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Mar 24

Posted by
Gemma Pontson

No More Excuses! Consequences of Not Providing Employment Documents

Excuses, excuses, excuses… there are many reasons why employers fail to provide legally required documents to employees. Unfortunately for employers who have failed in these responsibilities, excuses will not protect them from consequences including financial penalties and reputational damage.

In Cartmill v Always Transport and Others, the claimant Ian Cartmill explained he had not been issued with a written statement of his employment terms and conditions despite working as a Lorry Driver at Always Transport for over three years. On behalf of the respondent, Jean Murray admitted she had not completed this document as his ‘four days on and four days off’ shift pattern made it more difficult.

The Tribunal Judge stated that Ms Murray’s belief in the difficulty of completing the statement was ‘no real excuse’ and confirmed that Cartmill’s claim succeeded. Given the importance of drivers to the business, and ‘the absence of a credible reason’ for not providing the written statement, the Judge ordered an award of four weeks’ pay.

Likewise, in Mrs A Yeates v GT Plumbing & Heating Ltd, the respondent admitted there was ‘a lack of comprehension’ around HR practice. When the claimant Mrs Yeates joined the small business as a Showroom Manager/Designer, there was no employee handbook, and she did not sign an employment contract. Due to the failure to provide the written terms of employment, the Tribunal Judge ordered the respondent to pay the claimant the sum of £480.

Takeaways for Employers

It is essential to comply with the legal requirement to provide employees with written terms and conditions of employment within the required time limits. Excuses about difficulty or lack of understanding were not accepted in these tribunal cases.

Bright Contracts clients can quickly and easily create legally compliant terms and conditions of employment using the step-by-step instructions in our software.

Bright Contracts also provides a ready to go Employee Handbook which clients can tailor to their requirements. Policies and procedures are reviewed and updated in line with employment law changes and recommended practices.

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Employment Tribunals

Aug 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Calculating Holiday Pay for Part-Time Workers

In Harpur Trust v Brazel, the Supreme Court had to decide on the correct method of calculating holiday entitlement and pay for workers who work for varying hours during only certain weeks of the year but who have a contract throughout that year. The issue was whether their entitlement should be calculated on the same principle as full-time employees or whether their leave should be calculated by ignoring those weeks.

While this case specifically relates to a term time working arrangement, it could also be relevant to zero-hour contracts or other atypical working arrangements in which a worker only works for part of the normal working year.

A part-time worker’s annual leave must be calculated as 5.6 weeks, in the same way as everyone else. Calculating holiday pay based on 12.07% of annual earnings is incorrect and should no longer be used.

Employers need to check if they have any atypical workers whose holiday pay is being calculated on the basis of 12.07% of pay multiplied by 5.6 weeks or via another method that results in them having a pro-rata entitlement. If so, they will need to change how they calculate their holiday pay.

Employers should review the arrangements of term time workers who work normal hours when they are at work and check that their holiday entitlement and pay are being calculated correctly.

The decision by the Supreme Court is likely to affect many employers in the education sector but will also be relevant to other organisations that have employees working on a term-time-only basis.

Managing public holiday entitlement for part-time workers

Employers must ensure that workers receive at least the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement. If an employer is paying full-time staff not to work a public holiday, then part-time staff should be entitled to a pro-rated holiday entitlement to avoid any claims of less favourable treatment.


An employee works three days a week, Tuesday to Thursday. The employee should be given a pro-rata entitlement to public holidays as part of their annual leave entitlement but can take their annual leave when they choose since very few public holidays will fall on their working days.

Employers often prefer to calculate pro-rated annual leave and public holidays based on hours rather than days when looking at different working patterns.


Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Pay/Wage

Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Employee Inductions: The Complete Guide

Workplace induction is the process of getting new employees familiar with your business. This includes helping them get comfortable with their new jobs and providing them with information to make them valuable team members. Research suggests that induction programmes benefit both employers and employees.

A good induction program sets the tone and expectations for employees. It also details their relationship with managers and the organisation. It helps new employees know the purpose, functions, and tasks of their job.

