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26
May 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

The Benefits of having Employee Referral Schemes

One of the many challenges faced in the world of HR is recruitment. Whether it’s trying to fill multiple roles or trying to find the right candidate for one an employee referral scheme may be a solution.

In this post, we will share some benefits of introducing an employee referral scheme to your organisation.

Employee referrals are faster hires

One of the most challenging aspects of hiring is that it takes a long time to find a quality candidate. Not only do you have to search through CVs, but you have to schedule screenings and in-person interviews. Not to mention that candidates can drop out of the process bringing you back to square one.

Less costly hires

Using referral methods to gain employees will lead to not using recruiting agencies which come at a high cost.

Employee referrals onboard more quickly

New hires may feel intimidated and withhold from asking questions or getting clarification about things they’re confused about, which can slow down the onboarding process. However, having a friend in the same company can make it easier to open up and get integrated quicker into the organisation.

Improves Employee Engagement

When a company asks employees to help them find their next new hire it makes them feel more empowered. At the same time, it’s a great feeling for them when they can help their friends with their next career move.

Boost Employer Branding

When employees spread the word about job openings it brings a lot of traffic to the company. This also improves brand visibility.

 Many companies use employee referral schemes with employees receiving rewards such as cash bonuses or experiential rewards. Building employee referral programs can generate buzz and excitement around the workplace.

Related Articles: 

Employment Engagement Part one: How to Attract and Retain Employees.

Employee Engagement Part Two: Seven Dimensions of Good Work

24
May 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

How to Combat Loneliness in the Workplace

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, nine million people in the UK are suffering from loneliness. Loneliness has the same health risk as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, by increasing the risk of high blood pressure.

People experiencing loneliness can feel disengaged and disconnected from their work and colleagues, which can cause them to become emotionally detached from the organization.

Tips to help combat loneliness at work:

Communicate and raise awareness: Create a space for employees to talk about their wellbeing by checking in regularly, even if it’s virtually. Raising awareness will help build a company culture where people feel comfortable disclosing challenges and being informed about the support available to them.

Facilitate workplace socialising: People with social connections at work tend to be more engaged and loyal because these relationships help to build a company culture based on trust and respect.

Create opportunities for employees to connect: Get your organisation to organise quizzes, group calls, or even exercise classes for remote employees. Additionally, assign work buddies or mentors who can listen to work and non-work-related issues and provide team lunches or away days where employees can socialise outside of the workplace setting.

Encourage employees to use their employee benefits: benefits such as (EAPs), virtual GPs and mental health nurses can all prove a useful source of help. EAPs provide around-the-clock confidential support for a wide range of problems employees might be facing.

Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and is a key driver of poor mental health. It is important that employees are made aware of what they can avail of in the workplace so they know when and how to reach out.

Related Articles:

What You Need to Know About Employee Burnout

Wellbeing at Work

 

Posted in Health & Safety

17
May 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Changes to Flexible Working Rights

In September 2021, the UK Government published a consultation document to reform the right to request flexible working under a new Employment Bill- which is yet to be put before Parliament.

What will the new legislation mean for hybrid work?

The document will put forward five proposals;

  • Making the right to request flexible working a day one right
  • Consider whether the currently permitted business reasons for refusing a request all remain valid
  • Consider the administrative process underpinning the right to request flexible working
  • Requiring the employer to suggest alternatives to what has been requested by the employee
  • Requesting a temporary arrangement

These proposals will broaden employees’ rights to request flexible work. However, employers will retain the right to reject such requests for one or more broadly defined reasons.

What does this mean for employees?

The main change for employees would be the right to request flexible working from the first day of their employment, rather than first having to accrue 26 weeks’ service under the current legislative framework. It’s important to note that employees only have the right to make a request for flexible working, rather than a right to flexible working, and employers will still be able to refuse the request on certain broad business grounds.

Unless there is a discussion between the employer and the employee about flexible working before their employment starts, employees who want to work flexibly will have to start working on the basis of their original terms of employment while trying to change them, as there is no right to make a request before starting the job.

What does this mean for employers?

Rejecting a request might become more difficult for employers. Employers could be required to suggest, or at least consider, alternative arrangements to those requested by the employee.

