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HR News Round-Up December 2018

Posted On: 21/12/2018

It’s nearly time to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome in the New Year.  With so many current political uncertainties, demands for transparency in the workplace and a focus on diversity and equality the changes being brought in to HR next year will definitely keep us on our toes.  In this blog we’ve highlighted the 2019 Employment Law Changes and what you need to prepare for, as well as demonstrate how the wishes of today’s employees continue to influence ways of working.  

And finally, as our gift to you, we give you our top tips on how to survive the office party! 

Employment Law Changes

Here are seven employment law developments to prepare for in 2019 [1].

Post-Brexit immigration rule changes. Sometime after we leave the UK, free movement will end and the employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions. HR departments will need to alter recruitment and retention processes to mirror these changes.

  1. Executive pay reporting. From 1 January 2019, UK quoted companies with more than 250 employees will have to report on the ratio between the pay and benefits of the CEO and the workforce.
  2. Itemised pay statements. From 6 January 2019 workers as well as employees have the right to an itemised pay statement to include details of any variable pay.
  3. Gender pay gap report. Employers with 250 or more staff must publish their report on the Gov.UK website.  The deadline dates differ depending on sector – 31 March for organisations in the public sector and 5 April for those in the private and voluntary sectors.
  4. Increase to national minimum wage. For the over 25s the national minimum wage will increase to £8.21 per hour from 1 April.  For those aged at least 21 but under 25 the hourly rate increases to £7.70, for workers aged at least 18 but under 21 the rate will be £6.15, and for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age will see an increase to £4.35.  The apprentice hourly rate will increase to £3.90 and the daily accommodation offset will increase to £7.55.
  5. Statutory family & sick pay rates. On the 6 April, the weekly rate for statutory sick pay is expected to increase to £94.25.  From the 7 April the weekly amount for statutory family pay rates is expected to increase to £148.68 and will apply to maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay and maternity allowance.
  6. Parental bereavement leave and pay. The government proposes to introduce a right for bereaved parents to take paid time off work from April 2020.  Parents will have 56 weeks from the death of their child to take the leave.  It may be a little while off, but we highly recommend that companies prepare for this change now and start to revise their own existing policies.

The Four Day Working Week

This year we have written a lot about ways to connect with employees and increase productivity so it’s no surprise that the possibility of flexible working is on the agenda for many businesses in 2019 [2].

Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ Absence says, “Flexible working lets companies cover the entire working week without having a set period with no staff and can offer many business benefits including increased employee retention and engagement. It can also give companies access to wider talent pools during recruitment as it’s a benefit many people favour.”

Flexible working and a four-day working week must be managed well to allow both the employer and employee to reap the rewards.  This can mean introducing flexi-time and policies around working from home.  To succeed, the company must have a robust IT system and have visibility of where all their staff are at all times.

Could 2019 be the year we see a shift from the traditional 9-5 working day pattern?

The Party

There are few occasions when co-workers see each other outside of the workplace; dressed to impress with alcoholic beverages aplenty, unless they’re friends outside of the office of course.  It’s an exciting time, it’s the time of good cheer, it’s a time to let your hair down – but it’s not the time to disgrace yourself.  With some recent learns from Christmas events, we would like to share these five top tips for any office party whatever the occasion. Why not share them with your teams in advance of your next office event! [3]:

  1. Pace yourself. As tempting as it may be to have a few pre-drinks before hitting the free bar it really is a bad idea – save this for your friend’s wedding.  Eat some food before going out, don’t mix drinks and drink water in between alcoholic drinks.
  2. Stick to a friend. Plan ahead. Ask that person from the office you know will keep an eye on you to do just that, and if that fails, then at least you’ve got someone’s shoulder to cry on at the end of the night.
  3. Less media, more social. Forget about your phone for the night.  Enjoy the moment without constantly taking photographs and take that finger off the ‘check in’ and ‘tag’ buttons. 
  4. Keep emotions in check. You might have your eye on someone in Accounts, but whatever you do, don’t tell them how you feel after a few drinks.  It won’t go unnoticed by others and only cause embarrassment to both of you.
  5. And finally, book your taxi in advance. This way you won’t stay longer that you planned or end up sleeping in the railway station waiting for the first train home in the morning.  Oh, and make sure you leave with your coat, keys, both shoes and dignity!

If you want more information or advice on any of the subjects raises in our final blog of 2018 please get in touch by calling us on 0161 941 2426. 

[1] Personnel Today

[2] HR News


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