People Talk – May 2011


Human Resources DirectorSpring is truly in the air and summer feels like it is on it’s way. It is time for a Spring Clean! April saw the introduction of lots of new employment legislation and despite earlier promises of no legislation changes for small companies, the Government are now talking about a review of employment legislation. Making sure that you are complying with employment legislation and HR best practice is essential to the on going success of your business. Review what you have and make sure you understand what you are missing and what is out of date. If you need help doing this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Jack Phillips, our HR Support Officer. Jack joined in April and is helping with administration and marketing. He is also helping clients by acting as an independent note taker for disciplinaries and grievances. Jack can be reached on 01923 504101 or at [email protected]

How old?

The Government has confirmed that from the 1st October 2011 the Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 will be phased out. The new rules will apply to employees who are 65 or over by the 30th of September 2011. The impact is that should an employer wish to retire an older worker after the 30th of September they will have to justify it objectively. This can only be achieved by proving it is a proportional action to achieve a legitimate aim.

It is now essential that every company reviews it’s contracts, policies and procedures and puts a plan in place for managing older employees effectively and within the law.

Dad’s take their leave – and get paid for it!!!

Prior to 3rd of April 2011 fathers were only entitled to the standard 2 weeks paid paternity leave, within 56 days of the birth of a child. However fathers could now be entitled to up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave (APL), to be taken between 20 weeks and 1 year after the birth (or adoption) of a child, should the mother return to work early.

How will you manage if a male employee requests 26 weeks paid paternity leave? Again, make sure you have an up to date policy in place. This is a legal right, unlike some of the other legislation, where there is a right to request, but not a right to be granted.

The importance of …… having contracts of employment

Due to the Employment Rights Act of 1996 every employer is required by law to provide their employee with a written contract of employment. This document lays out the essentials for the employee, such as job title, salary, hours, role and rights guaranteed by law. Therefore employment contracts help employees understand their rights, whilst reducing the risk of disputes with employers at a later date.

The majority of employment tribunals and problems we have dealt with in the last few months have involved companies without employment contracts. Employers are exposing themselves unnecessarily to high risk, high costs and a huge investment of time and energy when trying to resolve these disputes. Even with just one employee, even if that employee is a family member, if they are on your payroll, they are an employee and MUST have a contract of employment.



Both Jack (@dohrsupport) and Donna (@dohr) tweet regularly on HR topics of interest. Make sure you stay current by following us on Twitter.


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