Employment Law News  
 
Immigration Act 2016
 
While employers may be looking at, and planning for the long term implications of a 'soft' or 'hard' brexit on their workforce, more immediately on 12th July 2016 the Immigration Act 2016 came into force. 
 
It has been a criminal offence to knowingly employ a person who is not authorised to work in the UK since 2006, and those employers found guilty faced a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per worker for breaching the law.  That fine was doubled to £20,000 in the Immigration Act of 2014.  The new act means the penalties are now much higher.
 
Now, it is not just about “knowingly employing” an illegal worker: employers who have “reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment by reason of the employee’s immigration status” will also be in the authorities’ sights.  Employers convicted of breaching this law face a maximum custodial sentence of five years.
 
For protection from liability and criminal prosecution, the three simple steps below need to be taken: 
  1. Always obtain an original right to work document from the Home Office’s prescribed list prior to employment commencing.
  2. Check the authenticity and validity of the document in the presence of the employee in question.
  3. Keep clear electronic and/or hard copy of the checked document, with a note of the date of the check, and initials of the individual who verified the document. 
Previously, adequate “right to work” checking systems were important for organisations, with these latest tough changes in the law it becomes imperative.
  
BackupHR™ constantly monitors tribunal and appeal awards, as judgements may well affect advice we give to our clients. Click on the links below for more information on recent rulings and employment law changes.
  
 
 October 2016
Issue 139
 
 
 
 
 
BackupHRTM
   
We provide HR Support focussing on SMEs. We combine expert employment law knowledge with practical, business, HR expertise.

With the right HR guidance there are always business solutions to HR problems
     
  
  
   
 
  
 
  
 
 
 
Can HR fit in with commercial needs?
 
I have been prompted to write this after seeing a few articles around at the moment about how HR is often seen as a barrier to commercial success.  Many business owners and Managers are unhappy with the low risk advice given by some HR professionals, who fail to recognise the ability to achieve commercial success can be dependent on taking decisions that are not always totally compliant, and hence risk free, with employment law .
 
In some instances the accusation may well be justified.  It is inevitable that in order to comply with the many and varied rules and regulations governing the employment of staff, HR Professionals can appear rigid and inflexible. 
 
For us at BackupHR™, it is always important to ask a client 'What do you want to achieve?,' and work towards that goal. Clearly it is in our interests to make sure clients meet their commercial objectives and that at times, requires us to come up with creative solutions that work around the law, rather than being a slave to it.  Risk is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, so we tell our clients what risks they may be running, and let them decide what is in their best interests, rather than simply stating something cannot be achieved.
 
One of the most interesting articles was written by Stephen Bevan, Head of HR Development at the Institute for Employment Studies.  He identified 5 key issues for HR research.
 
Bevan’s top five issues for HR research:
 
The impact of workplace digitisation on the nature of the employment relationship and the skills needed by HR professionals.
  1. Transforming the quality of performance management among Line Managers.   Yet many organisations opt for performance management systems that are too onerous, and hence unachievable.
  2. Improving job design as a way of improving psychological wellbeing and productivity at work.
  3. Managing the career, wellbeing and performance implications of longer working lives.
  4. Making real progress – beyond reporting – on diversity and inclusion at work.
  5. Employee engagement is something that many senior Managers claim to be interested in, but those same people often create a climate of fear among the same people whose engagement they want to nurture, particularly by not being prepared to listen, and take on board upwards criticism.
Interestingly, we will be addressing points 2, 3 and 5 in our Autumn Training Course and we have for a long time, advocated short appraisal systems.  To read Stephen Bevan's full article click here. 
  
  
 
 
 
Cathy Norton
BSc FCIPD CMOSH LLM
Director
 
  
 
 One of the UK's most experienced HR professionals, Cathy is fully qualified in HR, Employment Law and Health and Safety.
 
 
 With industrial experience across a variety of industries, in both the private and voluntary sectors, she has worked alongside Directors, Senior Managers and with HR teams as an HR Consultant.
 

