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Jun 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Following GDPR Guidelines

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a hot topic right now. GDPR is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Even though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organisations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. Under GDPR people have a fundamental right of access to their personal data from data controllers.

Types of data processed
In business there are 3 main types of data that is processed regularly. These are:

• Customer data
• Employee data

When dealing with this data the three key principles to remember are:

• Lawfulness
• Fairness
• Transparency

How to treat the data you process

• Purpose limitation
Personal data should only be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in manner that is incompatible with those purposes.

• Data minimisation
Processing of personal data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in the relation to the purpose for which they are processed.

• Storage limitation
Personal data should only be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which the personal data are processed.

• Integrity and confidentiality
Personal data should be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security and confidentiality of the data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful access to or use of personal data and the equipment used for the processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

The four main breaches of GDPR are:
• Unauthorised disclosures
• Unauthorised access
• Hacking
• Integrity

GDPR Guidelines
1. Know what data you have, where you have it and why you have it
2. Be transparent
3. Identify any risks
4. Know your processors
5. Manage any risks

Bright Contracts contains a 'Data Protection' section of the Company Handbook which can be viewed under the 'Introduction' tab. Download a trial of our software to see a sample of this content.

Posted in GDPR

May 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Improving Employees Wellbeing at Work

Employee wellbeing is essential to ensure employees are happy in their job. It is the way employees’ duties, expectations, stress levels and working environments affect their overall health and happiness.

Employee wellbeing involves several categories of wellness, such as:

  • Physical Health
  • Emotional Health
  • Psychological Well Being
  • Social Relationships
  • Financial Stability

To check how your employees feel with the wellbeing in the workplace, employers should send out a survey to find out information on how employees currently feel as well as what they think can be done to improve wellbeing.

Some ways in with employers can improve wellbeing is by:

  1. Social club: companies can set up socials clubs where money is deducted from employees pay check and this goes towards activities that the club run on a regular basis such as a bowling night, crazy golf etc.
  2. Walking meetings: if there are meetings ran, allow employees to pop in the headphones and walk and by the time the meeting is over there have got their steps in and some fresh air.
  3. Have an intranet: an intranet is a great place to have free resources or information for employees that can improve their wellbeing. On the intranet you can include information on services your company provides such as EAP, healthcare etc. You can include link to risk assessments on Type 2 Diabetes, lung cancer etc as well as apps for mindfulness such as Headspace or Moodlight.
  4. Giving back to employees: it is important for employees to be recognised for the wonderful work they do. Employees should consider some benefits for this work such as allowing employees to finish early one day.

Employees wellbeing initiatives are something that need to be done all year round in order to keep your employees wellbeing at a high.

For more information on wellbeing check the blog below:

Wellbeing at Work

Posted in Health & Safety

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Managing Annual Leave Requests

With summer coming along soon, annual leave requests may be more frequent however when does an employee’s time-off become an issue? How should managers handle the discussion? Here’s what you need to know and do.

Firstly there are 3 things to consider.

  • Communication: Establish well-defined policies about annual leave and make sure everyone in your organisation knows them. Clear policies lead to easier decisions when unusual requests arise.
  • Respect: If annual leave policies don’t cover a particular issue, respect your employees by striving to be fair and compassionate in making a decision and presenting it to them.
  • Clarity: Do your employees take it for granted that their annual leave requests will be approved? Make sure their expectations are based on actual policies, not informal beliefs based on past behaviour. Again, communication is essential.

There are also some times when you may need to speak with your employees regarding their requests. Consider talking directly with them under any of these circumstances:

