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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.

 

BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software
Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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.


BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software
Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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

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.

 

BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software
Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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

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

4
Dec 17

Posted by
Marzena Ignar

Does my employee need a written statement of employment?

The main purpose of the written statement of employment, often referred to as the contract of employment, is to clarify the terms of a person’s employment and avoid uncertainty or misunderstandings, where employee expectations might not be the same as employer intentions.

All employers must provide an employee with a written statement of their terms of employment within 2 months of commencement of employment, including full-time staff, part-time staff, fixed-term and casual workers.

The written statement must include the following information:

  • The full name of employer and employee
  • The address of the employer
  • Place of work
  • Job title or nature of work
  • The date the employment started
  • Type of contract
  • Rate of pay
  • Pay intervals
  • Hours of work
  • Paid leave
  • Incapacity for work, sick pay 
  • Any terms relating to a pension scheme
  • Period of notice to be given by employer or employee
  • Details of any collective agreements
  • Pay reference period

Additional clauses can be recommended to further clarify the relationship. These might include:

  • Probation clause
  • Pay in lieu of notice clause
  • Confidentiality clause
  • Right to search 
  • The calculation of holiday pay

Failure to to provide contracts of employment could leave you wide open to a claim from their employees. Employers found not to have written terms of employment in place will be fined a maximum of 4 weeks’ remuneration per employee. Clearly worded contracts of employment are key to the success of any business. They will ensure your business is on the right side of employment law as well as help prevent disputes with employees.

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

 

BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software
Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

17
Nov 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Be careful of discrimination in job interviews

Having a wide range of interview questions is vital to find out as much information about a candidate as possible to assess whether they have the right skills and attributes for the role. When conducting an interview you may veer off your pre-set questions when building rapport with a candidate and to do a little digging in some areas, however asking the wrong question could leave you at risk of a hefty discrimination claim.

Marital and family status, sexual orientation

Although it may seem friendly asking if a candidate has a family or children it is not suitable for an interview. Asking such questions may leave you appearing more favorable to someone who may seem more stable or someone who might not have family commitments.

Do you have or plan on having children? What childcare arrangements do you have?

The job may require some overtime at short notice. What days/hours are you available to work? Can you travel?

Place of birth, race, religious beliefs

Again, employers may think they are being friendly asking questions like: where are you from originally? Or do you get to visit home often? But be warned that any questions surrounding birthplace, background or religious beliefs can lead to discrimination.

Where were you born? What religion do you practice?

Are you eligible to work in Ireland? What languages do you speak or write fluently?

Gender, age

Asking a candidate questions about their gender or age in relation to their ability to do a particular role is discrimination. If there are certain challenges to a role you may certainly ask about their ability to handle those situations but never imply that their gender or age may affect this.

We’ve always had a man/woman in this role. Do you think you can handle it? How many years do you think you’ll have left until you retire?

What can you bring to this role? What are your long term goals?

Location, disability, illness

You may think asking questions regarding where a candidate lives and how far/long it will take to commute to work is innocent but asking these questions could cause discrimination relating to a neighborhood heavily populated by an ethnic group or social class. Also asking questions around gaps in a candidate’s employment is acceptable, but asking questions around a disability and how it may affect their capabilities to do a job is not.

How far would your commute be? Do you smoke/drink?

Are you able to start at 9 am? Have you ever been disciplined due to alcohol/drugs?

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, Discrimination, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals

6
Nov 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

How to Avoid Harassment in the Workplace

The recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein in the US have created somewhat of a snowball effect worldwide with thousands of women and men speaking out about their accounts of sexual harassment and assault, many of them being work related. Allegations involving high profile individuals and people in authority have demonstrated just how widespread a problem this has become across all industries and professions and has exposed a sinister culture of silence, fear and acceptance which we must now turn on its head.

In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits sexual harassment, defined as conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating the victim’s dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Examples might include unwelcome sexual advances, displaying pornographic images, or sending emails containing material of a sexual nature.

Employers in the UK are responsible for their employees’ actions in the course of their employment, even if such actions are taken without the employer’s knowledge or approval. Employers should be able to demonstrate that all reasonable steps to prevent the employee from taking discriminatory action were taken, in order to build a successful defense.

Employers are therefore compelled to take steps to ensure a harassment-free work environment. Effectively organisations must set down clearly defined procedures to deal with all forms of harassment including sexual harassment.

There are a number of steps an employer can take to help prevent this type of behavior from occurring in the workplace:

A Bullying and Harassment policy

  •  to protect the dignity of employees and to encourage respect in the workplace

An Equal Opportunities policy

  • to create a workplace which provides for Equal Opportunities for all staff

A Whistleblowing policy

  • to enable staff to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner.

Transparent and fair procedures throughout

Disciplinary action

  • A sanction that is appropriate for the level of alleged harassment – to help try and change the culture of silence that has allowed harassment to become normal and protected.

Provision of on-going training

  • At all levels within organisation

Bright Contracts has a fully customisable Staff Handbook, which includes a Bullying and Harassment Policy and also an Equality Policy and Whistleblowing Policy.

