Blog

Welcome to the Hitchin HR Blog

Please browse our back catalogue of blog posts.

Employment Law round up and what to watch out for in 2016

Can you ask your staff to communicate in ‘English only’ in the workplace? An Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling (Kelly v Convance Laboratories Ltd 2015) has confirmed that provided your reasons are justified, to require your employees to communicate in English in the workplace is not discriminatory.  In this case, the employer was concerned about what […]

FIT FOR WORK EMPLOYER REFERRAL AND ADVICE SERVICE – AT LAST!

We have been waiting with baited breath for over twelve months for the government to introduce the new Fit for Work service (previously called the Health and Work Service), and it now looks as if 2015 will be the year that this service is rolled out to all employers. Dealing with long term sickness absence […]

Calculating Holiday Pay

Recent case law, Lock v British Gas Trading (2014) and Bear Scotland Ltd v Fulton (and others)  and Hertel (UK)Ltd v Woods (and others) (2014)held that enhanced payments such as Commission (Lock v British Gas Trading  and non-guaranteed overtime payments (Bear Scotland and Hertel) should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay for employees. […]

Shared Parental Leave – Family Friendly but sleepless nights for employers?

As an employer you will have no doubt heard that the introduction of the new provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 for shared parental leave will come into effect from April this year, and will apply to the parents where the expected week of confinement begins on or after 5th April 2015 (or […]

2014 Employment Law Changes Round Up

FLEXIBLE WORKING FOR ALL The right for all employees with 26 weeks service or more to request flexible working came onto the statute books on 30th June this year. This right was extended from only being available to staff with caring responsibilities has seen quite an increase in requests being received by employers. The good […]

Flexible Working for All?

From 30th June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, rather than being limited to parents of children aged under seventeen or if disabled, under eighteen or to employees classed as “carers” for vulnerable adults. The good news is that employers will no longer need […]

Sex Discrimination in the Workplace – that old Chestnut?

It is getting on for 40 years since the Sex Discrimination Act entered the statute books in 1975 yet we hear today, that a survey carried out by legal firm , Slater and Gordon, has found that over 25% of expectant and working mums feel discriminated against in the workplace. How can that be in […]

Blurred Boundaries

Social Media and Work It used to be so much easier Only a few years ago – no more than five – it was very easy to set boundaries for employees.   Work was work and social/personal/domestic activity was not.  Non work activity was easily identified and separated from work activity.  Employers varied in their attitude […]

“It was only a joke”…

 …but  it could cost UK business in excess of £292 billion this year… Workplace Banter – tips to avoid bullying and harassment claims Workplace banter sounds harmless enough, but it is in fact potentially the most serious of matters when it steps over the line, or is indeed perceived to have done so by those […]

Ten Top Tips for Managing your Staff through Christmas

Whilst most of us await Christmas with a mixture of eager anticipation and dread, it is fair to say that for small employers, managing your business through the Christmas period can be a tricky business especially when staffing considerations of all kinds are thrown into the mix. Whether we’re talking about time off, staff cover, […]

Swap Shares in your business for Employment Rights?

Tell us what you think… take part in our Survey.   As small business owners I am sure you will have heard the latest proposal being put forward by the government to encourage business to take on staff and play their part in the economic recovery.  This proposal comes towards the end of a year […]

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

This Bill is still rumbling away as it is being debated by Parliamentary committees , and a new clause has been added that would allow an employer to have a discussion with an employee without fearing that this conversation would be used in subsequent Employment Tribunal proceedings. These conversations have been dubbed by the government […]

Olympic Flexibility

With so much going on this year with the Jubilee Celebrations, Euro 2012 and now the Olympics just around the corner, employers have had to juggle quite a bit when it has come to requests for leave which threaten to impact their business. Speak to anyone in the street and you are likely to get […]

Flexible Working, is it so bad for Small Business?

The Government proposals to press forward with employment law reforms and extend flexible working rights to all employees has met with uproar from many small business owners and their representatives.  The commonly held view is that the government is reneging on its promises to support small business growth by making life tougher yet again, and […]

Maternity Myths

Many of my clients have had it drummed into them over the years (not just by me!) that they have to be very, very careful when dealing with pregnant employees.  This has resulted in some employers becoming all but paralysed when they find they have a pregnant employee on their staff, believing that it is […]

Disability Discrimination – Second only to Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

In the year to March 31 2011 Disability Discrimination Claims brought to Tribunal were second only to Sex Discrimination in the number of successful claims, and an average award of £14,137 was made with the highest being £181,083.  (Source DWP) The evidence suggests that for the year to March 2012, these figures are likely to […]

Employment Law Reform Government proposals for change

Employers – BEWARE!  The government is planning to impose financial penalties on employers who have breached their employment law obligations.  Tribunals will have discretion to fine employers up to £5,000 for failure to comply. So make sure your infrastructure is right, your contracts and policies and procedures are in place and up to date, and […]

Employment Law Reform – What does it mean for small business?

The Government’s proposals for employment law reform that we have been drip fed  over the past few months now seem to be coming through as an avalanche as they look for ways to get the economy moving.  Apart from the confusion caused to my clients at the haphazard way information is being disseminated,  the proposals […]

No More Retirement, Managing Sickness – October 2011

Default Retirement Age Abolished From 1st October it is no longer legal to dismiss someone by reason of retirement, unless you have an ‘objective justification’ for doing so. So, no longer can you rely on a default retirement age of 65 when you know that your employees will retire. This is a hard one to […]

Social Networking – Update. Agency Workers Regulations – Countdown to 1st October 2011. Employment Status – When is an employee not an employee?

Social Networking – Update There is no doubt that, like it or not, Social Networking has become a central part of our daily lives and that includes our working lives. It is not news that the potential cost to employers of misuse of the internet and social media during working time is estimated at billions […]

When is a bribe not a bribe?, Social Networking and changes in Worker’s Visa arrangements.

Bribery Act 2010 The Bribery Act comes into force on July 1 2011 and creates four new criminal offences, namely: offering promising or giving a bribe, requesting, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe, bribing a foreign public official, failing to prevent bribery. What does this mean for small employers? All employers should read the […]

Agency Workers Legislation, Paternity Leave and When Does a Notice Period Really Start? – May 2011

The new regulations on the employment of Agency Workers comes into effect on 1st October 2011. The implications for employers who rely on a flexible workforce to manage fluctuations in activity are significant. Are you ready for the change? From October 1st 2011 anyone employed by you as an agency temporary worker will be legally […]

Employent Law Reforms – February 2011

The Coalition Government’s consultations on Employment Law and Practice are under way – will this really help Small Business? It’s sometimes hard to keep up with the coalition government’s plans to review employment legislation. So far very little has changed under the new government although we have been confused by the stop start approach that […]

Statutory Retirement Age – January 2011

I’m Gonna Work Unitl I Drop! The Government has finally confirmed the proposal to abolish the statutory retirement age of 65 for employees with effect from 1st April 2011. This means that, unless you have a justifiable reason to impose a contractual retirement age in your business, retirement will no longer be a fair reason […]

New Employment Law Legislation – January 2011

Does 2011 hail another year of change and confusion for small business owners? As 2010 draws to a close we have seen another year of change in the employment law arena, and this trend is set to continue into 2011 and 2012 with the implementation of further changes that will impact on all employers, whether […]