  1. When the request contradicts company policy: You may need to make occasional exceptions to your annual leave policies, but strive to be consistent in how you enforce the rules. Document the reasons behind your decision when exceptions do arise so you can easily resolve similar situations in the future.
  2. When you believe the employee’s absence will have a negative impact: What if a worker wants to go on holiday during a crucial time for your organisation? Instead of simply denying the request, explain the difficulties their absence might cause. Together, you may be able to find a better time for their request.
  3. When an employee wants to much time off at once: How long is too long? That depends on your needs and the nature of the employee’s request. It’s one thing if they want to sail around the world, and another if they’re requesting time to care for a sick relative. As you discuss their request, remember that a lengthy absence can burden co-workers who have to pick up the work.
  4. When an annual leave request comes with too little notice: Sick days and emergencies can happen to anyone, but an employee who takes frequent last-minute personal days and trips can cripple productivity and impact team morale. A discussion about the effects their behaviour is having on the team can help the employee understand why they need to plan further in advance.
  5. When annual leave requests aren’t happening enough: Problematic annual leave requests are easy to spot, but there’s an annual leave issue that’s often over looked - many employees don’t take as much time off as they should. Overworking can take a toll on an employees health and happiness, as well as their job performance. Make a habit of looking at annual leave allowances, and talk to your team about the benefits of taking leave to help foster a culture where time off is encouraged and over-working and burnout is discouraged.

You should ask yourself some questions as well to establish annual leave rules that meet both your business needs and the needs of your employees.

  1. How far in advance must employees request time off?
  2. Do you have a formal system for requesting time off?
  3. Are there times when employees can’t take time off?
  4. How do you handle overlapping requests from different employees?
  5. How do you keep track of who has taken time off and how much?

You can find more information on annual leave requests here.

Posted in Annual Leave, Employee Handbook

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Unfair Dismissal: Case law example

Resignation does not need to be in writing (although it should be if that is required under the contract of employment), it can be given orally or in some cases via conduct. When a resignation is clear and unambiguous there is no obligation on the employer to double check the employee's intentions. However, if the employees resignation is unclear and an employer proceeds in treating the employment as having ended then there may be trouble ahead.

In Cope v Razzle Dazzle Costumes Limited the claimant was a factory worker. She fell out with a colleague who subsequently resigned, accusing the claimant of bullying. When the claimant was made aware of the allegations she requested a meeting with her employers, Mr and Mrs Parker, and said she would resign if things were not sorted out properly. The following day the claimant made two attempts to speak to Mrs Parker who was unavailable on both occasions. On being told this for the second time the claimant said "I'm done", left her factory keys on the counter top and left the building.

The employee whom the claimant had said this to subsequently advised Mr and Mrs Parker that the claimant had resigned. No attempt was made to clarify the situation, despite the claimant texting Mrs Parker later that day to indicate she had attempted to speak to her but couldn't stay at the workplace any longer. The following day she handed in a two week sick note, and a week after that she requested a meeting with the Parkers which took place. It was at that meeting that the claimant was informed that her employers considered her to have resigned and they did not agree to her returning. By this time the employers had also re-employed the employee who had made the bullying allegations.

The claimant was successful in claims for both unfair and wrongful dismissal. The tribunal was of the view that no reasonable employer would have concluded that the claimant had unambiguously resigned, and her subsequent behaviour, in particular the submission of a sick note, was not consistent with a resignation. The tribunal took the view that the employers chose to treat the claimant's actions as a resignation because dealing with a dispute between two employees was disruptive to the business.

It is easy to see why the tribunal came to the conclusion that it did. While announcing she was "done" and handing in her keys may, in some circumstances, reasonably be seen as a resignation, in this case the claimant was due to have 3 days off and she had in the past handed in her keys when off on holiday. The evidence also suggested that the claimant had been in a highly anxious state when she walked out and the act of obtaining a sick note is clearly not consistent with resignation. Treating it as such, to avoid dealing with the allegations of bullying, may have seemed like the easier option at the time but the award of nearly £7,500 in compensation together with the management time and any legal fees involved in defending the tribunal claim has likely given the employers a different perspective on the matter.

The advice for employers is if in doubt check it out. If it is unclear what has happened, or if words may have been said in haste then ask the employee to confirm what their intentions were/are. If words were said in the heat of the moment then consider giving the employee a short period of time to cool off and reconsider. If the contract requires written notice and this has not been given then ask for the resignation to be put in writing. This will avoid any subsequent dispute and a possible Employment Tribunal claim.

Posted in Dismissals, Employment Contract

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Lay offs: What you need to know

As unpredictability in the global economy continues, company layoffs remain in the news. While layoffs may be necessary and appropriate, in many cases they cause more damage than benefit. Some leaders taken actions to reduce risks to company performance, reputation and long-term viability. What can we learn from these actions?

