Archive RSS
27
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Key Features: Updates to the Work Safely Protocol

Following on from our post The Phased Return to the Workplace , further guidance has been given into the recent government changes effect on the Work Safely Protocol. The Protocol sets out the minimum public health measures required in every place of work to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While employers are still expected to comply with their normal health and safety obligations, employers should note that from 22 October 2021 the requirement to work from home will be removed and the statutory regime in place to protect public health will be wound down. Further guidance is expected in advance of that date. So what are some of these key changes:

From 20 September 2021:

  • Businesses can begin a phased and staggered return to workplaces for specific business requirements
  • Two metre social distancing, the wearing of masks in certain circumstances, hygiene measures and appropriate ventilation remain in place
  • Appropriate attendance levels should be maintained in accordance with the Protocol
  • Staggered arrangements should be considered, such as non-fulltime attendance and flexible working hours
  • Each workplace must have a Lead Worker Representative that works with the employer to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, and
  • The requirement for self-isolation / restricted movements will continue for those with symptoms, who should immediately seek a test, those with positive test results, and close contacts of confirmed cases, unless fully vaccinated with no symptoms

From 22 October 2021:

  • Depending on continued satisfactory vaccination rates, the Government intends to remove further statutory restrictions from this date. In particular, the requirement to work from home will be removed, allowing a return to physical attendance in workplaces on a phased and cautious basis, appropriate to each sector.
  • Remote working will become a regular feature of Irish working life as the Government continues to implement Making Remote Work, Ireland’s National Remote Work Strategy, and
  • Legal requirements in relation to social distancing and mask wearing will no longer apply in the majority of circumstances. An emphasis on personal responsibility will be encouraged. This means that employees cannot insist on compliance with social distancing, mask wearing or the provision of sanitising equipment or products in the workplace

With employee's returning one of the most important actions for employers to take is to review their risk assessments and health & safety policies. In order to pinpoint how and where could the virus be transmitted in your workplace you must look at the hazards, evaluate the risks and put control measures in place and The Health and Safety Authority has produced checklists to assist in the reopening of workplaces.

In conclusion, the return to the workplace should be conducted in a cautious manner and in consultation with employees. The government is moving towards a focus on personal responsibility from the 22nd of October 2021 and the Government will consult with employers in advance of this date to prepare guidance for the next phase of easing public health restrictions.

Related Articles:

The Phased Return to the Workplace

Let's Get Topical - The Vaccine Policy

Posted in Coronavirus, Customer Update, Employment Update, Health & Safety, Hybrid Working

21
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Essential Elements of a Hybrid Working Policy

Following on from our previous post 'Your Must Have Hybrid-Working Checklist' having hybrid working policies and agreements in place is essential when returning employees to the office and agreeing a split between working form home and in the office. We see the important elements of a hybrid working policy to be the following:

1. Detail the split between attending work and working remotely

Your hybrid working policy should detail the split between attending work and working remotely and state what number of days an employee will spend attending the workplace and working remotely. The number of days will depend on but is not limited to some of the following;

  • the nature of the employees role 
  • what is happening within their role and team at any particular time 
  • individual circumstances 
  • the needs of the business, including space available at the businesses work locations

2. Working Hours
The working hours the employee must work in the office and at home must be stated, for example: For days on which the employee is attending the office, their normal hours of work are set out in their contract of employment.

Ensure you also detail that while working remotely, they must be available and working during their normal hours of work, as set out in their contract of employment while also listing the break and lunch times and being clear that they must avoid overworking, down time from work is essential.

3. Safe-Working While Working Remotely
Detail the procedure your employees must follow should they have any health & safety concerns while working at home, for example; if any work-related accidents occur in your home.

4. Remote Working Procedures
This section of the policy is where you will detail:

  • Sickness Absence
  • Compliance with Policies
  • Technology & Equipment
  • and a reference to data protection

Bright Contracts have recently updated the software to include a hybrid working policy which can be found under the 'Terms & Conditions' section of the handbook. If you'd like to preview this content prior to consider purchasing a licence you can do so here.

