out in exceptionally tough economic times.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Statutory Rates for April 2012
The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases on 1st April 2012 from £128.73 to £135.45 per week.

The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85 per week on 6th April 2012

See http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/benefitrates2012.pdf for the full schedule of proposed benefit rates
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employee Handbooks: Restricting or Supporting Business?
The latest blog on the usefulness of employee handbooks is now available.

Many employers don’t realise that all employees... See http://tmblr.co/ZZv_-xEIh7fM
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Compensation Limits from February 2012
The new compensation rates have recently been published by the Government.

From 1 February 2012 the maximum ‘week’s pay’ used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £400 to £430. The maximum compensatory award in unfair dismissal claims will also increase from £68,400 to £72,300.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR Case Study
Setting up your business is one thing, but ensuring you've got the right practices in place when you begin to grow is critical and a little planning can prevent a lot of problems.

The December Christmas special edition of the DI Informer Newsletter features Cherington HR case study. See: http://ow.ly/7Wnzw
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Merry Christmas?
The Christmas period can be stressful for employers. This includes deciding what to do about bonuses and worrying about the potential hazards of Christmas parties (whether that relates to the vicarious liability arising from alcohol-related misconduct, harassment or issues relating to transport to and from the venue.) If you want help, advice or reassurance on any of these issues please don't hesitate to get in touch on 01684 594773 or via helen@cheringtonhr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What’s Santa bringing your Agency Workers?
On Christmas Eve, those agency workers that have been working for employers continuously since the 1st October acquire additional rights with regards to pay and some benefits because they will have been in place for 12 weeks.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Moving the goalposts?
After much pre-publicity, last month the Government finally published its response to the consultation paper regarding the resolution of workplace disputes. There have been several aspects that they have addressed including reforms of the tribunal system, and they announced more consultations over a wide variety of employment law issues such as introducing a compensated no fault dismissal provision for firms with fewer than 10 employees.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Off the record?
At present having an “off the record” conversation with an employee can potentially be used against an employer. This is unless it is part of a “without prejudice” discussion being held as part of an existing dispute which they are trying to settle. This means that too often employers get it wrong and say things that will compromise their position – and potentially cost them a lot more than they had bargained for!
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you prepared for winter disruption?
With the exception of parts of Scotland and northern England, we haven’t had much snow yet this winter in the UK. However the current forecasts are for more stormy conditions with ice, rain, wind and floods predicted across parts of the country. This may mean that many employees will struggle to get to work. Even if it doesn’t affect your business this time, it is worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather or Business Disruption Policy in place if you don’t already have one, so that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What’s the prognosis on sickness absence?
In November Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE presented their report ‘Health at Work – an independent review of sickness absence’. The report makes a number of recommendations aimed at reducing the cost of absence and they propose making better use of occupational health specialists. They propose:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pensions – Auto Enrolment
The Government has confirmed that automatic enrolment for pensions will begin on time in autumn 2012, but small businesses will be given additional time to prepare for the implementation. The timetable will be adjusted so that no small employers are affected by the reforms before the end of this Parliament.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Knowing Me, Knowing You - Talk at H&W Chamber Event
Do you want to find out how to be more successful in your business and work more effectively with colleagues and staff? Are you selecting the right people for your business?

Helen Astill of Cherington HR will show you how to find out about your preferred working styles and those of your staff and how you can harness this to your advantage. Come to the Hereford & Worcester Chamber Business Breakfast meeting on 10th November 2011 at the Worcestershire County Cricket Ground, New Road, Worcester to find out more.

For more details ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Bad recruitment practices can damage your reputation and your brand
The latest blog on the impact of poor recruitment practices can be found at ... http://tumblr.com/ZZv_-xB3BfPT
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR - Guest Speaker at Business Seminar & Network Meeting
Helen Astill is speaking at an event in Worcester later this month Hosted free by Stallard March & Edwards and Peach Recruitment.

The subjects covered will be:
* Avoiding Redundancy;
* Handling Redundancy in the workplace;
* Managing employees through difficult times; and
* The Agency Workers Directive

It is being held on Tuesday 20th September at the Fownes Hotel, City Walls Road, Worcester WR1 2AP from 4.30-6.30pm

To book ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Riotous Behaviour
If you have employees who have been arrested or charged in relation to the recent riots, what should you do?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you use agency workers?
From October 1st 2011 the new Agency Worker Regulations will come into force. This will have a major effect on the pay and working conditions of agency temps. It will give such workers rights to the same pay and working time conditions as comparable permanent workers employed directly by an organisation once the agency workers have been on an assignment for 12 weeks. They will also have other rights from the first day.

If you use agency workers this means that you will need to ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you know who you’ve employed?
Are you confident that you know all you need to know about your employees and their backgrounds? If not, are you prepared to take the risks?

The recent unfolding of scandal of the telephone hacking at the News of the World has hardly been out of the news recently. It has had some high profile casualties and, I suspect, probably more revelations to come. However, one of the most recent aspects is the degree of background checks that have (or have not) been undertaken on the individuals involved – whether they have been engaged as employees or consultants.

The latest blog entry on this issue can be found at http://tumblr.com/xgv3mcoqtd
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Public Sector Strikes
The recent public sector strike meant that many parents found that their children's schools were shut. Whilst this was inconvenient for one day, it may become more problematic for employers if this trend continues in the autumn.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What does the new Bribery Act mean for you?
The Bribery Act comes into force today (1st July 2011.) So what does this mean for businesses?

Your organisation may be liable for failing to prevent a person from bribing on your behalf, if that person performs services for you in business. However, if you can show you had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery, then you can defend your involvement in any such alleged actions.

Since the initial proposals were put in place they have been watered down now so that the requirements are not as onerous for smaller businesses. For example, you do not need to put bribery prevention procedures in place if having done a risk assessment, there is no risk of bribery on your behalf.

Many business owners will be relieved to hear that hospitality is not prohibited by the Act (as long as it is not lavish and disproportionate.) But remember that “facilitation” payments made to overseas public officials to speed up customs clearance or other routine functions continue to be considered to be bribes under the Act – even if permitted by other overseas countries.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Waging the war on Inequality?
A lot has been written recently about the comments made by backbench Conservative MP Philip Davies on the suggestion that disabled people could work for less than the minimum wage as it would help them get a job.

