Clients

Getting the GDPR right for HR

With the implementation of the GDPR just around the corner (May 2018), it’s essential to consider how the new regulation is going to impact on HR matters. We know how tricky this can be, particularly for small businesses with no in-house team to guide them through the steps to compliance.

The  European Commission has recently put together some guidance on the GDPR, which you can take a look at here. Alongside this, they’ve also launched a new online tool for SMEs, which you can find here. The tool aims to raise awareness of the GDPR, and gives practical advice to help guide you through to a successful conclusion of the GDPR.

Similarly, the ICO has updated its guide to the GDPR. These updates include:

  • More information on the ‘lawful basis’ for collecting personal data, such as legal obligation, vital interests and public task, and
  • A more detailed explanation on personal data breaches.

You can find the full guide here. Alongside the guide, the ICO has also published guidance on documentation, and the new requirements under Article 30 of the GDPR. You can see that here.

If you’re not already a part of our community, now is the perfect time to join us. Here at Enlighten HR we will be advising clients (not people on the general mailing list so now might be a good time to talk to us about joining our community) on the HR related steps you need to take to make sure you’re GDPR compliant. As part of this we’ll also be supplying a GDPR Policy and a range of other employee-related paperwork.

If you’re interested, you can find out more by contacting Alison here.

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Termination: make sure you follow what the contract says you need to do

In a previous article, we took a look at the importance of being honest when terminating an employee’s contract. It’s never going to be quick and easy, so it’s essential that employers comply with the contractual process of termination. The recent decision in Interserve Construction Ltd v Hitachi Zosen Inova AG shows just how important it is to understand and comply with this process for the termination of a construction contract.

The background

The case concerns the construction of an energy from waste plant in Hartlebury. In July 2015, the main EPC contractor sought to terminate its sub-contract with its subcontractor. The EPC contractor had issued a letter and made arrangements to remove them from site with immediate effect.

Whilst the sub-contractor could have justified immediate termination on a number of grounds, including those relied on by the EPC contractor, the contract stated that the EPC contractor:

“…may (at its absolute discretion) notify the Contractor of the default and if the Contractor fails to commence and diligently pursue the rectification of the default within a period of seven (7) Days… terminate the employment of the Contractor under the Contract.”

It was this that the sub-contractor used to argue that the contract hadn’t been terminated in the correct way, because the EPC contractor had not issued a notice and allowed a seven-day period for rectification of the default.

The case

 The EPC contractor tried to rely on reference to its “absolute discretion” under the clause, and argued that it was exercising this discretion in not allowing the seven days for rectification. But the court disagreed, holding that the notice and seven-day period for rectification was not optional but was a condition precedent. This meant that it had to be complied with prior to the EPC contractor having the right to terminate.

A termination event may have occurred, and it may have been in the EPC Contractor’s absolute discretion to terminate. However, the case demonstrates that the exercise of that discretion had been expressly limited by the terms of the contract, which means the necessary notice had to be given.

 Key points for employers

 The case is an important reminder that both parties must be clear on the rights surrounding termination, both when entering into a contract and when bringing one to an end.

When entering into contracts, make sure to:

  • Establish if there are any notice requirements and weather they are a condition precedent. Read the termination clauses carefully and look out for words such as ‘shall’, ‘subject to’ or ‘condition precedent’;
  • Check for any custom amendments to the timeframes for serving any necessary notices. The standard form can be amended to allow the notices to be given as early as possible.

When it comes to serving any notices, make sure to:

  • Comply with the form which the contract requires. This will normally mean giving the notice in writing, and should describe the circumstance relied on and reference the relevant contract provisions;
  • Serve the notices in the correct way. The contract might require it be served on a particular office or person, or in a specific way like recorded delivery.

If you skip out on the details, you could pay the price – even if there are genuine grounds for termination.

For more advice on the issue, you can contact Alison here.

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The Supreme Court has ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful

The government suffered a heavy defeat on 26th July after the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful and the government will now have to repay up to £32m to claimants, relating to claims dating back to April 2013.

Brought forward by the Unison union Lord Reed, the judgment said that the fees were unlawful because of their effects on access to justice. Introduced in 2013 and costing between £390 and £1200, the fees have been said to prevent access to justice for workers unable to fund their case.

“The making of the Fees Order was not a lawful exercise of those powers, because the prescribed fees interfere unjustifiably with the right of access to justice under both the common law and EU law, frustrate the operation of Parliamentary legislation granting employment rights, and discriminate unlawfully against women and other protected groups.”

While the fees were brought in by the government to reduce the number of malicious and weak cases, after 3 years there had been a 79% reduction in cases brought forward.

Discrimination cases cost more for claimants because of the complexity and time hearings took. The Supreme Court found this was indirectly discriminatory because a higher proportion of women would bring discrimination cases.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis has said: “This is absolutely a tremendous victory, it’s probably the biggest victory of employment rights in this country.”

So what now?

In order to deal with this massive backlog of repayment and claims the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have issued Case Management Orders.