Related Articles:

Your Must Have Hybrid-Working Checklist

- The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement 

Posted in Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Employment Contract, Hybrid Working, Software Upgrade, Staff Handbook

16
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Your Must Have Hybrid-Working Checklist

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed how we live, not just in our personal lives but the way we work too. With hybrid-working becoming a dominant feature in the workplace for everyone businesses are now faced with developing a hybrid policy, creating agreements with their employees and ensuring the success of these arrangements. We believe that preparation is essential for employers when implementing hybrid working which is why we have developed a checklist for employers which can be followed when looking an the implementation of a hybrid model:

Step 1: Look at what works best for your organisation

Step 2: Communicate your intentions

Step 3: Written agreements

Step 4: Implement your hybrid policy

and 5: Refer back to your covid-19 response plan

  • Step 1: Hybrid working can bring huge benefits in terms of productivity, flexibility and employee wellbeing – but it’s not the best option for everyone.Think carefully about what your organisation has learned during the pandemic and how your people feel about it. What have been the benefits of working at home and the disadvantages of not being together in the workplace? If hybrid working does appeal, think about what would be the best blend – more home working or more time in the office. Ensure you also look at your HSA health & safety checklists for office and home working. The HSA has these checklists available on the HSA website.
  • Step 2: Once you’ve worked out what could work best for your business, make sure you communicate your plans to your employees. Do this well in advance of any change so employees have a chance to feed back their views. 
  • Step 3: You must ensure you have written agreements in place with your employees which communicates what is expected of them in order to avoid any confusion and any possible future disputes. Bright Contracts have template hybrid working letters available on the Bright Contracts website which can be downloaded here and edited to suit your businesses hybrid model arrangements.
  • Step 4: Once written agreements are in place next you need to implement a hybrid working policy within your organisation which we have just made available on our Bright Contracts Software. We hope this provides organisational leaders and business owners a simple but effective framework to make hybrid working a successful reality. With government guidelines on safe working constantly changing in response to the pandemic, hybrid working policies need to be reviewed much more regularly than most other policies

See our follow up blog post 'The Essential Elements of a Hybrid Working Policy' to read what your hybrid policy should detail.

Bright Contracts has a hybrid working policy available in the software which is available under the 'Terms & Conditions' tab. If you'd like to see a sample of this content you can do so by downloading the software and availing of a free trial. we have also recently upgraded our software to include hybrid working in the employment contracts which can be viewed in the contract section fo the handbook under the heading 'Places of Work'.

Related Articles:

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement

Posted in Contract of employment, Hybrid Working, Software Upgrade, Staff Handbook

8
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Phased Return to the Workplace

The 1st of September marked the day the Irish government agreed Ireland’s plan for the next and final phase of our countries response to the COVID-19 pandemic: 'Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting, this response sets out the phased lifting of the majority of remaining restrictions. With over 88% of the over 18 population fully vaccinated and 92% of adults having received at least 1 dose and subject to the continuation of this progress, Ireland will enter a final phase on the 22nd of October, which is likely to last until at least next Spring. This next phase will see the majority of restrictions lifted and replaced by guidance to enable us to work together to protect ourselves.

Depending on the up to date data on COVID-19 up to the 22nd of October, the plan indicates that further restrictions are scheduled to be lifted such as the requirements for physical distancing however, the wearing of mask indoors in healthcare settings, retail and on public transport is likely to remain. 

The Government’s plan also confirms that from the 20th of September a return to workplaces for specific business requirements will commence on a phased and staggered attendance basis. The plan states that employers should develop or finalise their long-term hybrid working and return to work policies and have plans in place regarding their operational requirements in line with the public health advice. They also state that the Work Safely Protocol will be further updated to ensure that appropriate guidance is provided for the next phase of reopening including the return to offices. Once the Protocol is updated, we will provide you with a further update.

With employee's returning one of the most important actions for employers to take is to review their risk assessments and health & safety policies. In order to pinpoint how and where could the virus be transmitted in your workplace you must look at the hazards, evaluate the risks and put control measures in place. As previously mentioned in our previous blog post Hello Update! - Additions to the Return to Work Safely Protocol ventilation of enclosed workplace settings should be considered as part of the workplace risk assessment.

So what can employers do right now?

Employers will be required to reinforce safe working practices with the next key development being to see what is contained in the updated Work Safely Protocol when it is published shortly. While we all await the update to the protocol employers should develop their hybrid-working policies, ready their hybrid working letters confirming hybrid arrangements, both of which are available in our Bright Contracts software.

Bright Contracts has recently been updated to cover these consideration points for our customers to include in their employee handbooks, which can be found under the terms and conditions tab.

