Right to Work Check Measures to April 2022

The Home Office has further delayed the end date of the temporary right to work check measures to April 5th 2022, from August 31st 2021.

The UK’s Home Office has further delayed the end date for the temporary right to work check measures to April 5th, 2022. The current temporary right to work check process involves the worker submitting a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email to the employer. The employer can then conduct a video call with the worker during which they would hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents.

These measures have allowed employers flexibility when checking and recording the individual’s right to work in the UK whilst also providing a ‘statutory excuse’ against any potential illegal working claims.

Other measures included:

Record on file that checks have carried out ‘adjusted checks on [date] due to COVID-19’
If the worker has a biometric residence permit/card or status under the EU settlement scheme, checks can be conducted using the Home Office’s online right to work checking service while doing a video call – permission must be sought from the applicant.
The Home Office intends to develop a new digital right to work check solution by April 2022, which will account for those who cannot currently use the online right to work checking system, including British and Irish nationals.

Starting April 6th 2022, it is expected that employers will need to either check the employee’s original documents or check the employee’s right to work online. It is understood that employers will need to either check the employee’s original documents, use this new digital solution, or use the online right to work checking system – once the employee has provided the employer access to view their details on the system. The checks must be completed in the presence of the employee, either in person or via video call.

The Home Office will release new guidance ahead of April 6th 2022.

Employers should review internal processes to ensure that they are able to resume checks at the relevant time and ensure that they review files to ensure compliant adjusted checks are completed between March 30th 2020, and April 5th 2022.

We would recommend that the verification of identity and requirements to apply for a DBS check are conducted at the same time as the right to work check, to remove any unnecessary requirements for applicants to present documentary evidence.

We strongly urge all Employers to continue to refer to the Home Office Guidance link below, to ensure they remain compliant with immigration rules on checking right to work during this time.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We think Differently & offer Value Added HR Support.

But aren’t all Outsourced HR Services all the Same? How are we at Craven HR Services any different?

Yes we offer all the usual ‘HR & People Management’ Services, but what Value Added HR do we offer?

Ok I will try & explain ‘in a nutshell’. The following are the elements of HR & People Management, which we believe makes us extra special & positively sets us apart from others similar providers;

  • Growth & Support – We do genuinely love working with small businesses, start up’s & entrepreneurs, to help support you to grow, or maintain your business & people & to support you to be an ‘Employer of Choice’ – we celebrate with you the ‘big and the small wins’ in Partnership
  • Authentic – We are real people who have have tons of HR/People Management experience working with real people in various sectors & industries
  • HR Presence – You tell us what you want, we can be a transparent HR ‘presence’ or we can work ‘behind the scenes
  • Relationships – We really do have a sense of humour & we are great communicators, which helps us build positive relationships with our clients very quickly
  • HR Presence – You tell us what you want, we can be a transparent HR ‘presence’ or we can work ‘behind the scenes’
  • Positive Leadership – Let’s be honest here, how many poor/unfair ‘boss’s’ have you worked for or do you know? We can help coach you to be a real Leader, we can help enhance your ‘soft skills’ & ‘confidence’ which are crucial in positive leadership, ultimately leadership is ‘vision, ”building your people’, ‘inspire & influence others’ & truly ‘connecting with your team’
  • Business Plans & Strategy – We are a small business, why do we need business plans & strategy? Treat your small business as a huge corporate one, in terms of the foundations, rid yourselves of the ‘small business’ mindset (reactive) & focus on a more ‘proactive’ mindset that will enable natural business growth. Strategy is at the core & heart of every successful business, we can also help you implement your Company ‘Mission’, ‘Vision’, & Values
  • Culture – We thrive on helping you to build a positive & healthy culture; by implementing and slotting together, the various components like a jigsaw
  • Coaching – We all have that one Positive Leader who we remember more than anyone else, there will be different reasons why we credit this person, they may have helped you breakthrough or gave you that amazing opportunity, ultimately they ‘believed in you’ our point is, we can help you be that Leader, we can also love coaching those employees with ‘high potential’ & seeing them soar
  • Continuous Improvement – Is a permanent state of change, & we love it, striving to get better & better, always changing, always innovating, never boring or dull
  • Avoid Formal Processes – We like to avoid long formal process driven processes (where possible) & instead positively coach you & your managers to have the conversations that need to be held, to help your people to increase self awareness and responsibility for enhanced performance & productivity
  • Branding & Marketing & Communications – We understand your time restraints & pressures, but we love helping businesses with their branding & marketing, we are also told we are pretty good at it, we also love being the positive communicator for the business
  • Health & Wellbeing –  Healthy, happy staff are more productive, and take less time off work due to sickness. We can help to develop your wellbeing strategies
  • Team Building – We can help you build high performing teams, we will support you to implement; Accountability, SMART Goals, Performance Management, Well defined Roles, Team and Company Values, Regular f2f & team meetings
  • Technology – We embrace it, it helps us to become more strategic & bridges the communication gap, we can create accurate analytics that drive enhanced performance management
  • Training – We have an array of training experience – including Leadership, HR & People Strategy, Business Planning, Employee Wellbeing, Absence Management, Conflict Management, Data Protection/GDPR, Leading People & Great Teams, Team Values, Managing Investigations, Performance Management, Disciplinary & Grievance, Goal Setting, Branding & Marketing
  • Get to know you – We get to know you & your business inside & out including your ‘quirks’ – we all have them.

