Legal health check
Are you compliant in all the areas that you should be? How can you know?
Go Legal will give you a free initial consultation to find out from you what you think you need. That need established it’s time to move on to the legal health check.
The legal health check will examine the temperature, pulse and blood pressure of your business. It’ll look to see if your policies and procedures are up-to-date. If they’re not you could find yourself facing an expensive tribunal.
Go-Legal for peace of mind
Review and advise
When I review your current HR documents I’ll look for:
- The right employment documentation
- Compliance of said documentation with the legal minimum requirements.
The health check covers:
- Policies and procedures
- Contracts of employment
- Employment handbook
- HR procedures and administrative documentation.
Full check-up – full report
The full health check takes up to one day and is chargeable at the Go Legal standard daily rate. Included with that is a detailed report that will outline the actions required to attain full compliance with employee legislation. Isn’t your business worth that insight?
It’s all done for you
With the health-check done I’ll deal with anything that needs an update or a rewrite. I’ll work with you to make sure that:
- Your employee documentation stays current
- Your employees are made aware of their obligations: both as employees and as managers
Don’t put your business at risk. Get in touch and book your full business diagnostic examination now.
Contracts of employment
There are two key steps to take to reduce the likelihood of disputes arising and thus protecting your business:
- Have in place clearly documented employment terms
- Have associated policies and procedures
These will set the stage and provide clear boundaries for employees.
Because I’m an expert in HR documentation I can solve your pain and create them for you. It’s inevitable that, from time to time, positions within your organisation will change.
Policies & Procedures
Employment legislation is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. If you feel all at sea with it you’re not on your own. Fear not. Go Legal is here to help.
I’ll create for you a full set of up-to-date, and legally compliant, policies and procedures.
A typical/minimum set of Policies and procedures would include:
- Absence Management
- Equal Opportunities
- Harassment & Bullying
- Family Friendly (including Maternity)
- Drugs & alcohol
- Data Protection
- Social Media
There are a whole range of other policies that can be created to reflect the needs of your business and ensure you have the correct set of policies and procedures
Take advantage of our support service for regular and timely updates as needed.
The employee handbook is not, in itself, a legal requirement, but it is your legal requirement to manage your employees in accordance with current laws and legislation. Which is where the value of the employee handbook lies. If constructed with care it supports your contract of employment. And it lays out the expected requirements of employees against your needs as an employer.
For the majority of small businesses an employee handbook is all they need to communicate to their staff what their rights are and what rights you have as their employer.
That said, it can happen that a business develops specific needs. It might be that regular sickness absence is an issue – in which case you need a sickness absence policy and procedure. Or are you making a transition from small to medium sized business? In such a situation, you’ll have outgrown your current employee handbook.
If this or any of the statements below resonate with you then Go Legal is your go-to virtual HR adviser.
The Data Protection Act controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government.
If you’re responsible for using data you need to be aware of the strict rules you have to follow. Called data protection principles they are designed to make sure the information is:
- Fairly and lawfully used
- Used for limited and specifically stated purposes
- Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not to excess
- Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
- Handled in accordance with people’s right to data protection
- Securely stored
- Not transferred, without adequate protection in place, beyond the European Economic Area
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The legal requirements regarding Data Protection in the UK have not been amended since the Data Protection Act in 1998. Now all is about to change with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May 2018.
This is a piece of European Legislation affecting all members of the European Union and even though we have the Brexit process set to take us out of the EU, this legislation will apply to the UK not just whilst we remain a member of the EU, but its provisions are expected to be adopted within whatever range of legislation we retain post-Brexit.
The GDPR regulations have potentially far reaching consequences for small to medium size businesses who may not currently have an issue with Data protection and/or Data processing, but who are unlikely to be compliant with the new regulations as things stand at present.
If you would like to ensure you are compliant with GDPR or at least know what is required to become compliant, invite GO Legal HR an audit of your current Data Protection practices. We can quickly compare this to the requirements under the new act to at least ensure you are aware of any gaps and what the consequences of a breach of the new act may involve.
The employment law field is a complex one. What’s more, it’s in a constant state of flux. Every year thousands of UK companies like yours run the risk of being in breach of employment legislation.
In the main this comes down to a lack of awareness of the legal obligations they face. The upshot is often compensation and legal costs sufficient to close the business down.
Workers know their rights: While you may be struggling to keep abreast of what your obligations are you can be sure that your staff will be boning up on their rights. Worst still, they will think they know what their rights are, but are often mistaken or mis-informed. That can be the worst of both world’s if you do not know what is fact and what is fiction/opinion.
It’s not hard to see what a time-consuming drain for a small business like yours, dealing with employment issues.
Your small business is at its most vulnerable when dealing with employment disputes. Unless that is you’ve taken appropriate steps to protect yourself.
The disciplinary procedure will clearly set out what the different stages of the process are and the activities/offences that may lead to disciplinary action, but you will need advice and support to ensure that the policy is applied and followed consistently and effectively.
You will also need independent parties to carry out the necessary investigations and/or disciplinary hearings that may be necessary, including appeal procedures.
Investigations – Conducting the disciplinary procedure
No matter how well a workplace is run, problems will arise. You may need to run an investigation to make sure such problems are dealt with in a fair and consistent fashion.
A well-conducted investigation lets you, the employer, give full consideration to the cause of concern and then act upon it with an informed decision.
Key Points to consider:
- An investigation is a fact-finding exercise to collect all the relevant information related to the problem in hand.
- You’ll need to give an investigator clear guidance on what needs to be investigated and how you want them to report their findings.
- If at all possible, the investigator should have no involvement with the issue under scrutiny.
- The investigator’s role is to gather and document what the issues of the matter are. That done they’ll consider what evidence is available an relevant and how best it can be collected.
