Porn in the workplace!

Porn in the workplace!

With one in five men admitting to accessing porn at work, organisations know they are sitting on a potential time bomb.

While accessing porn is not illegal – unless it is explicit – the risks associated with brand damage and employee harassment litigation are significant.

Without any controls in places, employees will continue to abuse the corporate network, regardless of any acceptable usage policy. Furthermore, no line manager relishes the task of chastising a top sales person for their use of porn; nor does the business want to risk losing a number of valuable employees as a result of their inappropriate behaviour.

It is therefore essential to put in place a tool that not only monitors all email communication and flags up those containing suspicious images but also automates the organisations response, such as an email citing the suspected breach of the usage policy.

A recent survey found that one fifth (20%) of men questioned admitted to accessing pornographic material within the workplace. And they are increasingly using a range of legitimate communication tools, including email to easily propagate this material across both internal and external networks. Yet with each email containing the Company name in the sign off, the potential brand damage associated with the dissemination of pornographic material outside the organisation is significant.

This issue is a board level concern. Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, employers have a legal obligation to prove they are taking all reasonable practical measures to protect staff from inappropriate material. Companies and individual executives can also face criminal prosecution if the employees are found using the Company’s IT infrastructure to distribute porn.

Organisations can leverage technology to ensure that employees recognise the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the work place.

Is your business having problems with employees using Pornography in the workplace? If so then you need us! Get in touch today for more information.

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This post is in: Employment Law Blogs

The Hay-fever Hangover

The Hay-fever Hangover

1.3 Million Hay Fever Sufferers In The UK Will Be At Work With The Symptoms Of A Hangover

The worst time in the hay fever calendar – mid-June – 25% of sufferers will feel sluggish and sleepy, enduring headaches as they struggle through the day.

A poll conducted by Lloyds pharmacy reveals that around 1.3million hay fever sufferers in the UK will be at work with the symptoms of a hangover. Chris Frost, head of Medicines for Lloyds pharmacy commented: “Many people suffering from a bout of hay fever suffer symptoms like dehydration, irritability, drowsiness and nausea – very reminiscent of the after effects of an over enthusiastic night on the tiles. Combined with the dry, sore eyes that characterise hay fever, trying to focus on work can be almost impossible”.

A key contributor to the hay fever hangover effect is the antihistamine medication taken by many sufferers which is likely to make around a quarter of them drowsy and slow off the mark.

The after-effects of the medication seem to have more of an effect on female workers: the ‘hay fever hangover’ is more likely to be felt by twice as many women than men.

The ‘Hay Fever Hangover’ can cause many disruptions within the workplace with employees being accused and disciplined by employers for having a ‘Hangover’ If you suspect that an employee is hungover before taking any formal disciplinary, talk to the employee and investigate the problem.

To figure out effective procedures you can put in place Call us today!

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This post is in: Employee Relations Blogs

Temperatures fall, make sure your employee’s attendance doesn’t!

Temperatures fall, make sure your employee’s attendance doesn’t!

Winter time is upon us once again, harsh winds, ice, cold weather and the possibility of snow.

Last year we saw heavy snowfall and the country come to a halt, the chances of that happening again this winter are increasing daily. So make sure your employee handbooks have the correct policies in place to cope with employees not attending work because of these harsh conditions and notifying you accordingly

There are three points employers need to keep in mind within these months;

  • Try to be flexible, are you able to alter working hours temporarily?
  • Can employees work from home?
  • Employees are not entitled to pay if unable to get to work because of the weather conditions, however you may wish to give employees the opportunity to take lost time from their holiday entitlement or take the time off as unpaid leave.

It is not only adverse weather conditions that cause problems with employee’s attendance during the winter months which can also see increase in employee’s having colds and flu’s which can be a big cause of absence. To find out how to cope with absence management please read our article here.

 

 

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This post is in: Employee Relations Blogs

Why Outsource your HR?

Why Outsource your HR?

So you’re wondering how outsourcing HR could benefit your business and why should you invest money on something which you think your company could probably do itself.

