Each week, Peninsula Business Services invite business owners, finance directors and senior management to take advantage of our national program of FREE Employment Law and Health & Safety Webinars. [avatar user="chadwicka" size="thumbnail" align="left" link="https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/blog/author/chadwicka/"] How up to date are you on the latest legislation for employment law? Do you know your contracts of employment from your exit interviews? In this webinar you can ask our HR expert, Amanda Chadwick, anything you like on employment law as she runs through the common problem areas for an employer. This webinar is for you to highlight any areas you have problems with - simply ask your questions upon registration and Amanda will use her extensive knowledge to answer your query and put your mind at ease. Contact Peninsula online for advice on this issue, or call us on 0844 892 2772 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Click Here for the Video Transcript:
Good morning everybody. Hello, welcome to today's webinar. This is Amanda Chadwick from Peninsula Business Services limited here, senior speaker, broadcaster and author of quite a lot of the documents, webinars, etc. that gets broadcast daily. Peninsula Business Services is based in Manchester head office, started on the back of a tribunal many years ago by our business owner. Still a private company, still family run, and currently helps around about 28,000 clients throughout the UK. Employers, managers, and HR deal with employment law problems, health and safety, and also support, advice and training, and employee assistance programs as well. I tried to cover everything there. Just to say, when I broadcast these webinars, I do the old-fashioned thing by saying to everybody "Please be quiet I'm about to broadcast!" and I'm just about to broadcast now so I've got everybody quiet so that I can broadcast live today to you on the 14th of April. This webinar today is quite an interesting one; we have not done one of these before. It's actually "Ask Amanda." So what we did is we sent out lots of invites and said to people "Ask us questions, ask me questions about employee law and I'll answer them." So these are just some of the questions that we had. Also, we had a really good question at the end about legislation so we've included legislation updates, as many as I can anyway, in this webinar for you as well. So, okay, the first question I had was: "Amanda I've been running a business for many years and most of my staff has been with me for over 10 years. I haven't got anything written down, I never have. I know I am lucky, but I have never had a problem with my staff. My accountant keeps telling me to get a contract but I'm scared that if I start putting things on paper, it's going to jinx everything. Where do I start? I don't want to lose my staff." So right, the first thing I'd like to say here is this is really common. I've been doing this job as a speaker for over 20 years and before webinars came in to fashion, and they've only just started coming into fashion, I used to do lots of face-to-face events which I still do. I'd meet business owners that came to my events every single day and they'd been running businesses for years, they didn't have contracts in place, they didn't know where to start. So the first thing I always said to people is firstly, please don't worry. Don't think that by putting things in place it's going to offend your staff. It's about knowing your staff; you know your staff better than I do. The last thing you want to do is offend the staff that has been with you for years. But, you do need to formalize stuff, you need to issue statements of main terms within eight weeks of employment and there are financial penalties if you don't. The other thing is if you end up in a Tribunal, you don't have written contracts in place, you're going to end up again with financial penalties so you need to get things in place. You've got rules anyway. You might not realize but there are probably rules in place already which are implied, things that you say about time-keep and etc. So just formalize everything that you've got. Don't lose the personality of your company when you start writing contracts. Retain the flavour of your company. Keep your staff informed, you know, you've have them there for years. I'll tell you what, to have a member staff for 10 years is an incredible accolade to you, you should have a medal for that for people who have been there for 10 years. Obviously you are doing something right. So the last thing you want to do is offend them so they walk out, so the best the you can do is keep them informed to say: "The law has dictated and overtaken my business and I know have to get contracts in place. I need to get you statement of main terms written down, I need to put some rules into place which work for you and work for me. We've already got them in place anyway we just haven't formalized them." So what we're looking for is a statement of main terms and an employee handbook. Remember, the statement of main terms is your employee's personal contractual terms. That's what's the work, how much they are getting paid, what their hours are, and that should be issued within eight weeks of employment anyway. The employment law handbook is your conditions of employment, you know, how they take their breaks, what they should and shouldn't be doing. If you are