Why do you need HR as an SME or Start Up?

Why do you need HR as an SME or Start Up – what’s the point?

Are you clear on what steps to take as a business if facing a tribunal, unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or whistleblowing claim?  If your answers are no, please do read on.

I spoke to an owner of a small business the other day who told me that he never gets around to doing the HR/people tasks for his staff, it always gets pushed down the priority list. His thinking was that, although he knew he had certain legal responsibilities, ‘nothing bad had happened yet’. Does that sound familiar?

There comes a point in every start-up, fledgling or growing SME where you start to consider adding positive and value added HR to your structure.

Recent Survey

A recent survey conducted by Croner among those working in SME organisations, including CEOs, MDs, finance directors, operations directors, line managers, PAs and secretaries, shows that one in 10 are spending up to 15 hours or two days a week managing HR issues.

The Top 7 common HR risks that small businesses take and what the potential penalties are for ignoring them or getting them wrong.

  1. Failure to provide written Employee Terms

Employees and workers must receive most of the information about their terms in a single “principal” document no later than when they start employment.

The employer will be ordered to pay the employee two weeks’ pay (subject to the statutory cap on a week’s pay) or, if it is just and equitable in the circumstances, a higher amount of four weeks’ pay (subject to the statutory cap). If there are exceptional circumstances where it would be unjust and inequitable to make an award against the employer, none will be made.

  1. Failing to check an employee’s right to work evidence

All employers in the UK have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. You do this by conducting simple right to work checks before you employ someone, to make sure the individual is not disqualified from carrying out the work in question by reason of their immigration status.

If you are found to be employing someone illegally and you have not carried out the prescribed checks, you may face sanctions including:

  • a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker;
  • in serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited fine;
  • closure of the business and a compliance order issued by the court;
  • disqualification as a director;
  • not being able to sponsor migrants;
  • seizure of earnings made as a result of illegal working; and
  • review and possible revocation of a licence in the alcohol and late-night refreshment sector and the private hire vehicle and taxi sector.
  1. Unfair Dismissal

Employers are expected to comply with the principles set out in the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures when handling disciplinary situations.

If a tribunal finds that an employee has been unfairly dismissed, you might be ordered to:

  • reinstate them (give them their job back);
  • re-engage them (re-employ them in a different job).

You might also have to pay compensation, which depends on the employee’s:

  • age;
  • gross weekly pay;
  • length of service.

You might have to pay extra compensation if you do not follow a tribunal’s order to reinstate someone.

There’s a limit on the amount a tribunal can award for unfair dismissal, apart from in cases relating to:

  • health and safety (for example where you unfairly dismiss someone for taking action on health and safety grounds);
  • whistleblowing.

Procedural failings will normally render a dismissal unfair, but compensation can be reduced in proportion to the likelihood that the dismissal would have occurred had a fair procedure been followed.

There are also some circumstances in which the minimum service requirement does not apply.

Where there has been an unreasonable failure by either party to comply with the code the tribunal may increase or decrease compensation by up to 25%, depending on which party is at fault. A failure to follow the code will not, by itself, render an employer liable to legal proceedings.

  1. Unfair Discrimination

You’re legally protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.

You’re also protected from discrimination if:

  • you’re associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, for example a family member or friend
  • you’ve complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim
  • An employee who thinks they’ve been discriminated against may raise a grievance or take their case to an employment tribunal.
  • You’re responsible for discrimination carried out by your employees unless you can show you’ve done everything you reasonably could to prevent or stop it.

There is no maximum cap on the amount of compensation that you can receive for discrimination.

