Ramadan

During Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours. For those working in more physical roles, such as in the care industry for example, it is particularly important to ensure they are well supported…

Ramadan began on Monday 12 April 2021. During this holy month for those of the Islamic faith, many Muslims commit to fasting during daylight hours. This means they take in no food or drink (including water or chewing gum) from sunrise to sunset, and instead will eat in the early hours and then late in the evening once it is dark. Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the moon cycle.

Cecily asked a good friend to confirm that breaking Fast takes place at the end of the day when the sun sets. He told her how difficult it is, for instance in the UK, when we are in British Summer Time (BST). Sometimes it can be 10 pm before the setting of the sun – a long time to have not a drop of water or a morsel pass your lips!

How can you support employees who are fasting?

Be open to communication and discussion: Your staff may be reluctant to reveal that they are fasting, in case they are treated differently, or are considered unreliable. It is important to be approachable and understanding, so that they are not uncomfortable discussing their needs with their employer, case managers, or family. Most Muslims pray five times a day. You may not know they are doing so, maybe they take time out to be in a quiet place – sometimes needing only 10 minutes to complete their ablutions and prayer. Your staff might be grateful if you discuss their needs with them and show empathy.

Have a policy in place: Like Christmas and Easter, Ramadan is an important part of the year for Muslims, so it is important to have a company policy on matters of religious observance. Make sure that it applies equally to all faiths in order to avoid claims of discrimination.

Be aware of harassment: Colleagues and clients may make derogatory comments if they think other members of staff are getting special treatment or taking breaks when no one else can. Make sure that all staff are aware that action will be taken against anyone making comments or displaying behaviour considered offensive.

Be flexible: Talk to staff who are fasting about how flexible working or a different shift pattern could help them. Some people may suffer from fatigue during the day while they are fasting, so they may prefer to switch to earlier or later working hours. Be aware that if they are eating very early in the morning or late at night, that some shift patterns may make life difficult. Allowing them to start and finish earlier may help them to better manage daytime fasting. Or perhaps you could discuss less heavy duties during this time. It is really important that you discuss this with each individual member of staff, rather than making a blanket policy for all.

Manage holiday requests: Most of us in human resources (HR) in the UK expect to receive more holiday requests over Christmas and the school holidays, but we may not be so prepared for the requests for annual leave that may come from those fasting during Ramadan. Be aware that some of your Muslim staff may want to take leave so that they can rest while they are fasting – or have time off to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Fitr (which means breaking the fast) around 12-13 May 2021. Allowing all your staff time off for Ramadan or Eid may be difficult, but you should be as accommodating as possible, to avoid any risk of discrimination. Perhaps you can allow them to take some of the requested leave, if not all of it. You also need to consider how the extra work will be distributed, so that other members of the care staff are not under too much pressure.

We’d like to wish our clients, families and their employees good health and well over the Fast.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Job Support Worker

Nanny / Housekeeper

Full-time, Permanent

£32,000 a year

To provide care and support for 2 daughters aged 10 and 12; and a son aged 14 in a caring and busy family home. This is an ideal role for someone who is organised and willing to be flexible, is energetic, fun and lively to support the family’s chosen lifestyle and interests, loves driving and cleaning.

The job tasks are as follows: 15% Nanny, 35% cleaner, 30% cook and 20% washing ironing.

THIS IS A LIVE-OUT POSITION.

Working time:

  • Monday to Friday
  • School term; 07.00 to 19.00
  • Non-school term; 09.00 to 18.00

Pay

  • £32,000 per annum

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Wake and assist children to get ready for school
  • Drive the children to school and other social and leisure activities
  • Undertake appropriate creative, education and outdoor activities
  • Organise activities during non-school term
  • Read and help children with homework
  • Plan weekly meals with parents and prepare meals
  • Undertake daily and regular cleaning of the home
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Shopping and other duties as required.

