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22
Jun 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Privacy Policies - A GDPR Requirement.

One of the main principles of GDPR is that Data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, these three elements overlap and all three must be satisfied in order to demonstrate compliance.
Employers, as both Data Controllers and Processors, must be able to show how they comply with the new data protection principles and be clear and open with their employees about the processing of data and their rights. The GDPR stipulates that anywhere personal data is being collected, either directly or indirectly, Privacy Notices should be in place, these policies are critical to complying with the transparency obligations in the GDPR. So the introduction of an Employee Privacy Policy will cover the required elements and ensure demonstratable compliance in this regard.


The Privacy Policy should be written in a clear and easily-understandable format and must include;


• What data is processed – name, address, PPS no., bank details, etc.
• How it was obtained – employee detail request form, CV, ROS, etc.
• The ‘legal basis’ for processing the data – contractual necessity, legal obligation, etc.
• Who has access to it and any third parties– HR dept., payroll clerk, pension company
• How it is stored and security – HR system, Thesaurus software, encryptions, etc.
• How long it is kept for –set in company policies or statutory requirements
• The rights of the employee – right to access, rectification, erasure, etc.
• If data is transferred outside the EEA
• Contact details of Data Controller


We have recently upgraded our Bright Contracts software to include a new Employee Privacy Policy feature, so now employers can facilitate the main GDPR principle of lawful, fair and transparent processing of the employee data. We have also updated the Data Protection Policy within the Handbook and the Data Protection Clause within the contracts.


To download a free trial of Bright Contracts, click here.
To request a free online Demo of Bright Contracts, click here.

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

13
Jun 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Why am I getting all these emails about privacy??

Lately you may have noticed your inbox bulging each morning with lots of emails with similar subject lines to these;


“Your privacy = our priority”                   “GDPR Data Protection – Your Data is Safe with us”
“Big Changes are coming”                        “Opt-In to continue receiving our great updates”
“GDPR update – please don’t leave us!”  “We’re keeping your details safe”


New, tougher European regulations around privacy and the use of personal data have now come into force and could see companies hit with huge fines if found to be in breach of the new laws.
In order for personal data to be processed lawfully, the processor must be able to rely on the reasoning being at least one of 6 categories, the main one being Consent. So if you were previously signed up with a company to receive newsletters or emails about special offers, they can no longer continue to send you these without your explicit consent.
Previous Data Protection Legislation allowed for an option to ‘Opt-Out’ as being sufficient means to mark having your consent, however with the new GDPR this is no longer the case. Consent must be ‘freely given’ unambiguous’ and for a ‘specific purpose’. Consent must be easily read and clearly distinguishable from other text and evidence must be collected as to how consent was obtained.
Consent can no longer be assumed and the likes of pre-ticked boxes that would have needed to be unticked if you didn’t want to register are now banned. Also the facility to Unsubscribe must be clear and an easy procedure to follow.
So all the emails you have been receiving, like those listed above, are those companies that you may previously have signed up with, scrambling to cover themselves for GDPR and not wanting to lose you as a possible customer or sale.


For more information on GDPR and how it may affect your organization, please see our dedicated online support documentation here.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract

30
May 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

GDPR FAQ's Answered!

Is the emailing of payslips permissible under GDPR?
There is nothing in the GDPR that states it is no longer permissible to email payslips, this practice is still very much acceptable. The thing to keep in mind in relation to emailing payslips is to ensure that all appropriate security measures are in place. The payslips that are emailed from BrightPay are encrypted and deleted from our servers once sent, however it may also be prudent of a processor of the payroll to password protect the payslips also. It will be the responsibility of the Data controllers (employers) to be vigilant that correct email addresses are inputted.

Can I still use my hard-earned mailing lists after May 25th?
Not automatically - the GDPR states that to be able to ‘Lawfully Process’ personal data you must be able to fall into at least 1 of the 6 processing classifications, the first one being Consent. Consent must be:
• Specific, informed, unambiguous, and freely given – there must be evidence that clear affirmative action has been given.
• Must be for a specified purpose
• Where consent is obtained as part of a larger document covering other things, consent text must be clearly distinguished from everything else
• Evidence needs to be retained as to how the consent was obtained. For example; forms, brochures signage, website screenshots.
• Language must be accessible and easily understood.
• Have a clear and seamless opt-Out process in place.
If you have mailing lists that you’ve used pre GDPR you will not be able to continue using them if you haven’t got specific approval or consent from the individuals.

Do we need to ask for consent from our employees to process their data?

No, as the reliance for processing and retaining their data will be down to lawful processing because of the employer’s legal obligation to deduct taxes etc. and also down to the contractual agreement in place to pay them and pay forward the taxes owed on their behalf. And also to the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee, the status quo is in the employer’s favour so consent would not be unambiguous or freely given.

More information can be found in the GDPR section of our online support documentation on our website - Bright Contracts UK - GDPR

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here.
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here.


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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

22
May 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Do employers need to amend employees' contracts to comply with the GDPR?

No, it is not necessary for employers to amend the contracts of existing employees to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However if your employment contract includes a data protection clause it will need to be revised for any new contracts created. 