  1. Lack of Company Policies & Procedures

The only express legal requirements for employers to have employment policies and procedures are as follows:

  • under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers with 5 or more employees must have a written general Health and Safety Policy; and
  • under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers are required to give employees a written statement of the main terms and conditions of their employment, which includes the employer’s rules and procedures for dealing with both disciplinary and grievance issues

However, there are also a number of other areas where non-statutory codes of practice, designed to set out guidance as to how employers can comply with their statutory employment obligations, recommend that employers implement appropriate policies and/or procedures.

A prime example of this is the employment related code of practice issued under the Equality Act 2010, which outlaws discrimination and harassment on various grounds, including sex, race, age and religion. This code recommends that an employer should have an Equal Opportunities Policy and gives guidance as to what it should contain.

Although the code concerned does not itself have legal status, breaches of it can be taken into account by an Employment Tribunal in determining an employer’s liability for discrimination and harassment claims, and as a result employers would be wise to ensure that they have such a policy in place.

Even if stated to be non-contractual, it is very important for employers to note that an employer’s failure to follow their own policy, although not a breach of contract, will still generally be taken into account by an employment tribunal so far as it is relevant to determining the claim concerned. Tribunals will therefore expect an employer to be able to give a very good reason as to why any relevant non-contractual policy was not followed. Furthermore, it can be the case that, even if an employer states in a handbook that certain or all policies are not contractual in nature, policies can be deemed to be contractual, if other circumstances, such as custom and practice, supports that fact.

  1. Wasted Time

If you don’t handle your HR/people management responsibilities properly, you will inevitably encounter issues or complaints from your employees at some point. The management time required to sort these out is always significantly more than the time that would have been needed to do things right in the first place.

And if you are taken to an employment tribunal, the preparation required amounts to weeks of lost management time.

  1. Demotivated staff

Information about employee rights is widely available on the internet, so employees tend to be fairly clued up about their rights at work and the processes that their employers should follow. So if you don’t do things properly, your employees will more than likely know and that can lead to demotivation and lower productivity. Whereas if you treat your staff fairly and lawfully, they are more likely to be happy and productive at work.

Get started for FREE with our HR ‘Health-Check’ Audit

Key Employment Changes 2021

2020 has seen us grappling with the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS), the CJRS bonus that is no more, the job support scheme that came and went, and the changes to claiming statutory sick pay. Not to mention the practical problems of having many workforces working from home. However, it is important to have one eye on what is on the horizon in terms of legislation, to enable HR Professionals to advise their businesses and plan for any incoming changes.
  • IR35

Changes to the off-payroll tax legislation, IR35, which was due to be implemented in April 2020, have been deferred to 6 April 2021.  The changes will only affect medium to large companies.

  • Positive discrimination

Positive action includes expressly saying that applicants are welcome from under-represented groups such as women or those from minority ethnic groups. It includes advertising roles in places where those who are under-represented are likely to see them. But appointing someone into a role just because they have a protected characteristic is positive discrimination. The only time a candidate’s protected characteristic should be considered is in a ‘tie break’ situation when there is no other way of separating two candidates.
  • New Legislation

In December 2019 the Queen’s speech heralded a number of proposed pieces of legislation. Some of these may have been overtaken by the events of the last nine months, but the key ones for HR are:

  • Extension to redundancy protections to prevent pregnancy/maternity discrimination
  • Introducing an entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers
  • Allowing parents to take extended leave for neonatal care
  • Making flexible working the default unless employers have a good reason not to
  • A new, single enforcement body for employment rights
  • Passing legislation to ensure tips left for workers go to them in full
  • A new right for all workers to request a more ‘predictable’ contract

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Draft Building Safety Bill

This month we have a guest article by Chris McGrath providing an overview of the Draft Building Safety Bill that will aim to improve building and fire safety, so that people will be, and will feel, safer in their homes.

Why this Bill?

On 14th June 2017 a fire broke out at the Grenfell Tower, a 24 storey residential tower. Failures in the building’s design and maintenance caused the fire to spread at high speed. As a result there were 72 fatalities and 151 homes were lost. A major reform was needed.

The Scope of the Bill

It will cover all higher risk buildings.  This will include all multi-occupied residential buildings, (new or existing) of 18 metres or more in height, or more than six storeys (whichever is reached first).

Expectations to improve safety and performance

The expectation is to reduce the risk of fires spreading across multiple dwellings. Also to reduce the risk of major fires.  However, the proposals are not expected to have a material impact on the number of fires.

