Business HR Under The Spotlight – Your 3 Minute April Roundup

“Welcome to Spotlight HR’s monthly ‘bite-size’ look at the latest HR news and important

legal changes affecting small to medium-sized businesses across the UK today.”

April 2022. By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

IMPORTANT April employment law updates – Don’t get caught short!

A raft of employment law changes came into effect in April. Here is a quick reminder of those that are likely to have the most significant impact on your SME business:

  • The new Minimum Wage changes came into force. You can find more details about this here: UK Gov Minimum Wage
  • The Gender Pay Gap reports also became a requirement in early April. Now, employers must demonstrate the steps they are taking to balance any pay inequalities – businesses of all sizes need to show they are addressing this moving forward.
  • The cap on the value of a week’s pay used to calculate Statutory Redundancy Pay for employees increased to £571 per week from £544.
  • Similarly, Statutory Maternity Pay also increased, with the weekly rates going from £151.97 to £156.66.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) also increased from £96.35 to £99.35.

We appreciate there are a lot of changes here. Please get in touch if you need any advice!

Through the HR lensHow to manage the cost of living crisis within your business

Startlingly, a recent CIPD poll identified that one in 10 employees don’t earn enough to pay for food and bills. Employees are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. What can businesses do to support their employees?

April has been Stress Awareness month and here at Spotlight HR, we’ve been helping to put wellbeing and mental health policies in place, aiding organisations to identify, support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Now more than ever, these policies are vital, with the impact of the sky-rocketing fuel, energy and food costs affecting people’s finances and putting additional pressures on their mental wellbeing.

The good news is that following the lessons learned during the pandemic, many of us nurtured a much greater human approach to managing our staff. With more emphasis given to recognising the challenges faced by the people we employ, their emotional needs and the support they need to carry out their roles successfully. These same management skills are required in this crisis –  making sure our people feel listened to, supported & valued in their workplace in response to the financial difficulties they face outside.

HR Top Tips to support financial wellbeing:

  • Flexibility: an example of this may be to keep remote and hybrid working models to eliminate the cost of commuting when possible. Or, people may want to work in the office more to save on the cost of utilities.
  • Culture: Nurture an open door policy, creating a safe space for them to reach out for help or just someone to listen to them.
  • Benefits: when increasing salaries to match inflation isn’t viable, offering free financial advice as a benefit may be a relatively lower cost option, lunchtime talks perhaps, to advise on potential saving techniques and lifestyle changes.

Employment Tribunal in focus – Unfair dismissal during the notice period

Fentem v Outform EMEA Limited

This tribunal is about an unfair dismissal claim by Mr Fentem, because his employer, Outform, terminated his employment after he had resigned and was working his notice period.

Mr Fenton had given 9 months’ notice to his employers, Outform, but when his employers invoked a clause in the employment contract to terminate his employment with immediate effect by paying him in lieu of his salary entitlement for the remaining notice period, Mr Fenton decided to take them to an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

The Marshall (Cambridge) Limited v Hamblin case was cited, leading the tribunal appeal to conclude this was not an unfair dismissal in the eyes of the law.

This ruling may give confidence to employers wanting to terminate someone’s contract if they are behaving disruptively during their notice period. However, to do this, your employment contracts must include a carefully worded PILON clause. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more!

If you’re affected by any of these issues, please get in touch for dependable HR advice that you can trust. We are here to help.