Olympic Impact

It may seem a long way off, but the 2012 Olympics may cause more of an impact to your business than you would anticipate.  Some employees may be lucky enough to have tickets, others may have volunteered to steward, and some may face impossible journeys to work.

Get ahead of the issues you may need to consider….

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Conflict at work

A disagreement at work can be an expensive business.  We are not just talking about the £1.6 billion pounds that British businesses spent last year on fees, awards and out of court settlements; we’re talking about the disruption to your business, your management time, sickness absence and lost productivity within the team. Continue Reading

Bribery? How very un-British!

On 1 July 2011 we see the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010, rushed through by the Labour Government before leaving office last year.

The law on bribery introduces new criminal offences for bribery for both individuals and companies that could see you carrying the can for actions taken by “associated persons” as well as your own workers.  It may also be a time to look at your corporate hospitality….

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Agency Workers

Agency Workers Rights

With effect from October 2011 the way agency workers are treated will change.  Agency workers will be entitled to the same basic empoyment and working conditions as those who are directly employed by the hiring Company – including being notified of job vacancies that may arise within the organization.

The self-employed, those working through their own limited company and agency workers supplied through a managed service contract are specifically excluded from protection of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

After completing 12 weeks in the same job (or a substantively similar job), an agency worker will be entitled to the same basic terms and conditions as the hirer’s employees in relation to pay, working time and annual leave.  Pregnant temporary agency workers will also have additional rights.

 In cases where an agency worker changes agency but the hiring company remains the same, his or her rights will not be affected.

There may be occasions where the agency worker has a break within the period of work that will not automatically break the 12 week qualifying period. In these circumstances he or she will resume accumulating service on return from the break. These include:

  • breaks between assignments of not more than six weeks;
  • jury service of up to 28 weeks;
  • sickness absence of up to 28 weeks;
  • annual leave;
  • business closure (eg pre-determined factory closure); and
  • industrial action

 What the Rights Will Be

There will be a number of rights that will apply from day one of the engagement which will include:

  • access to the same facilities that the hiring company’s comparable employees can access unless the Company has objective justification for refusing access. Examples of the types of facilities would be canteens, crèches, gyms and transport
  • to be given the same opportunity to apply for relevant internal and external vacancies as the hiring company’s comparable employees (unless the vacancy is the result of restructuring)
  • not to suffer a detriment for asserting rights under the Agency Workers Regulations

Following the completion of a 12-week qualifying period, agency workers will be entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as a comparator working for the hiring company including:

  • pay (inc Company Sick Pay, fees, commission, over time, shift allowance, performance based bonuses, vouchers)
  • working time duration
  • night work
  • rest periods
  • rest breaks and
  • contractual annual leave

It is important to note that there is  little prospect for the hiring company or agencies to try and play the system by attempting to structure assignments so as to avoid the effect of the Regulations. Where a tribunal finds that either the hiring company or the agency sought to avoid liability through the structure of assignments, the tribunal can make an additional award of up to £5,000 compensation to the agency worker on top of any other award they receive.

Party Poopers – Organising a Christmas Do?

Did you know that an organized ‘work event’ taking place outside of the normal place of work and/or hours is generally seen as an extension of work?  This means that the employer is likely to have the same legal responsibility.

The pitfalls can be avoided (or at least reduced) with careful planning and communication with the team. Continue Reading

Retiring – What the Future Holds

At present, there is a default retirement age (DRA) of 65 which means employers can retire their employees at age 65 by giving an employee 6 months’ notice in writing of the impending retirement date.

An employee can request to work beyond their retirement date if they wish and the employer has a duty to consider such a request.  Ultimately, however, the employer can still decide to retire the employee without this being an unfair dismissal or age discrimination. This is all about to change! Continue Reading



Is depression a disability?

As business continues to be tough many companies are finding it hard to continue employing people who are absent due to long term or regular sickness.  When considering bringing someone’s employment to an end due to ill health one of the key factors employers have to be mindful of is whether the person’s ill health might be classed as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

One particularly merky area is depression.  If it has been a long term condition is it classed as a disability?  Continue Reading

Time off for training

From 6 April this year, employees working for companies with more than 250 employees can request time off work to train or study.  These new rules will apply to all companies in 2011.

The new rules – The Employee Study and Training Regulations 2010 – allow employees the right to request time off work to undergo training or to study and to have their request properly considered in line with a statutory procedure.

The rules do not give an absolute right to take time off for training, merely the right to request it and have that request properly considered and in the event a request is granted, there is no requirement for employers to pay employees during the time off or to pay for the training.

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Sensitive Discussions

Sensitive Discussions At Work

Handling any sensitive conversation with an employee is not easy for either the manager or the employee.  The key to getting it right – is to act responsibly so that you do not break trust and confidence in the relationship.  It is therefore important to make sure that the appropriate person is tasked with having the conversation. A manager who thinks every difficult meeting with their employees is a battle to be won at any cost is NOT the right person to tackle a sensitive situation. Continue Reading