The Growth and Infrastructure Act is soon to become law with the employee shareholder provisions expected to take effect in autumn 2013. Therefore, an employer and employee will be able to agree that the employee will give up their statutory rights to unfair dismissal protection (other than automatic unfair dismissal), redundancy pay and to ask for flexible work arrangements or time of for study or training, and will have to give longer notice if they intend to return early from additional maternity, paternity or adoption leave in return for fully paid up shares worth at least £2,000.
Before an employee can agree to having ‘employee shareholder’ status, the employer must provide a written statement with full details about the shares and the rights they carry, including, amongst other things, whether they carry any voting and dividend rights.
The employee will then have to take independent legal advice on the terms and effect of such an agreement regarding its effect on employment rights, the nature of the rights and obligations attaching to the shares and what will happen to the shares if the employee leaves. The employer must pay the reasonable costs of obtaining such advice, even if the individual ultimately decides not to accept the offer. Existing workers will be protected from detrimental treatment if they refuse to change to employee shareholder status. And although an employer is free to insist on employee shareholder status for a new joiner, an individual will not lose any benefits if the reason for turning down a job is that they don’t want to accept such status.
|Traditionally, swearing has been associated with male-dominated industries such as construction and warehousing as well as highly pressurised environments. However, whilst the construction industry is trying to stamp out such behaviour in an effort to create a better image of the industry as many of its employees work in the vicinity of the public, there is a perception that it is becoming commonplace in other types of workplace. Where as once our language u|
sed to be very formal and very structured, now it is increasingly casual just like many aspects of our lives.
Notably there is the high profile case, which reached the law courts in 2003 with Horkulak v Cantor Fitzgerald where Horkulak was awarded £1m damages after suffering verbal abuse from the Chief Executive.
Swearing in the workplace is usually provoked by frustration, anger, impatience or when things go wrong. There is disagreement, conflict and stress. Whereas we used to keep our mouths buttoned up, these days feelings are more on show.
A workplace culture that promotes the use of swearing can have a knock on effect to the business as clients and customers can be offended by such behaviour leading to lost business and reduced profits. A company’s reputation may also be at stake giving out an impression of a lack of professionalism. Furthermore there is the danger of offending and abusing colleagues, which may lead to litigation and employment tribunals.
Ideally companies should adopt zero-tolerance with a top down approach lead by senior management.
Casual workers can be a bonus to organisations that have to meet peaks workflow from time to time. Often taken on a Christmas or busy periods casual workers are used extensively in many industries. Whilst they contribute to a flexible workforce there are key things to bear in mind in terms of their employment.
1. Ensure you issue a written agreement (contract of service) that reflects the nature of the casual work offered this is known as a zero hours contract (also casual hours contract or sessional contract). Also ensure that you only intend to employ the worker on a casual basis ie not offering regular hours on set days at set times. These contracts are operated on mutual no obligation basis therefore there is no obligation for an employer to provide work and there is no obligation for the worker to accept it.
2. Be aware that truly casual workers have mimimal employment rights over and above the provision of holiday pay calculated at 5.6 weeks per annum pro rata. This can be calculated on a quarterly basis by recording hours worked and a pro rata sum provided accordingly. Alternatively if more regular payments of holiday pay are required, they can be provided on a rolled up basis provided this is clearly declared on the contract and in the wageslip.
3. Casual workers should receive the national minimum wage and may be paid SSP provided they meet eligible criteria. They have the right to be protected from unlawful deduction of wages and discrimination. They have protection from whistleblowing and with health and safety.
4. Be aware that workers that are used on a regular basis may be able to claim further employment rights in an employment tribunal. It is best therefore to retain a bank of casual workers and rotate their use so that the same worker is not offered work on a continous basis. Assignments or pieces of work should not be too lengthy. Furthermore, there should be sufficient gap between assignments – at least more than a week.
In the last few days two powerful female business leaders have been in the media. Margaret Thatcher who has died and Karren Brady, Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club who was interviewed on TV by Piers Morgan. The two share a remarkable achievement – they both made it big in a male-dominateed environment where the glass ceiling is alive and well; these two well and truly smashed it. Margaret Thatcher did it in the 1970s and achieved the position of Prime Minister when in those days it was truly unthinkable that a woman could do so. Six years before she achieved that role she was seen telling a little girl on TV there would not be a woman Prime Minister in her lifetime. Even by today’s standards it was a miraculous achievement. She then went onto shape the country giving many people standards of living that they would not have had if it hadn’t have been for the Iron Lady. Karren Brady began her rise at the tender age of 23 working her way up in the tough mans world of football. It seems to me that these two female leaders both demonstrate traits that have made them successful.