Related Articles:

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement

 

1
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff

Introducing a contract of employment or a handbook for the first time to current employees, can be a difficult, tricky matter. Employees may view the new documentation as an intrusion, representing a new set of rules and regulations that threaten to make their lives uncomfortable. However, this does not have to be the case, you can introduce new documentation without alienating your work force. The answer lies in good communication and clear and concise documentation.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to introducing your new Bright Contract’s employee documentation to existing employees.

1. Hold an Initial Group Meeting

The purpose of this meeting will be to:

  • Notify employees of the introduction of the new contracts of employment and staff handbook.
  • Explain why they are being introduced.
  • Give a brief overview of what is contained in both documents:
    • Contract of Employment: confirms the employee’s basic terms and conditions and is fully compliant with the Terms of Employment Act
    • Staff Handbook: gives a brief overview of the type of policy that is contained in the Handbook, for example you may wish to highlight a Dress Code policy

If you are a small company, hold a company-wide meeting, inviting everyone. If your employee numbers mean this is not feasible, hold department or team meetings, ideally meeting with all affected staff on the same day to ensure a consistent message is being delivered to all staff thus preventing any misunderstanding, or false narratives starting. For any employees who are not present for the meeting ensure to debrief them as soon as possible.

At the Meeting

Ensure Top Management are Involved
It is extremely important that senior management are actively involved in introducing the new documentation to show this is a company-wide initiative, supported at the highest level.

Explain Why you are Introducing the Documentation
Give clear reasons why the business is implementing the documentation, for example:

  • We want to promote a culture of consistency and fairness in our company, where everyone knows the protocols and knows what is expected of them and what they can expect from the Company. 
  • We want to ensure we are fully compliant with employment law legislation

Emphasis the Value to the Employee
Explain to employees that they have legal rights and that the policies set out in the handbook demonstrate that the company is complying with the law and honouring their rights.

Promote the handbook as a point of reference for employees for confirmation on how a particular issue will be dealt with e.g. probation, disciplinary procedure etc.

2. Distribute the Documentation

Contracts of Employment

The Contract of Employment is a confidential document between the employer and the employee therefore all communications regarding the contract of employment are to be kept confidential. Therefore we suggest the following:

  • Issue 2 copies of the contract of employment to the employee in a sealed envelope
  • Give the employee a timeframe to read, review and sign the contract

The Staff Handbook

Following the meeting the Staff Handbook should be made available to all employees. Possible ways to do this can include:

  • Print and give each employee a hardcopy of the handbook
  • Print a number of handbooks and place them in communal locations in the place of work, e.g. the staff room
  • Email the handbook to each employee
  • Save and store the handbook in a communal location on your local drive, where it is easily accessible by all

Give staff a timeframe, e.g. 2 weeks, to read the handbook and formulate any questions they might have.

Both the staff handbook and contract of employment in Bright Contracts are available to be printed and exported as a PDF for distribution.

3: Be Prepared to Take Questions

Employees are likely to have questions, be prepared and open to answer any questions or clarify any points that employees might have. Keep open honest communications, listen to the employee’s comments, they may raise some valid issues that need to be addressed. Or employees may simply need clarification on a particular term. (The information snippets on your Bright Contracts program may help you address some employee concerns.)

Once you have had the initial staff/team meeting, it is not necessary to have further team meetings. Conversations at this point tend to be personalised, it is therefore recommended that queries are discussed individual and privately with each employee.

4: Collect Signed Documentation

Employees should sign both copies of the contract of employment, returning one to you and keeping a copy for themselves. Once the signed contract is returned, it should be placed on the personal file for future reference.

If the terms and conditions of employment (e.g. pay, hours etc.) have remained unchanged it is not essential to seek signed agreement from existing employees, however it would always be preferable. If an employee refuses to sign a contract after open discussions and no changes to the basic terms have been put forward, make a record on their file that they were given the contract and were given opportunity to discuss and fully understand the contracts, include dates and evidence of the communications.

If the terms and conditions of employment are being changed then it is important for employers to seek agreement from the employee before implementing any change. In this situation the employer should receive a signed copy of the revised contract.

There is no requirement to reach agreement with the employee on the Staff Handbook, however it can be useful to ask employees to sign to confirm that they have received and reviewed the handbook.

Related Articles:

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

17
Aug 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Retirement in the Workplace: Is it enforceable?

Retirement is a topic that is continuing to gain momentum in the employment law sphere. In the past number of years, there has been a surge in case law directly linked to retirement age of employees, and whether organisations can stand over compulsorily retiring employees from work on the attainment of a certain age. At present, there is no compulsory retirement age for employees across Ireland, however that is not to say that organisations cannot enforce retirement age for employees of the organisation if objectively justified and there is a solid business reason.

