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6
Apr 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Don't Forget About Your Valuable Retention Tool - Stay Interviews

Exit interviews are common amongst many Irish workforces. They are used to determine what prompted an employee to leave and to provide a final chance to persuade them to stay. Stay interviews give an organisation an opportunity to assess what improvements can be made now to avoid further resignations. They provide a more personal platform than what is currently in place from engagement or satisfaction surveys. It also allows for the building of trust between employees and managers, where both parties can discuss ideas.

A stay interview conducted between a manager and an employee can give an overview of what encourages the person to stay, the improvements that can be made, and what caused them to look for external opportunities. Identifying these issues early and acting on them contributes to long-term retention, increased motivation, improved productivity, and overall success for both the business and its people.

What should a stay interview look like?

Interviews don’t need to be long; they can be completed in as little as 20 minutes. Key questions to cover in the meeting could be what employees look forward to and what they dread about work each day, whether they would recommend the company to others, what would make their role more satisfying and how they would like to be recognised and valued.

What happens after a stay interview?

Organisations that decide to conduct stay interviews should remember that their workforce will expect an outcome so be prepared to implement positive changes. Failure to do so can increase frustrations amongst staff and make them feel that their voice is not heard.

Related Articles:

10 Tips for Employee Retention

 

 

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract

28
Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Let's Talk Redundancy

Redundancy occurs when an employee loses their job due to circumstances such as the closure of the business or a reduction in the number of staff. There are many reasons why an employee could be made redundant, such as the financial position of the company, lack of work, reorganisation with another organisation, or the company closing completely. Being made redundant can be an extremely tough situation for the employee, it is important as an employer to understand how the employee may feel at this time and make them aware of the support that is available to them.

Who is eligible for redundancy?

An employee is entitled to a redundancy payment after they have two years’ service. To be eligible for a redundancy payment:

  • The employee must be over the age of 16,
  • Be in employment that is insurable under the Social Welfare Acts,
  • Have worked continuously for their employer for at least 104 weeks over the age of 16
  • Your role has been made redundant

Part-time workers cannot be treated any different to the full-time workers but still must meet the requirement of the two years’ continuous service.

Redundancy Procedures

Employers must follow certain procedures when making an employee redundant. They must be fair and reasonable upon the selection of choosing people to be made redundant.

Some examples of fair selection include:

  • Last in, first out - The newest staff is the first to go
  • Voluntary redundancy
  • Point system - Employees doing the same job are ranked by objective criteria such as attendance record, the standard of work done, skills and qualifications.

If employees feel they have been unfairly selected for redundancy you can bring a claim of unfair dismissal.

Notice of redundancy

The notice period (time given to employees before they are made redundant) goes up depending on how long the employee has worked for the employer.

  • Between 2-5 years – 2 weeks’ notice
  • Between 5-10 years – 4 weeks’ notice
  • Between 10-15 years – 6 weeks’ notice
  • Over 15 years – 8 weeks’ notice

 Offering alternative work

Before the role can be made redundant, the employer may offer the employee another job in the business. This is known as alternative work. This alternative work should be given to the employee in writing and provide full information about the offer.

If the employee accepts the alternative role, they may take it up on a trial basis for up to four weeks. However, the employee will not be entitled to claim redundancy if:

  • They accept a new contract with immediate effect, and the terms of employment are the same as their previous contract
  • They accept an offer in writing for a new and different contract which will start within four weeks of their previous contract ending.

If the employee refuses a reasonable offer of alternative work from the employer, they may lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.

If the employee loses status, have worse terms and conditions of employment or must travel an unreasonable distance to work this will not be considered as a reasonable alternative.

 

 

 

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract

18
Jan 22

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Get Informed About Wage Deductions

There can often be debates between the employer and the employee as to what can be legally deducted from an employee’s wages. Well the confusion is over because in this blog post we have detailed for you what are the legal deductions employers can make, including the special restrictions on employers in relation to any act or omission of the employee. Firstly, under the Payment of Wages Act 1991, the employee has a right to:

1. A negotiable mode of wage payment
2. A written statement of wages and deductions, i.e. a payslip
3. Protection from unlawful deductions from wages

The Act applies to employees engaged under a contract of employment or apprenticeship, employed through an employment agency or through a subcontractor or working for the State.
There are only 3 circumstances in which an employer may legally make deductions from an employee’s wages or receive any payments from an employee. These are:

1. If the deduction or payment is required or authorised by law, for example, income tax, PRSI, USC, local property tax (LPT), additional superannuation contribution (ASC), an attachment of earnings order (AEO) or a notice of attachment.