The latest blog entry on this issue can be found at http://tumblr.com/xgv34ale62
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do your employees work for or against you?
Latest blog entry on the importantance of involving employees in the introduction of new procedures and processes can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Appraisal - What's in a Word?
I have recently been asked to review, update or design new appraisal systems for clients. However, one of the sticking points is often the name. It appears that “Appraisal” has connotations of being a meeting where managers tell their subordinates about all the things they have done wrong in the past year and employee dread what they perceive to be a ritual “telling off.”

The latest blog entry on this issue can be found at http://tumblr.com/xgv2gl2d6y
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
5th Birthday!!
Cherington HR is celebrating its 5th Birthday! The consultancy has grown significantly since it was formed in April 2006 and Helen would like to thank all her clients for their continued custom.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Exemption from new regulation for small businesses
The Government announced that on 1 April 2011 a three-year exemption came into force for businesses with fewer than 10 employees from new domestic regulation.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
National Minimum Wage Rates from October 2011
The government has announced that the adult national minimum wage will increase by 15p an hour, to £6.08, from 1st October 2011.

Other increases are:-
• 18-20 year olds: by 6p to £4.98ph
• 16-17 year olds: by 4p to £3.68ph
• apprentices: by 10p to £2.60ph
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Rate Changes - April 2011
The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay have increased from £124.88 to £128.73 per week with effect from 3 April 2011. Statutory sick pay has also increased from £79.15 to £81.60 per week from 6 April 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Bribery Act - 1st July 2011
The Ministry of Justice has published guidance on the Bribery Act 2010, which will come into force on 1 July 2011

The guidance provides information on the safeguards that businesses can put into place to prevent bribery as well as case studies on hospitality, facilitation payments and joint ventures. It also gives a list of the sort of topics that a business's anti-bribery policy should cover, for example disciplinary procedures and sanctions for a breach of the anti-bribery policy.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
End of Retirement Notices
Don’t forget that you can no longer issue new notices retiring employees as the legislation allowing employers to retire their employees at the default retirement age has been repealed. Existing notices issued before 6th April can still go ahead providing the procedure has been followed correctly and the employee is 65 or over before the 1st October 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Additional Paternity Leave - now available
The new rules on additional paternity leave have now come into force. These allow fathers or partners of those giving birth or adopting, to share a period of the maternity/ adoption leave and associated pay if the mother or main adopter returns to work without using all of her entitlement. There are prescriptive conditions.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Banking on your holidays?
Latest blog entry on the need for a break to keep employees working effectively can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Last minute changes ...
The Government has made a last minute change to the flexible working rights. The right to request flexible working was due to be extended to parents of children under 18 (as opposed to under 17 as it is currently) in April 2011 but has now backtracked on this arrangement and decided to leave it as it is.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Worker Registration Scheme Changes Announced
It has been announced that the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) is to close for registration of individuals from some countries with effect from 30 April 2011.

The WRS was introduced in 2004, when eight Accession countries - Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia - joined the European Union.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Abolition of the default retirement age - update
There has been a clarification of the transitional arrangements to abolish the default retirement age (DRA) concerning the period of intended notice of retirement the employer must give an employee by the deadline for such notifications, which is 5 April 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Seminar for professional business advisors: Helping Your Clients Manage Conflict
Cherington HR is running a free seminar from 8 – 10 am on Wednesday 23rd March 2011 in Worcester. This event has been designed specifically for solicitors, accountants and business advisors to help them advise their clients on dealing with conflict situations in clients’ businesses. The speakers will be Helen Astill of Cherington HR and Martin Augustus of Scrase Employment Solicitors. Martin is a Legal Executive and an ADRg accredited workplace mediator.

To book a place or for more information, please send an email to: helen@cheringtonhr.com or call 01684 594773

If you are not a business advisor, but think this event would be of interest to your solicitors or accountants, please forward the details to them and ask them to get in touch to book a place.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Abolition of the default retirement age
Last week BIS published the draft Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age) Regulations 2011. The position now is that staff that will turn 65 in the period from 6 April 2011 until 30 September 2011 can be compulsorily retired up until 5 April 2012 and the employer will still benefit from protection against claims for age discrimination and unfair dismissal provided they are given a minimum six months notice of retirement before 6 April 2011 and follow the statutory process.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Delay for Bribery Act
The Government has delayed the implementation of the Bribery Act which had been due to come into force in April.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Extension of right to request time off for training cancelled
BIS has announced that the right to request time off for training is not going to be extended to all employees from April 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Vetting and Barring Scheme reduced
Following a review of the Vetting and Barring Scheme, the Government has announced that criminal record checks will now only be carried out on those who have intensive contact with the young.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Rate increases – a reminder
On 1st February 2011, the new maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rose to £68,400. The new maximum for a week's pay increased from £380 to £400 (as used for the cap in redundancy payments.) This brings the maximum unfair dismissal award (basic plus compensatory awards) to £80,400.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employer’s Charter
The Government has published an Employer’s Charter http://bit.ly/g6h2ZG in which it tells employers of 11 actions it can take including: asking an employee to take annual leave at a time that suits their business; making employees redundant if their business takes a downturn; or dismissing an employee for poor performance.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Consultation over changes to tribunals
The Government is currently consulting on proposals on the way that employment disputes are resolved http://bit.ly/fYnCpd . Some of the proposals include:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Volunteers not covered by anti-discrimination employment legislation
A woman who was asked to stop volunteering at a Citizens Advice Bureau had claimed disability discrimination. The Court of Appeal has ruled that volunteers without contracts are not covered by anti-discrimination legislation for workers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
TUPE – now applies to businesses bought out of administration
The judgement in an Employment Appeals Tribunal case last week means that the Transfer of Undertakings for the Protection of Employment (TUPE) now applies in full to transactions where business are being bought out of administration.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Managing Performance – or hoping for the best?
Latest blog entry on what happens if you put off managing the performance of your staff can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Bullying or just management style?
Latest blog entry on the way that agressive management styles can give rise to complaints of bullying can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
Read more •

Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Technology & Flexible Expectations
Latest blog entry on technological advances and how they have impacted on the working environment can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
Read more •

Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Copperplate: Would your handwriting get you a job?
Latest blog entry on the the use of handwriting as a selection criterion for job applicants and its worrying implications can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pensions
Much has been written about pensions over the last few years and in particular the idea that all employees should be enrolled in a pension scheme.

