Furlough Explained

Many businesses across the UK have been experiencing a downturn in revenue as a result of the worldwide covid19 outbreak and had to make some difficult decisions about staffing levels.

On Friday 20th March 2020 the government announced that they would support businesses and staff by introducing a Coronavirus Retention Scheme. The scheme means that the government will pay up to 80% of an employees salary up to the value of £2,500 if they have been furloughed during the pandemic.

The big question is what is Furlough and how do you do it?

The general rule is that employers have an obligation to provide work for employees (not zero-hours workers) as stated in the employment contract. This means that you are still required to pay your staff for their contractual hours if you send an employee home due to a shortage of work.

However, you will not have to pay employees to stay at home if you have the right to lay-off (also known as furlough) their staff. 

Lay off or furlough is not redundnacy or dismissal and they continue to accrue annual leave and other employment rights during this period. Lay off us usually or reduced pay with a minimum payment of £29 per day for 5 days within a 30 day period. In this instance, the staff will be paid a reduced salary.

Do I have the right to furlough staff?

Employers can furlough staff if they have a contractual right to do so. This is often termed as a lay-off clause in the contract.

If you have a lay-clause you must still follow some rules including:

  • Explain to staff what lay-off means
  • Tell staff of their rights during lay-off
  • Tell staff how long you expect the lay-off to last
  • Tell staff how much pay they will receive.

What if I don’t have a  lay-off clause in the contract?

The Coronavirus Retention Scheme is still subject to current UK Employment Law. This means that if you do not have a lay-off clause contract you will need to negotiate with staff to add an additional lay-off term.

At the moment, many staff are agreeing to the term but you cannot force them to do so.

It is important to note that any amendment to the terms of employment should be done in writing.

Choosing who to furlough

If all staff are not subject to lay-off it is important that you have a clear and transparent selection criteria for who will be laid-off.

Employers should be careful not to discriminate on the against staff on the grounds of 

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Pregnancy or Maternity
  • Religion or belief
  • Disability

We hope that you have found this information useful, Contact us at info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk  if you would like advice or help with documentation for furlough or any other HR matter. 

Questions & Answers on Managing Staff Who Isolate Due To Coronavirus

We are all aware of COVID-19, the Coronavirus which is spreading throughout the world. We are, also, all aware of the preventative measures which we all need to be thinking about and doing in order to help stop this disease from spreading further.

Therefore, we did not want to give you another generic blog post preaching about and reminding you of all the things that you’ve already heard and read.

Instead, we thought it would be much more useful for you all to have some practical steps about what to do in your business in relation to COVID-19.

Question

What should I do if a member of my staff cannot attend work because their child’s school is closed and they do not have childcare?

Answer

Just because your business is staying open and your staff are well and have not been told to self-isolate, their children’s schools or childminders may decide to close, perhaps for a deep-clean, which means that some of your staff have no childcare and, therefore, might be unable to work.

You are under no obligation to pay staff who are unable to attend work but it might be a good idea to think about what staff could do if they have no childcare.

Perhaps think about allowing staff to arrive later at work, work from home or make up their hours on another occasion, and perhaps even allow them to bring their children into work. Of course, you need to ensure that the child in question is well and also not showing any signs of illness. They also need to be aged over 8 years old for insurance purposes. Allowing children into the workplace is a great way to give some educational, interactive and inspiring experiences to school-aged children, and also takes the pressure off their parents a bit as well.

Get the children involved in simple tasks and keep their minds occupied. But make sure that your insurance covers you when children are in the workplace.

Parent’s are also entitled to take parental leave which is unpaid leave to look after children.

Question

What should I do if a member of my staff has not been informed to do so by NHS 111 or their GP but still chooses to self-isolate?

Answer

If a member of staff is showing no signs of illness and has not been advised to self-isolate by a medic, but they still CHOOSE to self-isolate, you are under no obligation to pay that staff member.

However, it is good practice to allow the member of staff to take annual leave or unpaid leave or have alternative working arrangements.

Question

If I choose to close my business down for a period of time, do I still have to pay my staff?

