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May, 2019

GDPR a year on – 10 things we’ve learnt

Posted on: May 28th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Cast your mind back: 25th May 2018. A year on and a few data protection headlines later, we thought it prime time to share our practical insights on the new regulations…

  1. Increasing tactical use of subject access requests – it’s almost common practice for employees to request their data wherever they’re case building.
  2. Charges for excessive subject access requests are beginning to be used – provided you make sure charges are reasonable and you can justify them, they can prove a useful deterrent to having to deal with the request and stop the 30 day response clock ticking until payment is made.
  3. Increasing trend to move from hard copy people files to on-line solutions to help keep information secure and relevant. Click here for information on our platform – Intelligent Employment Hub.
  4. Lack of impact assessments when new data processing technology is introduced – start assessing! You’ll able to show the ICO you’ve taken a diligent approach to introducing a system which might ultimately compromise personal data.
  5. Opt-ins for consent to process data are still not being secured. If you need consent (e.g. to respond to reference requests) ensure you secure written consent. Click here for more information on Intelligent Employment and our up to date employment contracts (containing consent).
  6. Consents aren’t being stored. Don’t delete them! The ICO recently fined Vote Leave for failure to prove they had consent to send out text messages.
  7. Sharing data with third parties isn’t being given enough consideration – if you use third party programmes like Survey Monkey, have you informed individuals whose personal data will be made available on that platform that you’re passing their information on? If not, you need to!
  8. A good privacy notice can be really useful – with one in place, many data protection queries can simply be answered by referring someone back to your privacy notice.
  9. Most breaches we’ve dealt with haven’t needed to be reported to the ICO. By way of example, sending an email to the wrong person should be recorded as a breach on your log but only needs to be reported to the ICO if the unintended recipient is going to do something with the data beyond deleting it.
  10. Personal data registers still aren’t widely in place (they’re required if you have over 250 employees). Click here for more information on our data protection toolkit and template register.

Our “Data Protection Toolkit” is still available if you need any help with getting the right documents and processes in place – you can see the list of contents here.

Apprenticeship agreements – use them!

Posted on: May 16th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Apprenticeships are on the increase. Although the apprenticeship levy is relatively recent concept, apprenticeships have been around for years – along with laws that govern how apprentices are treated.

Without the right agreement in place, you could find yourself tied up in old, inflexible, costly laws and stuck with a poor performing apprentice until they qualify.

Here’s how you create an apprenticeship agreement which is subject to the employment laws you’re used to:

• Ensure your agreement contains all of the usual legally required employment information. Include a statement of the skill or job they’re being training to do, that the relationship is governed by English and Welsh laws and has been entered in connection with a qualifying apprenticeship framework.

• It’s always worth including a probationary period to make clear that early employment will be subject to a shorter notice period if things don’t work out.

• If you’re able, set out college hours so it’s very clear what time can be spent away from work.

• Set out expectations in respect of exam passes and how quickly you consider qualifications should be achieved. Explain the consequences if they don’t meet these expectations.

• If you’re a levy paying employer, don’t ask for a contribution towards training costs from the apprentice or a repayment of training costs if they leave – it’s unlawful to do so.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss your apprenticeship agreements with us in more detail.

Managing workplace relationships

Posted on: May 2nd, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

20% of us meet our partner at work – commercially there can be challenges when cupid strikes. Employment laws also mean risks are aplenty!

Striking a balance between commercial demands and employees’ private lives can be challenging. Here’s what we’d suggest….

• Lead the way – ensure your leadership team take a responsible approach to the relationships they build at work.

• Write down what’s expected of those individuals who forge relationships – including early communication, total transparency and the need to be flexible.

• Train on what amounts to sexual harassment (particularly during induction and once a year) to show you’ve clearly set out appropriate boundaries – one person’s flirting is another person’s sexual harassment.

• Be clear that you may have to restructure teams or roles if the relationship means that one or both individuals can no longer do their job (be careful that you don’t automatically focus on the female and moving her role which could amount to sex discrimination).

• Offer support where it’s needed – through appropriate access to your People Team, managers and possibly a helpline. If there’s a fallout it’s important to be able to identify early intervention may be required.

• Agree a communication plan – jungle drums are distracting!

Get in touch for support on managing relationships through our Intelligent Employment advice.