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Good morning everybody, hello, and welcome to today's webinar. Today is Wednesday, the 2nd of April, it's 1100 hours, and we're going to talk about lots of legislation changes that are coming in, and also some trends as well that we're seeing on our advice line. I'm Amanda Chadwick; I'm a senior speaker at Peninsula business services limited over in Manchester. And we currently help and integrate ourselves with 28,000 clients throughout the UK, helping them with employment law, HR issues, and also police assistance programs.So let's get cracking, because this is a jam-packed webinar on legislation changes.So the trends we see at the moment are advice line, flexible working hours because we have the change coming in on the 30th of June, which I will talk about shortly. We're seeing calls made from businesses that are concerned about people using their mobile phone both personally and for work use in the work place and how to use mobile phone policies in, and what can they say and what they can't do, and just a top tip here: just be careful if you've tracking devices on there, you track your stuff, you make sure you put it in the contract. Data protection issue here. Remember, you can have what you want in your contract as long as it's reasonable. So for sure, make sure you can say to somebody, “Don't use your mobile phone at work,” but have a written rule for that. Social networking, lots of calls on social networking, internet policies, and make sure you look at your business needs and what's required by your business when you write these policies. Other questions: IPods. IPods in the workplace, people using them, health and safety risk, have something written down. People are asking us about search policies and searching the staff. Drugs and alcohol and always, always, even from the most experienced HR expert on disciplinary procedures as well. “Are we doing it the right way? Are we going down the right route? Should we do this, should we do that?” Capability sickness absence, we're going to cover that again, because the government's got a major focus on that. Zero Hour, because of its cable, we're going to talk about that, and also pensions which we're going to cover as well. These are trends and conversations that we're having on our advice line from our client's questions, but also at our seminars as well. So the first thing to talk about really is the flexible working right. And before I even talk about the slide here, do not be frightened with the new requests that are going to come in on the 30th of June, do not be worried about it. Remember this: there's a procedure to follow. It might be a good idea to remind your staff of that procedure. And remember, when someone says, “Can I work flexible hours?” Remember to document everything, tell them to apply in writing; they have to put their case forward. You respond in writing and keep a note of all these letters that you're writing. This is your defence if somebody says they didn't consider that request. Remember, the new date has been announced with the implementation of the extension to flexible working after implementation was postponed earlier this year. The extension will now take effect from Monday the 30th of June, 2014. What this means for you, really, is from the 30th of June, 2014, almost all eligibility criteria for making a request for flexible working will be removed. As long as the employee has 20-week service at the date of the request, and there's not made a statuary request within the previous twelve months, they will be able to make a statuary request to adjust their working pattern. The employee will no longer need to be apparent or have any care and responsibilities to make a request. And the request can be made for any reason. It does not have to be in relation to a child or other dependents, so remember that as an employer. Now, I know a lot of business owners that will not keep up to date with legislation. Somebody will go up to them and say, “Look, I want to do flexible hours.” And just go, “are you joking? You haven't got any kids?” They're just not keeping up to date with it. I'm warning you now, keep up to date, know that they have the right from the 30th of June, know there's a particularly to follow, tell them to put the request in writing, consider that request in writing, and then what you need to consider is the impact in morale on your business anyway. So what I would say to is definitely look at other avenues of work. It may that you want to do a job share night work as part time work, mobile work, the choice is yours. Don't just consider flexible working to be a part time job, there's all sorts of other stuff people can do. Remember though, if you agree to flexible working, you may have to change somebody's statement of main terms, and make sure you do. The amount of companies I walk into to assist, they turn round, and then they've actually made the change years earlier, but they haven't actually reflected that in the Terms and Conditions. So, we now look at the national minimum wage. It has been announced that it will increase in 2014. The government has confirmed the increase is to the national minimum wage to take effect from October of 2014, right. What I would say to any employers listening to me, if you've got friends in business to consider the wages that they're paying their staff at the minute. What you do not want is to leave your staff with no pay rise and the minimum wage takes over what you're paying your staff. To be very cautious about the wages you pay. You might want to do a check annually just to make sure you're spot-on. Okay. So these are the increases as follows:
- Age 21 and over, this is to increase from 6 pound 31 to 6 pound 50 per hour.
- Age 18 to 20, to increase from 5 pound 3 pence, to 5 pound, 13p per hour.
- Over compulsary school age to 70 to increase from 3 pounds 72, to 3 pounds 79 per hour.