Topics to Cover During Induction

Usually, managers and supervisors are responsible for handling workplace induction. Induction training needs to include practical information that immerses the employee into the company culture. Meeting new colleagues and getting familiar with the workplace are essential. Everybody wants to feel welcomed and secure on their first day.

Heath and Workplace Safety

Learning health and safety procedures on the first day is necessary. This includes going over any specific safe work procedures your company has.

Documents and Policies

During induction make sure each employee fills out and signs all necessary employment paperwork. You should also help employees understand the incident reporting system at your company. A strong understanding of workplace procedures allows new employees to be the most dependable team members from the beginning.

Benefits of an effective induction programme

A well-designed induction programme results in a positive first experience of an orgaisation. It means the employee:

  • Settles in quickly
  • Integrates into their team
  • Understands the oganisation’s values and culture
  • Feels supported
  • Becomes productive quickly
  • Works to their highest potential

Without an effective induction, new employees can get off to a bad start, and lack clarity on their role and how it links to the organisation’s goals, which could impact on their intention to stay in the role.

What to avoid in Induction

  • Providing too much, too soon - the inductee must not be overwhelmed by a mass of information, especially on the first day.
  • Pitching presentations at an inappropriate level - where possible, presentations should be tailored to consider prior knowledge of new employees.
  • Creating an induction programme which generates unreasonable expectations by overselling the job.
  • Creating an induction programme that focuses only on administration and compliance but does not reflect organisational values.

An effective induction programme should be engaging and reassure the new employee that they have made the right decision to join the business.

The induction process should be evaluated to determine whether it is meeting the needs of the new recruits and the organisation. This should include opportunities for feedback at the end of the induction process and allow new recruits to highlight areas for improvement.

As well as getting feedback from new employees, it is important to identify key measures of success of the induction process.



Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records

Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Is Hybrid Working Here to stay?

As companies started moving back to on-site work for their employees, many employees have chosen to change jobs rather than be forced to return to an office. Of course, there are pros and cons to working from home or from the office but this is where hybrid work comes in. Working from home has become a valued part of many employees’ daily life.

Does Remote Work Affect Employee Productivity?

Working from the office allows an employee to chat with colleagues, have one-to-one or group meetings in person, and increase the chance of easy collaboration. On the other hand, working from home provides a more comfortable and relaxed environment where you can feel more in control of your day. Working from the comfort of your home, will also save you a lot of commuting time.

According to a Stanford Study, home working leads to a 13% overall performance increase. The experiment took place with a company with over 15’000 employees. The employees were assigned to either work from home or the office on a random basis. The employees who worked from home needed fewer breaks and fewer days off and did 4% more per minute compared to their peers.

Why are Remote Workers More Efficient?

In a 2021 survey conducted by FlexJobs, it was found that 51% of the surveyed workers considered themselves more productive at home or working remotely mainly due to:

  • Being able to avoid office politics and relationships
  • Having better focus
  • A quieter work environment
  • Fewer interruptions throughout the work day

Whether working from home becomes a legal right or not, from 2022 onward, employees will consider it an essential requirement when looking for work. The option to work remotely has become central to the decisions employees make.

Related Articles:

Changes to Flexible Working Rights

Remote Working: What are the risks? How to Manage them.



Posted in Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Hybrid Working

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.


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.

Related Articles: 

Living with Covid-19: The Latest News for Employers

Proposed Family Leave Changes for 2022

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

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

Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Redundancy Part One: What it is & What to do

Redundancy can come as a surprise to many people, and it is possibly one of the most distressing events an employee can experience. The employer needs to ensure that there is fair treatment of redundant employees as well as the morale of the remaining workforce. Employers must understand their obligations including employees’ rights and the correct procedures to follow.

What is Redundancy?

Redundancy is a form of dismissal when an employer needs to reduce the size of its workforce. In the UK, an employee can be dismissed for redundancy if:

  • The employer has ceased or intends to cease, continuing the business
  • The requirements for employees to perform work of a specific type or to conduct it at the location in which they are employed, has ceased, diminished, or are expected to. 