The default retirement age has historically been 65, however with the state pension age currently at 66, increasing to 67 for those born between 1955 and 1960, and 68 for those born after 1960, many employers are reviewing their company retirement ages. It should also be noted that the mandatory retirement age for most public servants is now 70.

Where a retirement age is in place and specified in the contract of employment, employers are advised to include a 'Retirement Policy' in the employee handbook. A retirement policy should set out objective justification for the retirement age, which is a legally necessary requirement to ensure a legitimate retirement age (as per The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015). The objective justification must be reasonable and must aim to achieve a legitimate objective. What is an objective justification will depend on the role and the company, however as guidance, reasons which have been accepted by the courts in the past include:

  • Health & Safety: It may be justifiable to have mandatory retirement ages for employees who work as drivers, pilots and in jobs which are physically demanding. In setting a mandatory retirement age, an employer would need to identify risks and hazards, rather than simply following a historically established retirement age.
  • Succession Planning and establishing an age balance in the workforce: Employers need to plan for the future in order to ensure that they have the right people in place to support the business into the future. Mandatory retirement ages have been held to promote this by facilitating the retirement of older employees which opens up opportunities for younger employees who may have differing skill sets and experience.
  • Encourage the recruitment and promotion of younger people: It has been successfully argued that mandatory retirement ages encourage employees to stay with, and progress within an organization and to motivate employees by the prospect of being promoted into more senior roles.

Code of Practice on Longer Working

In 2018, the WRC published a Code of Practice on Longer Working. Whilst the Code is not legally binding it does hold considerable influence and employers are minded to act in line with its contents. In summary, the Code of Practice deals with four issues:

  • the utilisation of the skills and experience of older workers;
  • the objective justification of retirement ages;
  • practical retirement arrangements in the workplace;
  • dealing with requests from employees to work beyond the normal retirement age

It is best still practice to specify a retirement age in contracts of employment so as to ensure that a compulsory retirement age forms a part of the employees terms and conditions. It is important for the organisation to be consistent in enforcing their retirement age to correspond with the contract. If an organisation deviates from this contractual condition, it may set precedence for the future.

The policy provided in Bright Contracts has been written to address the issues set out in the Code of Practice, however it must be noted that it is a draft policy. Before implementing this policy employers should review the content and ensure the content, particularly the objective justification included, genuinely apply to their company. Amendments can be made once the section has been included in the Handbook.

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract

13
Aug 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement

Following on from our previous blog post ‘Hybrid Working: Know The Basics’ we are now aware of what Hybrid Working is and the basics to know about implementing a Hybrid Work Model in your organisation. However, something employers may not be aware of is in order for hybrid working to be successfully implemented, getting employee engagement right is crucial.

Employee engagement can be defined as the mental and emotional connection employees feel towards their places of work, all of which drives not only their motivation but also their productivity and ultimately efficiencies. Offering a flexible working arrangement to your employees is in itself a good way to motivate and engage employees; by offering them the opportunity to manage their own work life balance in a way that suits their needs. But employers also need to ensure the sense of belonging is not lost amongst their team. It is important that employees are still connected to their colleagues while working remotely and, when they are together in the workplace, ensuring that a sense of collaboration and togetherness still exists, thus maintaining the culture of the organisation.

Identifying the drivers of engagement is a necessary first step for organisations looking to improve their overall performance. Organisations can increase engagement by adopting a systematic approach that aligns with the organisations framework of objectives. Some key elements include:

Confidence in Leadership
This is particularly important when decisions are being made in relation to the roll-out of the hybrid working model. It is important to note that every organisation will not get the hybrid model right first-time, it will require testing, rearranging and continuous feedback from employees. In order for employees to really engage, they must believe that the leadership team not only values their opinion but also takes their opinions onboard when designing their hybrid working models.

• Collaboration
When employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams which lack good relationships. Great leaders are team builders and can create an environment which fosters not only trust but also collaboration. Employees who are cared about by their colleagues is a strong predictor of Employee engagement. As a result, an ongoing challenge for organisations is to gather employees to collaborate on organisational, departmental, and group goals.