Answer

You are under a legal obligation to provide work for permanent staff (unless you have a lay-off clause in your contract).

If you feel it necessary to close your business premises then, if possible, you could ask your staff to work from home or another location in order for you to not have to close down completely.

If you do not have a lay-off clause and you are unable to offer home-working or provide any work then you will still be required to pay your staff their normal wage or salary.

You can also force your staff to take annual leave. However, we strongly recommend against this unless it is absolutely necessary and you must give them 2 days notice for every day you want them to take off. Of course, you could ask your staff if they would prefer to take annual leave but we would recommend that they be the one to make that decision.

Question

What is the current legislation in relation to Statutory Sick Pay and Coronavuris?

Answer

Last week, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will be initiating emergency legislation in relation to Sick Pay.

It is proposed that the new Law will allow staff who self isolate to reduce the spread of Coronavirus to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day 1 of isolation.

Although this is emergency legislation, it could still take up to 3 months to come into effect.

Currently, staff who are unwell and earn on average at least £118 per week are only entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from day 4 of illness.

Employers are encouraged to pay Statutory Sick Pay to staff who self-isolate even though the law only applies to staff who are unable to work due to illness (or medical recommendation) and not those who self-isolate by choice.

Do you have more questions?

For further advice and guidance in relation to staff and Coronavirus or any other Employment Law query, contact us on 01634 564 136 or email us at info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

What Do I Need to Know Before Taking on An Unpaid Intern?

As a nation, we are more qualified than ever before. Higher education and apprenticeships have increased and yet employers are still complaining about a skills shortage. 

Whilst qualifications are important, there is no substitute for on the job experience. That is where we learn how to put what we have learnt into practice, it’s also where we build upon our soft skills.

With this in mind, it is not surprising to see more people both young and old wanting to do unpaid internships and work experience.

There are other benefits to employers In addition to a feeling of fulfilling your corporate sense of social responsibility.

Taking on an intern or volunteer can give an employer an opportunity to assess whether their processes are working. This is done by testing whether a person outside of the company can follow your instructions.

It is an opportunity to learn and get fresh ideas from your intern and you may even find a suitable candidate for future employment.

From an Employment Law perspective, there are some do’s and don’ts which are listed below.

 

DO

  1. Ask volunteers, interns and work experience candidates to sign a volunteers agreement. This will set out the level of expectation between you and the volunteer.
  2. Take information from the intern which you may need for health and safety. This includes next of Kin details, Allergy information and Health complications or illnesses.
  3. Give your volunteer lots of support, introduce them to staff and assign a dedicated mentor

 

DON’T

  1. Promise to offer them a job before or during the placement. If you tell an intern that they will get a job they will be entitled to the minimum wage for the duration of the placement.  That being said, you may decide to offer the intern a job once the placement has been completed.
  2. Pay for anything which is not an expense. You can pay for travel but you should be able to show receipts are equal to the payment. If you pay more than the expenses are worth you may find that you are liable for minimum wage for the duration of the placement.
  3. Leave your intern to do work which is unsupervised. Try to remember that they are there to learn and to shadow others.

If you would like advice about hiring an intern or any other Employment Law or HR matter feel free to contact us via our website at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

 

Planning for changes in Employment Law for 2020

2020 is another year of changes to the world of employment law and HR. In this blog, we are talking about some of the changes that we know are already going to happen, and, of course, that much discussed and debated subject that is Brexit.

Written Statement of Terms and Conditions (Contracts)

First up, we have the Written Statement of Terms and Conditions, also known as a Contract.

Currently, an employer has up to eight weeks to supply Terms and Conditions of Employment to all employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month.

From 6th April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a Statement of Written Particulars from their first day of employment. Additional information will also need to be included as part of this new extended right.

Employers will need to prepare for this change during their recruitment process and have the Employment Contract sent to their chosen candidate before ‘day one’ of employment.

Employers will also need to consider who will qualify as a worker, and issue Employment Contracts to employees whilst using a separate template when issuing particulars for workers.

