ACTIVE PRACTICE UPDATES OCTOBER 2012HR Update:Autumn 2012With the celebrations for the summer games coming to an end,our thoughts turn to some aspects of year end planning. Formany businesses this often includes early planning and bookingfor celebrating the approaching year end and the company partyseason. But beware as this can lead to a number of problems… HR UPDATEPreparing for Christmas – best practiceEvery year there are warnings to employers • Investigate. Much of the case law in with families cannot attend becauseabout the pitfalls of Christmas parties. This this area has arisen where employers of child care. If partners are beingis not surprising as the following statistics have failed to take complaints invited include civil as well as marriedreveal that: seriously. Complaints must be partners.• One in two parties end up with investigated in the same way as you • Think about your menu. Ask colleagues ighting would any other workplace grievance, beforehand about dietary with follow up disciplinary action if requirements. Certain groups will not• One in three parties result in incidents necessary. eat some foods. Also ensure there is a of sexual harassment • Step back. If an employee does good selection of non-alcoholic drinks• One in ive parties see accidents overstep the mark, then wait until available. If you are providing a free involving employees afterwards to have a word in the bar, keep an eye out for employees• Three out of four bosses say that sober light of day. Though it may be drinking excessively. a member of staff had threatened appropriate to send an employee • Journey home. You have a duty of to take a case to an employment home, don’t be tempted to deal care towards employees, so where tribunal following bad behaviour at a with the matter in detail at the time alcohol is involved take steps to Christmas party. and particularly not in front of other prevent them driving home – it mayThis does not mean that we should ‘cancel’ employees. be worth arranging transport homeChristmas, but here are a few important • Managers beware. Avoid discussions or at least having local cab numbersguidelines: about pay and performance, and do available.• Set the party boundaries. Inform not make promises that may come • The morning after. If you are staff that a minimum level of good back to bite you. expecting staff to attend work, make it behaviour is expected and remind • Discrimination pitfalls. If the party is clear in advance what will be tolerated them that the ofice grievance and to be outside of work hours bear in in terms of absence and latecomers disciplinary procedures apply equally mind that it may mean that employees together with the consequences of non- to off-site events. attendance.18 Hyde Gardens www.plummer-parsons.co.ukEastbourne BN21 4PT01323 431 200 email@example.com
HR Update: Autumn 2012Paralympics legacy - checklist Flat rate pension moves step closer Following reports that suggest a differenceMany people were inspired by those participating in this summer’s Paralympics. Should the of £10,000 a year between the highestopportunity arise you might wish to employ a disabled person. Below are a few pointers to and lowest state pension recipients,consider: pension experts are predicting the• Have a clearly deined role just as you would with other employees, but be prepared to be Government’s proposals for a lat rate lexible pension will soon come into effect.• In the selection process, ensure there is clear two way communication which involves asking prospective employees what they want and need to make things work for them From 1 October 2012 millions of people will be automatically enrolled into a• Be prepared to make adjustments where practical and necessary workplace pension.• Access the different sources of support available. A good starting point is Job Centre Plus• Be realistic and practical about your expectations. Latest news Youth Contract scheme fails to ignite Case Study - Assamoi On the horizon employer support v Spirit Pub Company National minimum wage A third of employers don’t know about it, (Services) Ltd The new National Minimum Wage rates and a third have no interest in it. That’s the judgment on the Government’s Youth This was a case for constructive from 1 October 2012, are as follows: Contract employment scheme, launched in dismissal that demonstrated that • An increase from £6.08 to £6.19 per April to try and reverse the ever-growing employers may prevent a breach of trust hour for workers 21 and over numbers of young unemployed people in and conidence by making amends for • It remains at £4.98 per hour for 18- the UK. the mistreatment of an employee: 20 year olds A survey of 600 employers by the Mr Assamoi, a kitchen worker at a pub • It remains at £3.68 per hour for under Recruitment and Employment Confederation company, raised a grievance against his 18s found four out of ive are not involved in immediate manager following various • An increase from £2.60 to £2.65 for the programme, under which incentives are disputes that had arisen between them. A apprentices. paid to those hiring a young person. senior manager realised that Mr Assamoi The Youth Contract is supposed to provide had been unfairly treated by his immediate Tribunal fees nearly half a million new opportunities for manager and upheld his grievance. The Bringing a claim to an employment 18-24 year-olds, including apprenticeships senior manager then took steps to rectify tribunal is currently free but costs the and voluntary work experience placements, the situation, but Mr Assamoi resigned public purse £84 million to operate every and offers employers a wage incentive of and brought an unfair dismissal claim. year. In 2011 the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) up to £2,275 for hiring a young person. The employment tribunal dismissed Mr Assamoi’s claim, but he appealed. proposed charging fees for employment Government to make apprenticeships tribunals in an attempt to transfer the cost simpler for SMEs, following Holt Review The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed away from the taxpayer towards those who that Mr Assamoi’s immediate manager use the service. The Government plans to work with the had treated him badly. However, it also people that SMEs look to for advice, found that the treatment was not suficient Following consultation the MoJ has including lawyers and accountants, to to amount to a breach of the implied decided that fees will be charged for promote apprenticeships to their SME term of mutual trust and conidence. The going to an employment tribunal. Not only customers. This is intended to enable SMEs senior manager had tried to remedy the is this intended to reduce the taxpayer to gain their apprentices the training they situation and, thus, had prevented the subsidy but also to encourage businesses need by providing better information on matter from escalating into a breach of the and workers to go to mediation and availability and investigating how to give implied term, which would have justiied resolve workplace disputes in a more them a greater say in developing the skills Mr Assamoi’s resignation and subsequent timely and cost-effective fashion. they require. claim of constructive dismissal. From mid 2013, claimants will be This ruling shows that if employers charged a fee starting from £160 for a Please contact us if you investigate employee complaints of straightforward case, rising in line with the would like to discuss mistreatment and take appropriate action, complexity of the claim to a maximum of your HR issues a claim for constructive unfair dismissal £950 for more complex cases. can be avoided.