An experienced trainer, coach and executive mentor, Cathy speaks at conferences and writes expert columns

Forthcoming Training Programme for 2017

0 – 60mph in 6 Months – Getting Newcomers up to Speed
Newmarket – 28th February; Peterborough – 29th March & Norwich – 27th April
  
The first few days, weeks and months for a new starter are critical in determining whether they develop effectively, and quickly become either an asset or a liability. In reality, little time, effort and thought is really given to planning and achieving a meaningful, structured programme of learning, which means that people do not work to their full potential as quickly as they could have, or they leave. This course will encourage Managers to better prepare and conduct good inductions, and to regularly assess and feedback how a new employee is performing, so that they can become really productive in their jobs by the end of any probationary period.
  
Key Survival Skills for the Modern Workplace
Newmarket – 16th May; Peterborough – 4th July & Norwich – 17th October
  
Coping with change is not always easy, but is a necessary skill for the modern workplace. This half-day course will look specifically at some of the common work stressors, with a view to learning effective approaches, including meeting your boss’ expectations, knowing when and how to stand up for yourself, developing resilience, whilst juggling work and personal demands.  This will suit anyone who wants to have a better understanding of survival strategies and skills.  This will also aid personal and career development, as being able to adapt quickly is more than just the key to survival, but to success itself.
  
Good Ways to Deliver Bad News
Newmarket – 11th October, Peterborough – 14th November & Norwich – 30th November
  
No-one likes to deliver bad news, but every Manager has to this at some stage. If it is done effectively, the outcome can be more constructive than if it is done badly, or not at all.  We will identify useful approaches and techniques that will help Managers to be more confident and purposeful, by practising how to do it in a supportive and safe environment. Delivering bad news without proper preparation can be stressful to all concerned, so come and learn how to reduce the pain out of this part of any Manager’s job.
 
   
 
 
Client Services & Event Manager
01480 677981

Having joined in 2009, Jackie is now responsible for our client services from welcoming new clients to maintaining relations with existing clients.  She also organises all our public and in-house training events.
  
 
   
 
Udidwot?!! -    Fixed Term Contract Termination
  
 We took on a person to do a fixed term contract for a four month period. We reached three months and it was clear that there will be no work for them after the 4 month limit. We thought about just telling them on the final day that they would not be extended, but decided that we ought to treat this as a redundancy so have put all the people in that section at risk whilst we conduct a formal redundancy selection criteria exercise. Our other staff are now complaining about this. 
  
Peter replies:
  
You really have gone from one extreme to another. You were right to avoid just letting the person go because ‘their notice period started on day one’ but this is not a situation which calls for the formality/stress of a redundancy procedure.
 
The fair steps for employers to take when dealing with the end of a number of long term fixed-term contracts, might include the following stages, as part of a redundancy or dismissal procedure, although the procedure would be adapted to different circumstances:
  • A reminder. A reasonable period before a fixed-term contract is due to end it is advisable to remind the employee in writing of the potential end date.
  • A meeting. Before the end date a meeting should take place with the employee in which they are reminded that the contract is due to end on the given date. This meeting should be followed up by a letter which confirms the risk of dismissal at the end of the fixed term.
  • Suitable alternative work. Any vacancies should be considered and offered to the employee before the end of their current employment if they are suitable.
  • Dismissal. A reasonable time before the scheduled end of a fixed-term contract, a dismissal notice should be sent confirming the expiry of the fixed term and including information and the right to appeal.
  • Appeal. Fixed-term employees can appeal against notice of dismissal on grounds of redundancy.
 To continue reading the article, click here.
 

 

 

 Peter Stanway
BA FCIPD LLM
Senior Consultant

  Peter joined our team at BackupHR in 2008. He has extensive HR experience in the commercial field and as a consultant.

 His practical, no-nonsense advice is valued by clients in their every day work and in Tribunal, where he is an experienced advocate.
 
  
As our resident HR Agony Uncle, Peter is happy to tackle difficult and interesting HR challenges.