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Archive

January, 2019

Changing employment terms

Posted on: January 31st, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

So, you’ve identified the changes you want to make to employment contract and employee handbook templates. Making changes to employment terms is not just about the law, but about timing, patience, pragmatism and reason!

If you have any questions or would like further support with anything below, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve also created an easy to use flowchart which summarises the legal position below. Click here if you’d access to it.

A summary of your options…

1. Are you making changes to contractual terms or just to policies? If you’re not changing contractual terms you just need to communicate the changes (and ensure everyone reads them!)

2. Your employment contract might allow you to make some small changes without securing the employee’s agreement – if so, communicate the change in accordance with the contract (it’ll usually say give notice and put it in writing – or something like that). Otherwise:

     a. Try and reach agreement (in writing) with affected employees and ask them to sign (think about making changes around the time you increase salaries or give something more to your teams!);

     b. Make the change in the knowledge the employee could resign and  claim constructive dismissal (or stay with you but sue you for any disadvantage they suffer);

     c. Make the change in the hope that the employee indicates acceptance through their behaviour (if they disagree with one new term but accept others (impliedly through their behaviour) you can argue that they’ve accepted all of the changes);

     d. Use a ‘fair process’ to explain why the changes are for ‘sound business reasons’ and vital (assuming that they are), if still not accepted, terminate employment offering reengagement on the new terms (there’s a bit more to it than this so take advice!).

There’s a legend which says that ‘formal consultation’ with employees is required where changes are proposed. That’s not the case! ‘Consultation’ is only required where changes aren’t accepted and you consider it likely that you’ll dismiss 20 or more employees as a result (as in 2.d above).

Ps… The above assumes that you’re not changing the terms of employment of individuals who have TUPEd across to you, or who are subject to a collective agreement. Take advice if that’s the case!

 

‘Good Work’ planning

Posted on: January 24th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

The intention of the Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ is to increase fairness and clarity to help both workers and employers to understand their employment relationships.

Likely to be introduced from April 2020, the intended reforms will impact your existing employment documents and processes. To get ahead of the game, we recommend making preparations now to avoid potentially finding yourself on the wrong side of these new employment rights.

You should be preparing for:

A right to an employment contract from day one – if you currently give employment contracts out after employees join, you should adjust your process so they receive it before they start, detailing the written particulars of their employment (for both employees and workers). This is good practice generally and can avoid disputes over contract terms after employment has begun.

A right to request regular hours – for any workers on zero-hours contracts, consider whether you can offer a minimum number of set hours or a stable working pattern as they’ll soon be able to make a statutory request for this under the new reforms.

Changes to ‘employment status’ – review your contracts with self-employed contractors to ensure they can’t claim they are in fact ‘workers’. They should usually have the right to ‘substitute’ another person to do their work for them. Employment status is a tricky issue (just ask Uber and Addison Lee to name a few!), so always make sure to take advice.

Holiday pay calculations – for employees with irregular hours you’ll be calculating holiday pay on the basis of their last 12 weeks. This reference period will change to 52 weeks so make sure your payroll systems and processes are ready to factor in these calculations.

We’ll be updating all of our documents within Intelligent Employment to reflect these changes, but if you’d to discuss making your preparations, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Supporting settled status applications

Posted on: January 21st, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re an EU citizen holding a valid biometric passport you’re eligible to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status.

Applicants will no longer be required to pay the £65 fee from 30th March 2019. Those who have already applied, or intend to do so before 30th March, will receive a refund in full.

With the financial barrier lifted, you can still take proactive steps to support those affected within your business…

Educate – set aside time to explain to those affected the process of applying and the support you can offer

Technical support – can you provide those applying for settled status with access to PCs or Android devices and download the ‘EU Exit: ID Document check’ app (needed for the identity check stage)

Monitor – establish which of your employees need to apply, when they’ve done so and whether they’ve been successful (don’t forget non-EU citizen family members holding a valid biometric residence card can also apply)

Manage proactively – consider drop in sessions with your Brexit people champion, a monitored Brexit email address or a shared platform for capturing ideas and issues

Inclusive culture – continue to be open and transparent about your approach to Brexit, your support of those applying for settled status and encourage open dialogue about issues to include everyone in the Brexit conversations

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything outlined above, we’d be delighted to help.