 

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

There is currently no law regarding bereavement leave and pay for parents.

The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 is due to come into force in April 2020. However, this has not yet been confirmed.

If it does come into force, parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 years or a stillbirth after 24 weeks’ of pregnancy, will have the right to two weeks’ bereavement leave and, in some cases, pay.

We have not yet received any details of the new entitlement or those who will qualify and these will be set out in separate regulations.

However, we do know that bereaved parents will be entitled to take this leave in one two-week block or in two separate blocks of one week and that the leave must be taken before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death.

Bereaved parents who have been continuously employed for a minimum of 26 weeks will also be entitled to receive Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay. Parents with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to take two weeks’ of unpaid leave.

 

Agency Worker Rights

There are three important changes to Agency Worker Rights which will come into effect on 6th April 2020: –

  • Currently, the Agency Worker Regulations 2010 entitles agency workers to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct employees once they have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service working in the same role.

Under the Swedish Derogation (sometimes referred to as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts), agency workers are able to agree to a contract which removes this right.

From 6th April 2020, the Swedish Derogation will be abolished and these contracts will no longer be permissible. All agency workers, after 12 weeks’ continuous service, will be entitled to the same rate of pay as their permanent coworkers;

  • From 6th April 2020, all agency workers will be entitled to receive a Key Information Statement which sets out more clearly what their employment relationship is and the terms and conditions with their agency;
  • From 6th April 2020, all agency workers who are considered as employees will be protected from unfair dismissal and/or suffering a detriment if the reasons are in relation to asserting rights linked to The Agency Worker Regulations 2010.

 

Holiday Pay Calculations

The current way to calculate holiday pay can be complicated, especially for those employees with variable hours and variable rates of pay. The current holiday pay reference period is 12 weeks.

From 6th April 2020, this holiday pay reference period will increase to 52 weeks, meaning that employers will need to look at the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay (disregarding any weeks when the worker did not work or where no payment was received) in order to calculate the average weekly pay.

 

National Minimum Wage Amounts

National Minimum and Living Wage amounts always change in April of each year and 2020 is no different.

The current rates are as follows: –

Age Rate

25 years and over £8.21

21 to 24 years £7.70

18 to 20 years £6.15

Under 18 years £4.35

Apprentice £3.90

From 6th April 2020, these rates will change, as follows: –

Age Rate

25 years and over £8.72

21 to 24 years £8.20

18 to 20 years £6.45

Under 18 years £4.55

Apprentice £4.15

 

Brexit

First of all, we all know that the UK is due to leave the European Union at midnight on Friday 31st January and when this happens, it is likely to bring about changes to the way the employment law world works, although any changes are unlikely to happen straight away. However, businesses will still need to be prepared.

At the moment, existing legislation and case law still applies and will continue to do so until new legislation is brought in.

Whether or not the UK is able to withdraw from current EU legislation and requirements will, ultimately, depend on the UK’s relationship with the EU and other countries. It is possible that trade agreements with other countries will be based upon some if not all, current EU employment legislation.

Any changes that do come into force will not necessarily be immediate or even significant, for the following reasons: –

  • A lot of EU employment law is based on UK legislation, meaning these will remain in place until amended;
  • Many UK employment rights, such as National Minimum Wage Amounts and unfair dismissal rights, do not arise from EU legislation.
  • In many other cases, UK legislation provides protection which far exceeds the EU minimum, for example, maternity leave and the right to 5.6 weeks’ holiday (EU law states a four-week minimum).
  • Changes to primary legislation need the approval of Parliament, and so the Government at the time of any changes will need to consider whether any amendments are politically favourable.

If you have any questions or queries about anything in this blog, or if there is anything employment law or HR related that you need help with, please get in touch with us by emailing info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk 

Hiring a self-employed Freelancer

When thinking of getting some additional help from a freelancer to help with a big
project, a little planning will help to avoid any problems that may crop up.
The first thing to think about is that hiring a self-employed freelancer means that some
employment legislation that normally applies to UK workers (National Minimum
Wage, Working Time Regulations etc) don’t apply to genuine freelancers and quite often a freelancer will set their own rate of pay.

