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The New Year, what will it bring...

At the end of each year we find ourselves reflecting on our achievements, mistakes or missed opportunities of the last 12 month and looking forward to what the year ahead may hold.

We will make resolutions that we don’t keep such as living a healthier life style and going to the gym knowing deep down it won’t happen. But most of us will at some point be faced with an employment related issue such as seeking a new job with better prospects or progressing within our existing Company or a more sinister issue such as a grievance.

The Season to be Jolly…

Employers are likely to face two inevitable key issues during the season of good tidings. These are holiday and time off requests made late and fitness to work impaired by alcohol.

As most employers’ holiday year coincide with the calendar year and contracts stipulating all annual leave must be taken in the year it is accrued -with some exemptions- employers often find themselves short staffed during mid to end December.

So, how to avoid the problem? Firstly no employee has any right to a particular day off.

The Modern Business Woman

I had the great pleasure of meeting the most incredible business woman this week. Ellie Goff the Owner/Director of Butterfly Lodge Education also known at Wellies On is the embodiment of today’s women in business.  

After a successful teaching career Ellie brought her dream into reality when Butterfly Lodge a 40 acre care farm based in Abberton opened its doors. Their qualified teachers combined with Occupational Therapists provide a therapeutic and educational approach to learning. The farms service users have the opportunity to get involved with worthwhile, meaningful activities which stimulate the mind and keep the body active as well as leading to recognised qualifications.

Minimum Wage Increases

Don't forget that on 1st October 2013 national minimum wage increases for all levels.

21 and over goes up from £6.19 to £6.31

18 to 20 rises from £4.98 to £5.03

Under 18 moves from £3.68 to £3.72 

And Apprentice* increases from £2.65 to £2.68

Employers ensure you make the relevant adjustments and employees make sure you are being paid correctly. 

The new buzz acronym “BYOD”!

A number of Company’s now allow employees to use their own devices, such as smart-phones, computers and tablets, to carry out their duties. By your own devices have clear benefits: including a creating a more effective way of working, increased flexibility and productivity which all contribute to a happier working environment boosting morale.

However as with everything there are pitfalls. With the increased growth or employees using their own personal devices to do their work consideration should be made regarding the level of security on these personal devises.

Unison vs. Tribunal Fees

Harries Human Resources reported in our blog dated 10 June 2013 “Tribunal Fees Confirmed” about the changes in full swing for the employment tribunal services.
On and after 29 July 2013 the tribunal service has implemented their charging structure for anyone wishing to make a claim based on a two level fee platform.

However, trade union UNISON has launched a legal challenge against the fee introduction.  This judicial review, if granted could revoke the new fee charges. The union has been granted permission from the Royal Courts for a review hearing in October 2013.

To Record or not to Record, that is the question?

It is a well known fact that it is good practice to maintain good audit trails through written records of discussion to log performance both good and bad in respect of employees. However is it a good idea to allow an employee to make an audio recording of a formal or informal meeting?
 
A number of employers believe that when an employee attends a meeting, such as a grievance or disciplinary hearing, particularly if they waive their statutory right to be unaccompanied, it is reasonable to allow them to tape record the meeting if they request to do so.

Are you beautiful enough for us???

Throughout June a debate was sparked across a multitude of social network portals asking the question; Does good looks improve your employment prospects?

With the internet dating website beautifulpeople.com planning to launch a recruitment agency, it further perpetuates the belief that looks count for a lot both personally and now professionally. The concept from beautifulpeople.com is to enable employers to post their vacancies on the website and invite good looking applicants to submit their CV’s.

Is your Company safe from Expense fiddlers?

It has not been very long since the public fury over the scandal involving several MP’s and their expenses. Therefore, one would assume nobody would risk the potential fallout from submitting expenses for personal items or mileage they have not incurred in the proper performance of their duties?
 
Sadly it appears that many employees, given the opportunity, may still see fit to embellish their expenses. Based on our calculations up to a quarter of expenses are ‘fiddled’ and as such fraudulent.

Whistleblowing changes now in force

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is often referred to as the Whistle-blowing Act. Employees who "blow the whistle" on their employer by making a protected disclosure, such as a exposé concerning an alleged criminal offence or other wrongdoing, have the legal right not to be dismissed, selected for redundancy or subjected to any detriment due to the disclosure.

A disclosure made in the public interest will be protected where the employee makes the allegations base on a reasonable belief of wrong doing by the employer.