Required

  • Full, clean drivers licence and a confident driver
  • Good level of written and spoken English
  • Organised to plan and prioritise work activities
  • Firm but tolerant and able to create a balance between work and play
  • Reliable, punctual, flexible to vary hours to accommodate family routines and energetic lifestyle
  • Non smoker during working time
  • Enhanced DBS

To find out more and to apply for this position visit: https://uk.indeed.com/job/full-time-nanny-housekeeper-d8fd78997d81bc74

Application deadline: 20/06/2021

Embrace HR Sleeping Nights Payments

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court (Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake) has established that where a worker is paid a flat shift rate (or an allowance) for a sleeping night, when they are awake and working for any period of that shift, they should be paid no less than the national minimum wage for those hours, in addition to the shift flat rate (or allowance). We have set out below a summary for your information.

A support worker who spends any time ‘awake for the purposes of working’ during the course of a sleeping night shift is entitled to be paid for every minute of that time at no less than the NMW rate, in addition to the flat shift rate (or allowance).

This could result in a worker being paid the flat rate (or allowance) plus an hourly rate for the whole shift if he/she was ‘awake for the purposes of working’ for the whole shift.

The Supreme Court clarified that sleeping night allowances are not pay/wages, as such, but are compensation given to support workers for the inconvenience of having to spend nights at their employer’s house rather than in their own home. The Court also made it clear that sleeping night allowances do not count towards the worker’s NMW calculation.

That said, the decision has confirmed that the practice of paying support workers a flat shift rate amount (or allowance) for sleeping night shifts is perfectly lawful and that it does not matter if the amount of the allowance is less than the equivalent of what the worker would be entitled to be paid if he/she was to be remunerated for the whole shift at the NMW rate.

Clients whose current practice is to pay a flat shift rate (or allowance) to their workers for sleeping night shifts but to pay them for the whole night shift on an hourly rate (NMW compliant) basis if they are required to get up and work on more than XX occasions (or for more than YY hours in total) during the course of the shift, now find themselves exposed to the risk of NMW breach complaints or claims.

This is because under this type of arrangement if a worker is called upon to work during the course of a particular sleeping night but the number of occasions he/she is called upon is less than XX (or he/she has to work for less than YY hours in total), there will be a breach of the NMW legislation if he/she is not paid anything (over and above his/her sleeping night allowance) for doing that work. With this type of arrangement there is also a risk of workers bringing complaints of historical NMW breaches (coupled with back claims for under-payment of wages).

Left unchanged, the current practice of paying a flat rate (or allowance) for a sleeping night shift, with the additional cost of paying at least the NMW rate for the hours the support worker spends ‘awake for the purposes of working’, could result in a greater financial burden than simply paying the worker for the whole sleeping night shift at the NMW rate.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR Statutory Pay rate rises

While many things in our world are unusual at present, one thing that never changes is the rate rises that come into effect each April. Read on to ensure you have the correct figures available when paying your April wages and salaries…

Wage and Statutory Pay Increases April 2021

As many of us watching the Spring Budget on 3 March concentrated on whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak would hit us with taxes to pay for the Covid support offered to workers, businesses and the self-employed over the past year, it might have been easy to miss the announcement of the annual rate rises for minimum wage and other statutory payments.

Essential for anyone dealing with payrolls and other human resource issues within the care sector, these need to be applied from various dates in April. The four rate rises are explained below.

First though, a brief explanation on the difference between the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum rate of pay per hour which almost all workers are entitled to; whereas the National Living Wage (NLW) is slightly higher and applies to workers if they’re over the age of 23.

National Living Wage (NLW)

One point to make note of is that the age threshold has been reduced for the National Living Wage, so it now applies to those aged 23 and over, while the main adult rate is for those aged 22 and 23.

  • The National Living Wage rises to £8.91 on April 1 (a rise of 2.2% from £8.72).
  • For workers aged 21 and 22 the new rate is £8.36.
  • For those aged 18 to 20 the new rate is £6.56.
  • Under-18s can look forward to a new hourly rate of £4.62, while apprentices will receive £4.30.
Age 2020 rate 2021 rate Percentage increase
20-21 £8.20 £8.36 2%
18-20 £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice £4.15 £4.30 3.6%

Statutory Redundancy Pay Cap

A weekly pay cap is applied to Statutory Redundancy Pay, and any changes come into effect on 6 April 2021.

The cap is calculated in line with any changes that have occurred to the RPI (Retail Prices Index). So, if the RPI in the preceding September is higher, then the statutory weekly redundancy amount is increased by the same percentage.

