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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

Jan 23

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

The Benefits of Hiring Seasonal Workers

Seasonal workers are usually encountered in the tourism, hospitality, construction and agricultural industries, mostly in the summer months but they can also be hired in the lead-up to Christmas too to assist with the busy period.

Some may think that seasonal workers are unskilled and a lower-paid alternative to permanent employees, however, that is not the case. There are many benefits to seasonal workers such as:

  • Meet business demand and customer expectations: seasonal employees provide you with the flexibility to increase the size of your team during peak trading periods so that you can continue to provide customers with the service they expect even during busy times.
  • Improve morale for the permanent team: you can’t expect your permanent employees to start working double shifts or deferring their annual leave. It’s best practice to ensure that there is sufficient cover for this annual leave.
  • Meets skills shortage: temporary workers can help fill the gap with a particular skill shortage during busy periods.
  • Return year on year: many seasonal workers are happy to return to work for the same company each year- which is a win for both the employer and the employee.

Legal obligations as an employer

A temporary, seasonal worker hired under a fixed-term contract is entitled to the same working conditions and the same legal rights as permanent employees.

Your main obligations are to:

  • Ensure every employee has the right to work
  • Provide a Contract of employment
  • Pay at least the national minimum wage
  • Provide a payslip
  • Ensure that the employees’ working week does not exceed 48 hours

A contract of employment for a seasonal worker will be largely the same as for a permanent employee. However, a fixed-term contract will need to have an end date.

Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

Oct 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Demand for Workplace Benefits

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, new research has revealed that employees are relying on their employers to offer support in the form of robust workplace benefits to help them navigate ongoing economic uncertainty.

Health insurance, flexible working, and pensions are considered to be the most valuable, followed closely by employee discounts and free lunches, highlighting that the UK’s workforce is looking for ways they can reduce personal expenditure where possible.

The research found that health insurance ranked in the top three most sought-after benefits for 39% of employees. This was behind flexible working (53%) and the company pension scheme (46%). The other core benefits employees prioritized were employee discounts and free lunches. This shows that with the cost-of-living crisis, people are relying on their employers to support them in navigating economic uncertainty.

As the war for talent continues, benefits play a significant role in employee attraction and retention. 42% of employees said they would be more likely to stay in their current role if it offered good health and well-being benefits.

If you are considering improving your employee benefits programme consider having conversations between you and your employees. Give them a choice to have a voice, engage in the conversation and find out what will truly make a difference to their wellbeing. If you can find a way to give it to them, you’ll have a happier workforce.

Related Articles

Cost of Living Crisis: What Should I do Next?


Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook

Oct 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Confronting Poor Performance

Whether you are a manager or an employee, annual performance reviews can be gruesome. It may be a little daunting, but these reviews are essential for any business, and they can empower or de-empower your employees.

What’s a performance review?

A performance review formally examines the employee’s job performance over a certain period. It’s importance is emphasized due to the fact that only 50/5 of employees know exactly what their superiors expect from them.

During the process, managers asses an employee’s entire performance, including their strengths and flaws. At this point, the supervisor can give constructive feedback and help workers set new goals.

Qualities of a successful performance review

These three qualities make any performance review effective and successful for managers and employees.

1. Achievement-oriented

Performance evaluations are far too frequently perceived as punishing rather than helpful, which demotivates workers. The best bosses praise their workers for their accomplishments and show them where they might grow in the future. Successful progress reviews should provide an opportunity for discussion about achievements as well as opportunities for critique.

Managers should communicate what they are supposed to achieve and address potential methods workers can use to operate at their peak performance.

2. Accurate and free of bias

Regular reviews allow workers to respond to what is said in the review instantly. Aside from that, they are more inclined to depict performance accurately.

Supervisors can conduct progress reviews frequently e.g every six months.

3 things workers should do during a performance review

Instead of worrying and waiting their turn to defend work achievements and failures, here are some of the things that they can do to prepare themselves during a performance review.

1. Create Notes: before each performance evaluation, workers should take notes on the discussion topics, objectives, strengths and flaws.

2. Self- evaluate workers should simulate a performance review for themselves to learn self- evaluation. They need to sit down in groups per department and analyze accomplishments, ambitions, shortcomings, and strengths.

3. Bring questions: in performance assessments, workers should be able to ask questions about certain parts that might be unclear to them. It might help to guarantee that all necessary questions are answered if they prepare their inquiries in advance.

Posted in Employee Contracts, Employment Contract, Employment Law

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

Aug 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Changes to Right to Work Checks

Right-to-work checks are an important part of employment law, but the ways in which they are conducted have changed in response to the pandemic.