You don’t like the idea of outsourcing anything at all, because you feel that the company can do it itself  and save costs.

There are many reasons why your company SHOULD outsource your HR, and here at HELP you only get the best services available.

The three main reasons why you should outsource are:

  • Peace of mind – Specialist expert advice, keeping you up to date on all employment law legislation
  • Outsourcing HR can be an extremely cost efficient way of dealing with the HR in your company
  • Enables the company to concentrate on other distinctive areas of HR that may give your company competitive advantage

Once on board our professional and very experienced team, we will assist you at all hours with any issues you may have.We will tailor make custom employee handbooks to your business requirements, but that’s only where we start! If a claim is brought against your business whilst using our services, we take you all the way through to Tribunal Representation. We don’t need to tie our clients into contracts but if you see our client testimonials you can see why! Our excellent service helps put your mind at rest so you can get on with running your business, that is why outsourcing should be the only option.

Business professionals are advising companies to outsource their HR requirements. If this doesn’t persuade your company to make the changes, then why don’t you come meet our team. We will arrange a meeting to go through all the benefits you’ll gain through signing up with us!

Contact us today and take your business to the next level without having to worry.

 

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This post is in: Honest Employment Law Practice

New minimum wage standard

With the national minimum wage changing we just wanted to remind all employers to make sure they are aware and meeting the new legislation.

If these changes are not filtered down to the employees pay then employers will be left open to claims.  Minimum wage, for a lot of business owners, will be something that can go unheeded and easily and innocently missed. With HELP we want to make sure that this isn’t the case. The Guidelines for the new minimum wage are listed below.

From the 1st October 2011 the National Minimum Wage will increase as follows:

  • 21 and over – £6.08
  • 18 – 20 year olds – £4.98
  • 16 – 17 year olds – £3.68
  • Apprentices – £2.60

For employers who still do not understand how much they need to put these new regulations into place for every new employee there is always a reason behind this, after some research to give the best information for the reader we came across a simple sentence which really enforces how important this is. The Act states that, “Any employer who fails to comply with the above provisions shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine”. (Quote taken from www.mywage.org)

The real question is, why is the minimum rate increasing? This could be settled with a share of positive outcomes and a share of negative outcomes, the biggest arguments that were proposed before the change on the positive side were:

  • Removing lower paid jobs, forcing workers to train and move towards higher paying jobs, benefiting companies and workers to increase the business.
  • Demands work ethic from those employees who are working on the lowest wage because employers will demand more return for the extra increase in their salary.
  • Increasing the standard of living for the poorest paid employees and raises the overall national average to increase the economy.

The main negative arguments were:

  • Damaging small businesses and not the large.
  • The chance of this causing price inflation because the scare of businesses trying to increase product/service price to compensate for the wage increase.
  • Encouraging young people to get straight into the workplace, therefore damaging the chance of them going on to further education.

Do you think the wage increase is worthwhile?

Make sure YOUR business is up to speed with these changes and if you require assistance on this or any other HR issue then please get in touch today!

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What is a return to work and how can you use this properly?

What is a return to work and how can you use this properly?

The return to work interview is something which most employers won’t use or will not use properly, a lot of employers feel the return to work interview is only used when absences from staff are over a long period, this is not correct and should be used every time an employee is off due to sickness.

The return to work interview is not a formal or disciplinary meeting it is a ‘Welcome back’ and is used simply to cover the employee on what has happened since the beginning of their absence and also to discuss the underlying problems at an early stage of why the employee has taken time off without the problem becoming repetitive. The return to work interview can also be proof if disciplinary matters go further between the employer and staff member.

Here at HELP we encourage employers to practice this every time an employee takes absence that isn’t holiday. Listed below are the main reasons taken from the handbook.