At present the cap is set at £538, with the new maximum predicted to be £544.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

The flat SMP rate changes on the first Sunday in April. This year, the rate should rise to £151.97 (from £151.20) on 4 April 2021.

This rate is also the same for Statutory Adoption, Shared Parental and Paternity Pay.

Your employees should be paid 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of their maternity leave. For the next 33 weeks, they should receive whichever is the lower – SMP or 90% of their average weekly earnings.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The rate for SSP will change on 6 April 2021 and should rise to £96.35 (from £95.85).

Employees are entitled to SSP if they are off sick for four or more days in a row and can claim SSP for up to 28 weeks.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Job Support Worker

HR Consultant

Aylesbury HP19 8TE – Full time

Up to £37,000 a year subject to experience

This is a great opportunity for an HR Consultant/Senior Adviser to join our small and friendly team at Embrace HR Limited. We are a small but professional HR team and are looking for someone to contribute to the growth of the business. Your role will be to provide pragmatic employment advice to clients in the private care sector, to build relationships, manage client expectations and provide support to the internal Embrace HR team on HR queries.

You will be required to assist clients with hands-on solutions to their problems, delivered in an efficient and cost-effective manner. You will work on a range of generalist enquiries with a high volume of employee relations advice and support to senior managers and line managers.

You will be client focused with an understanding of consultancy work that means working with several clients simultaneously. Your experience will include case managing employment issues and producing documentation. You will enjoy promoting the company and its services at events such as networking.

As a small business all team members are expected to contribute to all aspects of delivery.

About Embrace HR Limited

Embrace HR Limited, founded in 2009, is based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. We deliver HR support to clients who do not have, or do not need, their own HR department or manager. We work in a niche private care sector to deliver first class advice and best practice to support our clients.

Our values are friendly but professional approach, positive attitude, commitment to excellence, open and honest communication, cooperation, support, compassion and business awareness. We respect and understand the power of flexibility. We are client focussed, work as a team, are proud of the work we produce both in appearance and quality. We promote the wellbeing of our team which is as important to us as to our clients.

From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we have been working on a remote basis. This will continue indefinitely. Meetings will be held regularly at our local office in Aylesbury.

To find out more and to apply for this position visit: http://uk.indeed.com/job/hr-consultant-2a16c2e5248f479f.

Applications close for this job on 24 March 2021.

Working Parents

Support for key worker parents should be a priority for employers in the care industry…

If you don’t look after your staff how can they look after anyone else?

As lockdown 3.0 continues, working parents are once again doing their best to work without being able to fall back on their regular childcare or traditional schooling.

For parents in the care industry, life can be even harder – they can’t work at home, childcare options are more limited because of Covid restrictions, and schools have become strict on allowing key worker children to attend during the school day – often insisting that both parents must be key workers for children to be eligible for a space.

Being a working parent in normal times is often a juggling act but throwing in the restrictions of Covid-19 and lockdown and times can be especially tough, particularly in an industry where many staff are not high earners.

For example, a study by Working Families in October 2020 [Working Families: One in five working parents has faced unfair treatment at work since COVID-19 onset 16/10/2020], also found that 2.6 million (one fifth of) working parents in the UK thought they had been treated less fairly at work because of their childcare responsibilities during the pandemic. Women had been particularly affected, with more mothers than fathers leaving paid work since last February [Institute for Fiscal Studies: Parents, especially mothers, paying heavy price for lockdown 27/05/2020].

So how can you support the parents in your employ?

First of all, making it clear that you realise what a tough time they are having, and ensuring that they know their employer  is supportive is one very easy and simple thing to do. A supportive message will help them feel that they have not been abandoned to struggle on through, and that case managers, deputies and parents actually recognise that they may be finding things difficult.

This in turn will help to encourage your staff to be honest about issues they are having rather than trying to hide problems, or even leaving work because it is too hard to manage childcare and employment.

From this, line managers can have honest conversations with the team about what solutions might work for them. They can discuss possibilities such as flexible working, changing roles or spreading hours throughout the week.

Your staff may benefit from more flexible rotas or more swaps between rotas than normal. Parents will have different requirements depending on their children’s ages, whether they have a partner working at home or if their children have additional needs. There are many reasons for a change in working pattern which is why open and honest conversation is necessary.

