Welcome to my Summer e-newsletter, looking at new (and in the pipeline) employment legislation, with lots of practical tips and free resources to help you.  For useful links, just hover and click on the relevant information when it shows up underlined.

Bribery Act goes Live
The Bribery Act 2010 went live on 1st July 2011. It aims to promote anti-bribery practices among businesses, by modernising the law on bribery. The Act introduces a corporate offence of ‘failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business’. A business has a defence if it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
Comment: There is no need for alarm – it is important to use common sense and look at levels of risk in your own particular organisation and industry, but for the majority of small businesses the actions required can be quite straightforward eg adding ‘bribery’ to examples of Gross Misconduct in your disciplinary procedures.
FREE RESOURCE: The Ministry of Justice’s Quick Start Guide, is a useful starting point, but for more information look at their Guidance document, particularly from page 20, regarding the six principles.
National minimum wage increases – A reminder
The national minimum wage will rise from £5.93 to £6.08 per hour, from 1st October 2011. The development rate increases from £4.92 to £4.98 per hour, the rate for workers aged 16 to 17 from £3.64 to £3.68 per hour, and the apprentice rate from £2.50 to £2.60 per hour.
Comment: Agricultural minimum wages are set to rise by between 2.5% and 2.9% – I’ll have more details for you in the next issue
Agency Worker Regulations are on the way
The Agency Workers Regulations (2010) are implemented this October, giving agency workers the same basic employment conditions after 12 weeks in a given job as if they had been employed directly by the end-user.
FREE RESOURCE: BIS have produced a guide to the new regulations with a useful overview of the main changes at the beginning.
Comment: If you currently use agency workers and would like further information about these changes, please call on 05600 434 727 or email me at kay@kayhealdhr.co.uk
Retiring of the Retirement Age
Compulsory retirement will only be legal if the individual was informed of their retirement before 6th April 2011 and if it was due to occur before 1st October 2011. From October 1st 2011, the default retirement age of 65 will be removed.
Suggested Action:
Review your contracts of employment and HR documentation and inform all staff of this change, before 1st October 2011
Comment: in some industries and professions, mandatory retirement is still likely to exist, but in all cases it will need to be carefully and objectively justified, to avoid age discrimination claims.
FREE RESOURCE: Guidance for Employers: Working without the Default Retirement Age – this free ACAS guide includes a set of useful case studies and practical pointers. Contact me on the above number or email, if you would like a copy of some ‘alternative’ wording to update your retirement details.
Make Your Appraisals Work Harder
With the imminent removal of the default retirement age, there has never been a better time to review your appraisal processes and look for more practical ways to ensure staff are meeting their required performance levels, regardless of their age.
If you dread those once a year appraisal interviews, you will be pleased to hear that more and more businesses are turning their backs on unwieldy and unproductive annual appraisals, opting for shorter, sharper and more frequent reviews with their staff.
Our recent LinkedIn poll looked at what would make appraisals more effective: just over half of the respondents felt clearer objectives would make the biggest difference and more than a third stated the importance of constructive feedback – does your current system cover these areas?
This was backed up by findings from our June Management Skills Top-Up workshop: Peak Performance is Possible, run with my colleagues, Michaela Hardwick of Beyond Expectation and Rachael Stone of Red Recruitment:  A good performance management system needs to:
1. set the right performance standards and requirements
2. clearly communicate them
3. manage, feedback and monitor them
The conclusion: performance management doesn’t have to be complicated or even look beautiful to be effective!
Suggested Action: Question your performance management and appraisal processes:
  • What do they currently add to the business?
  • How are they viewed and valued by staff?
  • Do they make a difference to performance levels?
  • Do they have an impact on motivation?
Comment: If you’d like some help shaking up your appraisal systems, or just want some fresh ideas, give me a call on 05600 434 727 or email me: kay@kayhealdhr.co.uk
HR Films and Articles
Last April I experimented with the use of video on my website for the first time.  The result was: Family Business Fairytale, a ‘royal’ flavoured look at the importance of succession planning in family businesses.  If you missed it first time round, I hope you will take a look and let me know what you think. There has been a terrific response so far, so I am looking to do a second one, this time focussing on the recruitment of non-family members into family businesses.
Finally, if you want some really good tips for engaging your employees this summer, look no further than: Are you Willing to go to the Extreme. They are all based on ‘real’ actions that can make a notable difference to the motivation and engagement levels of staff without breaking the bank – just don’t take them too literally!

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.

My mailing address is: kay@kayhealdhr.co.uk

Copyright (C) 2010 Kay Heald HR All rights reserved.

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