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Chalk it up to experience

Focusing on employee experience is vital if you want to improve recruitment and retain your team. We look at some simple ways to help you make your employee experience better…

How often have you looked at how you can improve your customer’s experience? Whether it is updating the online buying process or improving sales aftercare, it is probably something you do as a matter of course.

And yet while you are busy ensuring that your customers have the best experience – acknowledging that they live in the 21st century and can make the most of all that technology can offer them – many companies are just not doing the same for their staff!

Of course, it is easier for the big names, such as Google, to offer flexible working, staff incentives, team building days out, social opportunities and so on, but there are things that smaller companies can focus on too.

Making sure that your employees get the best possible experience ensures that you will be able to recruit the best people – and retain them on your payroll too. Not only that, but if they are getting the best experience from work, this will be passed on to your customers, with staff being more focused, more efficient and more likely to be enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand.

After all, in so many sectors – retail, sales, media, hospitality and so on – your staff are your best asset. Surely it makes sense to take care of them, including their health and safety etc – the same way you would ensure your lorries were well maintained if you were a transport company, or your servers were looked after if you were an IT company.

Research also shows that a positive employee experience results in better productivity. [IBM Smarter Workforce Institute: The Employee Experience Index, September 2016].

Keep up to date

First, take a look at the tools you expect your staff to use. In a world where virtually every home has a laptop, smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs, coming to work and having to use an out-of-date operating system, or slow laptop can be frustrating and can really impact on their productivity.

Allowing your staff access to social media – in the right environment and with guidance – shows that you respect their work ethic and besides, so much work contact goes on around social media now – LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and so on are useful business tools now, not just time-wasting fripperies. However, it is important to recognise that in some workplaces and certain situations, this would not be appropriate.

You should also be open to your employees’ thoughts and opinions. Organise regular group meetings to bounce ideas around, or where they feel enabled to bring up any issues without fear of retribution. Or perhaps use technology – Microsoft Teams or Yammer maybe – to have group discussions. Particularly appropriate if you have staff who work at home, or from other remote locations.

Stay flexible

Ensuring the satisfaction of employees who don’t come into the office or who work from a less central location is key. Allowing them to book holidays using cloud software, or to update documents and project paperwork held in a central location will enable them to feel more engaged.

Talk to us if you would like to learn more about HR cloud software.

Offering flexible working will also help to retain staff, especially those who may have family commitments. Allowing the opportunity to work at home, or to stagger hours to enable them to drop the kids at school, or look in on an elderly relative can make their lives a lot easier, resulting in less stress for them, and allowing them to concentrate on work during their allocated hours. They are also far more likely to stay loyal to a company that acknowledges that they have a life outside of the office.

Thanks for everything

Recognising your employee contributions is also vital. And it needn’t cost the earth. Just a compliment about someone’s work can be enough – maybe some lovely fancy biscuits by the kettle to say thanks to the team for a job well done? If you can afford a lunch out for the team – great – but grand gestures are not always necessary. If someone has done something to really raise your productivity or made a major sale, a bonus or pay rise may be in order, but it’s amazing how just an acknowledgment of a great idea or creative effort can really boost someone’s mood. As can a chance to advance their career. Offering your staff opportunities to improve themselves and advance within your company will ensure they don’t move on elsewhere.

Not all positions lend themselves to promotion, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer training to help people broaden their skillsets. And in order to help them keep up in an ever-changing world, ensure there are opportunities to gain skills in the latest technological advances – social media skills for the marketing team perhaps, as well as training in any new software that you bring on board.

Employee experience

The user experience for your employees should be as good as the user experience for your customers. Think about the processes within your company. How easy is it for new staff to find out how everything works, how they can apply for holidays, or overtime? If a member of staff needs to take maternity leave, how easy is it for them to access the necessary information?

And how easy is the day-to-day experience at work? Is there car parking? If not, how does your company help them to find or pay for a space? Is the commute to your office a nightmare? Could you stagger office hours to make this easier?

These little things can make a big difference to your staff and allow them a better work/life balance – which ultimately is what many of us are looking for.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

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Administrator in Aylesbury

Full or Part-time Administrator  

based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire 

Are you an experienced administrator? 

Are you looking for a new challenge? 

Yes? Then please read on … 

About us 

Embrace HR is a consultancy supporting SMEs largely in the Home Counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire; and Northampton and the South East. Our clients’ businesses do not need a full time HR presence but, nevertheless, need HR support. Based in a business park in Aylesbury, our growing team require another pair of hands. 