The Government is pushing ahead with plans to force all firms to auto-enrol all employees into a pension scheme, but in a recent announcement it became clear that only those employees aged 22 and over, earning more than £7,475 will be included. Note that employers will have to make contributions to employees’ pensions – so those that currently do not do so should start to plan now for this increase in employee costs which will ultimately become a minimum of 3% of salary.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Agricultural Wages Board (AWB)
If you run a business covered by the AWB, you will know that it sets terms and conditions to protect workers in the agricultural sector. However, the Government has proposed to abolish the body, but this proposal is to be incorporated into the public sector reform bill which has yet to be published and go through the parliamentary process (which may take up to autumn 2011.)
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Qualifying Period for Unfair Dismissal
It has been reported that the government is actively considering increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one year to two years.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Maternity Leave – a pregnant pause?
Recently, the European Parliament agreed proposals to amend the Pregnant Workers Directive, including an increase in the minimum period of maternity leave across the EU to 20 weeks on full pay. However, the 20 week proposal has since been rejected by the European Council and instead they are now looking at a plan to pay new mothers full pay for 18 weeks instead.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Compensation limits and Allowance increases for 2011
From 1st February 2011, the new maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £68,400 (currently £65,300). The new maximum for a week's pay increases from £380 to £400. This also applies to the calculation for statutory redundancy pay. The maximum unfair dismissal award (basic plus compensatory) will therefore rise to £80,400.

The following changes are also expected to come into effect on 11th April 2011:

* Statutory adoption, maternity and paternity pay and Maternity Allowance will rise from £124.88 to £128.73.

* Statutory sick pay will increase from £79.15 to £81.60.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Put out to Grass?
Latest blog entry on the abolition of the default retirement age and its implications can be found at www.cheringtonhr.tumblr.com
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Extra Bank holiday in 2011 for Royal Wedding
It has been announced that Prince William and Kate Middleton will get married on Friday 29th April 2011 and that this will be a bank holiday in England. So what does this do to the leave entitlement of your employees?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Blog & Twitter
Well, I’ve finally succumbed to the new (for me) world of social media! After much prompting, I have now set up a Twitter feed and a weekly blog on tumblr.com to add to my LinkedIn entries. These are all linked to the Cherington HR website (see the logo links near the top left-hand side of each page.) If you want to follow me go to http://twitter.com/cherington_hr , http://cheringtonhr.tumblr.com or http://linkd.in/9RZBPY

The first blog entry on employees' annual leave has been published.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
HR Information - where do you keep yours?
How do you store your employee information? Perhaps you hold it in a spreadsheet or in a paper-based filing system. Whichever method you use, you must ensure that the data are up-to-date and hold the information securely and confidentially to meet Data Protection Act requirements.

Cherington HR has teamed up with a provider of HR information systems to offer you a new cost-effective and easy to use solution designed to help you manage this more effectively.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Default Retirement Age
The consultation period on the Government’s proposal has now expired, but we don’t yet know the outcome. As mentioned in a previous newsletter, the key proposals are as follows:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Flexible Working - Extension next year
The Government has announced that the right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children under 18 years old from April 2011. Currently this only applies to children aged 16 and under, unless disabled and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. Therefore you are likely to need to make amendments to your Employee Handbook at that time and update any related documentation.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Agency Worker Regulations
They may have taken a long time to agree, but the Agency Workers Regulations will be coming into force in October 2011. This means that temporary and agency workers in the UK must receive equal treatment after 12 weeks of employment. They will be entitled to the same pay as permanent workers in comparable jobs, but not to sick pay or pension rights.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Equality Act 2010
Friday 1st October 2010 sees the coming into force of the main provisions of the new Equality Act. The Act is designed to simplify and strengthen the discrimination legislation that has been developed over the last 40 years. This means that all of the existing discrimination legislation will be repealed on that date as the new Act replaces it.

Not all of the provisions of the Act will come into force in October. The change of Government earlier in the year has resulted in a delay in confirming which aspects of the original Equality Bill were to come into force and the lateness of the publication of the guidance has caused a great deal of confusion for employers.

In order to harmonise the various discrimination elements that have developed under previous legislation the new Act has collectively termed them as the 'protected characteristics'.

There is a range of concepts that have been introduced or extended as a result of the Act. Some of these concepts covered some of the protected characteristics with existing legislation, but have now been extended to cover more of them. There are also changes to the definitions of victimisation and harassment.

However, some of the biggest changes apply in the area of disability discrimination, which outlaws the use of pre-employment questionnaires except in limited situations.

What do employers need to do?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Service - NHS Occupational Health Advice Line
The NHS has extended a new helpline for managers in SME's to provide initial, quick and free advice on how to support an employee who is off with a sickness related absence.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Don't Forget - New National Minimum Wage Rates and Age Bands
From 1st October 2010 the new rates come into being and the principal rate has been extended to apply to those aged 21 and over (not 22 as was previously the case) so you may need to check your employees' dates of birth if your pay rates follow the NMW.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you employ refugees and asylum seekers?
UK Borders Agency (UKBA) has released new guidance for employers taking on refugees and asylum seekers.

The booklet, "Guidance for Employers on Illegal Working: Refugees and Asylum Seekers" is available from <a href='http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors'>here</a>. It gives employers clear information on the documentation checks they need to carry out when recruiting refugees and asylum seekers, and also includes details of the employment rights of refugees, the bespoke documentation they are issued with in place of a national passport, and how refugees differ from other foreign nationals in the UK.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Proposal to scrap the default retirement age
The Government is proposing to phase out the default retirement age of 65 from April 2011. They are seeking comments as part of the consultation process but this means that there are likely to be transitional arrangements put in place for retirements that have been notified by employers before April 2011 and where the date of retirement falls before 1 October 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Vetting and barring scheme registration on hold for 'fundamental remodelling'
Registration under the vetting and barring scheme for those working with vulnerable people in England has been put on hold while the system is "fundamentally remodelled" by the Government.

Voluntary registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority for new employees and job-movers who work with children and vulnerable adults was due to start on 26 July.
But registration has been halted and the scheme will be remodelled following complaints from businesses and community groups that the proposed system was disproportionate, overly burdensome and infringed civil liberties.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Splitting Hairs: Fuzz Discrimination!
A man who applied to join the police but was rejected because he did not have enough hair for a drugs test has successfully appealed against the decision. It is understood he was at an advanced stage of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's recruitment process when problems arose over the testing.