As it stands, employees can only make one request every 12 months, and employers have 3 months to consider the request and make a decision. Potentially increasing how often an employee can make a request will somewhat reduce existing barriers to flexible working and would recognise that employees’ personal circumstances can quickly change. The Government suggests where these changes are temporary to encourage employees to request temporary arrangements.

Striking the right balance

Many employers already have hybrid working policies in place, meaning that any reform is likely to have a limited impact in practice. Whilst employers will clearly benefit from embracing flexible working in terms of recruitment and retention of employees, whether requests can be accommodated will very much depend on the requirements of the business and the nature of the employee’s role, and employers will have a broad range of reasons on which to reject any request if necessary.

In Bright Contracts, we have a flexible working policy which you can add to your handbook where you can edit to suit your company's needs.

Further guidance on flexible working can be found here.

Related Articles: 

Everyone's Talking About Flexible Working

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Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Hybrid Working

5
May 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Menopause Policies in the Workplace

The conversation around menopause in the workplace has been amplified recently, with weekly press reports stating that an increasing number of companies are taking steps to support employees who are going through menopause.

A major high street retailer announced in March that they would be paying for employees’ hormone replacement therapy (a common treatment for severe menopause symptoms). Additionally, a large media company is offering access to menopause resources and desk fans for women suffering from hot flushes.

Creating an environment supportive of women going through menopause is particularly important in the context of retaining senior women in the workplace. Recent research reported that almost a fifth of women with menopausal or peri-menopausal symptoms took more than eight weeks’ leave, and half of these women resigned or took early retirement.

A recent poll conducted in March 2022 revealed that 72% of companies do not currently have a menopause policy in place and only 16% of businesses train line managers on how to address the menopause at work. Given the increasing number of queries we are responding to on this topic, we expect these statistics to change significantly this year, as employers are to place greater emphasis on supporting those going through menopause at work.

Bright Contracts has a Menopause Policy available in the 'Terms & Conditions' section of the company handbook.

Related Articles:

Supporting Female Employees: Implementing a Menopause Policy

Don't Be Afraid to Talk About Menopause in the Workplace

 

Posted in Company Handbook, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

27
Apr 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

How the pandemic affected Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Measurement is vital to understanding how much of a problem the Gender Pay Gap is. The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap 2021 report found that the impact of the pandemic has pushed back the gap’s likely date of extinction from just under 100 years to 136 years’ time.

The pandemic and the many business decisions it created fell on women disproportionately. Working mothers were more likely to have their working hours reduced, be furloughed, or lose their jobs than their male colleagues.

The UK Government introduced regulations to improve the level of scrutiny of the gender pay gap. All businesses with 250 or more employees had to publish their gender pay gap. This began in 2018 and there quickly emerged a consistent pattern of gender pay inequality amongst millions of employees, within organisations and across many sectors. Not only did the pandemic damage the job and pay prospects for women but also the progress made in this form of reporting.

Just two weeks before the April 2020 deadline for private sector businesses to publish their April 2019 gender pay gap statistics, the Government announced that due to the pandemic there would be no mandatory requirement to report gender pay gap data in that year.

Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic on an employer's gender pay reporting, businesses should see this as an opportunity to work on effective strategies to reduce the gender pay gap.

Related Articles: 

Gender pay gap reporting begins

 

Posted in Coronavirus, Employment Update, General Data Protection Regulation

15
Apr 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

What You Need to Know About Employee Burnout

The switch to remote working in response to the coronavirus has seen a rise in employees reporting that they are working longer hours from home. Whether employees are on-site or working remotely, it is important for HR professionals and management to remain vigilant for signs of burnout among staff.

The term “burnout” is commonly used to describe a situation in which an employee experiences a period of mental or physical fatigue because of high-intensity pressure at work.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that burnout can have a negative impact on someone’s long term health. They also describe burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been managed successfully.

Impact on employees

Burnout can have a negative impact on employees’ output, reducing their productivity and quality of their work. Individuals often display a drop in morale or low mood, prolonged periods of burnout may even result in the development of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.

Impact on employers

For employers, burnout can come at a huge financial cost, the drop in productivity and work quality may disrupt the ability to meet customer demand. A lack of employee engagement can also occur as a result which can often influence a company’s culture. Retention rates are likely to worsen if staff begin looking for preferable employment situations elsewhere.