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

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook, Dismissals, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook

3
Oct 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

£25,000 awarded for unfair dismissal due to pregnancy

Leeds Employment Tribunal recently awarded just over £25,000 in compensation after it ruled a woman was unfairly dismissed from her training job at Bradford District Training Agency after she became pregnant.

The woman told the tribunal that her contract had been verbally extended at the same time as she received a promotion and pay increase. She spent a number of weeks chasing the company for her written terms of the extended contract, which would have kept her in her role until March 2017. She was later dismissed, shortly after announcing her pregnancy.

The company stated that the woman lost her job due to redundancy and that her fixed-term contract had expired, it was nothing to do with her pregnancy. However, the tribunal found that the company had offered unreliable evidence and the company’s behavior was ‘substantially and procedurally unfair’ and stated that firing an employee because of being pregnant was a ‘serious act of discrimination’.

The woman was awarded £9,130 for loss of earnings and £15,600 for injury to feelings and £435 for loss of statutory rights.

Naeema Choudry, a partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, stated that; “Tribunals will undertake a thorough evaluation of the facts and evidence whether there is an inference of discrimination. While it is not unlawful to make redundant a pregnant employee if the decision is linked in any way to the pregnancy it will amount to unlawful discrimination and unfair dismissal. Similarly, if the contract of employment of a pregnant worker is not renewed because of her pregnancy or future maternity leave, this would also amount to unlawful discrimination.”

This case shows us that tribunals take discrimination very seriously and that they will not simply accept at face value the reason for dismissal put forward by an employer. Employers should also be aware that as there is no cap on the amount of compensation that a tribunal can award in a claim for discrimination.

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

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

25
Sep 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the news again

A junior minister has revealed that shortfalls in national minimum wage (NMW) payments hit a record £10.9m in 2016, affecting up to 100,000 employees.

Some of the country’s well-known retailers were caught out by failing to pay staff correct wage rates, including John Lewis & Tesco. Tesco stated that it had paid their staff less than the NMW when a new payroll system was introduced, leaving 140,000 of its employee’s being short-changed nearly £10m between them. John Lewis also blamed a payroll error when it was discovered they had breached the NMW laws to the tune of £36m.

Charles Cotton, performance and reward advisor at the CIPD said there were various reasons for shortfalls in payments from employers – “…employers may be ignoring the law and exploiting their workers…another is that the employer doesn’t fully understand the legal requirements…so it is important that employers are aware of the rules.”

This is not the first time NMW underpayments have been brought to light this year, we recently posted a blog on the government's name and shame scheme where 233 employers had to pay back £2m to underpaid workers. And also the release of a recent survey by the Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) indicated that 1 in 5 apprentices have not been receiving the mandatory minimum wage. The survey discovered that the number of apprentices receiving less than the NMW they are entitled to rose sharply from 13% for those aged 16-18 to 32% for those aged 19-20.

Underpayments occurring since April 2016 have been subject to a penalty of 200% of the value of the underpaid amount – capped at £20,000 but this does not seem to have had the desired effect of discouraging employers from breaching the rules.

It is extremely important that organisations pay the wage rates that they are legally obliged to. Employers that are found to be deliberately flouting the law should also be prosecuted, so that good companies aren’t undermined by bad ones.

 

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, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages

30
Aug 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

The importance of having an Absence/Sick Leave Policy

As an employer, it can be quite a daunting prospect having to deal with sick leave and long-term sick leave can throw up other issues making it seem more complicated and even more daunting for the employer to deal with effectively. So how can an employer ensure compliance during these periods of absence?

First and foremost an Absence/Sick Leave Policy needs to be put in place. It must contain clear and concise guidelines for the employee and employer to follow in cases of absence

Your Absence Policy should include:

1. Details of any company Sick Pay Policy:

  • If an employer will/will not pay employee while on certified/uncertified sick leave.
  • If payments are to be made, length of term for payments.

2. Notification and certification requirements if employees are absent due to illness:

  • How much notice an employee needs to give an employer if they will be absent from work.
  • After how many days of absence a medical certificate is required.
  • For long-term absences, how often a medical certificate is required to be presented to the employer.

3. A statement that in the case of long-term absence due to illness, the employee may be required to attend a company GP or other nominated medical persons/facilities at the request of the employer.

It would also be advisable to include details on what is classed as being short-term, long-term and unauthorised absences - Unauthorised leave is absence by the employee without consent or approval from management or without proof of illness by means of a doctors certificate and should be dealt with as a matter of misconduct via the company disciplinary procedures.

As with most company policies and procedures, once in place, the employees will be aware of what is expected of them during times of absence or sick leave; this, in turn, should eliminate any further issues from arising.

Bright Contracts has a comprehensive Absence and Sick Leave Policy built into the Company Handbook which can be customised to suit your own company specifications and requirements.

BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software
Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Pay/Wage, Sick Leave/Absence Management, Staff Handbook

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