INSIGHTS

follow us here and on twitter @ukhrhub to get all the latest HR hints, tips, advice and news

Newsflash: Key Employment Law Changes For April 2017

April is a fairly busy time for HR professionals and business owners alike. Not only are you required to tie up any loose ends from the previous financial year, you also need to make sure that you’re fully prepared for legislative changes that could impact your business.

So just in case you’ve missed our previous posts, here’s a quick round up of everything you need to know to ensure you remain compliant:

National Minimum Wage Is Set To Increase

On 1st April, the national minimum wage will increase. For workers aged 25 and over, the rate will increase from £7.20 to £7.50.

As the rate varies according to age group, now is a great time to make sure that you’re compliant, and that payroll processes are in order.

Statutory Redundancy Pay Will Rise

New rules around redundancy pay will be rolled out from 6th April. If you have to make employees redundant, then you must pay those with two years’ service a sum based on their length of service, weekly pay, and age.

The weekly pay is subject to a maximum amount, and this will rise from £479 to £489. No business owner wants to think that they may have to face this situation, but it pays to be prepared and know your responsibilities.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting Comes Into Force

If you employ 250 or more employees, then this applies to you. You will be required to report on your gender pay gap, including any bonuses that you might use to reward your staff.

You’ll have a period of 12 months to publish this information on your own website, and upload the details to a government website. As such, you need to make sure that you have mechanisms in place to collect the necessary facts and figures.

The Immigration Skills Charge Will Be Introduced

Do you sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the immigration points-based system? If so, you will be required to pay a sponsorship levy of £1,000 per year for each certificate of sponsorship – or £364 if you’re a smaller business or charity.

There are certain exemptions that apply, so if you business hires skilled immigrants, it pays to seek out tailored advice. 

Depending on the size of your business and other factors that may be at play, there are further changes that you need to be aware of. April is a fantastic time to carry out an audit of your policies and procedures, to make sure that you’re fulfilling your legal responsibilities.

With that in mind, pick up the phone and get in touch. We can arrange to have a discussion around the changes that you may need to implement in coming days, so you can move into the new financial year with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything is under control. Call us today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk

Image: Canvas

The Secret To Better Work-Life Balance For Business Owners

When you dip into an article from an HR consultant about work-life balance, you probably have a few preconceptions about what we’re going to say. You might imagine that we’re going tell you that time off is vital, and that no one can fire on all cylinders without getting some well-deserved time away from the office. Maybe you think that we’re going to drive home the importance of adhering to the legislation around working hours, and ensuring that you aren’t breaking the law when it comes to how you require your staff to turn up and get stuff done.

And of course, all of these things are important and most definitely have their place.

Here’s the thing though…

We’re business owners too. We understand that it can feel like your work is never going to be done. We know the pressures of running the show, managing a team, and trying to hold it all together.

So how about today, we have a frank and honest conversation about YOUR work-life balance, as the head honcho in your business?

Sure, sometimes the long hours are inevitable if you want to reach your goals, make more sales and put food on the table. But the reality is that you can’t serve anyone – including yourself – if you’re constantly tired, burnt out, and spinning way too many plates at the same time. No one said that running a business was going to be easy, but it can certainly be a whole load more simple when you recognise that you aren’t a machine.

If you know that it’s only a matter of time before things start to spiral out of control, here’s one important thing that you can do to help right now:

Delegate, and outsource the things that you’re just no good at

If you’re spending half your days firefighting people management issues, or focusing on anything at all that isn’t your zone of genius, then you’re definitely limiting your earning potential.

How To Delegate Effectively

Brief Properly – carefully outline the outcome you’re expecting together with expected timelines and any constraints or barriers

Don’t Micro Manage – Try not to be too exacting when explaining the process itself – let them do it their way

Have Faith – Trust them to do a good job. You are not indispensable and competent people can get to grips with anything with enough practise

Set Them Up For Success –  Make sure they are armed with everything they might need to do complete the task with aplomb

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due – A bit of recognition goes a long way. And never forget to say thank you.