Because of his baldness, he could not give them hairs of up to 3cm in length. He was also unable to provide about 200 body hairs as an alternative.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Work Experience - Paying Interns
Employers who do not pay interns could face employment tribunal claims according to a recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR.)

Some employers believe that they are allowed to take on unpaid interns if both parties accept that it is a voluntary position. However, this is not the case: while charities, voluntary organisations and statutory bodies can employ unpaid volunteers, private companies cannot.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Service - Reducing the Risks
Our mission is to ensure that your business gets the best possible advice. We don't tell you just what you need to do to comply with employment legislation: We recognise that no matter how well we look after you, your business could still be hit by large and unplanned legal costs - whether you're in the right or wrong - if a disgruntled employee decides to pursue a claim. And there is no limit to the level of compensation that can be awarded for claims relating to discrimination.

Cherington HR is now able to provide its advice and services with the backing of insurance to those clients who take out a retainer contract. This means that Cherington HR can help you handle such claims with the financial support of your insurance policy.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Business Award 2010 - Result
Helen Astill, Managing Director of Upton upon Severn based company, Cherington HR, narrowly missed winning an award at the 2010 Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards event last night.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR - Finalist for Business Award 2010
Upton upon Severn based company, Cherington HR has been selected as one of the finalists for Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards for successful businesses in 2010.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Bribery Laws – implications for employers
The new Bribery Act received Royal Assent last month. This means that employers who fail to tackle bribery could face unlimited fines, and individuals could end up in prison for up to 10 years under new laws designed to clean up corruption in business. The full provisions of the Act are expected to come into force by the end of the year.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Pensions
From 6 April 2010, the minimum pension age increased from 50 to 55 unless retirement is on the grounds of serious ill health, the member has a protected pension age, or the member started taking benefits before 6 April 2020. Meanwhile, the number of years needed to receive a full basic state pension has reduced to 30. The state pension retirement age for women born after 6 April 2010 will rise to 65 between 2010 and 2020.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Equality Act
The main provisions of the Equality Act in prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of goods, liabilities and services, will replace existing discrimination legislation from October 2010.

The legislation will replace nine laws and more than 100 other measures with one single Act. The intention is to make it easier for employers and staff to understand their legal rights and obligations.

Here are the main aspects that employers need to prepare for:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you offer retail vouchers under a salary sacrifice scheme?
Employers that offer retail vouchers as part of salary sacrifice schemes may have to pay out any unpaid VAT on the vouchers. This is the possible outcome of a recent opinion issued by the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice on a significant case involving pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the complex area of VAT and the treatment of retail vouchers.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Football – World Cup
It seems that 90% of employers have no plans in place to help manage staff absence during the forthcoming World Cup, according to a recent poll by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The poll of more than 1,000 employers showed that almost all of them had no policy in place to manage staff absence during the World Cup. Just 5% of organisations had developed a policy while a further 5% were in the process of developing one.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Government Announces Increases in Minimum Wage from 1st October 2010
The Government has announced increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) from October this year. So if you pay your staff at these rates, you will need to ensure that you budget for these increases. There is also a change in the age bands and an intention to introduce a minimum hourly rate for apprentices.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Are you ready for Fit Notes?
There is a new medical certificate that GPs must use from 6 April 2010 when giving their patients – your employees – advice on whether their health condition affects their ability to work. The fit note gives doctors the chance to give employees and employers more information about how the employee&#8217;s illness or injury affects their ability to work and to make suggestions on temporary changes that could help them continue working.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Fathers to &#8216;share&#8217; maternity leave for children due from April 2011
The House of Lords has now approved the Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010. The regulations are due to come into force on 6th April 2010 but will have effect only in relation to children whose expected week of birth (or matching for adoption) begins on or after 3rd April 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Data Protection – New powers for the ICO come into force next month
New powers coming into force on the 6th April will mean that serious personal data security breaches could lead to fines of up to &pound;500,000.

Under the new rules fines will be imposed by the Information Commissioner&#8217;s Office (ICO) where the breach is deliberate or negligent and likely to cause substantial damage or distress to individuals.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
SSP, SMP, SPP, SAP rates from April 2010
Subject to parliamentary approval, the revised rates for statutory payments for maternity, paternity and adoption leave will take effect this year on 4 April 2010. Statutory sick pay rates will remain the same.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
1 February - Drop in compensation limits
From today (1st February 2010) The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal drops from &pound;66,200 to &pound;65,300. The reduction reflects the decrease of 1.4 per cent in the Retail Prices Index from September 2008 to September 2009.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Promoting Dignity at Work: Bullying & Harassment
Over the last 18 months I have noticed a marked increase in the number of cases we've been asked to deal with that involved alleged incidents of bullying. They&#8217;ve arisen in many different forms and most appear to have poor communication or misunderstandings as the root cause. However, I have come across some cases where some individuals have blatantly threatened and abused others in the workplace.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Government Guidance on Holiday and Sick Leave Published
Following the landmark decisions of the European Court of Justice in the Stringer and Pereda cases last year on the rights of sick employees to paid holiday under the Working Time Directive, the Government has issued interim guidance to business ahead of beginning a consultation exercise later this year on possible amendments to the Working Time Regulations.
Read more •

Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Adverse Weather - Working through the snow
With the current bad weather of snow and ice in many parts of the country, many employees will struggle to get to work.

It is worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather Policy in place if you don&#8217;t already have one, so that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you recognise Trade Unions?
On 1st January 2010 a new Acas Code on time off for trade union duties and activities came into force.

It provides good practice guidance on dealing with time off for TU representatives and contains information on time off for training, the responsibilities of employers and trade unions and agreements on time off.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Right to request time off for training to be introduced
A right to request time off to undertake training, modelled on the right to request flexible working, will be introduced from April 2010.

Employers will be obliged to consider seriously requests that they receive, but will be able to refuse a request where there is a good business reason for doing so.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes to the Vetting and Barring Scheme
As highlighted previously, the new Vetting and Barring Scheme, set up by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, is designed to ensure that unsuitable individuals are not allowed to work with children and vulnerable adults.

