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March, 2020

We’re now part of the AdviserPlus Group

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

We’re delighted to share some exciting news – Halborns is now part of the AdviserPlus Group.

AdviserPlus is a leading provider of technology enabled specialist HR services and believe in enabling HR leaders to make a greater impact across their organisations by improving people and business performance.

We were looking for the ability to provide a greater range of people-related services, and a chance to invest in our continued innovation and we thought the AdviserPlus group was a great match. We’re still very much Halborns; still the same great team and have the same ambitions to proactively deliver solutions-focused advice, we’re now just part of an HR group with a greater range of services and support to offer you.

We look forward to you joining us on the next chapter of our journey.

About AdviserPlus

Founded in 2001 and employing over 250 HR professionals, they have significant experience and specialist expertise that brings a unique perspective to HR transformation. They help HR leaders turn people data into clear, meaningful insights; improve productivity, ER consistency, and people performance; and gain access to world-class people expertise, coaching and advice.

AdviserPlus has an extensive client base including Post Office, Sainsbury’s, Network Rail, United Utilities and the NHS. Find out more at adviserplus.com and follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Executive People Update

Posted on: March 30th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus during the coronavirus crisis, our executive people update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law and employment law trends. Click here for more information about how we can support you to manage the latest changes.

Coronavirus and holiday carry over

Employees who’ve not been able to take all their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will be entitled to carry up to four weeks unused leave into the next two leave years. The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 ensure that employers can offer flexibility in the future if granting leave now would leave them short-staffed, as well as ensuring workers aren’t losing out on their entitlement due to the virus.

We’re still trying to work out whether employees continue to accrue holiday during furlough leave and whether they can take holiday whilst furloughed. We’ll update you as soon as we have an answer (hopefully tomorrow).

Can employees insist they’re furloughed?

In short, no. It’s your choice as to who you designate as a furloughed employee. That being said, usual employment law still applies so make sure selection criteria is fair, objectively justified, non-discriminatory and communicated. Click here if you’d like to discuss in more detail.

IR35 reforms – suspended

The reforms due to come into force on 6th April 2020 will now be suspended until 6th April 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – suspended

The Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have decided to suspend gender pay reports for this year to reflect the unprecedented pressure on businesses and organisations at this time. If you’ve already collated your date and created a narrative, it’s still possible for you to voluntarily publish your data.

Good Work Plan – 6th April 2020

A reminder of the changes still due to take place on 6th April:

*Employment contracts to be issued on, or before day one for all new starters

*Employment contracts for all new starters to include:

  • Days of the week the worker/employee is required to work
  • Whether working hours are variable and how this will be determined
  • Any paid leave the worker/employee is entitled to
  • Details of all remuneration and benefits
  • Details of any probationary period
  • Training entitlement (whether this is mandatory or paid for by the worker/employee)

*Holiday pay reference period extending from 12, to 52 weeks

We’ve created ‘starter’ and ‘complete’ support kits to help you deal with the challenges these uncertain times present. Click here to find out how we can support you and your business.

New government guidance on furlough working

Posted on: March 27th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

The government have updated their guidance in respect of furlough working and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Click here to access the latest guidance in full.

It’s a good, generally easy to understand guidance note which includes information on:

  • Treatment of employer national insurance contributions
  • Employees receiving SSP who would otherwise have been furloughed
  • Which employees are covered by the Job Retention Scheme
  • How to calculate the wage costs which are covered by the scheme
  • Whether employees can train or volunteer whilst furloughed

Before you send your first furlough letter, you should have in mind these key considerations.

We’ve updated our furlough Q&A document and template letter for employees – click here if you’d like to access.

Key considerations before you send your ‘furlough letter’

Posted on: March 26th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

There’s a bit for you to consider before you send your first furlough letter.

For those employees with a contractual lay-off provision, consider…

  • Whether you still need to ask employees for their agreement to designate them a furloughed worker, or can you just write to them informing them of their new status.
  • Whether you understand fully a furloughed worker’s rights to ask for a redundancy payment after four weeks of furlough (only relevant to those employees with a lay-off provision within their contract).

For those employees without a contractual lay-off provision, consider…

  • Are you going to ask them to confirm their written agreement to the changes? If so, how do they do that?
  • Does their employment contract state how you need to effect the contractual change? In which case, are you going to be able to comply?
  • If employees don’t confirm their agreement to the change, how are you going to show they have impliedly accepted?
  • What are you going to give to the employee in return for changing their status to a furloughed worker (legally you need to give them something for the change to be enforceable)?
  • Are you clear on what the alternatives are to furloughed working for those employees who don’t accept the change?

Either way, consider…

  • If you are going to top up pay beyond the amount you’ll be reimbursed from the government, do you want to set out terms in respect of that top up?
  • Are you clear on what you’re going to pay each furloughed worker (80% pay, £2500, more, less) and what is included within that pay (pension contributions, employers national insurance)?
  • Do you need to split furloughed workers into categories (those that fall above and below the £2500 contribution from the government, for example) and treat them differently?
  • How are you going to deal with any benefits the employee is entitled to during furloughed work?
  • How can employees secure quick answers to their questions or object to the change?
  • Have you been clear to managers about the rules around furloughed working and what they should and shouldn’t be saying to their teams?
  • Are you clear on how you’re going to select some employees and not others for furloughed working?
  • How are you going to communicate with those employees who are absent?
  • Are you going to set out when you anticipate the furloughed leave will end?

There’s always more to say but this is a good starting point. Click here if you want us to give you a call.

Latest Prime Minister’s statement

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Here’s what the Prime Minister had to say this evening:

  • From this evening we must all stay at home
  • All shops selling non-essential goods must close immediately
  • We can travel to and from work where absolutely necessary and where you cannot work from home
  • Police will have powers to issue fines or disburse gatherings
  • We may only shop for basic necessities as infrequently as possible and should use a delivery service where possible
  • We may only exercise once a day alone or with members of the same household
  • We must not meet friends, family or in groups of more than two (except people we live with)
  • We are able to deal with any medical needs, to provide care or help a vulnerable person

If we follow these rules, the government will review these restrictions and relax them if the evidence shows that they’re able to in three weeks.

Our coronavirus policy will be updated tomorrow.

Click here if you want our support in respect of the latest statement.