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EMPLOYMENT HELP FOR THE VERY BUSYWINTER – SPRING 2011Welcome to my first e-newsletter of 2011, which gives you a taster of the key legislative changes happening this year.

NEW RATES (from 6th April 2011)
Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £79.15 to £81.60 per week
Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity pay will increase from £124.88 to £128.73 per week

From April, fathers of children with an expected week of birth beginning on or after 3rd April 2011 will be allowed up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave, if the mother returns to work before using her full entitlement to statutory maternity leave.

The right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children under the age of 18 from 6th April 2011.

Kay Heald comment: Please note that the Government has also announced it intends to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees and will be consulting over the next few months.  As previously stated, it is good practice to carefully consider any reasonable request for flexible working, regardless as to whether it is currently included within legislation.

A corporate offence of: failing to prevent bribery by people working on behalf of the business, will be introduced under the new Bribery Act this year.  If a company is found guilty of corporate bribery both the company and its directors could be subject to criminal sanctions including fines.  The onus will be on companies to prove that they have ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.

Kay Heald comment: The Government is due to issue guidance (hopefully this month) regarding its definition of ‘adequate procedures’, but they are likely to include: promotion of an anti-corruption culture led by senior personnel; senior individual responsibility for anti-corruption procedures; risk assessments; codes of conduct and penalties; gift and hospitality procedures; training and whistle-blowing protection.  As a practical first step, make sure you amend your disciplinary procedures to cover corruption and bribery situations.  Call me on 05600 434 727 if you would like any assistance.

This year will see an unusual sequence of 4 Bank/Public Holidays over an 11 day period: 22nd April, 25th April, 29th April, 2nd May

Kay Heald comment: Check what your contracts of employment say about extra Bank Holidays.  Make sure you communicate with staff regarding whether you will be paying for the extra days or not and what provisions will be made for work cover during that time.

The phasing out of the default retirement age ends on 1st October 2011, so 31st March 2011 will be the last day on which employers can give the minimum six months’ notice of retirement if they wanted to make use of the default retirement age.

Changes to employment legislation look set to continue, despite the Coalition Government’s hopes of reducing bureaucratic red tape for small businesses.  I have had several recent requests from local businesses for information about cost effective employment law protection products that cover legal costs and awards, in the event of claims being made against them.  I am very grateful to Jenny Osborne from Henshalls Insurance Brokers, who has agreed to offer a
no obligation chat if you would like to discuss what options might be suitable for you.  Jenny’s not only very knowledegable, but extremely approachable – you can contact her on 01743 231091.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a useful set of resources called the Equality Act Starter Kit, to help you and your employees understand the changes brought in under last year’s Equality Act.

FREE RESOURCES: Equality Act Starter Kit
If you are looking for some fresh and practical ideas to help motivate your staff this year, I am delighted to be able to offer you a FREE Management Workshop entitled: A Burst of Motivation, being run by the well respected Business Coach, Michaela Hardwick from Beyond Expectation, at the lovely Monkhouse Granary, in Shrewsbury on Tuesday 25th January 2011, from 9.30am – 12.30pm.

FREE WORKSHOP: To book your place please email me at or telephone 05600 434 727

Please Note: The information contained in this e-newsletter is provided for your general use only.  It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.

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Copyright (C) 2011 Kay Heald HR All rights reserved.

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