thinking about doing this and have never done it before, this is your opportunity to put right things that might be going wrong in the workplace such as using mobile phones, iPods, etc. So don't worry about changing things, we do this every day anyway and lots of people aren't even bothered by having handbooks and contracts in place and feel a bit more secure by having them. So don't worry, the law dictates that you've got to have a statement of main terms. For me, I couldn't run a business without conditions of employment so get them in place. Next question was: "Amanda, are health and safety laws still applicable to home-workers? I have several staff that work from home. I'm worried that I don't do anything for health and safety." So, this is something that we see quite a lot of at the moment because we talk about flexible work in nature because that's one of the updates in legislation that I'm going to talk about. But, we've got a lot of people now considering different types of work for their staff. Also because of stress, depression and health, lots of people are finding that they get more out of their staff when they are working from home. They spend hours of traffic getting to work, when they get to work they spend hours talking to staff and not answering emails etc., so lots of people allow their staff now to do a couple of days at home. A lot of jobs are advertised as that now, three office days two days at home. But, a lot of people don't consider the implications of their staff working from home. It all boils down to delegation of responsibility here. So, the answer to this is health and safety laws are still applicable to home-workers, but just as you would for your other employees you need to check things. You need to do what is reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of your workforce whilst at work, and others that might be affected by work activity. So this does include home-worker. I've put here some typical home-worker key health and safety issues that you need to look at. First of all, first thing to do is check they have home insurance that's covered or let the people know to ensure the home that they're now going to do a couple days from home or maybe full-time home-work. You might want to check the station that they're going to use to do their home-work. What we don't want is somebody sat on a settee with a laptop on the knee, feet up. Although they might get work done, and they might do work like that, you as the employer must delegate responsibility for their own health and safety to ensure that they have the right work station, that their chair is the right chair for home-working, you know just as you would for the office really. Those things are electrically tested, so if you're providing a laptop that it's pat-tested. Make sure that they're aware about training wise. What you might want to do is have some sort of agreement in place that you get them to sign and that they say yes, everything is spot on that they have the right chair they have the right work station. What you're doing is delegating responsibility and authority to them. Also, what you might want to do is have some sort of agreement in place as well that, even if they're working from home, you're not expecting emails to be sent at 2 in the morning. You're still expecting them to have the right breaks as well. Remember if someone's completely a home-working individual, you've got to remember about the motivation, keeping them looped in to what's going on such as job vacancies, training, making sure you're connected with them all the time. You might have a log-in for them so you know what time they start working and what finish time they've got. Remember, if somebody requests home-working remember to change their terms and conditions. Even if you agree to home-working and the situation is acceptable, remember you've got to do periodic testing. We recommend this annually as well. So I hope that answers your question on health and safety laws. Yes, they are still applicable to home-workers. Get an agreement in place. It's about delegation, responsibility and authority. Treat the home-work just as you would the office-work. So the next question: "Hi Amanda. Thanks for the webinars. I wonder if you can answer this question. I own a shop that sells gifts in the late district. I want to record my staff on cameras that I will install in the shop. What do I need to do?" You know another very common question to ask a part from putting posters up to say you've installed CCTV. Obviously it's a human rights thing. You need to put the fact that you record your staff and update it in your employee handbook and conditions of employment. Then it's useful if you ever want to use that for disciplinary measure, then you need to make sure you have something in place that says that you record your staff. What you also might want to do is remember data protection here as well and the fact that you are recording people so they need to know, under the data protection law, otherwise its illegal. So yes, you can record your staff put make sure you have things in place in your handbook that say that you do it. So the next question I have is: "I'm always unsure about references and what I should say in them. My friend said you shouldn't give them anymore as you will get into trouble. Now I am more frightened than ever." So this is actually very coincidental this. I didn't know it was going around