You will provide a general office administrator service based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. As an HR consultancy, your experience working in an HR environment or understanding HR processes is an advantage.  You will be confident to work on your own at times and manage your time effectively. 

What skills, knowledge, experience are needed? 

  • Your time management, planning and organisational skills help you  prioritise the many tasks our clients require in a timely manner 
  • You are comfortable and confident on the phone or face-to-face with clients or suppliers such as payroll and pensions providers
  • Experienced in roles that require HR administration is a bonus, but strong administration skills are preferred.  You may have worked as an administrator in finance, HR, or for a senior manager where you had exposure to some HR processes
  • You know the importance and security for client-sensitive personal and confidential information  
  • An experienced MS Office user, your Word skills are  at an intermediate level to draft, format or amend documents. Office365 experience is an advantage
  • In order to produce, review and proof-read documents, you have a  good command of English, including grammar and spelling
  • Although you will work with other team members, you will also work on your own from time to time and will be confident to work on your own initiative
  • You will liaise with our associates who work remotely, yours is the friendly voice on the  end of the phone 
  • The company uses software and apps to manage HR processes, share documents and keep records such as timesheets and task management. You enjoy using technology with the ability to  quickly learn different software packages
  • Attention to detail is important, not only in producing word-processed documents, but when carrying out tasks requiring you to follow processes and procedures 
  • This general admin role will include  various task such as managing stationery and printing, all within budget, as well as support some of the financial functions like recording expenses and raising invoices on occasion. 

CLICK HERE TO APPLY ON THE TOTALJOBS WEBSITE

Who are you? 

A happy person with a responsible attitude to work, trustworthy, reliable and punctual. You are a people person and comfortably speak with anyone at any level in a business. You are not afraid to tackle jobs that are mundane or complex, or that require creativity, and will follow through tasks to completion. You easily prioritise the important from urgent. Your telephone manner is professional, confident but friendly. You enjoy working with people but when faced with a difficult situation, you remain firm. You understand the need for confidentiality at all times to safeguard our clients, their families and employees. 

What are the benefits? 

  • A friendly office environment in Aylesbury
  • Modern and clean offices
  • Free parking 
  • Walking distance from shops and gym 
  • Statutory holiday includes bank holidays
  • No weekend work

How do I find out more? 

CLICK HERE TO APPLY ON THE TOTALJOBS WEBSITE

We will contact you or send a job description and  application form if you wish to apply. 

 What we offer

  • Salary £18.5K-£20K per annum (pro rata for part-time)
  • 5-day working week, part-time hours are negotiable
  • Part of a friendly team so you are not a number and can see how you contribute
  • Statutory holiday entitlement
  • Local business – give up the commute
  • Modern office in a business park in Aylesbury
  • Parking available
  • Close to shops and gym in Midshires Business Park
  • Equal Opportunities Employer.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY ON THE TOTALJOBS WEBSITE

OR if you’d like to talk to us first, contact us through our website

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for your interest in our company.

Satisfactory references and proof of eligibility to work in the UK are a pre-requisite

This post operates a non-smoking environment at all times

Embrace HR Limited is not a recruitment agency.

Visit our website for more information https://embracehr.co.uk/jobs/

No agencies please 

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HR Advisor in Aylesbury

HR Advisor (generalist)

Quote Ref: HRAMar2019

Embrace HR Limited is an HR Consultancy, that was founded in 2009. We provide HR services and support to a growing number of small and medium sized companies operating in a variety of sectors. This is a busy, fast-paced environment.

We are based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Our client base is mostly in the south east, but we have clients in many other parts of the country including Northampton, Gloucestershire, Kent and Essex.

We are expanding and looking to employing a hands-on HR Adviser to be based at our Head Office in Aylesbury, working in a small, friendly team.

Are you looking to change jobs?

Are you looking for a role that will stretch you?

Why not talk to us about our HR Adviser job in Aylesbury.

