Covid-19 Updates for Employers – January 2022

Isolation Period Cut from 10 Days to 7 Days 

Fully vaccinated Covid sufferers can now cut their 10-day isolation period to seven days, it has been announced.

Under new rules, people in England can take two lateral flow tests 24 hours apart on day six and seven of their quarantine.

Self-isolation for COVID-19 cases reduced from 10 to 7 days following negative LFD tests – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Temporary change to Fit-notes

For Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), where employees go off sick on or after 10 December 2021, employers can only ask employees for proof of sickness (such as a fit note) after 28 days of sickness (including non-working days). Proof of sickness cannot be requested earlier than 28 days.
Fit notes do not have to be provided for DWP benefit claims until 27 January. This will not affect claims to benefit.
These changes are to give GP’s more time to work on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) booster programme.

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

This scheme will be reintroduced from mid-January 2022. Further guidance will be available as soon as possible.

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Are you considering investing in HR software?

Why not use Our powerful, Affordable & User Friendly HR Software?

The implementation of a GDPR compliant HR Software Information System (HRIS) such as Craven HR, is a key driver in moving a business forward, in terms of data management, HR streamlined processes and improved employee engagement.

KPI’s

Without a HRIS, it is not currently possible to capture accurate HR performance metrics that are strategically aligned with a business, many businesses simply do not have the accurate data. Without the correct data you cannot measure key information and provide Company KPI’s, which are a fundamental and positive business tool.

The purpose of HR KPI’s is to optimise recruitment and selection processes, workplace and people management/employee engagement initiatives etc. By constantly measuring and tracking these metrics, you can gauge whether your current HR practices are proactively making a positive impact, the stability of your business and staff; and ultimately the business’s profitability.  

Restricting Data Access 

Restricting data access strictly to what’s required for each job role is essential to prevent a sensitive and serious data breach. By giving staff access to personal and or sensitive data who don’t legitimately need it for the performance of their duties, you could create a situation that could put highly confidential information at risk. 

Risk Management  & GDPR

To manage this risk, follow best practice and to ensure GDPR compliance, please find the following advice and guidance; 

  • Implement an appropriate and affordable HRIS –  Such as Craven HR Software;
  • Avoid multiple different places to store personal data – Recording of personal and/or sensitive employee data on spreadsheets is advised against due to high risk of data breaches – a HRIS would solve this;
  • Restrict staff access to personal and or sensitive data – Define who definitely needs access to the employee personal and or sensitive employee information for their job role; and what is/are the legitimate and valid reason/s?- A HRIS has different security settings for staff;
  • Appropriate security should be in place, to avoid unauthorised sharing of information – A HRIS would solve this;
  • Ensure that all staff who access confidential data know how to safeguard it and why, including appropriate training – Training should be arranged for key staff;
  • Privacy Statement – Implement and communicate.

Why should we implement a HRIS?

Benefits for Line Managers;

  • Better use of your time – Streamlines and automates those repetitive and time-consuming people management tasks; 
  • Stay Secure, GDPR Compliant – Less risk, all your employees’ data safely in one place ;
  • Welcome new employees - Create onboarding new starter checklists, send out offer letters and contracts​; 
  • Engage your staff – Self Service – Give your people a system with their data, they can access anytime, anywhere ; 
  • Cloud Ecosystem – HR software that links to Xero and Quickbooks; 
  • Easy to use & mobile friendly – Access information quickly, anytime, from anywhere; 
  • Make payroll painless – Run your entire payroll in just 5 simple steps; 
  • Competitive edge – Think about it… You want to attract and retain top talent, but your tech is way behind your competitors​. 

Empowerment increases autonomy for Line Managers ie;  

  • Manage timesheets/schedules/authorise overtime;
  • Request salary/job changes; 
  • Authorise/cancel Annual Leave (and other leave); 
  • Add employee sickness absence;
  • Complete a RTWI (Return to Work Interview); 
  • Complete Performance Management ie; One to One Meetings, Probationary Reviews and Appraisals;
  • Reduction in sickness absence – It is a deterrent when employees can visibly see how much sickness absence/triggers they have.

