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S3 HR Newsletter September 2021


Have workers on furlough? You’ll need to know how the furlough scheme is changing 

In May, the Government announced the furlough scheme would be extended to 30th September 2021.

Both Boris and Rishi had said that there will be no further extensions, as it is the Government view that most workers will be able to return to work after ‘Freedom Day’ on the 19th July.  

What do the new changes look like? 

  • Workers will continue to receive 80% of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,500, until 30th September 
  • From July 1st, you’ll need to pay 10% and the government will pay 70% 
  • In August and September, you’ll need to pay 20% and the government will pay 60% 

The furlough scheme has acted as a lifeline for many, saving jobs while businesses have either closed or run at a reduced capacity. The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard, with large events like weddings cancelled or postponed, and there’s been a huge decline in travel. 

Business groups have called to have the scheme extended for the hardest hit industries, to prevent job loss, but it now looks unlikely. 

What happens when furlough ends? 

You’ll need to pay 100% of your team’s wages and you’ll need to understand where that might leave you as a business. 

If you’re at all worried about this, get in touch to discuss the options that are available to you.

 

Latest HR news

Do you offer ‘good’ work? 

The CIPD’s annual Good Work Index report was published last month. It found that job quality is falling short on several measures within the UK. 

A quarter of workers say that their work is bad for their physical or mental health. The same figure reported a poor work/life balance, with 30% of workers admitting to having an unmanageable workload. 

As a result, employers are urged to act now to improve job quality. 

What could you do to ensure job quality is good throughout your business? 

  1. Make wellbeing high on your agenda

Do you have any wellbeing or mental health initiatives in your workplace? Would your employees be comfortable to come to you with a problem? How can you make it easier for them to do so? 

  1. Monitor staff workloads

Are people taking on too much? What are the reasons for this? You should also consider whether everyone in the business has been given the same opportunity for development and progression.

Changes to employment contracts 

You must now give employees and workers the principal statement on the first day of their employment and the wider written statement within 2 months of the start of employment. 

The principal statement provides the employee with all of the contractual information about their employment, such as pay, hours of work and holiday entitlement. 

The wider written statement includes information about pensions, non-compulsory training and disciplinary / grievance procedures. 

Do you have to give your employees time off to get their vaccine? 

Although there is no legal obligation for your business to allow employees time off for medical appointments, the seriousness of the pandemic may mean that the implied term of trust and confidence is applicable. This applies to every term of contract and places an obligation on both employer and employee not to act in a way that would destroy or seriously damage the relationship. 

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees and allowing them to be vaccinated could arguably fall under this category too, especially for people who are customer facing. 

‘Microbreaks’ are down 95% since working from home

A new study claims that your team aren’t taking enough ‘microbreaks’ while working from home. 

This can increase stress, make them less productive and be more prone to ‘burn-out’.

Perhaps arrange a virtual break room? Or if you’re looking to encourage movement, perhaps set a team challenge – a group goal of walking or running 25 miles in a week, for example. 

It’s also worth a quick reminder to your people of what breaks they should be taking each day, so they’re clear you actively encourage it! 

 

 

Returning to the office with a hybrid team?

Here are 4 things to get right:

It goes without saying that the pandemic has created the greatest workplace transformation of our lifetime, quickly changing the way you and your team work. 

Even though the office has opened up again, you may decide to offer employees the choice to continue working from home, in the office, or a mixture of both – creating a new type of hybrid workforce. 

Here are 4 tips to creating a successful hybrid workforce: 

  1. Create a hybrid working policy 

With any sort of change, there are always lots of unanswered questions. You’ll need to create a hybrid working policy to answer them. This is all about setting expectations to help protect you, your business and your relationship with your employees. 

  1. Make sure you’re treating employees fairly

Make it clear to everyone that, although they may be working away from the office, they are still very much in your mind and will be considered for all of the usual things, such as projects, promotions, or additional roles as they would normally be. 

  1. Rethink how you manage performance 

Instead of measuring ‘time’ spent in the office, you may want to reconsider the metrics you’re using to measure employee performance. Use the following instead: 

  • Business outcomes  
  • Employee behaviours  
  • Important activities
  1. Focus on team happiness

Just because people are working away from the office, don’t forget to do the things that you would do if they were in the office. It’s not ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Check in with your team regularly. Make sure you have wellness or mental health initiatives in place and arrange social activities. 

 

Your HR questions answered

Q: I now have part-time staff. How do I calculate their holiday entitlement? 

A: Holiday allowances can be confusing when you have lots of staff all working different hours. Getting it wrong can make you look unprofessional, so we always recommend using good software. This allows you to enter individual hours and it works it all out for you. Better still, many programs let staff make requests for time off and keep track of remaining hours to take. There are lots of different ones available and many offer free trials.

Q: How do I get rid of someone who is underperforming? 

A: Before you make any snap decisions, you should make sure you’ve given your employee the chance to improve. Work on performance management and let your employee know exactly what is expected of them. Create a new set of metrics that they must meet in order to improve and ensure they have access to any necessary training. If you still have a problem after these steps are taken, consult an HR professional to ensure you follow the correct procedures.

Q: An employee has just told me she’s pregnant. What do I need to do? 

A: While this is great news, it does mean a little extra work for you. First and foremost, a positive reaction from you is vital. Get all of the necessary information, such as due date and expected maternity leave dates, as well as any antenatal appointments. You will need to undertake a health and safety assessment for your expectant employee to ensure working conditions are suitable. You should also ensure that they know your company’s maternity policy. 

Do you need to talk to a HR consultant?  

Do you have a potential HR problem that could easily get out of hand? Or could your HR support be more proactive? 

We’d love to help. We’re currently taking on new clients so, if you think we might be a good fit, let’s arrange a call for an initial (no-obligation) chat. Simply call; 01709 640 013 or email; Hello@s3hr.co.uk to book an appointment.

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