HR issues can often be a headache for business owners. Seeking help from a consultant will save you time and money as well as whole pile of stress. Do get in touch with us at theHRhub to chat about how we could work together to get you some breathing space, a bit more time outside of the office, and a cohesive plan to help reach your goals.

Give us a call today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk and we can arrange to have a no-obligation discussion about your next steps.

Image: Canva

Auto Enrolment: Staging Date Just Around The Corner? Read This Now

You can’t have failed to see the news and read the articles about pension auto enrolment over the past few years. And now, as the roll-out reaches its end, it’s time for the last remaining employers to jump on board.  

Currently all firms with over 50 people must auto enrol all employees aged over 22 who earn more than £10,000 a year. And by February 2018 all smaller businesses will also have to comply.  If your business has between 1 and 10 employees it’s likely that your staging date is fast approaching.

In case you need reminding, auto enrolment is a government initiative to help more people save for later life. In the past, many workers missed out on the benefit of a pension either because their employer did not offer one or because they had failed to join their company’s scheme. Under the government initiative, all employers are required to enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme before their given auto-enrolment staging date.

As part of the initiative there are minimum level of contributions that you will need to make to your employees’ pension and these will gradually increase over time.  You can of course contribute more than the minimum but you must, at the very least, meet these guidelines:

Date Employers minimum contribution Total minimum contribution (employer+employee)
Up to 30th September 2017 1% 2%
1st October 2017 – 30th September 2018 2% 5%
1st October 2018 onwards 3% 8%


So now we’ve recapped on the basics of auto enrolment let’s take a look at what you need to do next: 

1. Find out when your staging date is

Check the Pension Regulators website here.

2. Decide if you want to use a financial advisor to help you get your scheme in place

You will need to understand and agree which tasks you and they are doing so that nothing is missed so make sure you agree that (and the costs) upfront.

3. Choose the right pension provider

The sooner you can make the decision as to which provider to go with, the better. More than one million businesses will need to meet their automatic enrolment duties in 2017. This means that pension providers will be swamped with new company pension scheme applications.  In addition, selecting your provider now will leave you with plenty of time to focus on communications and making sure you are prepared for launch. There are some pension schemes aimed at SMEs that do not have set up costs or monthly charges for automatic enrolment, while other schemes may charge so make sure that you shop around. Remember to ask the provider what they will charge you based on how many staff you have. The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is a pension scheme provider that has been set up by the government and must accept all employers that apply to use it for automatic enrolment. They do not have a set-up charge so you can contact them if you do chose to set up the scheme yourself.

4. Engage your staff in your new workplace pension

You should start to consider how you will engage your staff when it comes to your workplace pension. The law states that an employer only needs to send out one piece of communication, but be cautious. Sending out limited information to your employees will more than likely mean that you are inundated with questions from your employees. Our advice is to do a little extra when it comes to communication and educate your staff in advance. Let them know that you too are contributing to their pension and playing your part.

Once you have set up your workplace pension you will need to complete and submit a Declaration of Compliance form (this can be done online). This form will let The Pensions Regulator know that you have met your legal duties for automatic enrolment. If you are using a 3rd party to help you set up your workplace pension they will often complete this part of the process on your behalf.

So, start to think about automatic enrolment sooner rather than later and don’t delay it. Remember that you don’t have to wait until your staging date and could set up your pension scheme early.
For help and support with your company’s auto enrolment contact us at theHRhub for a chat about your requirements. Drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call us on 0203 627 7048.

Image: Canva

Are You Discriminating Against Married or Civil-Partnered Employees Without Realising It?

Discrimination is always a hot topic in the world of HR. We spend a lot of our time of making sure employers aren’t discriminating against their employees for any reason. But some ‘reasons’ are much clearer cut than others. For example, you might not think it, but it’s possible (and quite easy) to discriminate against an individual because of their marriage or civil partnership status….