Line managers should also catch up with working parents on a regular basis, as circumstances may change, and if school closures should extend past 8 March, they may find it harder and harder to cope.

Proactive next steps

For those where none of these options work – what are the next steps? Could your employees be furloughed, take some holiday, unpaid leave or parental leave?

For many working in the care industry at this crucial time, taking unpaid leave is not particularly a viable option, either because of work requirements, or financially. However, eligible parents are permitted parental leave of up to four weeks in a year for each child (including adopted children). You should also offer support to anyone returning from maternity or parental leave, as the place of work they come back to might be quite different from the one they left. Ensure they are made aware of any changes in working practices such as staffing and change of rules.

Of course, uppermost must always be the concern that you are not being discriminatory. Check out the latest advice from the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) regarding Covid, employment and discrimination – especially concerning women, marital status and pregnancy.

You may be able to introduce some other ‘perks’ that will take the pressure off your staff. One housing trust, for instance, has offered parents one paid afternoon off a week. This could give them breathing space to help a child catch up with some homeschooling, do some fun activity with their children, or simply take a much-needed break.

While your working parents are looking after their families and your clients within the care industry, it is important that they are also looking after themselves. If you have a health and wellbeing programme, mental health first aid programme or similar scheme, make sure that your staff are aware of them and have easy access. If you do not have these programmes in place, there are many organisations with good advice that you can point your staff towards, such as MIND.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Job Support Worker

Job Description

Support Worker for Nights in West Chiltington, West Sussex

JOB ROLE

  • Support Worker
  • Nights Monday and Sunday
  • Resting night
  • Prepare client for sleep
  • Settle him when disturbed
  • Assist in morning routine
  • Directly employed permanent

Click here to contact us here for an interview

ABOUT THE CLIENT

  • 10-year old boy with cerebral palsy
  • Very good natured, sweet, affectionate, sociable
  • Non-verbal
  • Fed and medication via gastrostomy
  • Loves music, TV, swimming, riding his trike, holidays

BENEFITS FOR SUPPORT WORKER

  • Pay: £115.50 Sunday night
  • Pay: £108.50 Monday night
  • Working time:  21:30 to 08:30
  • Working in private home
  • Own room, bathroom and use of duty room
  • Lovely, supportive family and team
  • Training for the right person

Click here to contact for an interview

Suitable for commute from

  • Worthing
  • Brighton
  • Burgess Hill
  • Haywards Heath
  • Lewis
  • Horsham,
  • Storrington
  • West Chiltington

Must have right to work in the UK

An Enhanced DBS is a requirement for the role

Click here to contact us for an interview

Embrace HR Limited is not a recruitment agency. We are an HR company and recruit directly for our clients.  Visit our website for more information.

No agencies please

Phone: 01296 716 288

COVID-19 considerations:

Reference ID: TH/cgl/Jan2021

Part-time hours: 22 per week

Job Types: Part-time, Permanent

Salary: £108.50-£115.50 per day

COVID-19 considerations:
Initial interviews via telephone or video
Where face to face interview – use of masks, sanitisers, follow instructions from the parents

 

Embrace HR Covid-19 vaccines pexels-gustavo-fring-3985170

Can you insist that your care industry employees are vaccinated? What will happen if they refuse? Read on…

As the first Covid-19 vaccines begin to roll out, we can start to see a ray of light at the end of the global pandemic tunnel. And for those of us in the care industry, with the responsibility for the safety of both staff and clients, it is a big relief.

However, just because the vaccine is being made available – and health and social care workers and care home workers are among those included in the first wave – that doesn’t mean that all of your employees will take up the offer.

Best practice

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) says that employers must take reasonable steps to reduce workplace risks. With this in mind, it would be wise to  educate your staff about vaccination so that health and safety is front of mind and they make an informed choice regarding vaccinations.

In light of this, it is key that employers draw up a policy regarding keeping safe, with reference to vaccinations in general, if one is not already in place.

Vaccine concerns

Staff may have their own reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated – in fact according to a YouGov survey around a fifth of those surveyed said they would not be vaccinated. They may fear that it has been developed too quickly, and that there is not enough known about side effects. They may doubt its efficacy – and with the announcement that the gap between first and second doses is being extended, may be even less convinced that it will give them immunity.