The Current Situation

Under UK Law it is illegal to employ individuals who cannot prove they have the appropriate right-to-work documentation. Those who choose to recruit illegal workers face criminal convictions and can incur fines of up to £20’000 per employee. It is therefore crucial for employers to follow the necessary steps and to be able to show evidence that the correct steps have been taken.

What’s Next?

Since the pandemic, the government announced new ways of conducting right-to-work checks as face-to-face checks were no longer an option.

From April 6th, the status of all foreign nationals who hold either a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit, or frontier worker permit now needs to be checked online rather than manually. All that is needed is a date of birth and a share code to verify someone’s eligibility via the government’s online checking service.

From 1st October 2022, employers will be asked to use certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete digital right-to-work checks for any British or Irish citizen holding a valid passport, as an alternative to undertaking the manual checks. Employers must submit digital images of personal documents, rather than copying original documentation.

These amendments will leave employers with a choice: return to the manual process, which is more time-consuming, or revert to digitally checking which will have cost implications for future budgets.

Related Articles:

What you need to know about Hiring Employees in the UK



Posted in Employee Contracts, Employment Law

Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Handling Workplace Complaints

Handling workplace complaints or grievances in the UK can be legally risky and expensive if UK employment laws are not followed. In this blog, we’ll discuss tips for employers on how to handle these complaints.

Tips for employers

Be proactive to prevent complaints

Encourage employees to raise concerns informally first with their line managers, many potential complaint/grievance issues can be resolved this way.

Have a written workplace complaint/grievance policy

This is required by law unless the complaint procedure is already set out on the employment contract. The policy should make it clear in a written procedure that an informal resolution should be considered before making a formal complaint/grievance.

Watch out for whistleblowing

Complaints that have a ‘public interest’ element may amount to ‘protected disclosures’ for the purposes of the whistleblowing legislation, and as such may be subjected to certain protection. Employees who are dismissed or suffer any detriment as a result of having blown the whistle can bring claims against their employer.

Complete an investigation

Failure to complete an investigation before making a decision on a complaint/grievance could make that decision unfair and leave the employer vulnerable to legal action. Once the investigator considers that they have established the facts surrounding the complaint/grievance, they will need to produce an investigation report that explains their findings.

Choose your investigator wisely

Don’t appoint someone who is personally involved in the matter being investigated, or likely to be influenced by the people involved, otherwise you risk arguments of a breach of natural justice.

Investigate a complaint/grievance sensitively

The content of an employee’s grievance should only be disclosed to the subject of the grievance, to the extent that it is absolutely necessary in order to conduct a reasonable investigation of the grievance.

There is no specific obligation requiring the employer to disclose any information or documentation that the employee requests during the grievance process. The employer should co-operate with the employee where possible.


Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook

Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

How to Conduct a Risk Assessment for Remote Workers

Given the increase of remote and hybrid workers in the workforce, it is important to make sure you know how to conduct a risk assessment for remote workers. The usual health and safety duties extend to those working remotely and include identifying risks, ensuring workstation assessments are carried out and providing appropriate training.

Most people working from home are office workers which means it is a lower risk from a health and safety perspective, however, issues such as stress, fatigue, and poor posture can pose real dangers to homeworkers.

Risk assessments for remote workers

It is your duty as an employer to conduct risk assessments for remote and hybrid workers. The process of carrying out your risk assessment will be different. For example, you may not be able to visit the employees’ homes to carry it out, however, you may ask them to do a risk assessment themselves or send you a picture of their workspace.

Once your employees’ home workplace is passed as safe, it is their responsibility to ensure that it has been kept that way. However, the risk assessment must be reviewed periodically or whenever you have reason to believe that the risks may have changed.

Hazards to look for when conducting a risk assessment for staff who work from home

There are some risks that you should consider for most staff working remotely. Common risks include:

  1. Mental health risks such as stress and anxiety
  2. Risks associated with workstations e.g., the use of display screen equipment
  3. Electrical equipment
  4. Environmental issues such as noise levels, temperature, and ventilation

These are just some common risks homeworkers may experience, additionally you must keep an open mind to any risks specific to the work your employees are doing remotely.

Protecting the mental health of homeworkers

The following steps can help you reduce stress and mental health issues for staff who work remotely:

  1. Ensure that remote workers come into the workplace regularly so they can stay up to date with the business and stay connected with their colleagues
  2. Remember to include them in work socials to tackle feelings of isolation
  3. Have proper communication systems set up to stay connected with off-premises staff during the day. E.g., phone, email, instant messaging, videoconferencing, etc
  4. Provide helplines for IT support or equipment breakdown.