It is very important to find out exactly what the freelancer’s employment status is before you start signing them up – you don’t want to be neglecting their worker rights.
Be clear with them from the very start – explain exactly what it is that you need
them for. How long will the work take? Will there be an ongoing requirement for the
job, or is it a one-off? Will they need to work in your office or can they work
remotely?

Be specific, honest and clear about your needs.
Also, make sure that you listen to the freelancer’s needs as well. They may have
their own ideas that you, your business and the project in question could really
benefit from.
Put it in writing
Once you’ve found the right person, it’s important that you get the right paperwork
in place. Having a contract drawn up and signed means that both you and the
freelancer are legally protected should things go wrong at any point.
What would happen if you paid the freelancer half of the cost of the project upfront,
but then the freelancer disappears?  If you have a contract then they can still be held
legally accountable. It can be very risky for small businesses and freelancers to work
without a contract in place, so it is very important to have a signed agreement in
place before any work begins or money changes hands.
Finally, make sure you communicate with the freelancer during the project. Schedule
regular meetings, ask how they’re finding the work and discuss any ideas the two of
you may have about improving the project. It’s important not to come across as
overbearing and to show the freelancer that you trust them to work independently,
but communication is important.
Practicalities of Working with a Freelancer
Once you have chosen the person that you wish to work with, you need to ensure
that you do not treat them as anything other than a self-employed contractor. If you
do otherwise, you could be liable for worker rights etc.
To ensure that the contract is one of the services provided, make sure that the following
is undertaken: –
1. The Agreement between you and the Freelancer should specify that they are
self-employed;2. In an ideal world the Freelancer will have their own limited company;
3. The Agreement should state how much the Freelancer will be paid;
4. The Freelancer should invoice you after the completion of the services
provided;
5. The Freelancer should be able to subcontract work to other people with the
relevant skills, qualifications and insurance. However, they should not do this
without your prior written consent, which should not be unreasonably
withheld;
6. The Freelancer should provide evidence of indemnity and insurance for the
services which they will provide;7. Try not to fall into the trap of treating the freelancer as an employee, e.g. do
not pay holiday pay, sick pay or give a bonus;
8. The Freelancer should be able to do work for other businesses.

For more help and advice with self-employed Freelancers contact us at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Getting ready for Autumn