at the moment and what's in the water but I've had a lot of people ask me about this. In fact, I've had somebody say to me recently, "You can't give references anymore can you. All you can do is give the start date, the end date, with the job they did and the job description." You know what, what is the point of references if that's what you're going to do? What if I've worked for you for 10-15 years and been a blooming good worker, I want a good reference off you. So, what's been said at the moment is completely wrong. Of course you can give references but these are the warning signs here. The easy way to deal with this is to not write anything in the reference that you would not want the subject of the reference to see. Ok? Always remember the author of a reference owes a duty of care to the person about whom it is written. An employer may be liable for damages if, due to a negligent, defamatory, or malicious reference, the person about whom the reference is written suffers a loss, they can sue you. So, my advice to you is there's no problem giving a reference, but make sure it's true, it’s honest, it’s factual, and it’s fair and must not give a misleading impression. If you're going to say to a future employer that they stole from you, for goodness sake you must have gone through the disciplinary procedure to prove that, you can't just say they stole from you without evidence. So you've always got to have evidence if you're giving a reference. So, be true, honest and factual and fair. So yes you can give references but remember what I said there. So the next question I had was: "Sickness for me is a real issue. I cannot seem to get it sorted. I now think one of my staff is lying and I don't even believe what the doctor has written. Please give me an idea of what I should be doing and also can I challenge the doctor's note. I'm at the end of my tether as this has cost my business a fortune." Now isn't that funny because the other day I did a talk with a group of doctors of surgeries and this was one of the hottest topics in that conversation. We sat there and they were saying, "Look I've got a problem with sickness, I don't believe the doctors notes from other doctors that we're getting. I think they just fill it in saying like GPs. I'd like to question it. What can I do?" The first stepping stone here is you've got to have sickness reporting procedures in place, you've got to have a clear route of what you're going to do and a reporting procedure. So my first top tip for you here is you must be doing return-to-work interviews and you must be strong enough a character to deal with them. If you're an HR person listening to me now and you depend on your managers to do the return-to-work interviews, put it into their job description. Then it is part of their key responsibilities that they do return-to-work interviews. Then you know what steps you need to take next. You need a capability policy; you need a sickness policy, and an absence-reporting policy. You might want to write things in place where there're penalties, but you might also want to have some sort of recorders in place where you can actually turn around and say, "Look you've had every Monday off". Have some sort of report where you've got evidence and a return-to-work interview to prove to them that look, "Here we go here, this is how many days you've had off in the last month. Is there anything that we need to know about?" Then also have access to medical records as well with their permission. You need to have a clear root. The question here also was where GP records a medical condition on a fit note and states it was the cause of the employee's absence, the employee must accept that as the true reason unless there is other medical evidence that contradicts the certificate." Any employer that disbelieves what is stated on a medical certificate must therefore obtain reliable further medical evidence to confirm their suspicions before they take any actions which implicitly expresses their disbelief. Ok? So I would like you to make sure that you have sickness-reporting procedures in place, sickness policies and procedures in place, and making sure that they do return to work from day one. If you're going to question an employee's medical evidence what you might want to do is have written permission to access their medical evidence as well. So, next question I had: "If one of my staff is off sick, can an employer assume that an employee will be at home all the time he or she is on sick-leave. If an employee fails to respond immediately to letters or telephone calls on any particular day, will this then justify dismissal?" That's a really good question isn't it because you get a lot of people, you see them off sick you might be an employee yourself then you see one of your colleagues who's off sick off in Tesco shopping. You might see them buying clothes on the weekend or you might see them on Facebook, knowing they had a beach day or they're about to go on holiday. So are they supposed to be home when they are off sick, or are they allowed to go out the house? Look, it's not a prison is it? They don't have one of those bands on their ankles that set off an alarm at work when they go out of the house. At the end of the day, we have to believe what the doctor says. So no, a day trip to France was considered justifiable because the employee was off work suffering from stress and the trip might have improved his