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Blog  »  October 2013
29
Oct 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Why do you need a social media policy?

Social media has shifted workplace dynamics, offering limitless commercial potential, including opportunities to increase client base, branding advertising and recruitment. Social media has made historically 9-5 businesses accessible 24/7.

However, it is not without risk! The instant access and availability of social media has blurred the lines between “personal” and “professional” lives.

What are the Risks?

Risks associated with poorly managed social media use can include:

  • Decreased productivity: a recent survey by William Fry Solicitors found that, on average, employees spend 56 minutes per working day on social media sites. 
  • Reputational damage: negative comments, photos, videos can very quickly become viral, having detrimental effects on a business. Have you seen the photo of the Burger King employee lying on a pile of burger buns, or the infamous Taco Bell or Domino’s Pizza photos?!
  • Increased risk of cyberbullying and harassment: in a recent case two workers in a mobile phone shop who took their manager’s phone, accessed his Facebook page, posting inappropriate comments. Not only was this a form of bullying, but the Company was also found liable as the comments were posted in the course of employment.
  • Leakage of confidential Company information: if it’s digital, it’s public!

What should Employers do?

Employers need to consider the issues social media raises in their workplace and put measures in place to regulate its use and to combat risks. Key to this is to have a comprehensive Social Media Policy in place. The policy should give clear guidelines on what is considered as appropriate and inappropriate behaviour on social media, and be clearly communicated across the entire workforce.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Employee Handbook, Social Media

16
Oct 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

What will the budget changes to Illness Benefit mean to Employers?

There have been mixed opinions on Budget 2014. Relief that tax rates have not been increased. Anger at cuts to pensioners and maternity benefits. But how will Budget 2014 affect employers?

An unexpected announcement made in the Budget and one that has been relatively unreported in the media was the rise of waiting days for Illness Benefit from after 3 days leave to after 6 days leave. Despite the lack of media attention this is not something employers can ignore!

The effect of sick leave on employers

Sick leave already has a significant negative effect on Irish businesses. According to IBEC’s 2011 Guide to Managing Absence over 11 million working days are lost in Ireland every year due to sickness, costing businesses €1.5 billion or €818 per employee. The report also found that on average employees missed 5.98 days per year.

Impact of the illness benefit change to employers

No matter how you approach sick leave and sick pay in your company this budget change is very likely to have a negative impact on your business:

A.      If, as an employer, you pay company sick pay in addition to illness benefit, you will be facing increased costs.

For Example: An employee earns 300 per week and is off sick for 1 week*[i]:

 

Company Sick Pay for the 1 week

Illness Benefit recouped by Employer

Actual Cost to Employer

Previously

300

94

206

As per Budget 2014

300

0

300

Additional Cost to Employer

94

 

Employers need to review sickness absence and sickness pay policies in their contracts of employment and staff handbooks. They need to consider:

  • Do the policies specifically refer to the illness benefit received from the State? Do the terms need to be changed?
  • Can the company afford the additional cost to their sick pay scheme? Is this something that needs to be amended?
B.      If as an employer, you do not pay sick pay in addition to illness benefit you may also want to review your policies and procedures. Will employees be forced to come into work when they are genuinely unwell because they cannot afford to take time off? Will this result in greater spread of illnesses across the company, further affecting workplace productivity and the cost to the business.
 

How can companies minimise the impact of sickness absences and the change to illness benefit?

Companies looking to minimise the impact of this budget change, and minimise the cost of sick leave in general, need to look at reducing sick leave levels in the workplace. Prevention is better than cure. Key to reducing sick leave will be to have effective sick leave policies and procedures in place. A sick leave policy will clearly set out the procedures that should be followed by both employees and management in cases of absence through illness. Implementing certain steps, such as having to speak to a manager to report your absence, or back to work interviews are proven to significantly reduce unnecessary sick leave absences. According to the CIPD’s 2013 Absence Management Survey, introducing a new sick leave policy was the top solution implemented by companies to manage short-term absences, with 63% of respondents having updated/implemented a policy.                               

By reducing the level of unnecessary sickness absence employers will be better placed to support those employees who are genuinely ill and who cannot and should not attend work, whether illness benefit applies or not. 


[i] The below assumptions have been made in the example above:
  • Employee normally works 5 days within the day range of Monday to Saturday. For the purpose of illness benefit the week is Monday to Saturday. An employee out of work Monday to Friday will be considered to have been out for 6 consecutive days under illness benefit.
  • Employees initial day of incapacity is Monday
  • Employer normally pays for the entire period of incapacity

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employment Update, Sick Leave/Absence Management

16
Oct 13

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

The Importance of having procedures/policies in place…..and following them.