There have however, been some complaints about the requirements of the scheme and the Government has undertaken a review.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do you wish to employ non-EEA Nationals?
Employers wanting to engage non-EEA Nationals now have to advertise jobs in the UK for four weeks.

This has replaced the previous requirement for Tier 2 of the points-based system to advertise jobs for two weeks, or one week for jobs where the salary is &pound;40,000 or more.

Tier 2 relates to the recruitment of workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to fill a particular vacancy that cannot be filled by a British or worker from within the EEA.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Lying to a Tribunal can lead to Jail
A company boss was jailed after he admitted forging documents in a bid to influence an employment tribunal.

The manager of a car hire firm in Falkirk, faked a contract and warning letter after a former receptionist accused him of harassment.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Reminder – Increases in Minimum Wage and Statutory Redundancy Pay from 1st October 2009
The beginning of this month saw increases in the National Minimum Wage and the maximum weekly wage used in redundancy calculations.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Annual leave or sick leave?
There have been some recent developments on the accruing and taking of sick leave and the issue of employees being ill on holiday. Earlier this summer the House of Lords ruled that workers can accrue holiday pay while on sick leave.

A more recent case has ruled that if employees are sick whilst on holiday they can ask to have their annual leave postponed until another time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Government announces plans for fathers to &#8216;share&#8217; maternity leave
The Government has announced that consultation will start shortly on proposals to allow new mothers to transfer some of their maternity leave entitlement to their baby&#8217;s father
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Default retirement age to stay for the moment
The High Court has upheld the law that allows UK employers to force workers to retire at the age of 65.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
A CRB check is not enough!
Do you have employees or volunteers who come into contact with children or vulnerable adults? If so, they are likely to have an enhanced CRB check. But the law is changing. From 12th October 2009, the new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will come into being.

From November 2010 all new employees and volunteers who want to work with children or vulnerable adults on a regular basis MUST BE registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA.) Employers will be required to check that they are ISA-registered before you can legally take them on.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Will you retain your key staff?
Employees are deciding to stay in their current jobs as a result of concerns over job security, but more than a third (34%) would like to move within the next year.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employees kept 'in the dark' over business performance
Employees are being kept in the dark about their employers' business performance, with 28% being told nothing about business health and one in 20 discouraged from asking questions.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Candidates forget vocational qualifications on CVs
Although 71% of employers rate staff with vocational qualifications as essential in improving the competitiveness of their business, only 29% of adults declare their training on CVs.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Review of default retirement age brought forward to 2010
The Government has decided to bring forward its review of the default retirement age by a year, meaning it will take place in 2010 rather than 2011.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR - 3 Years old!
Chamber Awards finalist and Human Resources specialist Helen Astill of Cherington HR is celebrating the end of another successful year.

Cherington HR was launched mid 2006 with the aim of providing people management support primarily for businesses in the Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire region.

As it turned out, the impact has been far wider, with clients throughout the West Midlands and beyond - even as far as Edinburgh!

As well as many clients in the scientific, technical, manufacturing and engineering sectors, Cherington HR has provided services to a wide range of businesses from horticulture to financial/ business support companies; and from software development/IT companies to organisations providing support services in the third sector.

To find out how Cherington HR can help your business, contact Helen Astill at helen@cheringtonhr.com or on 01684 594773.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changing to Survive and Succeed
Change has become the &#8216;buzzword&#8217; over the last year as the global economic downturn as unfolded. The effects have impacted on individuals and businesses alike. However, what seemed to catch people out was the speed of the change, particularly in the financial, housing and automotive sectors.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Drivers for Change
To encourage staff to adopt new processes/ systems or working arrangements, it is very important that they understand the reasons or the driver for that change fully. Just telling staff that you are introducing a new system or process without telling them why, if they haven&#8217;t experience a problem with the old way of doing things is not likely to engage them fully.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Organisational and Personal Change
Some of the mistakes people make in trying to introduce change is that they think they can manage change.

You can have a well-thought out project plan, but whatever you are trying to change is likely to need the co-operation of your staff. You are more likely to be successful if you &#8216;enable&#8217; the change rather than try to &#8216;manage&#8217; it.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Change - Communication and Involvement
The most important aspect of any change is the need to communicate continually with those affected by any potential changes. This can include employees, suppliers, and clients so that you can manage their respective expectations.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Resistance: Overt & Covert
Employees may accept the change you are proposing. However, if they are not fully convinced of the need for the change (or see that they are likely to be worse off as a result) they may resist the changes. This can happen in several ways - either individually or as an organised group (e.g. trade union opposition.)
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Adjusting to Change
When you introduce any potential change, particularly if it places an employee at a detriment or requires them to undertake work with which they are not as familiar, it may take some employees longer to adjust than others.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Making Change Stick
Once you have introduced your change, it is important to continue to review it and check that it is working and embedded before moving to introduce any further changes. Introducing too many changes which may appear unconnected is likely to cause &#8216;initiative overload.&#8217;
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Swine Flu – Are you prepared?
The government is launching a major information campaign with advertisements and a leaflet being delivered to every home this week. They have already issued a guidance booklet for businesses entitled &#8220;Pandemic Flu Guidance for Businesses: Risk Assessment in the Occupational Setting.&#8221;
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Loss of Working Time Opt Out – Ruled Out
Following the breakdown in negotiations between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, the review of the Working Time Directive is over and the UK&#8217;s individual opt-out of the 48 hour week remains.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Extension of Eastern European Worker Registration Scheme
The government has announced that the Worker Registration Scheme, which had been expected to end on 30 April 2009, will continue for another two years .
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Budget Changes - Increase in Redundancy Payments
Alastair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the recent Budget that the upper limit on the amount of a week's pay that can be taken into account for statutory redundancy payment purposes will increase.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Proposed Increase in Maternity Pay
Paid maternity leave could increase for the first 20 weeks for women in the UK if radical new plans, agreed by the European Parliament's women's committee, are passed through the European Parliament this week.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Growing Number of Employees Lying on their CVs
Difficulty getting a job is forcing more candidates to lie on their CVs, according to two recent surveys.