condition. There may be any number of reasons why an employee is not at home. For example, to keep a doctor's appointment, or to stay with a relative to be looked after. You have to asses each case individually and look at the bigger picture. You can't just assume they're awfully stressed they must be at home 24/7. You know, they could go out for the day to get over why they're stressed in the first place. So, the next question: "What can I do about my staff working for another employer? Should I be concerned?" Well I always like to have a reference to other work in my employee handbook. People have heard my webinars hear my talk about this quite a lot. That way it doesn't leave any surprises for me later on. I think why I'm getting that question is recently there has been a bit of a spotlight really on other work. One, because the work and time regulations. Two, because of young workers. But also the third one because we've had a couple of tribunals recently where an employee has had time off sick in one job but they actually had other work and they're working in their other job. The other employees found out, they still continue working with their other job and can't believe that that is correct. So first questions first, "Can I be off sick in one job and work in another?" Yes, if the sickness is unrelated. Is it not a good idea to know if somebody is working for another employer anyway? That why I always say, have a reference to other work in the employee handbook. Also, because we have to think about work and time regulation requirements, we have to think of young workers, and also we have to make sure they are not working for a competitor. We've got to look at absorption as well. Also, what they go off sick in another job, or they go off sick for you and continue working another job. This is frustrating. So I would like to have in my handbook if I had a company I would say, "If you want to work elsewhere please apply in writing." I would even go so far to say, "You cannot work for anybody else." That's a good idea. That way there're no surprises later on for me when I found out they are working another job but they're off sick for me. So put something in place in your handbook. So, this is a question we had in several forms actually for this webinar. We had lots of people ask us in different ways all the same question really so I've sort of picked one of those questions out and I've chose that question to answer everybody's question about changing contracts. The question is this: "I want to change my contracts that I have for my employees. I will have to make a major change to meet the needs of my own clients, some who have said they will take their work abroad if I do not increase the hours that I operate. To address this change, I will have to adjust the hours that my staff work." This is a question that we had in different forms from different people, changing contracts, varying hours, location etc. So this is my response to you. The first thing I'd say to you whenever you're changing somebody's statement or varying their contract, take legal advice. If you're a Peninsula client listening to me today, put it through the advice line, get them to do all the written changes and advise you every step of the way because you're insured for it. So here we go, part-in-parcel of running a successful business is to address your business needs and identify changes. There obviously will be times when it becomes essential for an employer to change the terms and conditions in an employee's contract, or to change collectively the terms and conditions of all your employee's contracts. Reasons for doing this may be due to a change in the economic environment, restructuring, change of location, or even, if you think about it, law and legislation changes. If you also think about it, the reasons you may want to change somebody's statement of main terms are the rates of pay, the hours of work that they're doing, the duties and responsibilities, or to the location of the workplace. You can make changes believe you me it is possible. But, you will need to negotiate and gain agreement to do this. Always go back to what is in the original documents and consult as far as possible on the potential changes. If you do not consult and just change, you could potentially have a claim or several claims that can stretch a dismissal from your employee so beware of this. This is why I say you always must take legal advice. It may be that in some cases you get agreement, and to do this you might need to offer financial reward. This might be where you've got two part-time workers and one works Wednesday-Thursday and one works Monday-Tuesday. The one on Monday-Tuesday has more holidays than the person on Wednesday-Thursday because of bank holidays that were not included in the initial holiday entitlement. You've had a look at his and you think you want to take those bank holidays away from that person, include them into the regular holiday entitlement, and to do this you might have to come to some sort of financial reward for that person or maybe a change of hours. You need to get an agreement from that person and the first thing to do is to consult and speak to them about the business and what the need is. Points to remember here are the paperwork, are the consultations, are getting the agreement especially in writing. Remember if you've got agreement, you need to re-issue the terms and conditions