1. Be clear in the reason for layoffs

When it comes to lay-offs, some are strategic and forward-looking with higher valuations and others are focused solely on cost cutting. Examples of strategic reasons for lay-off include exiting less profitable sectors, products or markets due to changing customer habits. Businesses who are transparent regarding the reasons for layoffs see an increase in investor, customer and employee trust and engagement.

2. Use layoffs as a last resort

Most organisations that conduct layoffs do not see improved profitability, especially those that are highly reliant on innovation and growth. Leaders often underestimate the negative impact of layoffs on productivity, employee engagement, retention and brand reputation.

Effective leaders know that they should pursue all possible alternatives before embarking on layoffs, including temporary furloughs, redesigning jobs and work models, moving some workers to contractor status and offering more flexible benefits to create cost and operational flexibility.

3. Act fairly

Layoffs historically have had a negative impact on women and underrepresented employees. Recent news stories show the effect of layoffs among employees on maternity and health leave, as well as those in vulnerable positions with visas.

Reasons cited as acceptable for determining who is laid off include factors such as employee performance, tenure, experience and skill set. Effective leaders know that evaluating performance, skills and other factors is difficult and time-consuming, and that maintaining ongoing performance evaluation and review processes can position companies well for both ongoing and unanticipated events.

4. Know the people being laid off

Great leaders spend the time and thought required to understand not only who they are laying off but also why and the potential impact. They conduct workforce planning exercises using data science to understand employee performance, skills, networks and collaboration patterns to safeguard against losing key talent and creating unintended consequences.

5. Take responsibility and show appreciation

Leaders must ensure they take responsibility for layoffs and show appreciation for those impacted. They demonstrate their empathy and compassion through all communications. They understand their audience, allow opportunity for employees to process the information and share their feelings, and provide support and resources.


While layoffs are difficult for all involved, effective leaders handle them with care to avoid unravelling company purpose, culture and performance.


Posted in Employment Contract, Employment Law

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Performance Improvement Plans: 3 top tips

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are an increasingly common tool utilised by employers to manage cases of poor work performance. A PIP is not a legal requirement and there is no legal definition of same. A PIP can be understood to be a documented plan which outlines the improvements in performance required from an individual employee and the timeline for achieving these improvements.

Below are three top tips for employers when placing employees on a PIP.

1. Clarity on objectives

The objective of a PIP process is to make the employee aware of the concerns you have regarding their performance and give them a set timeframe in which to improve. It is important that employees are fully aware of the process involved and clear on what they are expected to achieve according to the PIP. When implementing any type of PIP, the goals and targets set should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound).

2. Time to improve

A PIP of reasonable duration should ensure that the employer meets this requirement. This time may also allow the parties the opportunity to explore alternatives to formal disciplinary action such as transfer or demotion where it is apparent that the employee’s skillset is not appropriate to the role.

In deciding on the appropriate timeframe between performance reviews the business should consider the complexity of the role and if the employee will have had ample opportunity to meet the goals as per the PIP. It would also be advised that this timeframe should be agreed with the employee from the outset and that they consider it fair and reasonable based on their role.

3. Support and training

It is important to remember that PIPs only work where the appropriate surrounding structures are in place. These include a proper induction and *ongoing* training, clear role descriptions and clear documented targets/goals, managers who are willing to tackle underperformance and a means of objectively measuring performance. All supports provided should be documented by the employer.


Following the above steps will greatly assist an employer in showing that the performance management process conducted by the employer was procedurally fair and that any subsequent terminations on the basis of competency were justified in the circumstances. It is important to note PIPs are not a replacement for formal disciplinary action. Not all employees will show the necessary improvements following the PIP process, if this is the case, employers will need to initiate the Company disciplinary procedure. Employers must manage this process in line with the Company’s disciplinary policy, whilst adhering to the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Mar 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

The Importance of Social Media Policies in the Workplace

Incase you missed it, a recent headline in the news revolved around Gary Lineker where his politicised tweet criticised the UK Government's new immigration policy. The tweet saw the BBC Match of the Day presenter removed from his presenting duties pending an investigation as to whether he had broken the BBC's *'Guidelines on Impartiality'* and *'Guidance on Individual Use of Social Media'*. The BBC subsequently reinstated Mr Lineker following the investigation. The difficult position the BBC found itself in is a timely reminder that employers should have effective social media policies in place to deal with such incidents.


