Employment Law News  
Autumn Statement Summary
Salary sacrifice schemes will no longer be tax free.  Employees who have arrangements in place will be protected until April 2018, with those having arrangement for cars, accommodation and school fees protected until April 2021.  Items that can still be included in salary sacrifice schemes include pensions, childcare vouchers, cycle to work schemes and ultra low emmision cars.  Schemes such as gym membership, phones and insurance will no longer be tax free.
National Insurance contributions from both employers and employees are to be aligned.  'From April 2017 we will align the employee and employer NI thresholds to £157 per week,' said the Chancellor. 'There will be no cost to employees and the maximum cost to business will be an annual £7.18 per employee.'
National Living Wage to rise from £7.20 to £7.50, from April 2017, a pay rise worth over £500 to a full-time worker.
National Minimum Wage will also increase in April (it previously changed in October each year):
• for 21 to 24 year olds – from £6.95 per hour to £7.05
• for 18 to 20 year olds – from £5.55 per hour to £5.60
• for 16 to 17 year olds – from £4.00 per hour to £4.05
• for apprentices – from £3.40 per hour to £3.50
Christmas Parties 
It is that time of the year again, and thoughts turn to some sort of Christmas celebration at work. Just because a Christmas party takes place outside of work hours and in other premises, it does not mean that any misconduct falls outside of the employer’s control. The most common complaint arising from office parties is a harassment claim.
If you have serious incidents at your Christmas function deal with them quickly and effectively.
 November 2016
Issue 140
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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.
Good Appeals Change Bad Decisions
Accident Investigation and the Wider Implications
Following the recent tragic tram crash in Croydon, and subsequent investigations into what happened, this article first published in February seemed all too appropriate for this edition of News'n'Views.
Managers may be required to investigate all sorts of issues, ranging from an employee or customer complaint, a quality issue, through to an accident or near miss. In just about all cases, the chain of events leading up to the incident may not have been planned, but the investigation, with the benefit of hindsight, can invariably identify that it was an incident waiting to happen, i.e. it was foreseeable. Put another way, most incidents happen for a reason, which is usually down to human error, or management failings, but invariably a mixture of both. Indeed, it has been estimated that in the case of accidents, only 5% are events that could not have possibly been predicted.

Therefore, part of the process of any good investigation is to work out more than just what happened, but why, i.e. the root cause. What were the influencing factors? For example, what was people’s motivation for behaving the way they did? Were people taking accepted short cuts which management were well aware of, and permitted to happen by doing nothing to stop it? How well was management overseeing activities, and what part did they play in the acts and omissions that took place, prior to the incident happening?

The purpose of an investigation, therefore, goes beyond establishing the facts leading up to the incident, but involves identifying what were the real factors that led up to the event happening. Like it or not, management usually play a starring role in letting issues happen. The easy option for an investigator is to blame an individual, or series of individuals, but does that actually solve why the incident happened. The more important part of any investigation is to actually make (i) balanced conclusions as to the factors that influenced the incident happening, and (ii) recommendations regarding what steps need to now be put in place to prevent such an incident happening again. Whilst the rest of this article really is more about accident investigation, I would argue that the principles are the same, regardless of what incident is being investigated.

There is no specific legal requirement to investigate accidents and incidents. However, such investigations are a core, if not fundamental, part of a successful health and safety management system. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) document, HSG65 Managing for Health and Safety, promotes a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach. Investigation of accidents and incidents is part of the “Check” step, and may highlight shortcomings in the organisation’s management system for health and safety. The purpose of accident and incident investigation, if done well, should lead to the prevention of such events in the future.
To continue reading click here.
 Cathy Norton
  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
0 – 60mph in 6 Months – Getting Newcomers up to Speed
The first few days, weeks and months for a new starter are critical in determining whether they develop effectively, and quickly become 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. This means that people do not work to their full potential as quickly as they could and/or they “leave” the organisation.
This course will encourage Managers to recognise the need to conduct an induction programme that goes beyond the first couple of weeks.  We will discuss what should be included, and how to regularly assess and feedback to a new employee, so that they can become really productive in their jobs by the end of any probationary period.
The course objectives will include: -
  • The need for Preparation
  • Importance of thorough Inductions
  • Effective Job Training
  • Meaningful Assessments
  • Honest Reviews
  • Realistic Probationary Outcomes
We are running this course at the following venues: 
Rowley Mile Conference Centre, Newmarket – 28th February 2017 
Orton Hall Hotel, Peterborough – 29th March 2017
Park Farm Country Hotel, Norwich – 27th April 2017 

The course will commence at 8.45 am, with registration and refreshments from 8.00 am. The course will finish around 3.00 pm, with breaks for refreshments and lunch.
The cost for this training event will be £160.00 plus VAT per delegate, including lunch. Book before 31st December 2016 and receive an early bird discount.
To reserve your place on this course, please contact Jackie Bolton either by e-mail: jackie@backuphr.com or call 01480 677981.  
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?!! -    Dismissal for Some Other Substantial Reason
We want to get rid of a sales employee who has been with us for about 3 years, but it is not really for a performance or even a conduct issue.  The employee meets his targets but is not liked by some of our key customers, and we are worried that if this dislike continues we could start to lose business.  We have nothing in writing but some of the customers have spoken to our Sales Director about this issue.  The issue is simply down to the fact that our customers like to have a bit of a laugh and joke with the people they do business with.  He is not perceived as having much of a sense of humour, and on our corporate hospitality days with our customers, he has failed to build up any rapport. He tends to keep himself distant from the rest of the sales team, but no one is complaining about him in-house.  We believe it would be better to dismiss due to conduct but with the fall back of capability.
 Peter replies:
As you have identified this is not really a capability or conduct issue, dismissal for Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR) is a potentially fair reason for dismissal. It is widely seen as an important residual or “catch-all” category of dismissal, intended as a safety net — enabling employers to sweep up reasons for dismissal that do not fall conveniently within other categories. The label has been held to apply to dismissal in a variety of situations, including: 
  • Re-organisations leading to dismissals arising out of (usually changes to terms and conditions), which fall short of constituting a redundancy.
  • Dismissal of temporary employees who are replacing employees medically suspended or pregnant. Individuals should always be advised of the temporary nature of the job.
  • TUPE dismissals for a genuine economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce.
  • Dismissals at the behest of third parties and to situations where an employer takes action to protect its legitimate business interest.
To continue reading the article, click here.



 Peter Stanway
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.