and there is a timescale on this of four weeks. You also need to take legal advice depending on what you're changing. You may have to end that contract and restart a new contract as well. So yes, you can make changes its part-in-parcel with running a successful business but there are the right ways to do it. What people do is they go ahead and make the changes sometimes and that could be potentially dangerous for a business because you do not want constructed dismissal cases. So, this is the last question and actually this is a very long question because we had lots of people ask us about legislation changes and in fact we are getting lots of emails from the media asking us about legislation changes and I do not have time to go through every one. There has been a very busy year for 2013. There has been a superbly and will be superbly busy year for 2014. We are not talking about little changes here, we are talking about massive changes that you do need to know about so let me go through a few of them for you. Remember, if you really want to have more detail about these changes I recently had a webinar on legislation changes for April. It's on Peninsula television channel, not on your TV that's on the internet. I'll give you the link to that if you want to go through this once again. So, are we due to have more legislation changes again this year? So, first one I'm going to talk about is early conciliation. Early conciliation is one of the many government initiatives to reduce the number of employment tribunal claims made each year. It would involve a mandatory precursor to make in almost all tribunal claims for prospective claimants. It will also serve as a method for heading off a claim for prospective respondents. So, early conciliation is being phased in. It will be voluntary before the 6th of April, 2014, and will become mandatory after the 6th of April, 2014. Briefly, the process is as follows: "If an individual wishes to make claims to a tribunal, they will first have to complete and EC request form and submit it to ACAS. What you have to remember here is ACAS are experienced in call-act conciliation. They've been doing it for years. ACAS will contact them with a view to the parties entering into conciliation. This is sort of settling, and trying to sort it out before it goes to tribunal. The conciliation itself is voluntary, for both the prospective claimant and respondent, however the completion of the EC form and submitting it to ACAS will be mandatory. Without contacting ACAS first, an individual will not be able to bring a claim to tribunal. Remember the employer has a choice here, do we just go straight for tribunal or conciliate. That's the first change. Ok? Then we've got recovery of statutory sick pay to be abolished. Remember that talk I said I did last week to lots of doctors of surgery face-to-face talk, not one of the people in the room knew about this. So currently, employers can recover any statutory sick pay, we know this as SSP, paid in a tax month that is over and above 30% of the gross class 1 NIC's liability for that month. Well not currently, as from the 6th of April which has just gone, recovery will no longer be responsibility or possible. This action is being taken for various reasons including the belief that the ability to recover money in this way is to deterring employers from dealing with this absence and I tend to agree with this. The money saved by the abolition will be used to fund the government's health and work service planned for later on in 2014. So, you need to be aware of this. The 6th of April, that's gone now, as I said to you with the 14th of April, today. So you need to make sure that you now have something in place to help you with this, to combat the claiming back of that. So you need listen to what I said earlier on. Return-to-work interviews, good absence-of-work procedure, and remember that the help and work service is not in yet it is coming in later on this year. So as part of the sickness absence reform, the government is to introduce the help and work service, which will offer help to businesses dealing with employee long-term sickness. The service will be operated by private-sector companies who will tend to the work but will be offered for no cost. When employees are off work for four weeks, their GP will be able to refer the employee to the service unless there are clear and well defined reasons for not doing so. There is also an opportunity for the employers to refer the employees themselves where the GP has not done so. My problems here are the timescales. My other issue here is how good are the private companies that are coming in? The other one is, you know get an employee assistance program in place, they can intervene early from day one. Do return-to-work interviews, get a good sickness program, and you know what I've just thought about it and I'm going to do a big webinar on this. I'm going to focus on the recovery statutory sick pay; I'm going to look at return-to-work interviews, so watch out for that. I've just decided that I'm going to do that within the next few weeks. So, we've also got flexible work on the 30th of June, flexible working rights. Almost all eligibility criteria for making a request for flexible working will be removed. As long as the employee has 26 weeks of service the date of the request, and has not made a statutory request within the previous 12 months, they will be able to make a