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14
Oct 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Budget 2022: What You Need to Know

The 2022 budget was released this week which aims to explain how money will be raised and spent in 2022. The budget saw some important changes across a variety of sectors with some important ones for employers to know which is why we have summarised them for you below so you don't miss out!

  • The National Minimum Wage

The NMW will rise by 30 cent to €10.50 per hour

  • Family

Maternity benefit and parental leave payments to be increased
Parent's Benefit extended by 2 weeks to 7 weeks from July next year

  • Covid Supports

The employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will remain in place, in a graduated format, until 30 April, 2022 - the scheme will close to new employers from 1 January, 2022

  • Working from Home & Income Tax

People who work remotely will see an income tax deduction of 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband. In his Budget speech, the Minister for Finance said Government policy is to facilitate and support remote work. 

If you would like to read some more detailed information and analysis, or even read the Ministers’ Budget day speeches to the Dáil, visit http://gov.ie/budget to find out more.

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Posted in Coronavirus, Employment Law, Health & Safety, Hybrid Working, News

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.

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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.

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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'.

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