1.    To ensure an employee is fit to return to work.

2.    To establish the reasons for absence and what treatment has been sort.

3.    Find out if there is anything you can do to support the employee.

4.    Check any paperwork relating to the absence. E.g. Self Certification Form or Fit Note.

5.    To agree any reasonable adjustments.

6.    To send a message that absence from work is treated seriously and is being monitored.

7.    Where the attendance record is poor to warn an employee if it does not improve disciplinary action may follow.

8.    To guard against personal injury claims against you as the employer, for example a claim of stress specifically related to the work situation.

9.    Where an employee has a number of short absences from work for related reasons, to reach an agreement that they seek medical advice.

10.  To show you are interested in the people who work for the Company and their well-being.

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Increase to the qualifying period of unfair dismissal

At the beginning of October 2011, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the unfair dismissal qualifying period will increase to 2 years as of 6 April 2012.

To read the full article and find out more information please click here

This post is in: News and New Legislation

Investing in Health and Safety is good for business!

Investing in Health and Safety is good for business!

Work accidents and ill health can be expensive.

Stopping them from happening will save you time and money. The smaller your business, the bigger the impact will be if a member of your staff has a serious accident or is off sick for an extended period of time. It could even put you out of business.

There are several important areas to consider when calculating the cost of ill health or accidents occurring within the workplace: –

  •  Absence
  • Replacement Staff & Recruitment Costs
  • Insurance and Compensation
  • Reputation Damage
  • Productivity and Efficiency

This is without considering the hefty fines being issued by the HSE….

Honest Employment Law Practice Ltd has the Health and Safety team in place to assist you in reducing these costs to a minimum.



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Absence Management Seminar

Dealing with sickness absence proactively and in a timely manner is important for all employers.

Our team at HELP held a Seminar on 29th November 2011 for our clients and local businesses to attend, to give support and guidance on how to discuss these issues and cut the cost of absence within your business.

Absence management, short or long-term, can have a real impact on your productivity and the profitability of your business; however it requires consistent and proactive management to ensure your employees are treated fairly and sympathetically.  It also safeguards the morale of other employees, as they do not suffer from the burden of extra work.  Donna Lewis our Training Consultant conducted the seminar, where we discussed the different reasons that cause employees to take time off work, these include holidays, maternity/paternity leave, domestic and family emergencies and weather and travel disruptions.  All of these issues are likely to happen in your business and the key to saving time and money is to deal with them proactively.

Return to work interviews are an effective tool for dealing particularly with persistent episodes of short term absence.  They are not formal meetings, but give both parties an opportunity to discuss the reasons for the illness and any underlying problems, which may be affecting the employees’ ability to do their job.  The Company can offer assistance to the employee in this supportive environment and provide a sound basis for further action should it be required.

The main objectives of the session were to understand why employees take time off, how to manage absence effectively within the law and how to support employees in the workplace to reduce the amount of time lost to sickness absence.

To put it into context, in 2006 alone there were 175 million work days lost due to sickness and long term absence contributes to 75% of all absence costs, which cost businesses £11 billion pounds per year*.

Employers should bear in mind the comments employees make regarding the working environment and attempt to make it a good place to work!  Building productive and supportive working relationships with your employees will encourage them to come in to work instead of taking a day off when they feel like it as they will not want to let either you or the team down.

Overall the seminar was well received and provided some key information for the clients who attended, they all enjoyed the event and from our feedback they benefited form the session.  We will be holding further seminars in the future so if you are interested in attending or have any questions about today’s topic please contact us.

Remember we are here to help

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This post is in: Training and Courses

Unfair dismissal qualifying period on the rise.

At the beginning of October 2011, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the unfair dismissal qualifying period will increase to 2 years as of 6 April 2012.

The Government made a judgment that the proposal, along with other proposals for rectifying the Employment Tribunal system, will see the number of unfair dismissal claims drop by around 2000 a year.

The new qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims can benefit all businesses and reduce the risk of employees raising a tribunal claim against your business, to read the full article please click  here

Even with the qualifying period on the rise and the reduced risk of tribunal the importance of correct legal advice is as important as ever.

To find out how Honest Employment Law Practice can help your business contact us on : Tel: 01543 431050

Dave Townsend

Help on your terms!

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This post is in: Employment Law Blogs