2. If the deduction or payment is provided for in the contract of employment, for example, employee pension contributions, deductions for uniforms etc.

3. If the deduction is agreed to in writing, in advance, by the employee, for example, medical insurance subscriptions, trade union dues.

There are however special restrictions placed on employers in relation to deductions or the receipt of payments from wages, which arise from any act or omission of the employee (e.g. till shortages, bad workmanship, breakages), or are in respect of the supply to the employee by the employer of goods or services which are necessary to the employment (e.g. the provision or cleaning of uniforms). Any deduction or payment from wages of the kinds described must satisfy the following conditions:

i. the deduction or payment must be provided for in the contract of employment
ii. the amount of the deduction, or payment, must be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances including the amount of the wages of the employee .e. if it is substantial it should not be taken out of one single wage payment.
iii. Prior to the act or omission occurring, the employee must have previously been given written details of the terms of the contract of employment, governing deductions or payments, by the employer.

Written notice must be given to the employee in the case of each deduction or payment to the employer at least one week prior to the deduction being made and the employer must provide a receipt. The deduction cannot take place more than six months after the employee’s act or omission becomes known to the employer or after the provision of good and services to the employee. However, where a series of deductions are to be made, the first deduction must be made within six months. Most importantly, the deduction or payment cannot be more than the cost to the employer, in other words, the employer should not profit from the deductions.

Related Articles:

Don't Get Caught Out: The 5 Core Terms

- Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff 

Posted in Employment Contract, Employment Law, Pay/Wage, Wages

10
Nov 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Don't Get Caught Out: The 5 Core Terms

Throughout the pandemic some businesses were lucky enough to be able to hire new employees which is why it is important for employers to know their legal obligations in the first few days of an employees employment. The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994 to 2014 clarifes at the outset what the terms of employment are, in order to avoid problems which may arise at a later date.

Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994 to 2014:

  • The employer must give an employee a written statement contains the five core terms of employment within 5 days of commencing employment.
  • The employer  must give an employee a full written statement of their terms of employment within 2 months of starting employment.
  • The employer must notify the employee of any changes in the particulars of the statement within 1 month of the change taking effect.

Written Statement of Terms of Employment

The purpose of the written statement of terms of employment is to clarify the terms of a person's employment and to avoid uncertainty or misunderstandings, which can often lead to a dispute at a later date e.g. rates of pay for overtime hours not specified in advance.

It is important to note that a written statement of terms of employment is not necessarily the same as a contract of employment, although the two often overlap.An employer is obliged to issue a written statement of terms of employment to the employee which must be signed and dated by the employer however there is no requirement for an employee to sign a written statement of terms of employment.

The 5 core terms of employment which an employer must provide to an employee in writing within 5 days of commencement of employment are as follows:

1. Full names of the employer and the employee

2. Address of the registered office of the employer/ in the state/ the principal place of the relevant business

3. If it is a temporary contract, the expected duration of that temporary contract should be stated and if it is a fixed term contract, the date when that contract expires should be stated.

4. The rate or method of calculation of the employee's pay and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Acts 2000 and 2015.

5. The number pf hours which the employer reasonably expects the employee to work per normal working dat and per normal working week.

To avoid issuing two versions of a written statement of terms of employment (one version with the 5 core terms and the second version with the remaining terms0 it would be prudent for an employer to issue one version containing all terms within 5 days, or indeed before the employment commences so the employee is fully aware of the terms prior to commencement.

Additional Terms to Include in the Written Statement

The whole purpose of the written statement is to make absolutely clear to an employee what the terms of their employment are. An employer could add additional terms to avoid any confusion or uncertainty that might arise at a later date. Issues which may arise might include:

    • Appearance/ Dress Code - Formal or Casual
    • Compassionate Leave - Whether paid leave is granted for the death of a family member
    • Confidentiality Clause 
    • Alcohol & Drugs Misuse Policy
    • Study Leave
    • Lay-Off & Short Time
    • Data Protection Policy
    • Business Travel Arrangements
    • Health & Safety

This is not an exhaustive list. Where additional clauses or policies are included, the employer should also specify what disciplinary action will be taken against an employee who breaches any of these clauses.

The written statement must be given tot he employee even if the employee's employment ends before the end of the period in which the statement is required to be given. Where the employee leaves within 5 days of commencement, they should still be issued with a written statement containing the 5 core terms. Where an employee leaves within 2 months of commencement, the employer must still give the ex-employee a written statement, provided the employee has been in the continuous service fo the employer for at least one month.

