Welcome to HR Protocol’s first newsletter

As always the year is flying by, can you believe it’s already spring' I do hope things are going well for you in 2011.

I wanted to let you know about some new and exciting developments in my business which I hope will be of interest to you.

You may not be aware that my company has changed its name from Independent Workplace Mediation to HR Protocol. This has been done to reflect the fact that HR Protocol now offers an extensive range of HR services, in addition to the conflict resolution service in the workplace.

There continues to be more and more complex changes in the area of staff employment and here’s a brief update on some of the latest changes. Did you know that the maximum compensation for out of date employment practices is now £68,400' Could this be a risk to your business?;

HR Protocol can ensure that working practices are up to date and that risk is minimised.

Hints and Tips

Default Retirement Age

The default retirement age will be abolished in October 2011. From October an employer will not be able to compulsorily retire employees when they reach 65 unless it can be demonstrated that there is an objectively justifiable reason (which, in my experience, is not easy to do). Therefore employers will need to ensure they have performance management systems and capability policies in place in order to be prepared for the change. Give me a call to find out what’s involved.

Maternity and Paternity leave and pay

For children whose expected date of birth falls on or after 3 April 2011 (those due even the day before miss out), after 6 months of maternity leave, mothers have the right to transfer the rest of their maternity leave to the father of the child. So that means that fathers can take up to 6 months additional paternity leave (that’s in addition to the 2 weeks they are already allowed). They may also be entitled to statutory paternity pay. For a clearer understanding of the changes give me a call and I’ll be pleased to discuss.

Sickness and disability

Did you know that you can no longer ask prospective employees about how much sickness they have had over a period of time or include the question in application forms and reference requests or ask what the reason for the sickness? You can only ask after an offer of employment has been made and then make adjustments to accommodate a disability should it be necessary.

The Equality Act 2010 was introduced in October last year and this was one of the provisions introduces. This April there’s another change as a result of the Act and that is to legalise Positive Action in recruitment and promotion. If you don’t know how that might affect you I can help.

And lastly there have been changes to statutory payments as follows:

From 3 April 2011: Statutory Maternity Pay* (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) all increase from £124.88 to £128.73 per week (or 90% of weekly earnings if lower). * SMP is payable at 90% of normal pay for the first 6 weeks of maternity leave.

From 6 April 2011: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) increases from £79.15 to £81.60 per week.

These are the questions any business should be asking themselves right now:

Are my employment contracts up to date? If not what is the risk to my business?

Are my current employment documents, policies and practices up to date' Do they reflect the latest employment law changes?

If the answers to any of these questions are NO or don’t know then here’s how HR Protocol can assist: HR Protocol offers a FREE HR check up to assess risks and identify areas that should be addressed to ensure compliance.

The check up provides recommendations and a proposal as to how HR Protocol can support the business needs and provide reassurance that company practices are correct.

As an HR specialist of 15 years I have extensive experience working across a broad range of businesses. Please call me on 01476 861884 or email lisapoole@hrprotocol.co.uk if you have any concerns about the risks that could be faced and I can arrange a visit. I hope you have found this useful.

My next newsletter will be sent in a couple of months.