For existing employees, employers should issue a new privacy notice to, providing information on the processing of their personal data, which would override any invalid data protection clauses in the contract. The GDPR specifies the information that the employer must provide in the employee privacy policy. The information includes the purposes for which the employer will process the employee's personal data, the legal bases for the processing, information about the retention period and information about the employee's rights as a data subject.

What has Bright Contracts done?

  • Updated employment contract: whilst not necessary to update existing employees’ contracts, we have updated the Data Protection contract clause for all new contracts created in Bright Contract.
  • Employee Privacy Policy: a new Employee Privacy Policy will be made available to all Bright Contracts customers. The new policy contains all the specific information required under GDPR.
  • Data Protection Policy: the handbook Data Protection Policy has been updated and should also be communicated to employees.
17
Apr 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON) – Do you need to review your employment contracts?

Changes to the way in which termination payments are taxed came into force from 6 April 2018.

From 6 April all notice pay is to be treated as earnings and subject to tax and national insurance contributions – irrespective of whether or not there is a pay in lieu of notice clause (PILON) in the employment contract, this effectively removes the distinction between contractual and non-contractual PILON.

As a matter of best practice, we would certainly recommend that going forward all employment contracts contain a PILON clause.

In fact, in light of these recent changes, not having a PILON clause now will only leave you at a disadvantage. If you were to process a payment in lieu of notice without a contractual right to do so it could leave you at risk of not being able to rely on any post-termination restrictions such as non-competition clauses and confidentiality. Processing a PILON without a contractual right to do so would be considered a breach of contract. This is because you would be in breach of contract by making the payment and would therefore result in you not being able to rely on any of the other contractual clauses.
Contracts of employment created in Bright Contracts will contain a PILON clause by default.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here
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Posted in Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Pay/Wage

16
Apr 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Tribunal claims up 90% since abolition of fees

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published figures showing a massive 90% increase in single claims lodged at employment tribunals in the last quarter of 2017 compared to the last quarter of 2016 - the Supreme Court ruled tribunal fees to be ‘unlawful’ during last summer and abolished them going forward.

The MOJ has cited the reversal of fees as the cause of this rise in cases, as employees are no longer put off making claims and using the tribunal process.

The most recent quarter has also shown a 467% increase in multiple claims, filed by more than one complainant. Some of the major supermarkets, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda have all faced multiple pay claims in the last few months, with Tesco facing up to £4bn in fines from a single group claim.

With the abolition of the tribunal fees came a refund scheme which saw 3,337 claims processed for refunds of fee payments to the value of nearly £2.8m between October and December 2017. There is four years worth of fee payments that could be claimed for refund, adding to the growing headache that is the whole tribunal fee’s debacle.

All of this is putting significant pressure on the tribunals who had, after the fee’s were originally introduced, reduced staff numbers and had their funding cut, is now having to deal with huge backlogs and delays. The increase in employment tribunal claims since the removal of the tribunal fees indicates just how important it is for employer’s to have in place proper policies and fair procedures in relation to their employee / employer relationship.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here.
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here.

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Customer Update, Dismissals, Employment Tribunals

4
Apr 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

GDPR and employee files - What you need to know

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25th May 2018 changing the way we process data forever. The aim of the GDPR is to put greater protection on the way personal data is being processed for all EU citizens. Personal data can be anything from a name, an email address, PPS number, bank details etc so as you can imagine employers process a huge amount of personal data on a daily basis. So how will the GDPR affect employers in terms of processing employee data?

Consent

Data in the employment context, will include information obtained from an employee during the recruitment process (regardless of whether or not they eventually got the job), it will also include the information you hold on current employees and previous employees. All this information may be saved in hardcopy personnel files, held on HR systems or it could be information contained in emails or information obtained through employee monitoring.

Under GDPR your employee’s will have increased rights around their data.

These rights will include:

• The Right to Access. It’s not a new concept that employees will be able to request access to the data you hold on them. However, there is a new recommendation that where possible employers should provide their employees with access to a secure self-service login where they can view data stored on them. This backs-up the whole concept of transparency and ease of access to data, which underpins the new Regulations. 

• The Right to Rectification. Individuals are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete. This is an existing right and the onus is on the employer to ensure that your employee records are kept up-to-date. To help ensure you maintain up-to-date records, employers should make it easier for employees to update their data.

• The Right to be informed. Employers must be very transparent with employees about what data you hold, why and how long it is held for. Up until now it has been the common practice for many employers to include a standard clause in the employment contract regarding the processing of HR Data, under GDPR that will no longer be sufficient. Employers need to be reviewing their Employee Data Protection Policies and possibly writing new Employee Privacy Policies that go into detail on the processing of employee data.

Employee self service

Under the GDPR legislation, where possible employers should be able to provide self-service remote access to a secure system which would allow employees view and manage their personal data online 24/7. Furthermore, the cloud functionality will improve your payroll processing with simple email distribution, safe document upload, easy leave management and improved communication with your employees. By introducing a self-service option, you will be taking steps to be GDPR ready.

For information on employee files and how long to keep them please see our support page: Record Keeping Requirements

 

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here.
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here.

Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Records, Employee Self Service, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, Online filing

7
Mar 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

GDPR FAQ's Answered!

The General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on 25 of May 2018. It is legislation with new rules and guidelines on how to protect and process personal data. It is replacing existing data protection regulations that dated back as far as 1988 – obviously pre-dating the era of internet and social media as we currently know it. We are all having to evolve; amending policies and changing how things are done to take into account the new GDPR rules, so here are some of the queries we are receiving into our Bright Contracts support lines on GDPR which you may find useful:

Does GDPR apply to me?

If you are a company in this country, if your company is a sole trader or a limited company, if you have employee’s working for you or customer’s paying you, then you will more than likely hold some form of personal data belonging to them (i.e. a name, an address, a PPS number, a VAT number) If you hold anything that could be classed as personal data then the new GDPR will apply to you.

What is Personal Data?

Personal Data is defined as, “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’ that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a person.”

It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address. (This is not an exhaustive list by any means) So, do you hold any of that type of information in your company? Of course you do; whether it is your clients, your customers or your employees. Somewhere along the line you will be dealing with personal data.

What rights do employees have under the GDPR?

As Data Subjects*, employees will have new and enhanced rights under the GDPR. The key rights in relation to employees include:

• The right to be informed: this emphasizes the need for transparency in how personal data is used. Employers should now be looking to revise their data protection policies and to implement new employee privacy policies outlining exactly what data is being held on employees.

• The right of access – there are amended rights surrounding an employee’s right to submit a data subject access request. A data subject access request involves an employee requesting to view all data retained on them, this will include data stored electronically and on paper files.

  • Time-frame for response has been reduced from 40 days to one month. 
  • It will no longer be permissible to charge a fee in order to respond to a subject access request.

• The right to rectification: individuals are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete. In fact it is recommended here that employers take steps to put the onus on employees to update their personal details should they change. For example, authorities will look unfavourably on employers who are communicating with employees through an old address having made no effort to ensure the address is correct. Employers are well advised to include a clause in employment contracts outlining the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer of a change in personal details.

• The right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten. The broad principle being that an individual has the right to request deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason to retain the data e.g. a legal requirement to retain employee data will always be a compelling reason to retain data.

* Data Subject: “an individual who is the subject of the personal data”.

Bright Contracts employee compliant GDPR policies are coming soon!

  • If you would like to be notified when they are complete please click here
  • For further information register now for our GDPR webinars click here
  • Read our GDPR blogs  here

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

2
Mar 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Bad Weather equals staffing headaches – what can be done?

With the recent bad weather, many businesses across the country have been forced to close or get by with skeleton staff. The question now on most employer’s minds is do they have to pay staff who are unable to come into work, whether because of workplace closure or inability to travel.

Answer

There is no legal obligation on employers to pay their employees if the business was forced to close due to extreme weather conditions or if employees were unable to travel to work due to bad weather. However, it is important to be aware of any custom and practice in the organisation or contractual clause, which may override this position.

The general advice to employers is to be as flexible as possible. The handling of bad weather and travel disruption can be a real opportunity for an employer to boost staff morale and show yourself as an all round fair employer. Possible considerations might include:

  • Can you be flexible with regard to working hours or working patterns?
  • Is it possible for employees to work from home or even at a different location?
  • Would it be possible for the employee to work back the time missed at a later date?
  • Rather than deducting pay for time missed you could offer that the employee take annual leave for the time. Whilst offering this as a solution is recommended, enforcing it without the agreement of the employee would not be best practice. 

A company policy on absence due to inclement weather should address the situation where employees are unable to attend work, due to weather-related circumstances. Having such a policy should also mean there is much less scope for confusion and disagreement.

An Inclement Weather policy is available within the Optional Sections of the Bright Contracts Handbook.

1
Feb 18

Posted by
Lauren Conway

£250,000 holiday back-pay paid out to construction workers

Over 100 construction workers are to receive an estimated £250,000 worth of holiday pay following a Unite campaign which ruled that voluntary overtime should be included in holiday pay.

Background

Workers across three high profile projects in London were paid holiday pay based on 39 hours a week whereas in reality they often worked 55 hours a week working overtime on Saturdays. The workers have secured payment of between £400 and £1,000 each with further back payments to be received after joining forces to demand their full holiday entitlement.

The construction workers were initially ignored when they brought the issue to Byrnes Bros management, until construction workers at different sites, backed by Unite, joined forces and commenced a campaign which developed into a collective grievance. Management then tried to deal with the grievances individually but workers insisted on a collective remedy to the underpayments. Management accepted that overtime should have been included in holiday pay and Byrne Bros are now in the process of paying each worker what they are owed including back pay.

Learning Points

The decision to accept fault comes as no surprise after the landmark ruling by the employment appeal tribunal in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Willetts (and others) case in July 2017. The case was the first to confirm that employers must include normal voluntary overtime when calculating holiday pay and it set a legally binding precedent which employment tribunals across the UK are obliged to follow. The pressure is now on for employers who still do not include overtime in holiday pay to urgently reconsider; otherwise they are at risk of being brought in front of the Employment Tribunal.


To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals

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