They may have medical concerns. Anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive is advised to consult with medical professionals to weigh up the risks of being vaccinated [GOV.UK: The safety of COVID-19 vaccines when given in pregnancy 5/1/21], and there are also concerns for anyone who has suffered from severe allergic reactions in the past [GOV.UK Confirmation of guidance to vaccination centres on managing allergic reactions following COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech-vaccine. Withdrawn 11/1/21].

Or you may find that you have staff who refuse on religious grounds, or because of other beliefs – ethical vegans, for instance, may refuse to have a vaccine that has been tested on animals.

Legal viewpoint

You should also note that the vaccination is not mandatory, and it looks unlikely that there will be any law making it so.

As highlighted in People Management recently, [People Management: Can employers force staff to have the Covid vaccine? 15/12/20] there are indirect measures that an employer can take to pressurise vaccination of their employees such as “refusing staff entry to certain parts of the workplace or certain roles, if they cannot demonstrate that they have been vaccinated”. That said, we wouldn’t recommend it and any such measures would need to be considered very carefully as you might run the risk of being subject to claims of discrimination or constructive dismissal.

Of course, where the care of vulnerable clients is involved, as an employer you may feel that your responsibility for their health and safety means that their carers should be vaccinated. However, there are other requirements that can keep them safe – such as PPE, cleaning and hygiene regimes, regular testing and social hygiene. In any case, guidance from the NHS still states that all these measures should be taken even if one is vaccinated, as no vaccine is believed to be 100 per cent effective.

An option for staff who have not been vaccinated, for whatever reason, is to allow them to work at home, if that is indeed an option, or to be deployed elsewhere, away from ill or vulnerable people. When considering this, you will of course have to ensure that they agree, they are not financially disadvantaged, that it doesn’t impact on their career in a negative way, or that it is in breach of their contract.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.

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

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.

Embrace HR changes in 2021

There has been a lot to take in over the past 10 months, with furlough schemes and lockdown laws, but before you raise a glass to the new year, take a moment to make a note of these changes…

It has been a tough year for many of us in the business world, and it is no surprise that the UK economy has shrunk by 11.3 per cent, and that it is forecast to take until 2022 to get back to the level it was at before Covid-19.

However, we will all move forward, and as we do so, we should make a note of some of the upcoming changes that will affect anyone involved in the management of HR.

National Living Wage

The first is that the National Living Wage (NLW – previously the national minimum wage) is set to go up in April. For staff aged 16 and 17 it will become £4.62 an hour and for those aged 23-plus it will be £8.91. See the table for full details:

Age Current rate 2021 rate Percentage increase
20-21 £8.20 £8.36 2%
18-20 £6.45 £6.56 1.7%
16-17 £4.55 £4.62 1.5%
Apprentice £4.15 £4.30 3.6%

End of Furlough Scheme

STOP PRESS 17/12/20: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme for one month until the end of April 2021.

The furlough scheme is set to end in March, so as you come back after the new year, plans around reintegrating staff, reviewing job descriptions and so on will need to be confirmed.

The CIPD is calling for the government to extend the scheme once more beyond the end date of 31 March 2021 [CIPD: CIPD calls on Chancellor to extend furlough scheme to the end of June to protect jobs 13/12/2020]. The independent professional body has asked that support should be gradually phased out, allowing companies some stability while the vaccination scheme is rolled out. It has said that the government should keep its contributions at 80 per cent for February and March, dropping them gradually through April, May and June.

As and when we hear more on this, we will update you.

Flexible Recruitment

If this year has shown anything, it is that many jobs can be done remotely, offering staff a better work life balance by dropping commuting time and offering the chance to work around family and caring commitments. Many companies have realised that they can also tap into a wider selection of candidates by taking their pick from potential employees located outside of commuting distance.

Now is a good time to ensure that you have policies in place for recruiting for remote-based jobs, if that is what you will do going forward, and reviewing your remote working policies around working hours, IT and security – if you didn’t do so during the first lockdown.

You might also like to review our previous blog on the subject of flexible working.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 761288 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.