Employers must follow a correct procedure and make redundancy and notice period payments.

Employers should:

  • Take all reasonable steps to avoid redundancies
  • Plan and develop employment strategies to deal with the requirements of short-term labour fluctuations, minimise the risk of enforced redundancies and maximise alternative resourcing opportunities.
  • Manage redundancies legally and in a way that minimises the impact on both those who lose their jobs and those who don’t.
  • Provide a communication strategy to ensure that everyone in the workplace has the correct information about any redundancies.

Redundancy during Coronavirus

Many people lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite government intervention to try and avoid redundancies. The future situation is still uncertain, especially now the “furlough” scheme has ended. Employers who decide there is no alternative to redundancies still must follow their normal redundancy procedures. Proceeding without the consideration of alternatives may encourage employees with over two years’ service to present unfair dismissal claims.

Redundancy Procedures

As an employer, you should consider having a formal redundancy procedure. Employers should follow these redundancy stages as a minimum:

  • Planning
  • Identifying the pool for selection
  • Seeking volunteers
  • Consulting employees
  • Selection for redundancy
  • Suitable alternative employment
  • Appeals and dismissals

These will be covered individually in our next blog post.

Protecting employee’s health and wellbeing

It’s important to approach the redundancy process with empathy and treat everyone with respect and kindness. How the employer handles the redundancy can determine how an employee copes with the news. Take time to explain the reasons why they are being made redundant and why it’s a hard business decision. You should also discuss the actions that were taken to avoid redundancy and facilitate redeployment. Notifying an employee of redundancy is a difficult task and employers should be trained to handle redundancies with sympathy and clarity.

Being selected for redundancy can have a huge effect on one’s mental health. Immediate and ongoing support should be available to those who have been affected by the redundancy.

Furthermore, redundancy also has an impact on other employees who are witnessing their colleagues being laid off and may feel that their jobs are at risk. It is the job of the senior managers to give all staff a full explanation of what is going on and what redundancy procedure is being used.

Related Articles: 

Redundancy in the UK: A Guide to Avoiding Unfair Selection



Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract

Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

The Closure of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

On the 17th of March 2022, the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme will close. You have until the 24th of March 2022 to submit any new claims for absence periods up until the 17th of March, or you can amend claims you have already submitted.

You will also no longer be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay for your employees’ Covid-19 related absences or self-isolation that occur after March 17th.

From the 25th of March, the normal Statutory Sick Pay rules will return. This means you can revert to paying Statutory Sick Pay from the fourth qualifying day your employee is off work regardless of the reason for their sickness absence.

For more information on how to make your final claims click here.



Posted in Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Customer Update, Sick Leave/Absence Management

Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Pilot Testing the Four-day Working Week

For many years campaigners have been promoting the idea of a shorter working week. Nicola Sturgeon, ahead of Scottish Election in 2021, proposed a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four- day working week. It was criticised that the standard 9-5 five day working week was outdated. In a recent poll it was reported that 64% of Britons would support the introduction of a four-day working week with no reduction in their pay. There is no doubt that the pandemic has influenced changes to the workplace with a lot of employers adopting the hybrid working method. The six-month pilot programme will start in the UK in June 2022. It will be conducted by a pressure group, 4 Day Week Campaign. There is hope that the four-day working week will replace the traditional 9-5. However, there are a few considerations to this implementation such as the changing of contracts, dealing with holiday entitlement and change in pay and productivity.

Changing Contracts

Once a contract is made the employer cannot make any changes without the consent from the employee. In this case changing the terms of an employment contract will need approval from the employee.

Holiday Entitlement

Legally employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year (28 days inclusive of band holidays for employees working a five-day week). For someone who works four-days a week would be entitled to 22.4 days a year (inclusive of bank holidays). It is suggested that if the four-day working week was to become permanent the holiday allowances would have to reduce in line with the overall reduction in working hours. Those who worked a five-day week would result in a 20% reduction in holiday allowance.

