Tag Archives: HR

New guidance for adopting parents

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has published a guidance document addressing changes to statutory adoption leave and pay that came into effect on 5 April 2015.

There are four key changes.

  • The requirement for employees to have continuous service to be eligible for statutory adoption leave has been removed, making adoption a ‘day 1 right.’
  • The first six weeks of statutory adoption pay are now paid at the earnings-related rate.
  • New groups of parents, such as intended parents in surrogacy arrangements, and foster parents now qualify for adoption leave and pay, and
  • adopters will be entitled to take time off work to attend adoption meetings.

The document is available on the BIS website and is called Changes to Adoption Leave and Pay from 5 April 2015: Technical Guidance For Employers. Click here: link

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors

Mental health sickness absence on the rise

This week the Times has reported a new study which shows that absence at work due to depression, anxiety and stress now accounts for a third of all sick leave, apparently up 25% since 10 years ago.

Absences like these cost employers millions every year and can be poorly managed, particularly where the illness is work-related.

The good news is that there are simple steps that employers can take to spot warning signs to help safeguard against this.

Monitoring workloads and making sure employees have the right training and support to carry out their roles is crucial. Bullying & harassment policies setting out expectations for behaviour are key, and using stress risk assessments to identify trigger points are equally important.

Do contact me for more information.

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors 

Failure to pay bonus to disabled employees is discrimination

The Land Registry has recently lost a case where it was found to have discriminated against disabled employees in its bonus scheme, which did not pay out to employees who had a warning for high levels of sickness absence.

Whilst they had reasonable adjustments in place delaying the issuing of a warning in cases of disability-related absence, the fact that receiving a warning led to an automatic disqualification from the bonus scheme was discriminatory.

The HR officer who made the decision not to pay the bonus was unaware of the employees’ disabilities, but this was not relevant.

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors 

Being clear about reasons for dismissal – less may be more

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors 

A recent case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal serves as a usual reminder that employers need to think carefully when dismissing an employee for a number of incidents.

Each matter will need to be investigated properly and a flaw in one investigation can make the dismissal unfair.

If one of the matters under investigation is sufficiently serious on its own to warrant dismissal it is sometimes better to rely on that one alone, rather than potentially muddying the waters.

However, if dismissal is based on a number of matters, it is usually worth making it clear in the dismissal letter that the employer is satisfied that each incident on its own justifies dismissal, as well as the matters cumulatively.

For advice and guidance please contact – clare.nicolaou@novalex.co.uk

Tips for achieving flexible working

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors 

Flexible working has a number of benefits for both employers and employees, with increased motivation and retention of talent being key. If you are an employee and you would like to work flexibly, here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Talk to your boss informally about the concept of flexible working. There’s no need to follow the statutory procedure for the sake of it and informal arrangements can work very well.
  2. Give real consideration to how your proposed work pattern will impact on your colleagues or the workplace. If there are potential barriers that your boss may be concerned about think about how these can be overcome.
  3. Be prepared to be flexible yourself. If possible have other options so that if your proposed work pattern is not feasible there may be a slightly different alternative that could work for both you and your employer.
  4. Ask your boss if you can try your proposal for a trial period. This can help allay any fears your boss may have about whether the changes will impact on the business.