• Effective Communication
Employees want to work for successful organisations and as such they want to know how they are contributing to that success. Employees need to know that their views and input count and are valued, to understand their organisations strategy and see how their work objectives are linked with their work areas business plan. A primary engagement priority should be clear and meaningful communication from leaders to employees. To assist organisation with effective communications, tools such as focus groups and opinion surveys are very effective.


In conclusion, moving from remote working to hybrid working is not feasible without careful consideration and communication with employees. There is no “one-size fits all” approach and every organisation will have their own specific set of strategic objectives, as well as employees having needs individual to them. But the key to the success of hybrid working in your organisation is ensuring you have the full support of your employees.

Related Articles:

Posted in Coronavirus

15
Jul 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has completely shifted the way we work and live. Companies have had to quickly adopt new initiatives and technologies to ensure employee safety whilst maintaining productivity. Working from home has now become the normality for many of us and adapting to these new ways of working is essential for business continuity which is why we have approached this blog post as a FAQ of hybrid working.

  • What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working, also referred to as blended working, is where employees divide their time between working from home and attending the workplace. For example, the arrangement possibly will involve an employee working from home two or three days a week and attending the workplace on the remaining days.
Alternatively, hybrid-working could involve building increased flexibility into the employee's working location so that each day they choose where they work, sometimes going in to a workplace and sometimes working remotely depending on their circumstances and the needs of the business.

  • Is there a standard hybrid working model?

There is no standard one-size fits all hybrid working model. What is going to work best for your organisation will depend on the nature of your business and your needs as an employer. There are a few potential variations to hybrid working to consider. For example, you need to consider whether you are going to require employees to attend a specific workplace location on a set number of days per week, or whether your business allows it’s employees to be more flexible and adopt a "work wherever is best for you to do your job" model.

There is also the matter of whether you are going to require everyone to move to hybrid working or whether it will simply be an option for employees who want to work this way with workspaces available for those who need them. In addition, you may decide that hybrid working is suitable only for particular roles within your organisation.

  • What positions are eligible for a Hybrid Work Arrangement?

Deciding on which positions are eligible for remote working are based on operational and business needs and must be made without bias or favoritism to ensure a fair process. Department leaders should first consider the departments objectives, working hours and consider each staff member’s duties to determine if that position can be done effectively with a Hybrid Work Arrangement. Not all positions and staff will be eligible for hybrid working.

  • Who has the authority to approve Hybrid Work Arrangements?

Hybrid Work Arrangements are agreed at the discretion of the organisation and the employee’s direct supervisor/manager. Supervisors/managers have the authority to approve Hybrid Work Arrangements after consulting with their Department Head.

  • Under what criteria can a Hybrid Work Arrangement request be denied?

The denial of a hybrid working request should be based on legitimate business rationale such as operational need/changes, staffing need/changes, or documented performance issues.

  • What if someone disagrees about their position’s eligibility for or denial of remote work?

If a request is denied, or an employee does not agree with the terms of their Hybrid Work Arrangement, managers should attempt to resolve the matter informally with the employee. If needed, managers should consult with their supervisor or division leader in addition to Human Resources. If an informal resolution cannot be reached, managers should inform the employee in writing that the employee may be able to file a complaint in accordance with the employee’s applicable complaint process detailed in the company handbook.

Coming Soon: Bright Contracts will be updating the software shortly to include a Hybrid Working policy as well as other useful documentation, announcements will be made once these become available.

To ensure you have access to the complete hybrid working content ensure you have purchased a Bright Contracts licence.

Posted in Coronavirus, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

8
Jul 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

My Employees & The Vaccine: Can I ask for this data?

As vaccinations continue to roll out and employees begin returning to the workplace, employers are now wondering if they can lawfully collect and process information about the Covid-19 vaccination status of their employees. As mentioned in our previous Blog Post Let's Get Topical - The Vaccine Policy, information relating to an individual’s vaccination status is categorised under GDPR as special category personal data and therefore represents part of their personal health record which is why it is afforded additional protections under data protection law.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has published guidelines addressing the issue of what information employers can process, within these guidelines the DPC have made it clear that they do not consider there is any general legal basis for employers to request the vaccination status of their employees at this time, their reason being “in the absence of clear advice from public health authorities in Ireland that it is necessary for all employers and managers of workplaces to establish vaccination status of employees and workers, the processing of vaccine data is likely to represent unnecessary and excessive data collection for which no clear legal basis exists”.

