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Right to work checks from 17 May 2021

Posted on: May 6th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

During the coronavirus pandemic, employers were given the flexibility to check an individual’s right to work in the UK using scanned document copies.

Updated Home Office guidance means that from 17 May 2021 employers will need to either:

  1. View and copy original right to work documents and verify these either in person or via a video call with your new starter; or
  2. Use the online right to work checking service if the applicant or employee has provided a share code.

Additional points to note:

  1. Employers will not be required to carry out retrospective checks of original documentation for anyone whose documents had been checked remotely between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021;
  2. We’d recommend auditing any remote checks carried out on copies of documents between 30 March 2020 and 16 May 2021 to ensure you have the appropriate right to work evidence available in the event of a Home Office inspection. Document copies stored on file need to be endorsed with who carried out the check and the date the document was verified via video call.

Don’t forget that the deadline for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme is 30 June 2021. Check out our Brexit update series for all the need to know information.

If you need further support, our fixed-fee Intelligent Employment service provides unlimited advice and support, including the employment law implications of Brexit. Find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (6 May 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Importance of regular training – equality, diversity and inclusion

Posted on: May 5th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

‘Stale, ineffective, brief and superficial’ – words used by an Employment Appeal Tribunal in a recent decision to describe bullying and harassment training delivered to employees. As a result, the employer was not able to successfully argue they had taken ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent racial harassment.

Key learnings:

Timing – the training had been delivered 14 months before the incidents in question and was therefore ‘stale’. Ensure that regular equality, diversity, and inclusion training and refreshers are in place.

Quality – in this case only one training slide referred to harassment which is ineffective in creating long-lasting impact – be clear on training aims and measures of success. Keep a record.

Delivery – equality, diversity, and inclusion training should be delivered ‘forcefully’ and thoroughly in order to have the desired long term impact on employees’ behaviour. Consider building in face-to-face training as well as online support for rounded and robust training.

We can support you to put in place a regular routine of equality, diversity and inclusion training tailored to your business. Our sessions are engaging, interactive and practical ensuring attendees can put their learning into action. Get in touch to find out what our sessions cover.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (5 May 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Supporting mental fitness – raising awareness

Posted on: May 4th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous” – (Aristotle).

Nature is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021). Here are some of our thoughts on positive practices to promote mental fitness at work:

Get outside – whether it’s walking meetings to reinvigorate conversation and innovation, time out for gardening or a bit of bird watching there are lots of ways nature can feature in the day without hindering productivity.

Flexibility – exercise has a profound positive impact on mental wellbeing. Employees might value the ability to vary their start/finish times to allow a little extra time to exercise around their work commitments.

Get competitive – daily step challenges, camp-outs, or charitable endeavours, there’s loads of fun (and free!) ways to encourage each other to keep active, engaged with the outdoors, and happy and healthy at work.

Promote holidays – with some restrictions still in place it might not seem like the most exciting time to take annual leave, but it’s important that employees are encouraged to take a break away from work (and devices). Annual leave is a great time to recharge and spend more time in the great outdoors.

If you’d like more proactive suggestions and insights on supporting mental fitness at work, you can access our free webinar here.

In-house training

Promoting positive well-being, keeping the conversation going, and giving your managers to confidence to support their teams – our engaging, participatory and interactive in-house training gives your managers the knowledge and skills to effectively support mental fitness at work. Get in touch to find out more about rolling out the training for your business.

Mental health toolkit

Promoting employee well-being and mental fitness creates a more engaged workforce, reduces sickness absence, and drives performance. We’ve created a user-friendly toolkit providing you and your managers the tools necessary to support your team’s mental health needs within the wider employment law context. If you’d like to find out more about what’s included, click here.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (4 May 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Tribunal tales #2 – tribunal trends

Posted on: April 28th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Employment tribunal claims continue to increase by 25% on the previous year. Here’s Halborns’ take on why claims are on the increase and trends in the type of claim we’re seeing. 

Claims still risinglatest figures show the Tribunal Service receiving 25% more cases compared to the same period in the previous year (October to December). This is likely to be a result of the increase in unemployment at the end of last year. With the end of furlough over the coming months (and presumably a spike in redundancies) we’re likely to see further increases to the number of claims issued.

Trends in types of claim – as you’d expect, we’re seeing more and more claims issued in respect of redundancies. In particular, claims focus on unfair scoring practices when redundant employees are pooled for selection.

Tribunal backlog – with the increase in cases comes an ever-growing backlog of cases for tribunals to deal with. Although many more tribunal hearings are taking place remotely, the Tribunal Service caseload is at an all-time high. It’s currently not unheard of for tribunal claims to take two years to reach a hearing.

Expert advice at the start of any people challenge or process can help to minimise issues arising further down the line and reduce potential litigation risk. Find out more about securing unlimited employment law advice through our Intelligent Employment service.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Free speech v harassment pt.2

Posted on: April 26th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Expensive exits, tribunal claims, and reputational damage are all possible if ‘speaking out’ is ill-judged and discriminatory. Here are our thoughts on striking the right balance:

Champion inclusivity – lead from the top, train, and reinforce with clear policies on what’s acceptable, what’s encouraged, and how to handle concerns. You can access our ‘dignity at work’ policy through Intelligent Employment, find out more here.

Empower – support with tools and training to identify issues, call out inappropriate behaviour, and nip issues in the bud. Click here for more detail on our sessions in this area.

‘Social’ media – be sure to make clear the boundaries and responsibilities required of your employees when using social media.

Supporting silence – remind employees that often there’s nothing wrong in withholding an opinion – you don’t always have to share your views. That said, reinforce the importance of speaking up (through the appropriate channels) if concerning behaviour is experienced.

Embed – proactively promote inclusivity with regular training. Tribunals are taking a dim view of a ‘tick-box’ approach to training with annual refresher sessions becoming the expectation. Click here for more detail on our sessions in this area.

If you’d like support with promoting equality, diversity, and inclusivity, please get in touch here for further advice.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (27 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.