Causes of burnout

There are a variety of factors that may cause an individual to suffer from burnout and it is important to understand that each situation will be different. Burnout will often be attributed to factors at work however there may be outside influences from an employee’s personal life that contributes to burnout.

Common causes of burnout in the workplace include:

  • excessive workloads
  • unequal distribution of work
  • prolonged working hours
  • inability to take rest breaks
  • unrealistic managerial expectations
  • toxic company culture
  • bully and harassment
  • health and safety concerns

Spotting the signs

It’s important that you are prepared to spot the signs of burnout amongst staff when they present themselves. This can only be achieved by keeping a close eye on employees’ behaviour and performance. It may be difficult to spot but you should be looking out for employees who are arriving early to work or staying late after their contractual hours.

Failure to meet deadlines or an uncharacteristic drop in performance is also usually clear signs that an employee may be struggling with the pressures of work, as well as a sudden change in mood or excessive displays of emotion towards colleagues and third parties.

Responding to staff suffering from burnout

If an employee is showing signs of burnout, it is up to you to address the situation. Due to the nature of burnout solutions may vary for everyone.

There are several methods that are likely to prove effective:

  • removing any unnecessary causes of stress or agitation
  • assessing and redistributing workloads where necessary
  • providing extra training on areas of weakness
  • encouraging staff to make use of annual leave and rest breaks
  • investigating and resolving any allegations of bullying or harassment
  • providing access to medical support e.g., EAP

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Employment Engagement Part one: How to Attract and Retain Employees.

Employee Engagement Part Two: Seven Dimensions of Good Work

Posted in Health & Safety

8
Apr 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

April 2022 Employment Law Changes

There are several changes in employment law taking place in April. Read our blog for a summary of the key changes.

Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2022, the national minimum wage increased. The new rates are:

  • National living wage (23+): £9.50 per hour
  • Adult rate (21-22): £9.18 per hour
  • Development rate (18-20): £6.83 per hour
  • Youth rate (16-17): £4.81 per hour
  • Apprentice rate (under 19 or in the first year): £4.81 per hour
  • Accommodation offset: £8.70 per day

Employers will need to ensure they are paying in line with these new rates from April 1st going forward.

Statutory Payments

Statutory payments also rose in April. Statutory sick pay increased to £99.35 per week from April 6th, 2022, and statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay all went up to £156.66 per week with effect from the 3rd of April 2022.

Covid-19

From the 1st of April 2022, new public health guidance was provided. Anyone with a positive Covid-19 test result is advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days after the day they took the test. Anyone with symptoms is advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with others until they stop displaying symptoms.

Free tests were withdrawn from April 1st and instead, lateral flow tests can be bought from retailers for around £2 per test.

Most employers will no longer have to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments from April 1st.

PPE to be provided to workers

From the 6th of April 2022, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 came into force and amended the 1992 Regulations. Under the new rules, employers will be required to provide suitable free personal protective equipment to workers as well as employees where there is a health and safety risk. If PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction, and training on the use of PPE.

April looks like to be a busy month with plenty of changes and things to be aware of for employers.

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Posted in Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Employee Contracts, Employment Law, Health & Safety, Pay/Wage, Wages

6
Apr 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Wellbeing at Work

Promoting and supporting employee wellbeing is at the heart of our purpose to champion better work and working lives. Investing in employee wellbeing can lead to increased resilience, better employee engagement, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity.

The last 12 months of the pandemic have seen increased reports of mental ill-health yet only 27% report receiving a well-being check-in from their employer monthly or more. This is less than half the number of workers who reported they had a well-being check in at least once a month last year.

Research from the Mental Health Foundation suggests that mental health problems cost the UK economy at least £118 billion a year. This, coupled with the demands of the pandemic and the many changes to our ways of working over this period means that employers need to step up their efforts to better support their staff.

Half of the employees that were surveyed felt most comfortable talking about their mental health face-to-face.

While employers contribute to the good well-being of their staff, employees also have a responsibility for looking after their own health and well-being. They will only benefit from well-being initiatives if they participate in the initiatives on offer and take care of their health and well-being outside of the workplace. Employers can encourage employee involvement by communicating how staff can access the support and benefits available to them. It’s also important that the organisation seeks employee feedback about its current offering so it can learn how to shape existing initiatives and plan new ones.