CLICK HERE TO LET US KNOW YOUR INTEREST – Quote HRADV2019

The job of HR Advisor

  • The working pattern is Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:30. Part time hours may be negotiated
  • This is a generalist role, where you will build relationships with our clients to support their organisations
  • Coordinate and delegate tasks to other Team Members to provide a seamless service to our clients for their HR support
  • Liaise with our associates and suppliers and manage tasks as necessary
  • Manage a number of client relationships at any one time, ensuring that HR support is responsive and timely
  • Provide expertise to support key HR projects for our clients as well as Embrace HR’s internal requirements
  • Identify the key HR issues and advise the best course of action for each individual client which may be performance management, capability procedure, disciplinary, grievances
  • HR experience in a working environment is essential
  • Experience of employee relations such as performance management, grievances, disciplinaries, maternity leave and pay, and other family friendly policies, as well as other HR processes
  • Awareness of compliance to enable working with contracts of employment and policies and procedures
  • Data analysis
  • Co-ordinating recruitment campaigns in association with other team members
  • Attending meetings including networking locally which may include occasional early morning meetings.

CLICK HERE TO LET US KNOW YOUR INTEREST – Quote HRADV2019

About You

  • You are CIPD qualified to Level 5 or equivalent
  • You can evidence working with and advising managers on day to day HR matters
  • You have strong communication skills – face to face, by phone and video conferencing
  • You are tech savvy and embrace change
  • You have a positive attitude conducive to working with a small, professional, work-orientated team
  • You have a positive demeanour
  • You have a sense of humour in a busy environment!

 What we offer

  • Salary £25,000-£30,000 per annum (pro rata for part-time)
  • Statutory holiday entitlement
  • 5-day working week, part-time hours are negotiable
  • Part of a small team so you are not a number and can see how you contribute
  • Local business – give up the commute
  • Modern office in a business park in Aylesbury
  • Parking available
  • Equal Opportunities Employer.

CLICK HERCLICK HERE TO LET US KNOW YOUR INTEREST – Quote HRADV2019

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for your interest in our company.

Satisfactory references and proof of eligibility to work in the UK are a pre-requisite

This post operates a non-smoking environment at all times

Embrace HR Limited is not a recruitment agency.

Visit our website for more information https://embracehr.co.uk/jobs/

No agencies please 

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Support Worker West Sussex

Support Worker – Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16

  • Haywards Heath RH16
  • Pay : £13 – £16 per hour
  • Let us know your preference
    • Term Time: Mon 3.30 pm to 9 pm; Wed & Thu 9 pm to 9 am
    • School holidays: Wed & Thu 7:30 pm to 7:30 am
    • Additional hours may be available in school holidays
  • Full drivers licence

Apply now… click to apply on TotalJobs

ABOUT THE ROLE

We are looking for female* Support Workers who are non-smokers to join our team to care for a 13 year old girl with complex physical and learning needs in her family home in permanent roles.  A full, clean UK driver’s licence is essential.

H enjoys the company of happy, lively people with outgoing personalities. She has a fantastic sense of humour, loves being out in the community and playing with her siblings and joins in all activities connected with family life.

H is non-verbal with sensory impairments. She is fed via a gastrostomy and uses a combination of facial expressions, symbols and some eye pointing to communicate and is exploring eye gaze.

*Exemption is claimed under the Equality Act 2010

ABOUT YOU

H’s support workers must have a positive outlook, and be willing to train and learn about H’s particular needs.

You will be punctual, respectful of working in a family home and environment and have experience working with a child with complex needs.  Personal care is required, administration of medication, carrying out therapy plans and accurate record keeping.

A high level of care is required by our team of support workers during the day and especially at night as H frequently wakes and has an unpredictable sleep pattern.  She uses CPAP to support her respiration at night and needs attention for gastrostomy and fluid intake.

Support workers may be asked to accompany H and her family on holidays both within the outside the UK.

Apply now… click to apply on TotalJobs

WORKING HOURS

  • Term Time:
    • Monday 3.30 pm to 9 pm
    • Wednesday and Thursday 9 pm to 9 am
  • School holidays:
    • Wednesday and Thursday 7:30 pm to 7:30 am
  • Additional hours may be available in school holidays

PAY RATES PER HOUR

  • Day shifts £13-£15 per hour
  • Waking Night shifts £14- £16 per hour

Apply now… click to apply on TotalJobs

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

For an informal chat please contact us by following this link and quote Ref: CM May 2019/LC/02

Satisfactory references and proof of eligibility to work in the UK will be required.  The position requires a disclosure request from the DBS.  A conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being employed.