With that being said, the DPC acknowledges that there may be certain extenuating circumstances, for example those working in frontline healthcare services, where vaccination can be considered a necessary safety measure, therefore in these situations the DPC states that an employer will likely be in a position to lawfully process vaccine data on the basis of necessity.

The current version of the Work Safely Protocol: Covid-19 National Protocol for Employers and Workers highlights that the decision to get a vaccine is entirely voluntary, and that individuals will make their own decisions as to whether they wish to receive it or not. Based on this, in the DPC’s view, this further indicates that covid-19 vaccination data should not be considered a necessary workplace safety measure, and as a result, the processing of vaccine data is unlikely to be necessary or proportionate in an employment context.
These guidelines will be subject to review if the public health advice and laws relating to the nature of the virus, the pandemic and the interplay with vaccination change which is why employers should ensure they closely monitor evolving public health guidance and laws.

To keep up to date on these changes we have recommended the following resources:

- GOV.ie 

- HSE.ie

- World Health Organization 

Bright Contracts has recently been updated to include a Data Protection Policy and Vaccine Policy which covers these consideration points for our customers to include in their employee handbooks, which can be found under the terms and conditions tab.

Related Articles: 

Your GDPR Questions Have Been Answered!

As Easy As 1,2,3: Key Elements of Safe Return to The Workplace

The Home Stretch: The Final Key Steps in a Safe Employee Return

Hello Update! - Additions to the Return to Work Safely Protocol

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Coronavirus, GDPR, Health & Safety

1
Jul 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Your GDPR Questions Have Been Answered!

GDPR/ the General Data Protection Regulation has been around since May 2018 but the stipulations surrounding GDPR can still be confusing at times which is why we decided to cover this topic as FAQ's but firstly to explain what GDPR is, it is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Even though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. Under GDPR you have a fundamental right of access to your personal data from data controllers.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information that relates to you, or can identify you, either by itself or together with other available information. Personal data can include your name, address, contact details, an identification number, IP address, CCTV footage, access cards, audio-visual or audio recordings of you, and location data.

What personal data can employers lawfully process?
GDPR states that to be able to ‘Lawfully Process’ personal data you must be able to fall into at least 1 of the 6 processing classifications, the first one being Consent. Consent must be:

  • Specific, informed, unambiguous, and freely given – there must be evidence that clear affirmative action has been given.
  • Must be for a specified purpose
  • Where consent is obtained as part of a larger document covering other things, consent text must be clearly distinguished from everything else
  • Evidence needs to be retained as to how the consent was obtained. For example; forms, brochures signage, website screenshots.
  • Language must be accessible and easily understood.
  • Have a clear and seamless opt-Out process in place.
  • If you have mailing lists that you’ve used pre GDPR you will not be able to continue using them if you haven’t got specific approval or consent from the individuals.

Do we need to ask for consent from our employees to process their data?

No, as the reliance for processing and retaining their data will be down to lawful processing because of the employer’s legal obligation to deduct taxes etc. and also down to the contractual agreement in place to pay them and pay forward the taxes owed on their behalf. And also to the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee, the status quo is in the employer’s favour so consent would not be unambiguous or freely given.

Is the emailing of pay slips permissible under GDPR?
There is nothing in the GDPR that states it is no longer permissible to email payslips, this practice is still very much acceptable. The thing to keep in mind in relation to emailing payslips is to ensure that all appropriate security measures are in place. The payslips that are emailed from BrightPay are encrypted and deleted from our servers once sent, however it may also be prudent of a processor of the payroll to password protect the payslips also. It will be the responsibility of the Data controllers (employers) to be vigilant that correct email addresses are inputted.

Do I need to provide my employees with training about GDPR?

It is advised that employers provide training to all individuals about their data protection responsibilities as part of the induction process. Additional training should be provided at regular intervals thereafter or whenever there is a substantial change in the law or The Company’s policy and procedures.

If data protection is breached, what are the consequences?

It is important that you comply with the GDPR legislation and put adequate policies and procedures in place. Your organisation can be inspected and could face significant penalties if your practices are in breach of GDPR. The GDPR allows the EU's Data Protection Authorities to issue fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is higher).

Bright Contracts contains a 'Data Protection' section of the Company Handbook which can be viewed under the 'Introduction' tab. Download a trial of our software to see a sample of this content.

 Related Articles:

 - How BrightPay Connect is helping with GDPR

Online Payslips: Their benefits and why you should use them

GDPR and Thesaurus Software

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

Older Articles >