3 ways of improving well-being in the workplace

1. Raising awareness around the importance of mental health in the workplace
Your company could offer some counselling sessions for employees as part of their health benefits package. This may encourage employees to speak up more about their mental health issues.

2. Organise a walking meeting

Instead of sitting down in the office take the meeting outside whilst going for a walk in the fresh air. This allows employees to integrate some movement into their day while still being productive.

3. Implement flexible working hours

Flexible working hours have significant health and well-being results. This is because it contributes to a healthy work-life balance. Some examples of flexible working hours include hybrid working or condensed working weeks.

Related Articles:

Employment Engagement Part one: How to Attract and Retain Employees.

Employee Engagement Part Two: Seven Dimensions of Good Work

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts

31
Mar 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations are not required for Care Home Workers

Mandatory vaccinations became a requirement to work in a care home from 11th November 2021. This was due to be extended to all patient-facing staff in the health and social care sector on 1 April 2022.

On 31st January 2022, the Government announced that a public consultation would be launched on whether to revoke mandatory vaccinations. The consultation response was published on 1 March 2022. As a result of the consultation, regulations came into force on 15 March 2022 revoking the requirement for vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings.

Care home staff will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter care homes. While this is good news for the health and social care sector, there is still a possibility that mandatory vaccinations may be re-introduced in the future.

What to do next?

Care homes and those who were due to be affected in the health and social care sector from 1 April 2022 will now need to:

1. Review and update policies.

It is important for all employers to be aware that they have a duty to protect the health and safety of employees. As a result, employers are urged to carry out risk assessments and it is still likely that those providing health and social care will have a policy that recommends vaccination.

2. Update contracts that had been changed to refer to mandatory vaccination

3. Consider any cases of employees who are on notice or have been dismissed due to not being vaccinated. Employers should review these decisions against the change in regulation and their updated policies.

4. Keep health and safety risk assessments under review.

5. Discuss with their employees that there is no longer a requirement for their continued employment.

 

Posted in Coronavirus, Health & Safety

28
Mar 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Mergers & Acquisitions and all things TUPE

The Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) is a complex and technical process aimed at protecting employees. The regulations apply when employers are transferring a business or in a service provision change scenario.

If you are a business owner and are on the acquisition trail or about to divest or merge with a business the checklist provided in this blog will guide you to ensure that you have covered all the important steps involved in the process.

The specific steps involved in the TUPE process will vary depending on the circumstances. Whatever the case may be, it is risky if it’s not handled correctly.

You are required to consider the following key areas:

  • Identifying impacted employees
  • Gathering information and consultation
  • Employee liability information

Identify all impacted employees

This is often the most difficult part of the process. It involved identifying the staff members to transfer to the incoming employer.

The decision will depend on their roles before the transfer. Staff on short-term absences as well as those on fixed contracts will need to be considered.

If you are selling the whole business, then all employees will transfer. If you are transferring a service provision, you will need to consider the employees working within part of the business.

Other considerations include:

  • Informing and consulting with employees about the transfer
  • Engaging with trade union officials or elected representatives
  • Use existing communication channels to provide information directly to employees
  • Provide communication mechanisms to answer questions and address any employee concerns

Gathering information and consultation

After establishing the employees affected by TUPE, you need to provide information about the employees to the incoming employer.

You should provide the following information:

  • The fact that the transfer is taking place
  • The date of the transfer
  • The reason for the transfer
  • The legal, economic, and social implications
  • Any proposed measures connected with the transfer that’ll affect the employees if no measures are in place

There is no set time limit for providing this information, you should complete it in sufficient time.

Employee liability and due diligence

As well as employers providing information to their employees you are also obligated to provide the incoming employers with certain information.

Regardless of if TUPE applies, if any organisation is buying a business or bidding for a contract to provide a service must undertake due diligence. This allows for financial forecasting and determining the terms and conditions of the transferring staff.

28 days before the transfer you must provide the buyer with information relating to the rights and obligations of the transferring employees in writing. If you fail to do so it can result in compensation by a tribunal. 

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