Ref: CM May 2019/LC/02


Embrace HR Limited is not a recruitment agency, we recruit directly for our clients. No agencies please.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

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Support Worker Hemel Hempstead

Bank Support Worker – Hemel Hempstead, HP3 area

  • Hemel Hempstead, HP3 area
  • Pay : £12 to £14 per hour
  • Bank Support Worker to provide cover mainly, weekends, before and after college and during college holidays
  • Full clean UK driving licence

Apply now….click to apply on TotalJobs

Have you worked in a support role with young adults with special needs?

or

Are you interested in working in a support role with a young adult with special needs but perhaps lack experience in this area?

Are you flexible with your working hours?

Would you like to work, mainly with another support worker, in a friendly and caring team?

ABOUT THE ROLE

We are looking to recruit a bank support worker to complete our care team, to work with a 19 year old man who lives with his family and has Cerebral Palsy and associated complex care needs.

You will support the family to care for him by undertaking a range of duties, usually working closely with another member of the team to provide the highest standards of care.

Our client will require help with all activities of daily living and also to enable him to access learning, social and leisure activities.

The role will involve working within the family home and providing assistance in all aspects of personal care including washing, dressing, toileting and feeding.  You will also be assisting with implementing therapeutic and leisure activities in the home and wider community.

ABOUT YOU

Experience of working with young people with complex needs is useful but not essential as full training and support will be provided. Most important is your aptitude and desire to work with a young man with complex needs.

You will be confident about working in a family home and sensitive to the needs and wishes of the young man and his family

You will be able to establish a good rapport with the young man and to engage him in activities appropriate to his age and functional abilities with a positive outlook and sense of humour.

You will be a motivated and enthusiastic individual who is patient and tolerant.  A good communicator who is honest, reliable, punctual and trustworthy and able to work as part of a team.

You will be able and willing to update existing skills or learn new ones.

WORKING HOURS

Cover is required mainly for weekends, before and after college and during college holidays

PAY RATES PER HOUR

£12 per hour – Monday to Friday (day hours)

£14 per hour – weekends and bank holidays (day hours)

Apply now….click to apply on TotalJobs

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

For an informal chat please contact us by following this link and quote Ref: CM May 2019/LC/01.

Satisfactory references and proof of eligibility to work in the UK will be required.  The position requires a disclosure request from the DBS.  A conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being employed.

Ref: CM May 2019/LC/01


Embrace HR Limited is not a recruitment agency, we recruit directly for our clients. No agencies please.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness week: Workplace stress

How would you feel if your employees were putting their own mental health at risk in their bid to succeed at work? We look at how you can be aware of how workplace pressures can affect your staff and how you can help…

As May 13-19 is Mental Health Awareness Week, make this the time to take a look at the mental wellbeing of your staff.

How often do your staff work outside of their set hours? Is there a culture of ‘presenteeism’ in your workplace – where anyone who leaves the office at five, or works part-time, or has time off sick, is looked down on, or considered a slacker?

According to the CIPD, presenteeism has quadrupled since 2010 [CIPD: Presenteeism hits record high in UK organisations as stress at work rises 02/05/2018] and according to Personnel Today the trend is rising for employees to go into work when feeling mentally unwell [Personnel Today: Mental health presenteeism on the rise 10/10/2018], and yet more staff are taking time off sick.

What has come to light in research from wellbeing charity CABA, is that as many as three-quarters of HR professionals believe that making a good impression at work is having a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of employees.

Technology has a part to play in this – thanks to smartphones we are all available 24-7, at the end of the phone or contactable via email. And businesses can be guilty of expecting staff to check emails or take calls over weekends and evenings when they are not officially contracted to work.

Take a walk through your workplace after the official end of the day. How many staff are still in the office? If there are more than you expected, ask yourself why – ask them why! Being realistic, there will always be someone who has a deadline or a major project coming up who is likely to put in more hours, but this should not be the norm.

Encouraging this culture puts stress on your employees. They end up working late, maybe drinking to wind down after the day, or not having time to spend with family, exercise, or enjoy a hobby.

Having well-rested staff is only going to benefit your organisation. A well-rested team with a good work/life balance will perform better, be more focused and less likely to make careless mistakes. They are also less likely to suffer from physical or mental illness.

Think about how you can help your staff enjoy good mental wellbeing. Conduct a survey to find out how much they feel they must stay behind after working hours, discover how much work is actually done during that time, and why people feel they need to work past their normal hours.

Ensure that senior managers and line managers are on board and understand the issues, as they will have a great impact on preventing these unhealthy working practices.

Establish guidelines around contacting staff outside of working hours and when they are on annual leave.