The Order states that all cases and applications arising from the Unison case, or applications for reimbursement of fees, shall be made in accordance with administrative arrangements to be announced by the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS shortly… We wait to see what happens next!

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New ‘testimonials’ section

We now have some example written and video testimonials of our Customer’s experience, please visit http://79.170.40.162/enlightenhr.com/what-our-clients-say/testimonials

 

 

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Client stories – Meridian Business Support

Requirement

Meridian Business Support is a large, national employment agency supplying both temporary and permanent staff to a wide range of businesses across the UK. As part of their commitment to best practice people management, they offer a confidential help-line within their own HR Department. In support of the HR Department, enlightenHR was asked to provide confidential support to an employee during a particularly difficult period in her employment.

Solution

enlightenHR made contact with the employee and was able to provide help, advice and support to her to resolve the problems she was facing.

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Client Stories – Casbah

Requirement

Casbah is a privately owned nightclub employing about 20 employees. As the business grew, the owners became increasingly aware of their responsibilities relating to the employment of a growing team. enlightenHR was asked to provide appropriate documentation relating to contracts of employment, employee handbook and employment policies.

Solution

enlightenHR wrote employment contracts and provided the other documentation required to bring the business into line with current legislation. Additionally, enlightenHR has subsequently become involved in supporting the owners with managing disciplinary issues, performance management and sickness absence and has provided coaching to the owners to improve their own ability to manage people.

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Client stories – Chartwell

Requirement

Starting life as Cavendish Grant in 2000 and now operating as The Chartwell Group following their successful acquisition of the Chartwell in 2005, The Chartwell Group is an Independent Financial Advisors with an ethos of building excellent, long-term client relationships based on the development of its employees. At the time of enlightenHR’s initial involvement with Cavendish Grant, they employed approximately 25 people and were looking to expand through the takeover of another IFA. To assist Cavendish Grant in improving its management of its people, they were looking to update their Contracts of Employment and introduce an Employee Handbook to ensure consistency, clarity and fairness across the business. Additionally, Cavendish Grant was looking for ongoing support with people matters generally, including employee relations advice when managing difficult situations plus manager and employee training in a range of skill areas. A particular requirement at that time was support to the Managing Director in relation to the acquisition of the new business.

Solution

Cavendish Grant retained enlightenHR to rewrite Contracts and Handbooks and to assist with the integration of these to the business. In addition to telephone support, enlightenHR provides 2-half days per month, onsite support to the Cavendish Grant team covering a range of employment matters. enlightenHR also provided support, both onsite and on the telephone to the MD with the TUPE process as the acquisition progressed. Alongside this, a training and development plan was devised for Line Managers within the business to provide support in appraisals, discipline and grievance, interview and selection skills.

“Having a quality HR resource available when you really need it has been invaluable to Chartwell. Alison has supported us through two acquisitions, ensuring that the process has gone smoothly and that the integration has been successful and rapid. Additionally, Alison has been instrumental in helping us to identify our organisational values and embed those in the business through our training, recruitment and appraisal systems. In the time that Alison has been working with us, we have grown our business from 30 to 100 people and Alison has helped us develop one of our team to become our HR Manager. Alison’s role now is coaching and supporting our HR Manager and the senior team to successfully fulfil the business strategy, dealing with the more complex technical HR issues and development and execution of the HR strategy. I have found the cost of employing enlightenHR to be extremely good value and everyone in the organisation has benefited directly or indirectly from having a senior HR professional involved in the business. I have recommended Alison and enlightenHR to a number of our corporate clients as I can see what a difference it can make to a business. Well done and thank you.”

Jim Grant, CEO, Chartwell Group Ltd

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Client stories – Bristol Hotel Group

Requirement

Having been established for a number of years, The Bristol Hotel Group recognised that it’s documentation relating to people management was out of date and asked enlightenHR to review and rewrite where necessary.

Solution

enlightenHR met with the management team and reviewed current documentation, rewriting contracts, handbook and other documents to bring them up to date both in terms of the way the business now operates and legal compliance. enlightenHR now provides ongoing support on employee relations matters.

“enlightenHR is always there, at the end of the phone, whenever we need high quality, pragmatic advice on employee relations matters. Our managers feel confident to deal with issues as a result of the advice and coaching they receive from an advisor who really understands our business. I have recommended enlightenHR on many occasions and always had good reports of their work”

David Ransome, Managing Director, The Bristol Hotel Group

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Client stories – Aqua bar & resturant

Requirement

Aqua Bar and Restaurant is a thriving independent business employing approximately 20 people. enlightenHR first became involved with Aqua when the business required Contracts of Employment for all of its employees. In general terms their management team are skilled in managing their employees and need only ad hoc support with particular, more complex issues as and when they arise.

Solution:

EnlightenHR wrote new Contracts of Employment for all employees and assisted in the implementation of these. Additionally, enlightenHR continues to provide ongoing support whenever the management team need advice and assistance in dealing with employee relations matters.

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