statutory request with just their working patent. The employee will no longer need to be apparent or have caring responsibilities to make a request, and the request can be made for any reason i.e. it does not have to be in relation to a child or other caring responsibilities. So that's the 30th of June. Remember, I don't automatically have the right to it, I have the right to request it and you have the right to consider that request, listen to their business case, which they ship it and write it, and tell them whether they can or can't. Remember it's not just working 9-5, I was about to go into a song there by Dolly Parton. It's not just 9-5 it could be turn-time working, compressed hours, weekend-working, night-working, think about it. It could actually be a solution to problems that you've had. So, don't be frightened of flexible working. 2014 National minimum wage increase confirmed. Ok? October 2014 sees the increase, it's been confirmed as follows: 6.31 pounds -6.50 pounds if you're age 21 and over. Word of advice here for anybody listening to me, if you haven't been given any pay raises to your regular staff, you're considered to be above minimum wage, just check that you are still above the minimum wage. We've seen a few people where their missing out because they've fallen below the minimum wage because they hadn't been staying on top of it. So it's going from 6.31 pounds to 6.50 pounds an hour. Age 18-20 is increasing from 5.03 pounds to 5.13 pounds. Over-compulsory school age to 17, 3.72 pounds to 3.79 an hour and the apprentice rate is to increase from 2.68 pounds to 2.73 pounds. There is a little exclusion there. The apprentice rate is paid to apprentices who are under 19, or who are 19 or over but within their first year of apprenticeship. What this means is on October the 14th just check you are paying the national minimum wage. It is up to you to check that. Non-compliance with national minimum wage legislation can result in tribunal or HMRC enforcement. This brings me to national minimum wage fines in place. They're stronger; they've been increased to 100%. So, previously when an employer was found by HMRC to breach the national minimum wage legislation, the raise created by the underpayment had to be made good by the employer. A penalty also applied, which was 50% of the total underpayment. So, by the 7th of March that is gone now, there's a huge fine that comes in It has been doubled to 100% of the total underpayment to a maximum of 20 grand. So what this means, there are two ways that non-compliance with national-minimum wage can be dealt with. The worker involved bringing a claim to the appointed tribunal, or HMRC may conduct a check. HMRC have the right to conduct a check at any time or can instigate a check if a worker has complained to them. If the enforcement is done by HMRC, they issue a notice of underpayment, which requires the employer to make good of the deficit between what has been paid and what should have been paid. A penalty will also be due. The recent changes have increased the penalty payable, as I said 100%. Therefore this reinforces everything I have said about the national minimum wage, the calculation, and making sure that you are paying the right rates. So, also an increase in rehabilitation period. This is really important, this. As always employers have often trusted in a perspective employee's conviction history when making a recruitment decision. Rehabilitation of offender's law means that some convictions must be erased from the record for employment purposes after a set period of time. This means that the perspective employee is not required to disclose them, they are considered spent. This change in law amends the periods after which a conviction is considered spent, generally in favour of the prospective employee. The new rules have retrospective effect, meaning that we must now deal with convictions on their new respective rehabilitations as though the new ones have always been in place. This is from the 10th of March. Ok? Now what we're looking for now is the adjustments mean some individuals will be able to classify themselves as rehabilitated when prior to this change their conviction would have remained unspent for the rest of their lives. What we're looking at under the old rules, really, is a period of imprisonment of over 20 months was never spent and would never be disregarded from employment purposes. However under the new rules, only prison sentences of four years or more will remain unspent for life. Sentences of more than 30 months but less than four years will be considered spent from the point of seven years after the point that the sentence has been completed. So let's hope, please courts give the right sentences for the right crimes, you know? Let's not see somebody just getting 12 months suspended or two years for what we consider quite a bad crime, let's get true sentences for true crimes and then that will help employers. Then yes, I agree with increase in rehabilitation periods. So, new maximum tribunal awards and rates from the 6th of April, 2014. The following maximum tribunal rates and awards will apply. Ok? So, for clarification, where the rates relate to unfair dismissal, the new rate will apply where the effective date of termination is on or after the 6th of April. Unfair dismissal compensatory award. The maximum limit of unfair dismissal compensatory award is 52 weeks’ pay, subject to an