The Act also specifies that an employer is required to retain the written statement for the duration of the employee's employment and for at least 1 year after the employment has ceased. The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 states that an employer is required to retain a copy of the written statement for 2 years from the date on which the statement was issued for inspection by a social welfare inspector. The employer should ensure that a copy of the written statement is held for the longer of these durations. 

Bright Contracts' contracts within the software not only cover the 5 core terms but also the additional terms. You can view a demo of the software and its contracts here. You can download a trial of the software here.

Related Articles:

Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff

Retirement in the Workplace: Is it enforceable?

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employment Contract, Employment Law

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

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

12
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Time Saving With Bright Contracts

Contracts. . . they are the pain point of every HR professional when recruiting new employees, processing promotions, extending contracts etc. To non HR professionals it may seem like typing up contracts is quick and easy work but this could not be further from the truth. The following are just some of the pain points I’ve had when typing up contracts, read and tick off any that may apply to you too when creating contracts of employment:

  • Formatting Issues
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Mis-matched Fonts
  • Saving Error: Corrupted file error meaning I have lost my entire document
  • Time consuming reading complete contract to check for errors
  • Printing Errors: Prints off centre or like a jigsaw puzzle making it frustrating to read

Well, how many points did you tick off that were applicable to you? If you found yourself even ticking off two of the above then you need Bright Contracts in your life as this software eliminates every single one of them pain points and produces a consistent, formatted, clean and compliant contract and handbook for each of your employees.

Read the below quick fire Q&A to gain an insight into what bright Contracts is, how it works and how it can help you with your contract and handbook creation:


What is Bright Contracts?
Bright Contracts is a software package that has everything you need to create and manage a professional staff handbook and contracts of employment. What was once traditionally an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process is now quick, easy and affordable with Bright Contracts.

Why should I use it?
Without employee contracts in place, an employer is risking large settlements in the case of staff disputes, and fines in the case of regulatory inspections. Having contracts also clearly defines the contractual relationship between you and your employees. Bright Contracts is the easiest way to get sorted.

What legislation is the software based on?
Bright Contracts has been written taking into account employment legislation across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main piece of legislation governing the content of Bright Contracts is The Employments Rights Act 1996 and The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The legislation specifies that employees must receive written terms and conditions of employment and what these terms and conditions are. In addition Bright Contracts has taken cognizance of current best practices as well as all relevant legislation in the creation of the content of the contract and handbook. Legislation also requires that employers are provided with details of procedures relating to dismissal, disciplinary and grievances, all of which are covered in our documentation.

How do we know this system complies with requirements and what if the law changes?
The system content has been compiled and tested by HR/Employment law experts. The system will be updated with any changes in legislation, changes brought about by case law or changes in best practice. These updates will be flagged to all current users and will be free to download.

How many people can access Bright Contracts?
When a licence is purchased it comes with two activations which means it can be activated on two separate computers. Once these activations have been used they cannot be deactivated and reactivated on another device.

Do I print off the handbooks and contracts?
The simple answer is yes however if you are trying to reduce your paper foot print then you can also have the handbook and contracts of employment as a pdf document which can then be e-mailed or, if you use our Bright Pay Connect product you can upload the documents to the employee’s connect profile.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Related Articles:

- Bright Contracts YouTube

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

19
Feb 19

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

What are “banded hours”?

The Employment Act 2018 creates a new right for employees whose employment contract does not accurately reflect the reality of the hours they work on a consistent basis. After a reference period of 12 months, employees will be able to request in writing to be placed in a band of hours that better reflect their average weekly hours worked. In response, employers are obliged to place the employee in the appropriate band and should do so within four weeks of receiving the employee’s request.

The appropriate band is determined by the employer on the basis of the average number of hours worked by the employee per week during the reference period.

The appropriate bands are laid down in law as set out in the below table.

   Band A:       3 to 6 hours   
   Band B:       6 to 11 hours   
   Band C:       11 to 16 hours   
   Band D:       16 to 21 hours   
   Band E:       21 to 26 hours   
   Band F:       26 to 31 hours   
   Band G:       31 to 36 hours   
   Band H:       over 36 hours   


An employer may refuse to place an employee in a band in one of the following circumstances:

  • Where there is no evidence to support the employee’s claim
  • Where there have been significant adverse changes to the business during or after the reference period
  • Due to exceptional circumstances, an emergency or unforeseeable circumstances beyond the employer’s control
  • Where the average hours worked by the employee were affected by a temporary situation that no longer exists

In determining the 12 month reference period, a continuous period of employment immediately before the legislation is to be enacted on 4th March 2019 will be reckonable towards the 12 month reference period. Please visit Brightcontracts.ie for more information on the new Employment Bill which has been in the pipeline now for a number of years.