Whilst the majority of potential candidates are honest with 54% saying they would never lie or exaggerate to get a job, one in three would be persuaded if the salary made the risk worthwhile or if it was their &#8216;dream job&#8217;.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes in April 2009
There are several changes in employment regulations and related benefit rates occurring during the first week of April that will impact on businesses. You may need to make changes to your arrangements to comply. If in doubt seek advice.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
People Management Through the Downturn: Surviving the Recession
The daily news is full of stories of the current global economic downturn: the Office of National Statistics has revealed that the level of unemployment rose to 1.97 million in December 2008. At a rate of 6.3%, this is the highest since 1998, and comes as The Bank of England recently warned of a "deep recession" for 2009.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Using professional help
In this challenging environment, the business situation can change quickly very quickly. It can therefore be difficult to research all the options in detail in the timescales available.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Review your business priorities
The sudden change in trading conditions may mean that you need to rethink your business strategy. Have a look at your current plan and consider the following questions:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Get the basics right
If you need employees to be more efficient and effective, it is a good idea to make sure that you review the current terms and conditions in place.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Tackle poor performance & absenteeism - Now!
At a time when it is crucial for all employees to work effectively and efficiently, it is very important that managers monitor their staff&#8217;s performance and give them appropriate feedback or take the necessary action. You should make sure that those employees who are not performing well or have high absence records are managed fairly but firmly.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Watch your competitors!
With the downturn resulting in tighter competition for clients, it is very important to watch your competitors so that you get early indicators of changes in your particular market.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Focus on key people and core competencies
Don&#8217;t lose the wrong people. If you decide to reduce the number of employees too rapidly without considering your business needs, you could lose key skills and valuable business information. There are lots of issues to consider.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Improving productivity & motivation
In the midst of all the activity related to the downturn, it is easy for employees to become very worried about their particular situation and the future of the business. They will start to watch very carefully for signs that something is wrong.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Long-term sickness - New Ruling impacts heavily on employers
The European Court of Justice has recently ruled that employees away on long-term sickness absence are entitled to accrue annual leave whilst absent. This follows a long-running dispute over the situation and is likely to cost employers much more than they had bargained for.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Adverse weather - What did you do?
In the recent snow and floods, which caused havoc in many parts of the country, many employees stayed away from work, but didn&#8217;t know whether they would be paid or not. It is worthwhile putting an Adverse Weather Policy in place if you don&#8217;t already have one, so that employees know what is expected of them and whether they will be paid or not in such circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Disciplinary and Grievance Code - When do I start to use it?
The revised Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures comes into effect in on 6th April 2009, and will replace the statutory dismissal and grievance procedures. This date is very important in deciding whether disputes should be dealt with under the existing regulations or the new code.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Increase in compensation limits and new rates for 2009
From 1 February 2009, the limits applying to certain awards payable under employment legislation will increase. This includes the weekly wage used for statutory redundancy payment calculations.
Read more •

Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Disciplinary and Grievance Code comes into effect in April 2009.
The revised Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures has now been published. It will come into effect in April 2009, and will replace the statutory dismissal and grievance procedures.

Do you need to review your own procedures?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Minimum annual leave entitlement rises to 28 days in April 2009. Act now if your leave year starts in January.
The final phase of the increase in minimum annual leave entitlement occurs in April 2009. The minimum will become 28 days in total (including bank holidays) for employees working 5 days per week (5.6 weeks per year.) But if your leave year starts before April, you may need to do the recalulations now.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Flexible working will be extended to employees with older children in April. Are you ready to handle the requests?
The Government has accepted the Walsh review&#8217;s recommendation on raising child-related age limit for the right to request flexible working to those with children aged up to 16 and it is now confirmed that it will come into effect in April 2009.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Working Time Directive – the implications of the possible loss of the UK&#8217;s opt out of the 48 hour week. How will this impact on your business?
Last month Euro MPs voted in favour of ending Britain's opt-out from the EU working time directive. Britain will now start talks with EU ministers in an effort to keep it and a decision is expected early this year following talks with the European council of ministers. If Britain is forced to axe its opt-out, the law will come into force in three years' time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Serial Litigation – Age discrimination cases
Employers have been warned to brace themselves for a trend that has emerged where job candidates exploit age discrimination legislation to file claims against a raft of employers at the same time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Help!
The global financial difficulties are now having a significant impact on businesses of all sizes and redundancies are being announced each day.

* Do you need to cut costs?
* Do you need help quickly to make changes to your staffing legally?
* Do you need or to make plans to ensure survival throughout the current downturn?
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Impact of the Welfare Reform Act on employers
This came into effect on 27th October 2008. It could mean that employers will need to make adjustments to working conditions to help sick people get back to work. Individuals, meanwhile, will face much stiffer tests to qualify for incapacity benefit and will be encouraged to view it as a temporary measure.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New Disciplinary and Grievance Code which comes into effect in April 2009
The revised Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures has now been published. It comes into effect on 6th April 2009, when the statutory dismissal and grievance procedures are abolished. This places more emphasis on mediation. However, an unreasonable failure by an employer to follow the Code will result in a tribunal having the power to increase any award by up to 25%.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Final phase of increase of minimum annual leave entitlement to 28 days comes into effect in April 2009
The final phase of the increase in minimum annual leave entitlement occurs in April 2009. The minimum will become 28 days in total (including bank holidays) for employees working 5 days per week (5.6 weeks per year.)
Read more •

Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Flexible working – Will this be extended to employees with older children or not next April?
The Government had accepted the Walsh review&#8217;s recommendation on raising child-related age limit for the right to request flexible working to those with children aged up to 16 and this was expected to take effect from April 2009. However, the Government is now considering delaying implementation.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Working Time Directive – the implications of the possible loss of the UK&#8217;s opt out of the 48 hour week
Last week, the EU's employment committee voted to scrap the UK&#8217;s Working Time Directive opt out - a decision that is likely to influence opinions when the full European Parliament finally votes next month (December). The ability to opt out currently allows British employees to work more than 48 hours per week on a regular basis. 10% of British employees have signed a form to opt out of the restriction, mainly in response to business demand or to make up for relatively low base pay. If you rely on employees working extra hours on a regular basis, this outcome of this decision will impact on your business planning and costs.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Restructure, Retrench or Redundancy?
Many UK businesses are being hit by the global &#8216;credit crunch&#8217; as the knock-on effects threaten their growth plans. Reduced profits and cash-flow problems mean that to survive this period of uncertainty and lack of confidence, employers need to reduce costs. Redundancy is often seen as the only answer, but there may be other alternatives.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Alternative ways to reduce expenditure
Losing valuable staff because of a temporary downturn in business is a risky thing to do as you may not be able to replace them quickly when the situation recovers.