Finally, work out whether there is a culture of presenteeism or if there are too few staff to deal with the workload. HR can be the champion of promoting a healthy work/life balance. Have some fun with it – maybe if working overtime through the week is an issue, think about introducing an early home time on a Friday afternoon, or as some companies do, turning Friday afternoon into a social downtime.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR changes April 2019

All change! Employment law alterations in April 2019

It’s vital that HR professionals keep up to date with changes in the law – here’s a rundown of the most recent updates…

Itemised pay statements

The right to receive an itemised pay statement has been extended to workers, rather than just employees from 6 April 2019.

If you have staff whose pay varies depending on the hours worked, the pay statement will have to include the total number of hours worked as well.

There are two ways to show this: it can be included either as an aggregate figure or as separate figures for different types of work.

Increase to National Minimum Wages

Both the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage have risen as of 1 April 2019. Hourly rates are now as follows:

 

Under 18

18-20

21-24

25 and over

National Minimum Wage

£4.35

£6.15

£7.70

National Living Wage

£8.21

Apprentices now receive £3.90 an hour and a daily accommodation offset of £7.55.

Statutory sick and family pay

The rate for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay has also increased. From 7 April 2019, it has upped to £148.68 a week.

Statutory sick pay has increased to £94.25.

Remember to update any of your policies or documents that mention these rates.

Statutory redundancy pay calculations

There are also new limits on statutory redundancy pay. Members of staff who have been employed for two years and are made redundant must be paid based on their weekly pay, length of service and age. The maximum weekly pay is now £525.

Employment tribunal award limits

Likewise, the limits on tribunal awards and other amounts payable under employment legislation has increased. The maximum amount of a week’s pay for calculating the basic award for unfair dismissal is now £525, and the maximum amount for unfair dismissal has upped to £86,444.

Pension contributions

The minimum amount for auto enrolment has increased since 6 April – to 8% of an employee’s qualifying earnings, with at least 3% coming from employers, with employees making up the difference.

It is also important to note that employers must complete re-enrolment every three years. The date for this will depend on your original staging date.

If you would like to discuss any of the above points further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

If you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter, please sign up here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also with SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Flexible working

Is flexible working your friend?

As a government initiative looks to increase the uptake of flexible working, we look at the pros and cons and legal requirements for HR departments…

The desire to have flexible working is a big pull for prospective candidates.

According to a survey by web conferencing company powwownow.co.uk, 81 per cent of people say that flexible working would make a job more attractive to them and 35% would prefer flexible working over a pay rise.

What’s more, the Flexible Working Task Force, which sees business groups, government departments, charities and trades unions come together, launched a campaign in January with the aim of increasing the number of people flexible working. At the same time, the CIPD report, Megatrends: Flexible Working, highlighted the reasons why flexible working opportunities are being missed – limited options provided by employers, the attitudes of managers and employees’ negative assumptions about the consequences of flexible working.

So being able to offer flexible/agile working is becoming more and more important – and is likely to help you retain existing staff, as well as attracting the widest and best range of candidates.

So what are the pros and cons of flexible working for employers, and what is the legal stuff you need to know when implementing a flexible working policy?  Read on to find out…

Pros

When it is hard to find good staff, it makes sense to make your company as appealing as possible – and offer benefits that will help retain your best employees. Make sure you promote it within your organisation and externally when recruiting new staff.

Offering flexible working as a benefit helps to boost morale among your workforce and can cut down on absenteeism and lateness. It will also promote loyalty and commitment. You will find that staff turnover decreases too. It also helps to promote your organisation as a family-friendly place to work. One of the less considered benefits is that staff can work when they perform best – larks can start early and night owls can work later into the evening – this is another benefit for you if you have a customer-facing business as you can provider longer customer service hours.

Cons

Like all initiatives, there are bound to be some downsides.

For instance, some staff will not have the self discipline to work from home and are likely to binge-watch Netflix instead! And managers who are used to seeing when and where people are working may find it hard to disconnect and not be able to micro-manage their staff, as they like.

Where people work within a team, you will need to ensure there are guidelines put in place to make sure that every member of the team does what they need to. You may need to adopt a culture change if office-based workers consider that home workers are not pulling their weight. It’s amazing how people who spend hours chatting, smoking and gathering at the water cooler or kettle, can resent someone working at home with none of these distractions!

