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HR Frequently asked questions
What is a contract of employment and are my employees entitled to a contract?
A contract of employment is a legally binding agreement between an employer and employee. In the UK, the term ‘employee’ is defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996 as an individual who has entered into or works under a contract of service or apprenticeship ( not to be confused with a service agreement which is used by consultants for example).
From 6th April 2020, both workers and employees are entitled to receive written particulars ( a contract) from day one of their contract and there are rules of what must be included in the document.
JG HR Solutions Limited advises contracts of employment are issued upon offer of employment to give the individual an opportunity to raise any questions and return a signed contract before day one of employment.
What is a probation period?
We prefer to use the term “ settling in period” and it’s a trial period we use for new employees to receive extra support as they demonstrate they are right for the role and the company is the right fit for them. There is no legal obligation to have settling in periods, but you must include the terms of any settling in periods and the right to extend the period in the contract of employment.
JG HR Solutions Limited advises regular review meetings during the settling in period and we supply clients with review forms and support to ensure they get it right.
What’s the law on holidays for employees?
In the UK, the minimum statutory holiday allowance is 5. 6 weeks, often referred to as 28 days, for full time employees in a full holiday year. The entitlement will be calculated on a pro rata basis for part time employees and those who start / finish employment through the holiday year.
The 28 days holidays may or may not include the 8 recognised Bank Holidays – this decision is at the employer’s discretion, but must be clearly outlined in the contract of employment.
There is no right for employees to take holidays when they choose. Generally, the rule for taking holidays is down to the employers, but you must give an employee legal notice if you require them to take holidays at a specific time.
JG HR Solutions Limited produces a Holiday Policy for clients clearly defining company rules and the process for holidays.
Are my employees entitled to sick pay and can I contact them when they are too sick to work?
Sick pay is defined as Company Sick Pay or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Company Sick pay is down to employers and the rules and rate of pay should be clearly defined in the contract and policy. SSP is government benefit that must legally be paid to eligible employees through the usual salary process.
JG HR Solutions Limited provides clients with an Absence Policy and absence management support, which means employers know what to pay, employees know what they are receiving, and we have the right to contact employees at reasonable periods, to support them during their periods of sickness.
Is there a legal requirement for bereavement leave
Yes, if an employee sadly suffers the loss of a child. The government introduced the right to take statutory parental bereavement leave (SPBL) from 6 April 2020. This is known as ‘Jack’s law’, and gives parents the legal right to take two weeks of leave when they suffer the loss of a child. Employees are allowed to take two weeks of SPBL when they suffer either a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy or the death of a child under the age of eighteen. A day-one right, employees will be able to take these weeks either as one single block of two weeks’ leave, or two separate blocks of one week’s leave. A ‘week’ is understood to be any one period of seven days and can begin on any day.
With the exception of Jack’s Law, there is no legal obligation to give employees paid leave during a bereavement, therefore it is at the employers’ discretion in terms of what to do. Having a clear Compassionate Leave or Bereavement policy about the approach you will take when handling requests for bereavement or compassionate leave can support managing employee expectations and ease any concerns.
Can I sack an employee with no warning?
Terminating an employee’s employment should always be the last resort and employees often have rights for a fair process to be taken before such a decision is made. Failure to follow a fair process and terminating employment without justification, can result in a tribunal claim.
There is a myth that employees must have 2 years continuous service before a tribunal claim can be made. Employees can claim wrongful dismissal from day one and there have been cases of claims made during the recruitment process.
JG HR Solutions Limited provides clients with a disciplinary policy including a clear process ad supports employers on individual cases to minimise the risk of claims.
Do we need policies?
Polices give the company and the employers clear guidance on the company rules, legal obligations and helps to manage expectations for everyone. There are certain polices that you must have, including, disciplinary and equality and diversity. You will also need certain policies for tender purposes.
JG HR Solutions Limited believes policies should be written for your business and the content applicable to how you and your business operates, whilst incorporating employment law.
Can we offer employee support above what the law says?
Absolutely yes! JG HR Solutions Limited encourages clients to use best practice and support employees as much as possible. For example, all clients have a menopause policy and a variety of other support including, miscarriage support for both parents with full pay and leave to attend vet’s appointments. As an employer you can make a change to support your employees without the need for legislation.
Do we have to allow employees to change their working hours / location?
No, but by law, employees have the right to make a flexible working request if they have at least 26 weeks continuous service, legally classed as an employee and have not made any other flexible working request in the last 12 months.
The right to ask, does not mean the right to have the request accepted, but you must follow a fair process to consider the request within the legal timescale.
JG HR Solutions Limited provides clients with a flexible working request policy and supports with the process to ensure a fair decision is made.
Does JG HR Solutions Limited offer free advice?
Yes, through social media and #HRFromMyShed videos on Youtube, there is some free advice and any donations made to Dobermann Rescue UK and Europe - Dobermann Rehoming Charity Registered in the UK 1169697 are welcomed.
JG HR Solutions also offers a free HR Consultation to determine the right level of HR Support for your business before we engage with you and your business.