October is almost upon us (yes, it really is!) and so now is a good time to start
preparing for the colder months. We have a few hints and tips for you for coping
with the colder weather: –
Adverse Weather
It happens every year. Snow, ice, frost and fallen trees can cause havoc on our
roads and also on public transport, so much so that you could have staff who are
late to work or even unable to make it in at all because of the winter weather.
You are under no obligation to pay staff who are unable to attend work, but it is
always a good idea to put things in place which allow your staff to maintain pay and
also for your business to continue to function.
Think about allowing staff to arrive later at work, work from home or make up their
hours on another occasion.
If you do decide to pay staff who cannot attend work, ensure that they are told that
it is an act of goodwill and is not intended to be contractual.
School Closures
The weather is also a factor when it comes to schools and sometimes, even if staff
can travel, their children’s schools may decide to close, meaning that staff have no
childcare and, therefore, might be unable to get into work.
Again, you are under no obligation to pay staff who are unable to attend work but it
might be a good idea to think about what staff could do if they have no childcare.
As above, think about allowing staff to arrive later at work, work from home or make
up their hours on another occasion, and perhaps even allow them to bring their
children into work (as long as they are aged between 8 and 16 years old). This is
also a great way to give some educational, interactive and inspiring experiences to
school-aged children, and also takes the pressure off their parents a bit as well.
Get the children involved in simple tasks and keep their minds occupied. But make
sure that your insurance covers you when children are in the workplace.
Staff Sickness
Coughs, colds, sniffles and maybe even the flu are inevitable at this time of year,
and this can mean that businesses experience higher absence levels than normal.
October, November and December are the perfect months to promote good hygiene
in the workplace Provide your staff with hand sanitisers, sweet-smelling
antibacterial soaps, telephone and keyboard wipes to help reduce germs spreading
and to keep staff healthier for longer.
Now is also the perfect time to review your sickness policy and remind employees
who, how and when they should contact work if they are sick.
Annual Leave Reminders
Some businesses have their holiday year starting on 1st January and ending on 31st
December. If this is the case for your business, now is the perfect time to remind
staff about their unused annual holiday allowance.
You do not have to allow staff to roll over their unused holiday into the next year
unless there are exceptional circumstances such as maternity leave or illness.
Remind staff that unless they use up their holiday entitlement, it will not roll over
into 2020. As the saying goes, use it or lose it.
And believe it or not, you are also able to refuse holiday if it is not a convenient time
for your business or if there are too many staff off.
That being said though, it is good to give staff time to rest so you should be
reasonable when receiving holiday requests.
Many employers are also unaware that they can impose annual leave. So if your
business has a down period or if your staff have unused holiday you can simply give
them a day off. Remember to give notice though.
Halloween
Festivities
With October comes Halloween, and one of the associated acts of Halloween is
dressing up as ghosts and ghouls and maybe even a few clowns. Some businesses
even use dressing up as a motivating factor.
In a similar vein to dress-down Fridays or dressing up for Children in Need,
managers still need to set some expectations of what is and isn’t considered
appropriate behaviour if they are going to facilitate a dressing up day.
In particular, employees should be reminded that Halloween is not an excuse to
cause an offence.
A few years back Tesco and Asda withdrew two Halloween outfits from its shelves as
they were named ‘Mental patient’ and ‘Psycho Ward’. The outfits were seen as
offensive to those with mental illness and so Tesco and Asda donated £25,000 to
Time to Change.
Outfits such as these could give rise to a discrimination and harassment claim and as
an employer, you would be liable.
It isn’t sufficient to simply tell your staff not to wear outfits which might cause
offence. You should give your employees examples of scenarios of acts or clothing
which may be considered harassment or discriminatory.
You may want to tell your staff about tribunal cases surrounding fancy dress so that
they see what consequences could arise from their actions.
Also, remember that not everyone celebrates Halloween, so you need to be mindful
to not exclude or discriminate against any staff members.
Trick or Treat?
Another common action during Halloween are pranks and the trick or treat custom.
Whilst no employer wants to be the grim reaper of fun, you need to take care to
ensure that staff do not feel threatened or intimidated by the acts or behaviour
around them.
That being said, employers should be aware that they need to strike a balance. It
has been known for a pagan employee to bring a discrimination claim against their
boss for not taking Halloween as seriously as other beliefs. In 2011, there was in
excess of 50,000 people in the UK who identified themselves of pagan.
If you would like any other information on things to deal with in the run-up to
winter, drop us an email at
info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

The Pro’s and Con’s of using HR Software

Have you ever wondered what an Online HR Information System is? Or why it could
be beneficial to use one?
Well, put simply, a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is an online
software solution for data entry, data tracking and data information for the Human
Resource department of a business, including payroll, management and accounting
functions. It is an incredibly useful tool for all processes that a business wants or
needs in order to track and from which to gather useful and purposeful data.
As your business grows, you may find that managing your business’s human
resources can become more and more complicated as the number of employees increases.
In a lot of businesses, the HR person or department often face a dilemma with managers
wanting to be able to improve the overall work environment for employees but also
needing the time to be able to deal with the paperwork and routine administrative
tasks that come with the job.
To address these routine tasks, many businesses will use a Human Resource
Information System (HRIS) to help improve productivity.