The Bill is being introduced to ‘improve the security of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours’, common in (but not exclusive to) service industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail. These industries often rely on flexibility in the employment contract and therefore the introduction of this new Bill will require them to take note.

BrightPay Payroll Software | Thesaurus Payroll Manager | Bright Contracts

Posted in Employment Contract, Employment Update

24
Jul 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Back to Basics - New Employees

We often get calls into the helpline requesting basic information on HR/Employment Law queries like how to deal with new starters or when should an employer invoke the disciplinary procedures, so we will look at some basic HR topics in a series of blogs starting today with new employees.


New Employees
• A new employee is required by law, under the Unfair Dismissal Act, to receive a copy of the company’s ‘Dismissal Procedures’, which are usually contained in the ‘Disciplinary/Grievance Procedures’ of the Staff or Company Handbook, within 28 days of starting work with the company.
• Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 the employer is obliged to furnish new employees within 2 months of starting, with a ‘Written Statement of ‘certain’ terms and conditions’ of their employment, also known as an ‘Employment Contract’.
• The new GDPR regulations specify that employers must provide their employees with information about what personal data they hold on them, for what purpose and how it was collected, who it may be shared with, what security measures are in place to keep it safe and what the employee’s rights are as well as other specific requirements. This is called an ‘Employee Privacy Policy’ or ‘Employee Privacy Notice’ and should be given to the employee as an addendum to their Employment Contract.

Based on these 3 pieces of legislation it would be best practice to provide your new starter with their Employment Contract, Privacy Policy and Staff/Company Handbook on their first day of work, if not before it. An employer can be fined up to 4 weeks pay for not providing the employee with their ‘Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment’ within the 2 month timeframe, so it is best to get into the habit of furnishing the documents as soon as possible.

There is no requirement for a signature from the employee on any of these documents; however it would be prudent of an employer to request a signature from the employee or at least some form of acknowledgement or proof of the employee receiving the documents.

The new Employment Bill 2017, yet to be introduced, stipulates that a new employee should receive some details of their terms of employment within 5 days of starting with a company but it is yet to be seen whether this aspect of the Bill will get the go ahead.

Bright Contracts offers employers a simple and user-friendly system which enables them to easily create and customize all of these documents and keep an electronic record on file. To download a Free Trial click here or book an online Demo of the Bright Contracts software.

 

Bright Contracts | Thesaurus Payroll Software | BrightPay Payroll Software

Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, GDPR, Staff Handbook

13
Jun 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Why am I getting all these emails about privacy?

Lately you may have noticed your inbox bulging each morning with lots of emails with similar subject lines to these;


“Your privacy = our priority”                   “GDPR Data Protection – Your Data is Safe with us”
“Big Changes are coming”                        “Opt-In to continue receiving our great updates”
“GDPR update – please don’t leave us!”  “We’re keeping your details safe”


New, tougher European regulations around privacy and the use of personal data have now come into force and could see companies hit with huge fines if found to be in breach of the new laws.
In order for personal data to be processed lawfully, the processor must be able to rely on the reasoning being at least one of 6 categories, the main one being Consent. So if you were previously signed up with a company to receive newsletters or emails about special offers, they can no longer continue to send you these without your explicit consent.
Previous Data Protection Legislation allowed for an option to ‘Opt-Out’ as being sufficient means to mark having your consent, however with the new GDPR this is no longer the case. Consent must be ‘freely given’ unambiguous’ and for a ‘specific purpose’. Consent must be easily read and clearly distinguishable from other text and evidence must be collected as to how consent was obtained.
Consent can no longer be assumed and the likes of pre-ticked boxes that would have needed to be unticked if you didn’t want to register are now banned. Also the facility to Unsubscribe must be clear and an easy procedure to follow.


So all the emails you have been receiving, like those listed above, are those companies that you may previously have signed up with, scrambling to cover themselves for GDPR and not wanting to lose you as a possible customer or sale.


For more information on GDPR and how it may affect your organization, please see our dedicated online support documentation here.

 

Bright Contracts | Thesaurus Payroll Software | BrightPay Payroll Software

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

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