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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.

 

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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.

 

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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

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

 

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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

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.

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

23
Aug 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

233 employers to pay back £2 million to underpaid workers

233 employers have been ordered to pay back almost £2 million to 13,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers, as part of the Government’s scheme to name and shame employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage.

A list that identifies these employers has been published by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. As well as paying back the money owed, employers on the list have also been fined £1.9 million by the Government.

The sectors that featured frequently on the list included:

Hair and Beauty: approximately 60 employers, in arrears of £121,000 for circa 200 workers
Hospitality: approximately 50 employers, in arrears of £77,000 for circa 220 workers
Retail: approximately 20 employers, in arrears of £1.5m for circa 12,200 workers

Employers in this round fell short by failing to pay workers overtime hours, deducting money from wages to pay for uniforms and wrongfully paying apprentice rates to workers.

Business Minister Margot James said:

“It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers. Today’s naming round identifies a record £2 million of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the government will come down hard on those who break the law.”

This is the 12th round of Government naming and shaming with so far £6 million recovered for 40,000 workers with 1,200 employers being fined £4 million. Employers need to be aware of the National Minimum and National Wage and Apprentice rates. Employers who fail to comply with these rates could face substantial fines and risk their business being named and shamed. To view the current rates click here.

To view the full list click here.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Update, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages

9
Aug 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Employers must now include voluntary overtime when calculating holiday pay

A landmark legal victory for Unite union means that employers must now include normal voluntary overtime when they are calculating holiday pay. The ruling is of major significance to workers who receive payments for working voluntary overtime but these payments are not reflected in their holiday pay. The union says that the ruling has set a legally binding precedent which employment tribunals across the UK are obliged to follow.

The Case

The case against Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council was brought by 56 council employees who worked on maintaining Dudley’s housing stock as electricians, carpenters, and plumbers. The employees worked regular voluntary overtime, beyond their fixed contractual hours, including Saturdays and they also elected to go on a standby rota every four weeks, to deal with emergency call-outs and repairs. The loss of earnings from holiday pay underpayments varied between £350 and £1,500 a year depending on each worker and how much voluntary overtime they carried out.
The decision by the employment appeal tribunal is the first to confirm that payments for entirely voluntary duties, such as voluntary overtime, standby, call-out work and travel-time linked to that work, should be included in the calculation of workers holiday pay.

Learning Points for Employers

The area of whether overtime should be included in employees holiday pay is a hot topic. This ruling echoes that of Fulton & Baxter v Bear Scotland Ltd when the ET found that overtime and other payments should have been included in the calculation of holiday pay.

Employers who do not pay employees normal voluntary overtime as part of their holiday pay are urged to reconsider this and make a change otherwise they might see themselves in hot water if a case were brought against them.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Annual Leave, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Employment Update, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages

28
Jul 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Are casual dress code policy’s becoming the norm?

It seems that many traditional firms are relaxing their formal corporate dress code policies in favor of casual dress codes in an attempt to attract young engineers, IT and tech workers. Recently Goldman Sachs adopted a new “year-round casual dress code policy”, applying it to their technology and engineering divisions. As the new policy came into place employees were reminded to monitor situations when it is best to adapt to business attire, particularly if they have client meetings.

This summer has seen a growing trend in the UK to move away from strict dress codes. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged employers to relax dress codes, if only temporarily, during warmer weather, particularly giving relief to office male workers who often have to wear a suit, tie, and shirt. A growing number of companies are continuing on with this trend as many see strict dress codes as being outdated and are unable to justify not having a more relaxed dress code for certain sectors.

Fast-growing technology companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, have long adapted to the expectation of a more relaxed generation of workers and are now synonymous with casual dress codes.

JP Morgan adopted a “business casual” dress code last year and although London bankers were initially wary of the change, reports now say that most people are embracing it and workers are rarely seen in a suit and tie unless they are at a client meeting.

If you do wish to implement a dress code policy for your business you must include the policy in your staff handbook and ensure all employees are aware of it. Whatever your policy, employees should be reminded to adhere to the highest standards of personal appearance at all times and dress in clothes that are suitable for the work situation.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

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

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