Benefits To The Employer

There are many different benefits to using an HRIS, for both employer and
employee. These include: –
Faster Integration
With many businesses growing rapidly, it is obvious that new employees are
required. But with new employees comes more employee integration into the
business, and this can mean that many, many hours are eaten up with paperwork
and processes and administrative tasks, simply to get that employee up and running.
By using an HRIS, the integration process can be a more efficient and consistent
one. Such a system provides easy access to training materials and handbooks for
new employees, and employee information can be stored in one convenient, easy-
to-access place.
Access To Information
How often do you or your HR team need to access employee information? We can
imagine that this is a fairly regular need and if you keep employee records in a well-
organised filing cabinet in the office then this won’t necessarily take up vast amounts
of time. However, if your files are kept in a storage room, or a highly disorganised
filing cabinet, you could be losing hours and hours of productivity. Your files are also
at a high risk of being lost or compromised.
An HRIS system can eliminate paper and turn all of your employee records into
easy-to-access online data, which can then be retrieved by anyone with the correct
authorisation.
Recurring Tasks
Many businesses will have various different tasks that recur on a regular basis and
which could be easily automated by the right HRIS.
For example, by automating your payroll system with your HRIS, you can take back
hours of work for your HR department.
Tasks such as holiday requests and employee time management can also be
approved or denied automatically, saving even more hours for your team.
Employee Tracking
Your business will always run more smoothly when you know who is working where
and who is unaccounted for.
An HRIS will allow your HR team to know exactly where your employees are in case
they are needed or if there is an emergency.

Benefits for the Employee

An HRIS id not only a benefit to your HR department. Your employees also
get added benefits and a more flexible work environment.
Quicker Access to Information
Employee self-service is on the rise within a lot of businesses at the moment. But, of
course, employees will always have questions about the terms and conditions of
their employment, salaries, holiday and other types leave, and many more things.
This means that your HR department will always be busy answering these questions
for each and every employee in your business.
The correct HRIS will provide a better employee self-service and, thus, higher
employee satisfaction.
Of course, with pros also come cons, and online Human Resource Information
Systems are no different.

Cons Of Using an HR Information System

High cost
Most people are pleasantly surprised to find that HRIS is not very costly. Although there is a cost attached it does save you and your business money in the long-
run.
Not all HRIS’ are perfect for all businesses
There are also many different systems available, all offering different solutions to
different problems and they may not always be the best fit for your business. This
can mean changing systems until you find the right one for your business
Therefore, if your business is lacking in sufficient upfront funds, this can prove to be
difficult to achieve.
Impersonal
Some businesses may see an HRIS as very impersonal and may decide to stick to
the traditional way of doing things.
Of course, this may be an issue and we would, therefore, suggest having regular
meetings or catch-ups to ensure that you keep the personal side of things going.
Perhaps hold a monthly staff meeting to find out if any employees have anything on
their minds, or if they have any suggestions to help the business move forward
further.
Wellbeing meetings are always a good idea as well. The purpose of these
meetings, held individually, is to ensure that each employee is happy and there are
not any issues that need to be dealt with.

Summary

The benefits of having a Human Resource Information System are vast for both your
HR team and the rest of your employees.
You need to make sure that you choose the right system for your business and once
you have done so, you will save both time and money, as well as provide a cutting
edge work environment that your entire team will benefit from. We are happy to say that both we and many of our clients are already using an online HRIS and we absolutely love the simplicity of it.
We sell a system provided by Breathe HR which is available as part of our packages
or stand-alone. If you would like any more information, contact us at
info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

How hot is too for work? Keeping work going during Summer.

Summer is here and the sun is shining brightly. But it’s still business as usual for all of us and that means knowing how to cope in the hot weather when we still need to be working inside.

We have a few hints and tips for you for dealing with the working environment during the summer months: –

Office temperatures

There is no law for there to be a minimum or maximum working temperature in a workspace (i.e. if it is too cold or too hot to work).

However, during working hours, the temperature in all indoor workspaces must be reasonable. Guidance suggests a minimum of 16ºC (or 13ºC if employees are doing physical work).

There is no guidance for a maximum temperature limit within a workspace but employers must adhere to the laws contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, including: –

  • keeping the temperature at a comfortable level; and

  • providing clean and fresh air.

Ask your staff to talk to you if they feel the workspace temperature isn’t comfortable.