The Bill includes key new roles, functions and responsibilities

 

The Building Safety Regulator
  • The Building Safety Regulator will introduce a better safety system.  In addition they will be able to impose sanctions and regulations to ensure this happens.
  • They will provide a more stringent regulatory framework to implement a stronger focus around building safety for developers and landlords.
  • They will also instruct an industry-led competence committee, publish non-statutory advice and guidance for various sectors.
  • The Regulator will also take enforcement action.  They will be able to impose sanctions on the corporate bodies or building control companies that do not meet regulatory standards.
Duty holders
  • Duty holders will implement a system in every building to ensure that the person, or entity, that creates a building safety risk is responsible for managing that risk.
  • The building cycle will be split into gateways – phases of the building’s life – with different duty holders for different gateways. For example, the duty holder for the design phase of the build will be the principle designer. For the construction phase, it will be the principal contractor.
  • The regulator will assess the gateway at each handover.  A ‘golden thread of information’ will connect these different phases. This will include details about the original design and construction, as well as details on the changes and upgrades to the building during its life cycle.
  • Once the building is occupied, the duty holder will become the accountable person. The accountable person is usually the building owner.
Accountable Person’s Responsibilities
  • The Accountable Person will submit a Residents Engagement Strategy (which will include a complaints procedure) to the Building Safety Regulator.  They will also listen and respond to concerns and ensure residents are heard.
  • Their responsibilities will also include developing a Safety Case Report.  This will be submitted to the Building Safety Regulator as part of application for a Building Assurance Certificate.
  • In addition they will conduct and maintain a Safety Case Risk Assessment (on new and existing buildings).  They will also appoint a Building Safety Manager to oversee it day to day.
Safety Case

This is a full building description that explains how the fire and structural risks in a building are being managed by the Building Safety Manager.  It will include –

  • An explanation and justification of the approach being taken to manage risks.
  • A hazard and risk assessment.
  • A summary of mitigation measures.
  • The approach to risk management.
Building Safety Manager
  • The Building Safety Manager will support the accountable person in the day-to-day management of the building.  Above all they will ensure that safety standards are adhered to.
  • They will also communicate the work that has taken place on the building to stakeholders.  This will ensure that the building is meeting the regulator’s requirements.  Also that it is on top of any advice or non-statutory guidance put in place by the regulator.
Cost to Leaseholder

Under the new plan, a new “building safety charge” will be set up for leaseholders. Fire Safety works are currently paid for through the service charge. This new charge will be separate to the service charge. The money will need to be held by the Freeholders in a separate account (held by a financial institution). This money will only be available for Fire Safety works.

If the freeholder has not provided a clear breakdown of costs, leaseholders will also be allowed to refuse payment if the charge is deemed “unreasonable”. However, under the new rules, leaseholders will be required to pay the fire safety charge within 28 days of when the bill was issued.  They will be required to cover some of the new measures brought in under the bill.  This will include items such as paying for a Building Safety Manager and the day-to-day management of the building.

New committees
  • A Building Regulations Advisory Committee, to provide evidence-based guidance on new issues that emerge in the built environment sector.
  • Also a new committee for industry competence.  This will overcome the fragmented and inconsistent competence of workers and managers that currently exists in the building safety sector.
  • In addition, a new residents panel will be put in place to ensure residents have a voice in the changes being made to building safety guidance. This will include residents of high-rise blocks and representative tenants groups.
New Homes Ombudsman

A New Homes Ombudsman will allow a better mechanism for new home owners to make complaints against developers about the quality of the construction. (There is currently no mechanism for new home owners to make these complaints.) The Ombudsman will work with developers to come up with a code of practice that could be used in relation to sales, marketing and standard and quality of workmanship.

 

The full details of the Bill can be found on the Government website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-building-safety-bill

Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Display Screen Equipment

Prolonged working with computers can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain.

Research has found that a high proportion of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort. These aches and pains are sometimes called Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs). These can include a range of medical conditions such as RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries).  In addition nine in ten British businesses are failing to meet their legal responsibilities to protect their workforce’s sight, according to a new study commissioned by the charity Eye Health UK and Vision Express Opticians. Read more

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

The new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation became law on 21 April 2016.  There is a two year transition period until its full enforcement in April 2018.  The main changes put the onus on manufacturers to provide good quality equipment and provide the necessary information and certification, it is hoped that this will put an end to cheap inferior imports.
Categories for PPE have also been changed – Read more

Chemicals Stocktake

The final registration deadline under the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation will take place on 31 May 2018. Firms manufacturing or importing substances in low volumes, between 1 and 100 tonnes per year, are being urged by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to start preparations for registration.

Read more