Business HR Under The Spotlight – Your 3 Minute July 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”.

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

Extreme heat & BIG news on part-time zero-hour holiday ruling

This month has been a scorcher, with plenty of changes afoot! Record-breaking temperatures and some ‘not-so-friendly’ Supreme Court rulings mean that any employers with part-time, or zero-hours contracted staff, are in for some MASSIVE changes to the rules around holiday entitlement – this we all need to know about. As always, we have tried to keep things simple – but if you have any questions on any of these issues – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Through the HR lens – Climate change is hotting up – and so are our workplaces. What’s the HR score?

With record-breaking temperatures becoming the norm and yet another heatwave predicted for August, some HR tips on the law, Health & Safety & generally cooling down are just the ticket! Surprisingly, there is no UK workplace temperature legislation and, regardless of heat, employees can only be off work if they are sick. But, Duty of Care, and the H&S Regs. 1999 states: the temperature of the workplace is one of the potential hazards employers should consider when doing risk assessments. So Employers do have some level of accountability.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) have suggested employees should act to reduce temperatures that exceed 24C and while this is not currently legally enforced, with temperatures continuing to soar, keeping our people safe and able to work has to be a national priority. So here are our hot tips to stay cool.

Spotlight HR’s hot tips to keep your workplace cool this summer:

  • Ventilation – open windows and use fans
  • Hydration – encourage people to drink water regularly
  • Vulnerable – identify & support those most at risk from the heat
  • Start and finish times – stagger these to cooler hours
  • Flexible working – offer the choice if viable
  • Dress code – relax the rules, so people feel comfortable.

IMPORTANT NEWS – if you employ term-time or part-time employees

The landmark Supreme Court ruling on July 27th July on the high-profile Harpur Trust v Brazel case didn’t just put the cat amongst the pigeons regarding pro-rata holiday entitlement. It gave the cat a calculator and hoped he could sort out the maths too! Honestly, the time employers need to fathom these new rules are insane.

Lesley Rennie, from Worknest, explained it like this: “This ruling means many employers will need to immediately change their holiday pay practices. This includes those who employ permanent zero hours, ad hoc or term-time workers, and have applied the 12.07% formula to calculate holiday accrual and who have either waited for the finality provided by the Supreme Court’s decision or who have, up until now, been unaware of this case.”  In contrast to this, Joanne Moseley, employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said “it will only affect workers who work for part of the year on continuous contracts. Casual and zero-hours employees who are employed for less than 12 months for short fixed periods won’t be impacted and will still be entitled to holiday based on how many hours they have worked”.

If you are confused, we don’t blame you. If you are worried and need clarification – contact us. The important thing is to act now.

Employment Tribunal in focus – constructive dismissal & breach of contract

This tribunal has taken an interesting twist on the breach of contract rules – so it is something all employers need to be savvy about. The Singh v Metroline hearing unpicked a complex workplace scenario, where the employee Mr Singh was signed off sick by his doctor on the day of his disciplinary hearing. His employers, taking the view that he was avoiding the meeting rather than being genuinely ill, only agreed to pay Mr Singh statutory sick pay – instead of the fuller amount detailed within his employment contract. Following this decision, Mr Singh sought constructive dismissal based on this sick pay discrepancy – even though the employer had not indicated an end to his employment.

The ruling sided with Mr Singh, citing the employee’s actions constituted a fundamental breach of the employment contract.

What does this mean for your business? Well, it’s all about the contract. The better these are constructed, the tighter your protection. Up-to-date contracts save you time and money – and the headaches of tribunals.

We are here to help with a FREE initial call if you need any advice.

 Spotlight HR –  Dependable HR advice that you can rely on.