Likewise, a compressed week can be tricky for customer-facing jobs where clients expect someone to be on call five days a week.

The legal stuff

It is important to note that although employees do not have the right to flexible working on demand, they do have the right to submit a request to their employer.

Employees with 26 weeks of continuous service can make a statutory flexible working request and only one request can be made in any 12 months. The request, which must be made in writing, may include a change of hours or place of work.

As the employer you must deal with the request in a ‘reasonable manner’. According to the ACAS code you should discuss the request promptly and allow the employee to be accompanied at meetings. While there are no time limits currently for carrying out any particular step, the entire process (from request to appeal outcome) should be concluded within three months -unless the parties agree to extend this time limit.

An employer can only refuse a statutory request for one of the eight statutory business reasons – these include the inability to reorganise work or the burden of additional costs.

Be aware that if you operate a blanket ban on flexible working, you could leave yourself open for discrimination claims. For instance, should an employee need to work from home occasionally because of childcare problems, or because of as disability, it could lead to a claim of indirect discrimination. Be aware that job applicants can also claim discrimination; so rejecting a candidate who has asked you to consider flexible working can also be an issue.

If an employer agrees to flexible working, that makes a permanent change to the employee’s contract of employment, and your organisation then decides on a blanket ban on flexible working, it has, in effect, changed that contract of employment – and you could be liable for breach of contract or unfair dismissal.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also with SMEs based in London.

Bank Workers
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To be or not to be employed: bank workers

Bank workers are the mainstay of the care industry, yet HR professionals have struggled for years to define whether they are employees. A recent employment tribunal may have answered the question…

What are bank staff?

The term refers to a pool of people that an employer may call on when they need to cover shifts, holidays or just need extra staff as and when. They are prevalent in the care industry – many nurses and care assistants are on call when they are needed in care homes, hospitals and other health facilities. It is also a form of employment used for industries where work is seasonal.

When workers are classed as bank staff, there is no obligation on the part of the employer to provide regular work, nor is there an obligation for the worker to accept any shift or work if it is offered.

While employees benefit from the ability to get extra staff at short notice, for the bank worker there is none of the security of a permanent position, and none of the protection that is usually offered to employees.

For some bank workers this is perfect – they may only want to work on a very flexible basis, perhaps to work around their partner’s shifts, or around other obligations they have – perhaps caring for their own children or grandchildren, for instance.

However, where a bank worker has been used by one employer on a regular basis, there have been instances where they have taken the employer to a tribunal – arguing that in fact they are actually an ‘employee’ rather than a ‘worker’ and that they should be afforded the same rights.

Little v BMI Chiltern Hospital UKEAT/0021/09

A recent case involved Mr Little, who took the BMI Chiltern Hospital Trust to Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). In Mr Little’s case, he had been working regularly for the BMI for various periods over nearly 16 years, working an average of between 20 and 30 hours a week as a bank theatre porter.

Written agreements were in place that confirmed that the work would be on an ‘as and when’ basis, that no work was guaranteed, and that Mr Little was perfectly entitled to refuse any work offered. However, there was a stipulation that if he refused work on four consecutive occasions, or was unavailable to work on four consecutive weeks, he would be removed from the bank.

The unfair dismissal claim resulted when the BMI terminated the arrangement for Mr Little to work on the bank.

However, because only employees can bring a claim for unfair dismissal, a pre hearing review had to be held to decide if he was an employee or not. Thanks to the fact that there was no obligation on the part of either party to provide or accept work, the tribunal decided he was not an employee and his claim failed.

That was not the end of the story – Mr Little appealed the decision, on the basis that each separate period of work for the BMI equated to a separate contract of employment and that during each period, there was mutual obligation.

However, the tribunal decided that while there were separate contracts, these were for freelance services and not employment contracts, so his appeal failed.

So, what does this mean for employers?

While you may think this means that you will never be at risk of bank staff claiming that they should have the rights of an employee, you would be wrong. Each case will still be judged on its own values.

However, HR teams should ensure that the following are in place to ensure that they are in a strong position should they ever find their company facing a tribunal:

  1. Ensure there is a written contract outlining both parties’ obligations.
  2. Ensure you conduct regular reviews of how and when bank staff are employed – ensuring that they are not regularly used for the same role, or same regular hours for instance.
  3. Written confirmation that the bank worker understands there is no mutual obligation.
  4. Ensure there is provision made for shifts to end partway through with no obligation for you to pay for unworked hours.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.