At a recent Employment Appeals Tribunal the decision to award the Appellant €21,300 in compensation under the Unfair Dismissals Act was made given that “there were absolutely no Disciplinary procedures in place or being correctly operated in the workplace. There seems to have been a Grievance procedure set out in the Contract of Employment but this did not seem to be invoked.”

It just proves how very important it is to have these procedures and policies in place and when or if a situation arises where they are required that they are followed to the letter.

As an employer it is your obligation to have just and fair policies in place to protect both the Employee and the Employer.

To read more about this case please see: http://www.eatribunal.ie/determinationAttachments/indexedLiveDocs/a3305aeb-bf8d-4403-a93b-b7e017c4b914.pdf

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment

14
Oct 13

Posted by
Gerri McGinley

Parental Leave – A Recap

The Parental Leave Acts of 1998 to 2006 provides an entitlement to parents with young children up to 14 weeks unpaid leave if it is required to take care of their child.  Since 8th March 2013 this has changed with the number of weeks now being increased from 14 to 18 weeks. The leave must be taken before the child reached 8 years of age.

Other changes in this legislation are:

  • If both parents work for the same employer, then with agreement of the employer, 14 weeks from one employee can be transferred to their spouse/partner.
  • The classification of disability has been changed to include “long-term illness”.
  • The age limit for children with long-term illnesses was increased to 16 years.
  • If an employee returning from parental leave requests a temporary change in their working hours or pattern of work, an employer should consider this request but is not required to allow it. If the request is agreed to by the employer then an agreement setting out the new temporary change of hours and/or pattern must be signed by both parties.
  • A record of all parental leave must be kept by employers for a period no less than 8 years.  If an employer fails to do so then they could be liable for a fine of up to €2000.
  • An employee must not be penalized for making such a request.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Parental Leave

11
Oct 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

World Mental Health Day

10th October was World Mental Health Day. This is a good opportunity for employers to consider how the working environment affects mental health.

Across Europe, job-related stress is increasing. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work found that 80% of the working population of Europe think the number of people suffering from job-related stress will increase. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), stress has become the biggest cause of long-term absence for non-manual workers in the UK. Work place stress will cause disengaged employees, with reduced productivity resulting in a loss of profitability for organisations.

It is reported that the main causes of work related stress are:

  • Workload
  • Non-work relationships/family
  • Management style/relationships at work
  • Organisational change
  • Pressure to meet targets

To prevent stress becoming an issue in your work place look out for signs (e.g. increased absences, less sociable than usual), communicate regularly with the employee to discuss whether they require additional assistance.

Putting policies in place that clearly set out The Company’s commitment to assist employees suffering from stress will also help. Such policies might include anti-harassment/bullying policies, family friendly policies and grievance policies. For further information on how you might implement any of these policies read more at www.brightcontracts.ie.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Health & Safety, Sick Leave/Absence Management

7
Oct 13

Posted by
Gerri McGinley

EQUAL TREATMENT FOR AGENCY WORKERS

Under the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work, agency workers have the right to equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions as if they had been directly recruited by the hirer from their first day at work. This has now been included in Irish law by the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012.

This Act applies to agency workers employed by an employment agency who are then temporarily assigned to work for another company for a period of time.

Under the Act, basic working and employment conditions include: pay, duration of working time, rest periods, breaks, night work, annual leave and public holidays.

Pay is defined as: basic pay, shift premium, piece work, overtime, unsocial hours worked and Sunday work. It does not include occupational pension schemes, sick pay, bonuses, benefit in kind or maternity pay.The right to equal pay is backdated to 5th December 2011.

The agency workers must also have equal access to facilities such as childcare, canteens and car parking. They must also have equal access to information about permanent employment opportunities.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment

4
Oct 13

Posted by
Audrey Mooney

CPA Ireland – Practitioners’ Conference 2013

CPA Ireland held their Practitioners Conference in Carton House Friday 20th & Saturday 21st September 2013.  Laura Murphy and Audrey Mooney from Thesaurus Software attended the conference.  Laura and Audrey enjoyed meeting existing Thesaurus Payroll Manger and Solutions Plus customers – getting their feedback and comments. 

It was also an opportunity to show Bright Contracts and our new payroll product BrightPay. 

  • Bright Contracts is an innovative software package that has everything you need  to create and manage your staff handbook and and employment contracts. 
  • BrightPay is simple to use yet powerful and flexible, it will be offered alongside Thesaurus Payroll Manager  giving customers a choice of payroll products. 

 

Laura Murphy (left) and Audrey Mooney at the recent CPA conference

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Accounts Software, Bright Contracts News, Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Events, Payroll Software