Therefore it is always a good idea to attempt to avoid redundancies in such circumstances unless you are planning a radical restructuring.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
What does consultation mean?
Individual consultation is required for all redundancies. The law also requires employers to undertake collective consultation for multiple redundancy situations where 20 or more posts may be affected.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Making the selection process fair
Selecting potential candidates for redundancy from within a workforce is probably the most difficult part of the process. The employer needs to start by determining the pool for selection. This is the group of employees all doing the same or similar work where changes need to be made.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Working out redundancy terms
Once the consultation and selection processes are complete and the decisions made, the employer needs to give the affected employees notice that they will be dismissed by reason of redundancy.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Redundancy and poor performance
The redundancy situation must be genuine. If you have very poor performers, use your disciplinary or capability procedure instead. If you don&#8217;t your other employees will feel unfairly treated if they see poorly performing colleagues affecting the overall performance of the business.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Providing support for those affected by redundancy
Giving notice can be stressful for both the manager and the affected employees, particularly if they have worked together for many years.

Some employees react badly to news of redundancy, especially if it is not handled well. If you have large numbers of employees affected, train your managers to deal with the situation sympathetically.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Business Expo - win an hour's free HR Consultancy
Cherington HR will be exhibiting at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on the 22nd October 2008 at the Worcester Warriors Sixways Stadium. Visitors to the stand will be able to enter a draw to win an hour&#8217;s free HR consultancy.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Subscribing to the Newsletter and Updates
If you would like to be kept informed of news and updates, please send a request by email through the Contact Us' page. You will then receive a copy of the quarterly newsletter.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR featured in 'The Director' Magazine
Welcome &#8230; to those readers of The Director, the magazine of the Institute of Directors, who have recently joined the Cherington HR Mailing list. It was featured in a recent article, which can be found at:

> <a href'http://www.director.co.uk/MAGAZINE/2008/9%20September/employment_legislation_62_2.html'>The Director</a>
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
A challenge to the right of employers to make people retire at 65 has been rejected by a European court adviser – What does this mean?
Age Concern, under the banner of &#8216;Heyday&#8217; is challenging UK laws, which since 2006 have allowed employers to compel workers to retire at 65.

The Advocate-general, a senior legal adviser to the European Court of Justice, has recently backed current UK rules - although the view is not binding. Some 260 people in Britain have cases at employment tribunals which depend on the European court's ultimate decision.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 come into force on 27th October 2008
Do you use temporary agency workers? If so, you need to know that the rules for statutory sick pay change in October. Contact your agency to find out how it will impact on your company.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Amendments to law on terms and conditions of employment during maternity and adoption leave come into effect on 5th October 2008
Employees on additional maternity or adoption leave are entitled, like employees taking ordinary leave, to the benefit of all the non-remuneration terms and conditions of employment that would have applied if they had not been absent. The amendments apply to employees with an expected week of childbirth on or after 5 October 2008, and those with a child expected to be placed with them for adoption on or after this date.

If you employ an expectant mother whose baby is due on or after 5th October this year, you must make changes to the benefits entitled to staff on Maternity Leave.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Reminder - New National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2008
The new rates become effective shortly and employers need to check that they continue to pay staff correctly. This is particularly important for employees who may have changed age band.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 come into force on 1st October 2008
Where do you display your Employer's Liability Insurance Certificate? Changes to the regulations mean that you might be able to change the way you do this.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Cost of Recruiting
The cost of recruiting will vary widely depending on the role you wish to fill, but most recent figures given by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) for replacing a worker are &pound;4.6k rising to &pound;10k for a senior manager.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Do You Need to Recruit?
Recruitment is time consuming and costly. Therefore before proceeding, you will want to be sure that it is the best or only solution in any particular set of circumstances.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Compiling a Job Description & Person Specification
Preparing a job description and person specification will help you write an effective advertisement and will serve to inform potential candidates about the job later in the selection process.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Advertising - Where, What & How?
Deciding where to advertise the vacancy will depend on the sort of role you wish to fill and the sort of skills you need the candidates to have.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Selection Techniques
You must decide whether you are going to accept CVs or send out application forms for completion. CVs may be quicker for applicants to send, but you may not get all the information you are seeking. Application forms can be designed to ask specific questions relevant to the job and they are likely to be easier to compare for short-listing purposes.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Psychometric Testing
You may have a short-list of candidates who can perform the technical, administrative or management elements of the role. However, you may want to know how the candidates would perform in specific circumstances, or find out how they would fit in with your existing team.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Decision - Making an Offer
When you have made your choice, any offer you make to your chosen candidate should be subject to satisfactory references and the right of the individual to work in the UK. An offer can be verbal (and will be binding) but written terms must be provided within 8 weeks of starting the job.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Narrow Miss
Helen Astill, Managing Director of Upton upon Severn based company, Cherington HR, narrowly missed winning an award at the 2008 Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards event on Thursday last week.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Good HR Practices Boost Profits
A recent report (Feb 2008) by the Work Foundation and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) found that businesses with good HR practices - from resourcing to employee engagement and skills development, enjoyed higher profit margins and productivity than those without. The study concluded that if an organisation increased its investment in HR by just 10% it would boost gross profits by &pound;1,500 per employee per year.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Improving Personal and Business Performance
Your business success ultimately depends on the combined efforts and abilities of your employees to do their jobs and to meet your customers&#8217; needs. This means that they need to be able to carry out their duties to a satisfactory level and perform consistently well.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Identifying Development Needs
Employees need the right knowledge, skills and attitude. Identifying development needs can be done at three levels:
* For the Business as a whole;
* For a specific department or project area;
* For the individual.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Methods of Development
There are many ways to learn and different people have different preferred learning styles. Going on a course is not the only option. Other more effective (and potentially more cost effective) alternatives are available.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Review Development Progress
Once the development activity has been undertaken, the job holder and line manager should meet to review progress. If the activity is planned to take place over a period of time, e.g. a college course or project, regular reviews should be held to check that the job holder is able to apply the learning.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Don’t Forget Your Own Development Needs
It is all too easy for business owners and managers to focus on the development needs of their staff and forget about their own. If you fall into that trap read on ...
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Cherington HR - Finalist for Business Start-Up of the Year Award 2008
Cherington HR has been selected as one of the finalists for Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce Awards for successful businesses in 2008.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes in Statutory Pay Rates
From April 6th 2008 there were changes to statutory payments and these are now as follows;

• Statutory Sick Pay has increased from &pound;72.55 to &pound;75.40 per week (average weekly earnings of &pound;90 or more).

