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Blog  »  January 2015
Jan 15

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Avoiding the Top HR Mistakes Small Businesses Make

For time pushed managers of small businesses, HR and people matters often come far down the never ending “To Do” lists. However, employers ignore HR matters at their peril; avoiding such matters can often have painful, costly consequences that can set businesses back.

The following are some of the most common HR blunders that small businesses are making.

Failure to recruit properly
o Don’t fall into the trap of hiring somebody just because you know them or because you feel sorry for them. Only hire people who have the skills, experience and qualifications for the job. Also, always carry-out reference checks on new employees.

Not having Employment Contracts and Policies in Place
o Legally, every employee regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or temporary should have a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment. Having well drafted policies clearly sets out a company’s stance on certain matters, enabling managers to smoothly deal with issues should they occur.

Incomplete or Inaccurate Documentation
o Regulations are in place that specify certain information that employers must hold on employees, failure to comply with such regulations could result in costly fines. Additionally keeping accurate records will help employers manage different situations as they arise, e.g. records of an employee’s performance/ disciplinary background will be crucial if escalated action, such as dismissal, is required.

Not understanding basic employment law
o Employers should never assume that employment laws don’t apply to them! Unfortunately for businesses employment law is ever changing. It is the duty of employers to keep on top of legislation and make sure their business is operating as it should be.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company Handbook, Employment Contract

Jan 15

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Force Majeure Frequently Asked Questions

Force Majeure leave is a statutory leave which allows employees paid time off work in times of a family crisis.

Below are answers to some force majeure FAQs to help employers understand how to manage any such requests.

What is considered a family crisis?

The entitlement to force majeure leave applies where the employee’s immediate presence is indispensable due to the illness or injury of a close family member. This is a particularly strict interpretation and generally relates to a medical emergency. Whilst not impossible, it is rare that an employee would be entitled to consecutive days of force majeure leave as generally the immediacy and emergency would have ended on day one.

Force majeure leave does not give any entitlement to leave following the death of a close family member, this should be dealt with under an employer’s compassionate leave policy.

Who is defined as a close family member?

• A child or adopted child of the employee
• The husband/wife/partner of the employee
• A parent or grandparent of the employee
• A brother or sister or the employee
• A person to whom the employee has a duty of care
• A person in a relationship of domestic dependency

How much time is the employee entitled to?

Employees are entitled to 3 days in a rolling 12 month period and 5 days in a rolling 36 month period.

Does the employee need to have built up service to be entitled to Force Majeure?

There is no service requirement in order to be eligible for force majeure leave, all employees are entitled to apply for the leave.

How should the Employer be Notified?

By its very nature notice cannot be given of force majeure. Whilst employees should inform their employer of their absence as soon as possible e.g. by phone call, upon returning to work they should complete a Force Majeure Leave form specifying the detailed information. A sample force majeure leave form can be found here.

Are employers entitled to request evidence of the emergency?

Yes, employers may request that the employee provide evidence of the emergency where possible. Employers should also be aware that any records in relation to force majeure should be kept on the employee file for up to eight years.

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Posted in Company Handbook