Health and Safety training for homeworkers

You must give enough health and safety training to all your staff to enable them to be safe at work, including those who work from home.

Regardless of where employees are working, all employers still have a responsibility for their health, safety, and wellbeing. Managers should be encouraged to regularly discuss this with team members, as employees should still take the first step in reporting any issues to their employer.


Related Articles: 

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



Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Health & Safety, Hybrid Working

Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Tips for Dealing with Underperforming Employees

Poor employee performance can affect not only their immediate team but also the wider business. When colleagues see an employee slacking, their own motivation can decrease.

In some cases, an employee may be genuinely trying but is struggling to hit their targets or meet the needs of the business. On the other hand, an employee may be more than capable but not as bothered when it comes to hitting their targets.

These tips may help you deal with underperforming employees.

Know what you want from the employee

To identify if an employee is underperforming you need to be aware of what you want from them. It’s important to know that the employee must be aware of the required standards of the business.


When addressing the performance issue for the first time, you should approach it informally with the employee. A simple conversation with the employee will make sure the issue is not unaddressed.

Let the individual know that there are concerns

The first practical step is to let the employee know that you have concerns regarding their performance in the workplace. This should be done privately with the employee. This isn’t a formal meeting so there is no need to formally invite the employee with notice. It’s best to approach this conversation in a friendly manner.

Identify the problem

There should be inquiries to the reason for the employee’s underperformance. This is necessary to establish what action you need to take. If they have the capacity to perform better but simply choose not to, they need to be told to improve.

If they’re trying hard to do the job but still can’t perform well, that’s the problem and you should identify how you can help them for example providing training or supervision. If it’s a medical reason, it may be necessary to obtain an expert medical opinion.

Make them aware of the consequences

Although you’re dealing with the issue informally, you should inform the employee that if there are no signs of improvement you may need to begin a formal procedure with them.


If the employees’ performance doesn’t improve, the issue should be revisited. You should speak to the employee again, pointing out your previous discussion and any help that you provided and that it doesn’t appear to have any effect.

Formal Procedure

If no sufficient improvement or explanation is provided, you should consider implementing a formal disciplinary or capability procedure with the employee. Formal hearings should be held where the employee is permitted to respond to the concerns you have. Employees should be formally invited to these hearings, allowed the right to be accompanied and formal sanctions, e.g. warnings may be given where appropriate.

Additionally to these tips you need to remember to communicate clearly with each employee. Ensure the employee is clear on the objectives they’ve been set and on the consequences of their underperformance.

Related Articles:

Five Steps to Building a Positive Recognition Culture


Posted in Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook

Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Employing Young People: What you need to know

With the Summer season upon us, may employers will be looking at recruiting teenagers for the summer months. In doing so employers need to be mindful of the specific legislations that apply to young workers.

There are a number of employment rights all workers have when they start a job, but younger workers, those who are under 18 years old, have a few additional rights to protect them at work.

Key Points:

  • Younger workers are entitled to two days off per week
  • A daily rest break of 12 consecutive hours (the break between finishing work one day and starting work the next)
  • A rest break of at least 30 minutes if the working day lasts more than 4.5 hours
  • Younger workers normally will not work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
  • Younger workers don’t work at night, but there are some exceptions
  • Workers aged 16-17 are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage at the relevant rate.

National Minimum Wage Rate April 2022

Age 23 or over - £9.50

Age 20-21 £9.18

Age 18-20 £6.83

Apprentices & Under 18 £4.81

Working Time Regulations

Normally younger workers (16 & 17 year old’s) are entitled to 12 hours of uninterrupted rest within a 24 hour period in which they work for.

They are entitled to 2 days off per week and these cannot be averaged over a 2 week period and they should be consecutive days.

Night Work Limits

Workers under 18 are not usually allowed to work at night, however, exceptions can apply in some circumstances.

Young workers may work during the night if they are employed in a hospital or similar places of work, or in areas such as, advertising, sporting or cultural activities.

Young workers may work between 10 pm or 11 pm to midnight and between 4 am to 6/7 am if they are employed in:

  • Agriculture
  • Retail
  • Postal or newspaper deliveries
  • A catering business, hotel, public house, restaurant etc
  • A bakery

Working Hours for workers over 18

In general, workers aged 18 and over are entitled to:

  • Work no more than six days out of every seven, or 12 out of every 14
  • Take a 20-minute break if they work more than six hours at a stretch
  • Work a maximum 48-hour average week


Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

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