Benefits for employees;

  • Communication tool – Important Company notices/announcements – improves employee engagement’;
  •  Self Service – visible employee information – employees feel more in control;
  •  Access and update their own personal information – reduction in errors;
  •  Access timesheet/weekly schedule – improves engagement;
  •  Annual leave/other leave is important, employees can view their leave; balance and apply for leave online – speedier process, improves employee engagement;
  •  Complete self-certification – speedier process, improves employee engagement;
  •  Access Company Policies and Procedures – improves communication;
  •  Identify and contact other staff – improves communication.

Interested ? We hope so, please get in touch to discuss how we can help you work Smarter not Harder with Craven HR Software including Payroll (or not).

Craven HR Software – Online HR System – Craven HR Services (cravensafetyservices.co.uk)

 

 

ISO 45003

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.

Mental Health Awareness Week: 10-16 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place on 10-16 May 2021 and this year’s theme is nature.

What is Mental Health Awareness Week and why does it matter?

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event when there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago. Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

Mental Health Awareness Week is open to everyone. It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. This year we want as many people as possible – individuals, communities and governments – to think about connecting with nature and how nature can improve our mental health.

However, the Week is also a chance to talk about any aspect of mental health that people want to – regardless of the theme.

What do you actually want people to do during the Week?

The Week is an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on providing help and advice.

This year we want people to notice nature and try to make a habit of connecting to the nature every day. Stop to listen to the birdsong, smell the freshly cut grass, take care of a house plant, notice any trees, flowers or animals nearby. Take a moment to appreciate these connections.

We also want people to share images/videos/or just sound recordings of the nature on your doorstep (and how this made you feel) on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

Why was Nature chosen as the theme for the Week?

The theme was chosen because being in nature is known to be an effective way of tackling mental health problems and of protecting our wellbeing.

This seemed particularly important this year – in the year of a pandemic. Our own research has shown that being in nature has been one of the most popular ways the public have tried to sustain good mental health at a challenging time.

Our hope is that by growing awareness of the importance of nature to good mental health – we can also work to ensure that everyone can share in it.

Nature is something that is all around us. It can be really helpful in supporting good mental health. Our ambition is to try to make that connection clearer for both individuals and policy makers.

How do you define Nature?

By “nature” we mean any environment in which we can use our senses to experience the natural world. This could include the countryside, a park or garden, coast, lakes and rivers, wilderness, plants or wildlife closer to home. It could also include nature that you can see or interact with in or from your home.

Aren’t there much more important mental health priorities than nature at the moment?

We are not saying that nature is the only priority that is important. And nature is not going to solve all mental health issues. But connecting with nature can play an important part in improving people’s mental health and make us feel better about ourselves.

During lockdown, nature has played a vital part in supporting mental health. According to our own research, last summer half of people in the UK said that being in nature was a favoured way to cope with the stress of the pandemic.

What about people who can’t access nature?

This will be a key part of the Week. Many people find it hard to access nature because of where they live or because they have no outside space. We will use the Week to launch new policy requests to enable greater access for people to nature. This can include making parks feel safer to use or planting more trees in our streets or asking developers to include plants and green spaces in their designs.

Wellbeing Strategy

“Starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be difficult.” 

For any business, it is important to encourage employees to look after themselves and each other. Healthy, happy staff are more productive, and take less time off work due to sickness. We can help to develop your Wellbeing Strategy including: 

  • Developing a programme of initiatives to promote mental and physical wellbeing
  • Educating employees and managers on topics such as emotional intelligence, resilience and stress management
  • providing pragmatic advice on health and wellbeing issues which impact on the workplace
  • reviewing your working practices to create a supportive culture.

Get in touch with us now to see how we can help you develop your Wellbeing Strategy. 

Do you need a stress risk assessment?