Change in pay and productivity

The four-day working week comes with fear that employees will have to work longer hours each day to compensate for the missing day. Employees also fear that it will lead to a loss in pay for working four days instead of five. However, the Campaign calls for no reduction in the employees pay.
Furthermore, some employers who were resistant to the pilot had a concern of a decrease in levels of output leading to affects in the organisations profit. Iceland has been leading this campaign since 2015. The trials were a success, and it was found that participants maintained the same level of performance and productivity.
All in all, the campaign is advocating no reduction in the pay of employees who want to reduce their working days. It is up to employers whether they want to permanently adopt a four-day working week, there will be no change to the law to reflect this.

Related Articles:

 Annual Leave Post Covid

Everyone's Talking About Flexible Working


Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract, News, Staff Handbook

Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Redundancy in the UK: A Guide to Avoiding Unfair Selection

As you all know the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has now entered its final month and will draw to a close on the 30th of September 2021. With this scheme coming to an end companies are now unfortunately faced with the possibility of redundancies having to be considered. The number of redundancies in the UK has accelerated at the fastest pace since the financial crisis. According to ACAS, redundancy related calls to their helpline have increased by over 160% compared to 2019.

If redundancies must occur then we see the following steps should be adhered to:

Collective Consultation

If an employer is proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment within 90 days, collective consultation will be required with trade union or employee representatives.

For employers who collective redundancy applies to and who wish to make redundant by the end of the furlough scheme, they would have needed to commence their collective redundancy consultation by the 31st of August 2021.

Non-Collective Redundancy

If collective redundancy does not apply and your redundancies are on an individual level this is non-collective redundancy which is less than 20. In this case;

  • You should aim to avoid compulsory redundancies through: voluntary redundancies, agreed short-time working or other flexible staffing arrangements.
  • You should also carry out a consultation with every employee individually. The consultation must be meaningful and your plans must not be finalised at this stage.

Next is selecting staff for redundancy. Employers should use fair and objective criteria. Ideally, all employees at risk of redundancy should be put in a selection pool and assessed upon criteria such as: Standard of work, experience / qualifications and disciplinary record. Selecting those who have been on furlough over other employees may not necessarily be fair – these employees may have been parents with childcare issues or individuals with disabilities, so there could be a risk of a direct or indirect discrimination claim.

Notice of Termination

Once you have selected staff for redundancy, you need to give employees notice of their redundancy. The statutory redundancy notice periods are: 

  • At least one week’s notice if employed between one month and 2 years 
  • One week’s notice for each year if employed between 2 and 12 years 
  • 12 weeks’ notice if employed for 12 years or more. 

It is always advisable to check your contracts of employment as the contractual notice agreed may differ to statutory notice. Where contractual notice is greater than statutory notice, contractual notice will apply. However, where the contractual notice is less than statutory notice, statutory notice will apply. 

Statutory notice pay is protected. If the notice in the contract is the same or less than the applicable statutory notice, 100% of the employee’s normal pay should be paid during the notice period.

However, things are slightly different where contractual notice is greater than the statutory notice period. If contractual notice is greater, by at least 1 week, an employee should receive their normal full pay as long as they are working. If they are not working, they should receive what they would have normally been paid for that absence.

So, if you have an employee who is out of work due to furlough and being paid at 80%, and this employee’s contractual notice is greater than statutory notice, they may be paid at 80% for their notice period. For this reason, it is extremely important to always check the contract of employment.

Redundancy Payments

An individual is entitled to statutory redundancy pay if they are an employee and have been working for the employer for 2 years or more.

  • One week’s pay for each full year they have worked when 22 or older, but under 41 years old.
  • Half a week’s pay for each full year they have worked under 22 years old.
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year they have worked when 41 years old or older.

Redundancy pay is capped with a length of service being 20 years. For employees made redundant on or after 6 April 2021, a weeks’ pay is capped at £544, so the maximum statutory redundancy they can receive being £16,320.

Related Articles:

 - New Self-Isolation Rules: What the Employer Needs to Know

End of UK Lockdown: Employees Rejoice While Employers Wonder, ‘What Does Workplace Safety now look like?’


Posted in Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts

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