Dress code

We know that sometimes it’s important for your staff to wear a suit and tie or formal attire for business meetings. But when your staff are simply in the office, allow them to remove these and cool down a bit. Perhaps suggest to staff that they wear natural fibres and light colours to avoid attracting the heat so much.

Ice, ice and more ice

If you have a freezer, keep it stocked with ice cubes and ice lollies for your staff. If you don’t have one, perhaps think about investing in a small one specifically for this reason.

Fresh fruit

Although your staff may still want to munch on cakes and cookies, keep a selection of fruit in the fridge as well, in case they want something fresh and cool instead.

Drinks

Hydration is important for the mind as well as the body. A well-hydrated employee is likely to be more productive. Keep a selection of different fruit juices and squashes in the kitchen for a nice cool, refreshing drink for your staff.

Cool breeze

It might sound counter-productive but instead of having all the windows and doors open, keep them closed, pull the blinds or curtains and put the air conditioning or fan on. The closed windows and doors will prevent the hot air seeping in and the closed blinds or curtains will keep the direct sunlight out.

Outdoor meetings

Instead of holding your staff meetings in a stuffy, uncomfortable office, head into the garden or over to the park instead. Staff will enjoy sitting outside in the sun (or shade) and will appreciate a break from the office.

Picnics

Perhaps think about having a weekly or fortnightly staff picnic outside. This will help boost morale and get staff socialising and relaxing.

Summer hols

Remember that with the summer months also comes the summer holidays for parents. Juggling childcare with work can be a stressful time for parents. Think about allowing staff to work from home or do flexi hours so that they can still work but look after the kids at the same time.

Some businesses start the business day an hour earlier to allow for an earlier finish but be mindful of this if it is not in your contract.

Bring your child to work day(s)

With the above in mind, if you have staff members who have children aged between 8 and 16 years old, why not allow your staff to bring their children into work for a few days throughout the summer holidays? It’s a great way to give some educational, interactive and inspiring experiences to school-aged children, and also takes the pressure off their parents a bit as well.

Get the children involved in simple tasks and keep their minds occupied. But make sure that your insurance covers you when children are in the workplace.

Summer break

Unless it’s essential for business reasons, don’t reject staff holiday requests unless it’s absolutely necessary. Everyone needs a holiday and will always be more productive once they’ve had a break.

If you would like any further tips or guidance on dealing with the working environment during the summer months, drop us an email to info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

Did you know we have over 30 blogs on our website? Visit http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk to read a few more.

Work Experience with Orchard Employment Law – By David Nagy

At first, I was a bit nervous coming into work experience, I did not know what the people were going to be like, I didn’t know what the environment will be like. Knowing that I would be going into an office I expected to enter into a quite strict environment as it is an office at the end of the day. I expected it to be a quiet and calm place where people can get their work done nicely.

However, I was wrong. The people here are really nice and the place is really nice and enjoyable. I did not expect this place to be a co-working area so I did not expect it to be what it really is. However, I am happy that it is like this because I can socialise with everyone here because they are really friendly and kind. The place, in general, is really nice and I like the style of it. The fake grass area and then the kitchen and lunch area. This all adds up to a nice co-working area where we can all get our work done.

We do have trips here and there, for example, I didn’t expect this either. I did not expect to go on trips like going to radio shows, networking and training sessions that Jemma runs. This is all a great addition to work experience because this gives an insight into how a smaller business works and how to market your business as this is something I am interested in doing in the future.

I now understand more about Employment Law and how it works and what will be taking part next year. I now understand more about employment contracts, National minimum wage, auto enrolments, and HR. This is a really good experience for me as I have a better insight into what the future will look like for me when I start up my own business.

The entire thing is not what I expected. But this is a good thing. This is something I could have wished for as work experience because I get to have a good time and do some business work as well. At first, I was a bit nervous to talk to some people and just to be here in general. Now I feel much more confident in being here and talking to everyone in fact. People here are really kind which makes it a good environment to do my work experience.