A stress risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what in a workplace could cause staff to suffer from work-related stress. This is so that you can weigh up whether you have done enough, or should do more to prevent harm.

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health of their employees at work. This includes taking steps to make sure they do not suffer stress-related illness as a result of their work.

Employers also have a specific duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  They must undertake risk assessments that seek to identify, and eliminate or reduce, risks to their employees’ health, safety and welfare. Stress is one of the risks to health, safety and welfare that must be assessed.

Risk assessments must be reviewed periodically.  This should be whenever there is a change to any aspect of the work activity which could significantly affect the health, safety, or wellbeing of employees.  They should also be reviewed under any other circumstances where the existing risk assessment is thought to be no longer valid. The regular period of review should be decided locally.  This will depend on the level of risk and how susceptible to change the activity is.  This includes a stress risk assessment.

Hazard Identification – Factors to be considered

When considering the likelihood that a work-activity could result in employees becoming stressed, it is necessary to first identify the potential hazards. The section below includes the factors identified by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as being most significant contributors to workplace stress.  Also a list of eight factors – external factors that can impact on individual ability to cope with work pressures

Factor Considerations

1. Demands – High volume of work, competing priorities, unrealistic deadlines, intense periods of activity, requirement for very fast work.  Also expectation of very long hours, high pressured environment.

2. Control Level over pattern of work and breaks, inability to decide on work speed, priorities, access to flexible working.

3. Role Clarity – understanding of role itself; how to carry it out; how it relates to immediate team and the wider organisation’s strategic plans.

4. Relationships – Inter-relationships with work colleagues, staff, and manager(s); bullying; harassment; conflict; unkind behaviour.

5. Support in dealing with work difficulties, accessibility, constructive feedback, praise for good work, encouragement.

6. Support from Colleagues – Support/assistance in dealing with work difficulties, respect.

7. Change Communication, consultation, and management of change.

8. External Factors – Mental health, other serious ill health, bereavement, dependant illness.

Required Actions and Prioritisation

Ideally, when considering risk assessment, the goal should be to remove the hazard. In relation to work-related stress, this may only be possible in a limited number of situations.  The standard adopted in law when considering the cost, both financial and operational, of implementing a control measure is reasonable practicability. The next best measure is either to reduce the hazard, or the likelihood of it causing harm, through various control mechanisms.

When determining the specific required actions, consider the gaps you found when looking at existing control measures.  Also consider whether equivalent measures could be implemented in the relevant work area.

Always consult with the affected staff for their contribution to ideas that might help resolve the difficulties. Consequently, this can either remove the hazard or reduce the level of risk.

It is important to appreciate that whilst some control measures help to reduce or prevent stress, others serve only to support employees who are already experiencing stress. Whilst, in time, these support mechanisms may assist those employees in recovering from this episode of stress, and even avoiding future episodes, the employee has already experienced harm. This in no way invalidates such measures which are widely recognised as not only valuable but also an expected facility for staff of responsible employers. However, provision of support services is generally perceived by the regulatory bodies as the minimum standard an employer can adopt to manage workplace stress.

We can help you with risk assessing your workplace, just get in touch.

Home working – HSE advice on lone working, DSE and mental health

Do you have people working from home temporarily as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak?

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

HSE website has advice on how you can minimise the risks to their health, which includes information on the following topics:

  • Lone working
  • Working with display screen equipment (DSE)
  • Stress and mental health

Work Related Stress

Work Related Stress

Work related stress is how you feel when you have demands at work that exceed how much you feel you can cope with. Over 11 million working days are lost each year because of work related stress, and stress can contribute to conditions such as anxiety or depression. Read more

RoSPA Guidance on Stress

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has released the second part of its guidance into work related stress. It looks at practical steps you can take to help reduce stress at work from informal talks with staff, performance appraisals to sickness data and accident statistics. Under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 there is a legal obligation to manage risks to employees’ health. More information can be found here http://rospaworkplacesafety.com/2013/07/09/work-related-stress/