overall cap which will increase from 74,200 to 76,574. The maximum limit on a week's pay for basic award services will increase from 450 to 464. This means that the maximum basic award will increase from 13,500 to 13,920. We now have also an increase to statutory guarantee pay, if you don't know what this is this is where I always talk about lay-off procedures, and having them in your contracts. Employers will need to make sure they are calculating payment correctly from the 6th of April in relation to statutory redundancy pay and in lay-off situations. The increase of the unfair dismissal compensation award raises the limit that an employee can win in an unfair dismissal claim when an employment is terminated from the 6th of April and onwards. The figure is not applicable to claims heard on or after this date when the date of termination is before the 6th of April. So we have to remember here that the maximum limit on statutory guarantee pay will increase 25 pounds a day. This is paid in circumstances when the employer places the employee on lay-off or short-time working. This might be volcanic ash, snow, floods, riots, crisis, lack of funding, it could be a counselled agreement with one of your clients, and there's a workless 24-hour period. It is paid for a maximum one week working in a 3-month period and where the employee has reserved the right to reduce pay in these circumstances, which refers back to your conditions of employment. Where a normal's day pay is less than the rate of statutory guarantee pay, the normal day's pay should be paid instead. So basically, let's cut out the rubbish there. It's not a bad thing to have in your handbook. You'll never hear the government shouting out about statutory guarantee pay, you'll never hear them shouting out about lay-off or shortage of work, and I'm telling you now its business respite. Get it in your handbook. It's an amazing tool to have in cases when you can't pay somebody's wages because you don't have money coming in. It doesn't mean you lay them off, you lay them off for a short period or shorten their hours and it gives you some flexibility because you don't want to get rid of those employees you're going to bring back it. It is great to get your business back on track where it should be. Imagine if you were one of the businesses affected recently. Statutory guarantee pay is business respite. So we've got financial penalties to update on that legislation. A new system of imposing financial penalties on employees who unsuccessfully defended a claim at tribunal will take affect for all claims brought on after the 6th of April. This means that the trigger event for the ability to impose a penalty is not the date of the employee's termination or the date of the act complained about, but the date the claim is made. The employment tribunal will have the power to order an employee, who has unsuccessfully defended a claim at tribunal; pay a penalty to the exchequer, not the claimant. The penalty will need to be paid in addition to any award or compensation awarded by the tribunal, and the fee reimbursement. The penalty will be applied whether aggravating features are involved in the claim. So we're looking at the employer. We've got a three-pronged attack now haven't we in the tribunal. So, we've got to remember "three-pronged attack" means compensation, the tribunal fees being paid, and the financial penalties that go straight to the government. They will look at you a little more darkly, if you like, if you have an HR department since you should have been listening to it or you get it wrong. If you are a startup company they might look at you a little more leniently, but remember there are penalties in place now. Not just the compensation award to the employee, but also the payment that you pay towards the government. So, have a question? Ask me, Amanda, at Amanda@Peninsula-uk.com. Any question you have, doesn't matter. Why do I have curly hair? I don't know. But ask me any question you'd like. Just email Amanda@peninsula-uk.com. That's any employment law or health and safety question that's bubbling and you really are irritated by it and you want an answer. Want to catch up with my previously broadcasted webinars? Feel free to. I have a link here. Get a pen write this down. This is a very good channel. There are podcasts on there as well and I'm just actually recording an A-Z of employment law to post on to there so you can actually look up lateness and top tips, interview techniques, social networking, and the link for this is HTTP://www.pbstv.co.uk. That's peninsula business services television.co.uk. Or, you can look at any previous webinars that I have posted on our YouTube channel. That's www.youtube.com/pbspressoffice and the webinar number today is 61 so if you do have any questions today, refer to webinar number 61. I'm giving you an overview on law today. Remember, it's an overview. If you want an applicable question to your industry or your particular job role, then really email me personally and I will answer that for you. Thank you very much for me speaking to you today. I'm Gobblety-Goop today because my wording is all Gobblety-Goop because it's Monday isn't it and I'm just getting back into the swing of things. Also, I did have Friday off to go to the gadget show which was actually brilliant of Friday. Thank you very much for listening to me and I hope to speak to you again soon. Thank you. Goodbye from me.