What can we learn from BBC’s approach?

Reputational risk & disproportionate response

The BBC could not ignore the public backlash which followed Mr Lineker's removal and its impact on the organisation's wider reputation. It was widely felt that the decision to remove him was disproportionate to the purported breach of the BBC's policies.

Social media provides a place where public backlash can gain momentum and damage an organisation's reputation. This reputational damage could come from the employee or contractor's comments or, as we have seen in this instance, from the organisation's handling of subsequent disciplinary action.

Employers must have comprehensive policies to mitigate the risk that public remarks could adversely affect their reputation. Objective and fair investigation and disciplinary procedures must be in place where an employer feels an employee or contractor has breached these policies, and should a sanction be applied, it must be proportionate to the breach committed.


Solidarity boycott

Mr Lineker's colleagues announced a boycott of their duties in solidarity with Mr Lineker. This boycott forced the BBC to rethink its decision as it heavily impacted scheduled programming.

The BBC has since announced an independent review of its guidelines.


Key takeaways

The Gary Lineker story focuses on the difficulties that can arise for organisations in the social media age and shows us that the line between professional and private life is not always clear. It is a wake-up call for individuals to be wary of what they post online and for organisations to have clear social media policies in place so appropriate action can be taken where an individual does cross that line.

In summary, a social media policy should:

- Establish clear guidelines and standards on the accepted use of social media in the workplace.
- Contain clear information about disciplinary procedures for breaches and the potential consequences for such breaches.
- Warn individuals that employers may take disciplinary action with posts on their personal social media accounts where a connection can be drawn to their workplace.


Other blogs:

Social Media Policy

Posted in Company Handbook, Employee Handbook, Social Media

Mar 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Employment Key Changes 2023: What is coming?

The year ahead see's changes to rates of pay, major reforms to EU law and details on the much-awaited Employment Bill.

1. Increased Rate Changes

The new year welcomed various rate changes. Here is what you can expect:

  • National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage rates are set to increase from 1st April 2023.
23 years or older Increase from £9.50 per hour to £10.42 per hour
21 – 22 years old Increase from £9.18 to £10.18 per hour
18 – 20 years old Increase from £6.83 to £7.49 per hour
16 – 17 years old and apprenticeships Increase from £4.81 to £5.28 per hour


  • Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental pay. The rate of £156.66 per week will increase to £172.48 per week on 2nd April 2023.
  • Statutory sick pay. The rate of £99.35 is set to increase to £109.40 per week. This increase is expected to occur on 6 April 2023.


2. Retained EU law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

The Retained EU Law Bill will repeal all EU law unless new legislation keeps it in place. The introduction of the Bill could see changes to:

- Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations
- The Working Time Regulations
- The Agency Workers Regulations
- Fixed-term Employees Regulations
- Part-Time Workers Regulations
- The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations
- Various health and safety regulations
- Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations


3. Employment Bill

The much-awaited Employment Bill, mentioned in 2019, is likely to come in to force in 2023. The Employment Bill is said to include some of the following:

- Changes to the existing right to request flexible working. Employees no longer need 26 weeks of service to request flexible working; they can do so right away.
- Proposals to provide job security for new and expectant mothers for up to 6 months after their maternity leave ends.
- Introducing the right to receive up to 12 weeks’ paid neonatal leave for parents of babies needing neonatal care.
- Providing employees who are carers the day one right to receive one week’s unpaid leave per year.
- Allowing workers on variable hours the right to request a more predictable and stable work contract after 26 weeks’ qualifying service.
- Proposals making it unlawful for employers to withhold tips, gratuities and service charges from workers.
- Imposing a new duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work (extending to third parties). There are also proposals to extend the time limit for claims to 6 months.


Also in 2023, the Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill will come into effect, giving UK ports authority to deny access to ships that pay their crew members below the national minimum wage.


The Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill will likely take effect in 2023. It requires employers and unions to agree on a minimum service level during transport strikes for three months. It will also remove the automatic unfair dismissal protection available to employees who participate in strike action during that period.