Vision and Focus
Both leaders had a clear vision. Thatcher’s was to make the country strong and properous again after years of strife with the unions that had brought the country to it’s knees. At the time her vision was very ambitious. Whilst some may have questioned whether it was attainable, through her drive it became a reality. She was strong and did not turn away from achieving her goal despite the many obstacles. Her famous phrase “the lady is not for turning” demonstrated her resolve not to be dissuaded from her chosen course of action, which had the country’s interest at heart always. Karren Brady’s vision was to turn an ailing football club into a strong and properous going concern. She took the team into the top league with a healthy bank balance and turnover of £50m having persuaded David Sullivan a millionaire to buy and let her run the club. With her resolve she knew she could do it.
Both women had to be dominant in their field. Thatcher notoriously dominated her male colleagues in the Conservative party and even had voice coaching to lower her voice so that she spoke more like a man to increase that dominance. Karren Brady in her own way has had to have “balls of steel” to dominate in the world of football. Both women have had to have tenancity to achieve their goals.
Both Thatcher demonstrated and Brady demonstrates a healthy level of self-confidence both believing in their ability and skills. Thatcher may have appeared nervous on many occasions, which is another reason why the voice coaching was brought into play to hide her shrilly female voice when she was giving speeches. Thatcher took risky decisions which would affect the country and Brady took risky decisions related to the football club that could have cost her millionaire boss millions, but for both women the risks paid off as they held their nerve. They took responsibility for their actions whilst moving everyone forward.
Innovation is key as a business leader and both women were bold to create and carry out new plans challenging the status quo constantly. Thatcher closed down many unprofitable mines, diminished the power of the unions and sold off the publicly run utilities. She gathered a top team of politicians around her that supported her decisions getting rid of the nay sayers she had initially brought together. Brady collaborated with others recognising the need to form win/win situations.
Thatcher and Brady were dedicated to the job in hand. They put this above all else in their lives. Whilst both had husbands and a family their job came first. Brady went back to work after three weeks of having her first baby due to the dedication she had. Thatcher entered politics when her her twins were very young and when most women gave up work when they married and had a family.
Whilst the two women had and have very different personalities in their own way they have achieved great things in a male environment with history that can never be altered and they act as superb role models to other women.
According to research carried out recently by RSM Tenon many small businesses are just not ready for pension auto enrolment. 56% of employers are completely unaware as to what auto-enrolment is, or do not even realise that it applies to their business and 70% had no plans at all to implement this statutory process. Furthermore, 40% of SMEs do not offer a pension at all and a further 5% offer a pension but has no members. With these disturbing facts in mind here are 5 top tips to implement pension auto enrolment.
1. Make a plan
The implementation of pension auto enrolment takes about nine months to one year to implement so it is important to start preparing as soon as possible. It is a statutory process and can not be ignored. There are key staging dates that an employer needs to be aware of (the staging date is when an employer has to start auto enrolling their employees) although it is possible to implement pension auto enrolment before the planned staging date. The employer needs to nominate a contact within the company who will be responsible for implementing the process. Working backward from the staging date the plan should incorporate sufficient time to complete the required processes such as those detailed below as well as developing admin procedures and setting up payroll.
2. Analyse the existing pension scheme
An existing pension scheme must meet the eligibility laid down by the Pensions Regulator. If no pension scheme is in place then the government NEST scheme may be implemented which has no set up charges.
3. Assess the workforce
The workforce should be categorised into eligible jobholders, non-eligible job holders and and entitled workers. Eligible jobholders will have to be automatically enrolled. They are aged between 22 and state pension age, have qualifying earnings that trigger automatic enrolment. Non-eligible jobholders are aged between 16-21 or state pension age and 74 and have qualifying earnings that trigger automatic enrolment. Entitled workers have the right to join the pension scheme but do not have qualifying earnings aged between 16 and 74. This should be an annual process once auto enrolment has been implemented.
4. Communicate to the workforce
Information about pension auto enrolment must be provided to the workers by the employer in writing. This should preferably be by template letter. An employer can also decide to provide information sessions to their workforce so they can have their questions answered or could develop an information booklet (which could be given out during an induction process to new starters).
5. Inform the Pension Regulator and keep records
An employer must keep certain records in support of the employer duties that will enable them to demonstrate their ongoing compliance and should build these record-keeping requirements into their existing processes. The scheme should be registered with the Pensions Regulator.
For more details visit http://www.sjbealehrconsult.co.uk/employee_reward.htm
In the UK, some previous criminal convictions are “spent” after a period of time, meaning that they do not have to be revealed to prospective employers. More serious crimes are never spent reflecting their gravity. Those looking to work with vulnerable adults and young people must undertake an enhanced criminal records check, which is now provided by the newly formed Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Such a check currently discloses all convictions and cautions which are then revealed to prospective employers, even those that are “spent”. However, proposals announced by the Government will permit some old and minor offences to be filtered out from checks by the DBS. This new checking system is due to be implemented within weeks, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.