Top HR Advice for Managers and Employers (Part 1)

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HR can be a minefield of red tape and legislation with employment laws always changing and often being quite open to interpretation. 

It’s no wonder that HR managers, directors and anyone who deals with Human Resources can find the task daunting at times which is often why companies come to us for professional HR advice from qualified HR consultants.

We’ve come across many HR issues in our seven years of HR consultancy and the most common mistakes and most difficult areas of HR can often be handled with just some simple HR advice.

Too many of my employees are away in August and I don’t think we can meet business demands

Annual leave is one of the less tricky areas of HR because the laws in place are very clear and haven’t changed much in the last few years. One thing you should always bear in mind when handling annual leave, is that you can turn down an employee’s request especially if it is going to have a detrimental effect on the business. 

Therefore, you should never find yourself in a situation where the workplace is almost empty because your staff have all jetted away on their holidays during the same period.

One employee is late almost every day and it is disrupting the workplace

Your policy on lateness should be clearly written up and included in your employee handbooks so that it is understood by everyone what actions must be taken when they report that they are late and what the consequences may be regarding persistent lateness.
Lateness is an area of HR that doesn’t have any employment laws attached to it, so how you deal with it is pretty much up to you.

However, we would advise that you make sure all employees are treated equally, there is clear communication between you and your late employee (as they may have valid reasons such as childcare issues) and that they have fair warning before any disciplinary action is taken towards them.

I need to terminate a staff contract but I’m not sure if it will constitute as unfair dismissal

When terminating a staff contract there is a lot of red tape in place to ensure that employees are not discriminated against or treated unfairly in any way. The unfortunate truth is that the law swings more in favour of employees than employers so you must be very cautious before taking any drastic actions towards a member of staff such as termination.

If there is any concern in your mind about whether or not your employee may have a strong case against you, we would advise that you seek competent HR advice from an expert.

The only employee documentation I have in place are contracts and I haven’t looked over them in a couple of years

Employee documentation should be at the top of your HR to do list from the moment your employ a new member of staff.

Not only should you write up and distribute their contract within 8 weeks of employment, but you should also ensure that you review all your employee contracts or a regular basis – we advise annually.
This is because most employment laws change, or new ones introduced, every year so your contracts will need to comply and may need some adjustments. 

You should also strongly consider writing up employee handbooks that contain all your workplace HR policies and procedures such as Sickness Absence, Maternity Leave, Gross Misconduct, Dress Code etc.
This will ensure that there is clear written evidence employees have read and understood the workplace expectations so if there were to ever be a claim made against you, you have documentation to support your case.

I’m not sure if I am underpaying an employee because of the amount of unpaid overtime they work every month

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are easy areas to slip up on when it comes to HR issues as we have seen a countless number of times in the news – even the big names can mess up sometimes.

Therefore, it should be of great importance to you and your business to ensure that employee wages are calculated accurately every single month. This will mean keeping an eye on any changes, such as increases, to National Minimum and Living Wage as well as monitoring the number of hours your employees work. 

Although you can request employees to work unpaid overtime, if it does mean that they end up being paid less than legally required, you will need to adjust their pay accordingly.

For further advice or support in any of the above areas or any other HR issues, please call us on 0845 2626 260.

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