Posted in Employment Law, Family Leave, Parental Leave, Sick Leave/Absence Management, Wages

Mar 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

The Kings Coronation: An Additional Bank Holiday

The Government has announced that Monday 8 May 2023 will be a bank holiday across the whole of the United Kingdom, to mark the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III which will take place on Saturday 6 May 2023. The bank holiday is intended to give families and communities the chance to celebrate and welcome His Majesty to the throne.

There’s no automatic legal right for most staff to take bank or public holidays off work, so you’ll need to check their employment contracts to see if they’re entitled to the day off. We’ve set out a refresher below on how to check whether your staff are entitled to this day off and/or how to treat your staff fairly when deciding whether to give them the day off anyway.

There’s no automatic entitlement for bank or public holidays off work

There is no automatic legal entitlement for your staff to take bank or public holidays off work. The only exception to this is that some banking sector workers do automatically get bank holidays off.

However, you should respond sensitively to requests from your staff members to take the day off work, and you’ll need to make sure you check what their employment contract entitles them to.

Check your staff members’ employment contract

These are some likely scenarios that could be included in their employment contract:

1. Their contract says they are entitled to a certain number of days annual leave, in addition to all bank and public holidays

Staff are entitled to take the extra bank holiday off in this scenario.

2. Their contract says they are entitled to a certain number of days annual leave, inclusive of bank and public holidays

In this scenario, it will be up to you whether you allow them to take the extra day off, as their contract does not explicitly entitle them to it.

3. Their contract says they are entitled to the normal bank and public holidays as annual leave

As the extra bank holiday is not one of the ‘normal’ eight bank and public holidays in England and Wales, it will be up to you whether you allow your staff members to take it.

In scenarios 2 and 3, if you decide that you need your staff to work through the bank holiday, you should explain why and communicate your position with them as early as possible. Allowing an early finish or half day on the day of the coronation could also help boost their morale. If you decide to allow your staff to take the day off as holiday even though they aren’t contractually entitled to it, you should make it clear that this is a one-off gesture of goodwill.

Do I have to pay staff extra to work on a bank holiday?

If your staff are working on this bank holiday, they’ll only be entitled to be paid extra, or take an additional day’s holiday another day, if their contract says so. If you decide to pay them extra, or give them an additional day’s holiday another day, you should make it clear to them that this is a one-off gesture.

Make sure you treat part-time staff fairly

If your staff aren’t contracted to an extra bank holiday off, but you decide to give it to them anyway, make sure you consider the implications for part-time staff. You must make sure that you do not treat part-time staff less favourably than full-time staff, or you could face discrimination claims. This means that if the bank holiday falls on one of a part-time staff member’s usual non-working days, you must adjust their holiday allowance on a pro rata basis so they don’t miss out on the extra leave.

Posted in Pay/Wage

Mar 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Celebrating Women in Tech with Eleanor Vaughey

At Bright we celebrate all our employees achievements and progress in the Tech industry everyday and with International Women's Day last week we wanted to shed a light on some of our amazing women at Bright but we didn't want to just do it for one day, as all our employees deserve to feel the spotlight every day of the week. So this week we are shining a light on Eleanor Vaughey who works in our Marketing department. Eleanor sat down with us to talk about who inspires her in her career and why diversity in the workplace is important.

Question: Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

Eleanor: All of the bosses I’ve had throughout my career have been women. There are a lot of women in my life who are in leadership roles too – teachers, doctors, managers. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of inspirational women in my life.

Question: Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Eleanor: I think it’s important for different ideas and viewpoints. It enriches the workplace and provides opportunities for broader and deeper perspectives everything – from bigger picture strategies to quick weekly brainstorms.

Question: What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

Eleanor: That we can do anything, once we have the resources and tools available to us. And if we don’t know how to do something, it’s just because we haven’t had the opportunity to discover and access those resources yet.

Question: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Eleanor: Don’t be scared to try out a role because you think you’re not smart enough or capable. Nobody starts out as an expert, ever. Go all in and be brave. And if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried it out and are wiser from it, rather than never trying at all.

There's much to celebrate about women's achievements. Gains are made for women worldwide, but there's more to do. Collectively, we can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination & draw attention to bias. Let's #EmbraceEquity to create places & spaces where women thrive.

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