Marriage And Civil Partnership Status Is One Of The Lesser Known Protected Characteristics Under The Equality Act 2010

The Act states that it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee or worker because they are married or in a civil partnership, in exactly the same way as it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of age, disability, sexual orientation or race or one of the other protected characteristics.

It’s A Complex Issue & The Latest Advice Is Readily Available Online

Acas recently published a guide for employers on how they should handle their duty not to discriminate when it comes to marriage and civil partnership and the guide explains what marriage and civil partnership discrimination is and how it can occur in your business (you can read the full guidelines here).

Think This Isn’t Relevant To Your Business? Think Again

You may well be reading this thinking that this doesn’t apply to you and that you absolutely don’t discriminate based on marriage and civil partnership.

But, the biggest risk for employers isn’t direct discrimination (where as an example you wouldn’t promote an employee because a role involves travel and you feel that the role would be better suited to a single person) but rather indirect discrimination which is when an policy or practice which applies to all your employees has the effect of discriminating against a certain group of people, in this case, those that are married or in a civil partnership.

You should also be careful that you’re not making assumptions at any point during the employment journey.  As an example, any of your employees that are involved in the recruitment process (or equally involved in any internal recruitment processes) should not make assumptions about how an employee’s personal circumstances might impact their performance, for example assuming that people who are married or in a civil partnership might be less willing to work irregular hours or travel.

As an employer, you must ensure that all of your terms and conditions of employment – including your contractual benefits – don’t generally disadvantage or exclude employees because they are married or a civil partner.

For help and support with your policy documentation, contracts of employment or any other HR issue drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call us on 0203 627 7048. 
Image: Canva

Onboarding: How To Mentor A First-Time Mentor

A new employee’s onboarding programme and on the job learning should always be the responsibility of their line manager. But it’s wise also to allocate each new starter a mentor who can offer further advice, specific training on a particular skill and generally be the first port of call when their boss isn’t around. As well as being a hugely important person for the mentee, being a mentor can be a crucial developmental step for future line managers. Given this, new mentors need to be supported and set up for success too. Here’s our advice on how to mentor a first time mentor:

1. Brief Them Fully

Take them through the onboarding programme (again, the line manager should be the owner of this document but it’s a wise move to ask the mentor for their input so they feel actively involved).

Carefully outline your expectations – be specific about their responsibilities and how long you see the mentorship going on for. Urge them to set up regular meetings with their mentee and make an effort to track the mentee’s progress effectively.

2. Measure Their Success

You want them to be successful in this role. To ascertain that be clear from the start about how that success will be measured. It may be there’s a specific skill you need the new starter to be trained in to a particular standard within a certain amount of time or a certain project that needs delivering that they have early involvement in. 360 feedback from the mentee and wider team members could be an important early gauge of the new starter’s engagement and overall potential if you feel its too early to measure performance. You may also want to ask the new mentor themselves how they would like to be measured.

3. Encourage Them To Be Proactive

In addition to the onboarding programme and their outlined mentorship responsibilities, other learning opportunities for the mentee are likely to arise in the first few months such as an interesting meeting, work project, course or social occasion. Mentors should definitely be encouraged to suggest a new employee’s involvement in anything that will further their immersion within the organisation.

4. Expect Them To Give Constructive Feedback To Their Mentee If Appropriate

This is often something that new mentors find very difficult to do. Whilst it’s important not to quash a new starters’ confidence (delivering good and bad feedback with a 70:30 ratio is a good steer here), if mentors have constructive feedback to give advise them do it quickly, in person and in private, always giving examples and coming to a mutually agreed course of action to ensure improvements are made.

5. Lead By Example

Be punctual, respectful and prioritise your own meetings with the new mentor so they appreciate how valuable their contribution is. Be an active listener, maintain eye contact, nod, and be interested in what they have to say. Demonstrate coaching skills yourself – asking them what they should do in particular situation rather than telling them how you would do it. In this way they will understand more than any other how you expect the role of a mentor to be carried out.

For advice and support on any HR issue contact theHRhub today for a no strings consultation about your HR needs and how we can help. Call us today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk.

Image: Canva