• Statutory Maternity Pay has increased from &pound;112.75 to &pound;117.18 per week.
• Statutory Paternity Pay has increased from &pound;112.75 to &pound;117.18 per week.
• Statutory Adoption Pay has increased from &pound;112.75 to &pound;117.18 per week.
(or 90% of the employee&#8217;s average weekly earnings if these are less than &pound;117.18 for Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay.)

Reminder - As from 1st February 2008 the maximum unfair dismissal award rose to &pound;63,000 and basic weekly award to &pound;330.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
New National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2008
The National Minimum Wage is something which affects all employers and needs to be taken into account when planning the business finances.

The National Minimum Wage is reviewed in October every year, and increases are made on the recommendations of the Independent Low Pay Commission.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Information and consultation Regulations extended to smaller companies
The Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations have been in effect for companies with over 150 employees since 2004, and have been described as one of the most important pieces of employment legislation to be introduced in the UK in recent years. This has now been extended to cover more companies.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Occupational and personal pension schemes
In a similar change to existing pensions regulations, companies employing 50 or more employees will now have to consult workers or employee representatives on any changes that may affect pension schemes.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes in Maternity Leave benefits
Changes to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 were published in March 2008. These will lead to new rules on benefits during maternity leave.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act
In the past, it was been extremely difficult to secure a criminal conviction for negligence against large firms where it was all but impossible to identify an individual directly responsible. However, from April 2008, if it can be shown that a substantial part of the breach of a company's duty of care is down to the way a firm is managed, it is the organisation that will face criminal prosecution.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Giving Feedback is Good for Business
Recent surveys reveal that not all employees have formal appraisals. The figures vary, but research by Investors in People UK found that only 54% of employees in SMEs get regular feedback on their performance. By contrast, 81% of employees in larger companies have annual appraisals.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
How to Make Appraisals Work for You
An appraisal should be part of an ongoing discussion all managers and supervisors have with their staff throughout the year. It is the formal process of capturing and recording the progress made by individual employees and agreements on actions for their continuing development.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Devising an Appraisal Process
There are many different ways of creating appraisal processes, but for one to work well for your business, there are several questions you need to answer.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Appraisals - Key Elements
Appraisals should always cover past performance and objectives, but equally important are discussions of future targets and opportunities.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Appraisal Discussion – Hints & Tips for Managers
Before the discussion, the manager should make arrangements to ensure that the meeting will be as productive as possible.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
The Appraisal Discussion – Hints & Tips for Employees
In preparation for the discussion, the employee should be encouraged to consider the issues in advance and be aware that they are jointly responsible for the outcomes.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Dealing with Poor Performance
If there is a need for improvement, this should come as no surprise to the employee at the end of the year.

Any performance issues should be aired as soon as they arise so that the employee has a chance to put things right. If you do not give feedback on behaviours or mistakes that are unacceptable, the employee may continue acting in the same way completely oblivious to the fact that you are not happy with it.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Development Needs & Methods
Performance improvement comes from developing people&#8217;s knowledge, skills and attitudes/ behaviours. You will need to agree what development activities need to be undertaken and what support is required to allow the employee to undertake these activities successfully.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Headaches over Managing Absence?
Employee absence is a significant cost to 90% of businesses according to recently published research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). They found that on average sickness absence costs employers &pound;659 per employee every year and employee absence costs employers 8.4 working days for every member of staff per year; representing 3.7% of working time.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Common Causes of Sickness Absence
Two-thirds of sickness absence, long term incapacity and ill-health retirement are due to mild/moderate &#8216;common health problems&#8217; and 31% of respondents to CIPD survey reported an increase in stress-related absence in the previous 12 months.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Getting the most out of Return to Work Interviews
A Return to Work Interview system is a methodical approach for managers to keep up-to-date with the reasons why employees are absent. Start by discussing every episode of absence with an employee on the day, or very shortly after, they return to work. Remember that it is not a disciplinary meeting or a formal review of an employee&#8217;s attendance pattern (although you may decide to hold a formal review subsequently if the employee has a poor attendance record).
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Trigger Points for Action — The Bradford Factor
Knowing when to take action regarding someone who is regularly absent can be difficult. However there is a formula used to produce a measure called the Bradford Factor which can help you highlight those employees with a poor record of frequent short-term absences. This gives you a consistent and objective measure of the disruption caused by such absences and allows you to identify those employees whose absence patterns need reviewing formally.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Using Occupational Health
If you have employees who have been off sick for some time and you want an early resolution to the problem, consulting an Occupational Health (OH) adviser can help.

Many companies use GPs for their OH advice, but it is often better to use someone with specific OH knowledge to be able to make appropriate recommendations. If you are looking for an OH specialist ask whether they have any particular knowledge of your business sector, so that they can apply this knowledge in their assessments.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Managing Long-Term Sickness Absence
CIPD research shows that absence of eight days or more accounts for almost 40% of total time lost through absence and absence of four weeks or more accounts for about one fifth.

This is a significant element of the absence figures. So it is important to have a formal strategy in place to help employees to get back to work after a prolonged spell of sickness or injury-related absence. Awareness of potential disability discrimination claims is also crucial.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Flexible Working
Some employees may find it hard to cope with your standard working hours because of caring responsibilities that they may have at home, either for a young child or elderly relative. They may take a lot of sick leave to deal with such issues or they may often be late as a result. Dealing with such pressures can also add a degree of stress which may affect their own health.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Emergency Domestic Leave and Bad Weather Plans
Sometimes workers take sick leave because they think that this is the only way to deal with emergencies at home. Employers need to make sure that their employees know that they are entitled to take time off to deal with certain sorts of emergencies so that these can be dealt with openly.
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016
Changes in National Minimum Wage and Annual Leave entitlements
Several new regulations came into force on 1st October 2007. The ones most likely to have the most immediate impact on your business are summarised as follows:
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Posted on 19 Nov 2016


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