I really enjoy the lunch breaks that we have here at the office, this is because we get to have a break from work and just have a nice chat with everyone who decides to join in and it is just some good fun. We usually sit down at the couches and eat our food while having a nice chat and then go back to the office’s and do some more work until the day is finished.

The trips that the work experience has to offer is a really good addition because I get to see what goes on behind the scenes while owning and managing a smaller business. I now understand how I can get my name around the area and get some people to check out what I would have to offer and maybe get some clients in the meantime.

We also looked at my CV, Jemma had a look at my CV and told me what’s good about it and what could be improved from an employers point of view. This was helpful and good because now I could improve my CV so I have a better chance of an employer looking at that and it sticking out so they would want to contact me.

My work experience here is really good and helpful for me as I take Business class in school, so this just further enables me to get higher grades in school.

On the 3 of July, I joined Jemma on her training session that she holds on about once or twice a month. While at the session I got to see how one of these training sessions works and what goes on during the session. This adds up to the experience of how the whole thing works.

The radio show was amazing. A new experience that was really fun, I have never experienced something like this before. It was a lot of fun and was interesting. We had a laugh and talked about business, the things that you hate the most in the business industry and at last, I interviewed Roland about Dragon Co-Working. This was good as well as we all got to learn a bit more about Dragon and why he has started it up in the first place.

You can come and listen to future radio shows at www.channelradio.co.uk/two

You can also go to that website and download and listen to our radio show with Me, Jemma and Roland.

Supporting Mature Employees in the Workplace

This month, Jemma and Lucy attended a roundtable discussion hosted by CXK to discuss the importance of supporting older workers and the free services which CXK and the National Careers Service offer, including information, advice and guidance to help businesses to retain, retrain and recruit older workers.

CXK is a charity that delivers a range of services to empower young people and adults across the South-East to build the skills and confidence they need to move into education, employment or training.

We learnt a lot on the day and were pleased to be able to add to our knowledge base.

Did You Know

The average person aged 25-34 years will only stay in a job for 2.8 years and the average person aged 35-44 years will stay in a job for 4.9 years.

But the average person aged 55-64 will stay in the same job for 10.1 years. This is more than three times that of a younger worker.

The “Older Employee” is considered to be more experienced, more dedicated, more motivated and more eager to learn than those of the younger generation.

Older employees value having a job that gives them meaningful work and social interaction. With most of their financial commitments behind them, older employees choose to work because they want to, not just because they have to.

However, evidence shows that a high proportion of people aged 50 and over who left the workforce in the last eight years have done so due to factors that are likely to have pushed them out against their will. The main reasons for this are health, caring responsibilities, lack of skills and redundancy.

Twenty per cent of older employees are support-carers for their elderly parents or disabled children. However, it is felt that support from employers is inadequate and needs significant improvement.

It should also be noted that the Law protects carers from direct discrimination or harassment if they are treated less favourably because of their caring responsibilities. This is because carers are counted as being ‘associated’ with someone who is protected by the Law because of their age or disability under the Equality Act 2010.

By the time a person reaches age 55-59 years, nearly 40% of those in work want to reduce their working hours compared to just 7.7% who wish to increase them.

And a lack of skills can also be a hindrance to a person working longer.

With fewer young people than ever deciding to venture into the labour market, the older generation will represent an increasingly significant proportion of the workforce in the near future.

Employers, therefore, will need to rely on the skills and experience of older workers if they want to remain competitive, increase productivity and growth, and avoid skills shortages in the future.

How are you supporting the older workforce?

Older workers are fundamental to the future of successful businesses.

Businesses can benefit from retaining, retraining and recruiting older workers through: –

  • Increased staff loyalty and retention;

  • Improved productivity;

  • A workforce which reflects their demographics in terms of customer satisfaction;

  • A wide range of skills, ideas, experiences and ways of thinking which come with the older generation;

  • Reduced recruitment costs – the average cost of recruiting and training a new member of staff is estimated to be at least £4,000.

CXK and the National Careers Service offer a FREE service which supports employers and their staff in order to retain, retrain and recruit the older generation.

For more information, visit www.cxk.org