Go Legal HR have extensive experience in carrying out and supporting full and fair investigations to enable appropriate and justifiable action to be taken. This will ensure that the application of the disciplinary process is fair and consistent at all times.
Let’s not pretend: conflict happens in every workplace. While it’s never great it’s possible to manage it well. But left to fester the fall-out can be expensive and damaging.
Our role in this situation is to advise you on ways to manage that conflict so you can dispense it and channel it into a positive outcome.
Support similar to the management of disciplinary issues is often required.
You’ve got a conflict situation and you can’t resolve it without the intervention of a third party. Yet again Go Legal HR can come to your rescue with a professional mediation service.
What is a mediator? A mediator is someone who works with those in conflict, as a third party facilitating communication with those in conflict.
The mediation support often brings about a fast and confident solution. With the conflict resolved everyone can focus once more on the job in hand.
It often happens that, where a mediator is not used, conflict situations end up at the employment tribunal. Something best avoided.
Harassment & Bullying
Bullying and harassment is defined as unwanted behaviour that makes someone feel:
It’s often insidious and may not be apparent to others or to you. Bullying can be an isolated incident or something persistent. It’s not only a face-to-face thing but can happen on the phone or via written communications.
Why this concerns you as an employer
If you leave bullying and harassment incidents unchecked then an unhappy and unproductive workplace will result. One where you’ll have:
- Low morale and poor employee relations
- Loss of respect towards supervisors or managers
- Poor performance = lost productivity
- Persistent absence
- Possible tribunals and other court cases
The initial period of a new recruits employment can be the key time when you as the employer take the time to confirm that you have made the correct decision, but also for the employee to make the same assessment. This is a two-way process and Go Legal HR will ensure that appropriate and timely review meetings are held to ensure things are going well……………or quickly bring things to a close if not.
Performance Management is something that may only be practical in small to medium size companies when there is a specific issue. But it can also be the key activity that we need to pursue on a regular basis, but can never find the time.
Go Legal HR can help put in place and then monitor the processes required for active and positive performance management designed to help develop the company and its employees.
Performance management is the term for processes designed to maintain and improve your employees’ performance as set out by your business’ objectives.
Strategic as well as operational its aim is to help your employees make a positive contribution. It’s best if performance is managed holistically via a range of HR processes and activities.
Performance management comprises five steps:
- Establishing performance standards:
- Communicating the standards
- Measuring the actual performance
- Comparing actual performance with desired performance
The first step in the performance appraisal process is to decide on the baseline of the standards you’ll use to compare your employees’ performance. You’ll need to set the criteria by which you’ll judge their performance as being successful or otherwise.
There should be no ambiguity to the standards and they should be measurable.
These should always happen on a one-to-one basis. And there should be nothing in the appraisal that is a surprise to the employee.
The focus of this meeting is two-fold: communicating and listening.
The results, any problems and potential solutions should be discussed with the aim of solving problems and reaching agreement.
It’s the role of HR to assist supervisors and managers to write performance action plans.
Performance action plans, sometimes referred to as performance improvement plans or PIPS, have specific goals for employees whose performance falls short of the required standards.
If your employee’s appraisal shows notable room for improvement a detailed performance action plan will help them to get back on track – for their benefit and yours.
Go Legal can support your HR team or take it on board for you.
Recruitment & Selection
Recruitment can be a time consuming and costly activity that can either serve as a distraction from the day to day activities or something you do not invest the time in because you are too busy. Referring the activity to agencies is often convenient but can be expensive.
Let Go Legal take responsibility for you and manage the key stages to ensure that your recruitment needs are met in a timely and cost-effective manner with the following activities run for you
- Pre-selection analysis
- 1st stage interviewing
This would include consideration of the appropriate process and techniques to apply to the selection process for individual positions (eg. interviews, psychometric testing, presentations by candidates)
Go Legal’s recruitment service would provide short-listed candidates suitable for the role in question for 2nd stage interviews with relevant managers. We would also support the final interview and decision making process and handle all contact with third parties such as agencies. Contact with unsuccessful candidates including feedback would also be dealt with.
The process of issuing the job offer including the contract of employment would then flow naturally when the successful candidate has been identified.
Induction is simply the process that welcomes your new staff to your organisation and supports them as they adjust to their new roles and working environments.
However, it is vital you get this correct at the outset. No matter how desired a new job is, it’s still stressful and your new employees need support from you to settle in. If this is not the sort of activity you can easily find the time to do, Go Legal HR can.
The employment tribunal exists to make decisions about employment disputes. It’s the case that almost all legal cases concerning employment are heard in employment tribunals.
Know the process
If someone wants to make a claim against you they are initially required to go through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) pre-claim conciliation process. So in the first instance you will be contacted by ACAS. They will work with both you and the claimant to try to solve the problem without it going to a tribunal.
Know the pit-falls
The pit falls are many and varied, but if you are not experienced or aware of the procedures and timelines involved you can soon find yourself with a problem even though you may not have done anything wrong.
How to respond
You’ll get a letter known as a response pack from the tribunal. If a claim has been made against you and you’ve had no success with conciliation you can respond in the following ways:
- By filling out and returning the pack you will have been sent.
- By downloading and filling in the response form and sending it to the tribunal office that’s dealing with the case.
Be sure to read with care the response guidance before you fill the form out.
NB: You MUST respond to the claim within 28 days.
If you need more time to respond ask the tribunal as soon as you can. If you’re late or you don’t respond it’s possible the tribunal will decide against you without a hearing.
How to prepare
Employment tribunal proceedings are expensive in terms of both time and money. Our service seeks to prevent them.
Such an occurrence can be prevented by providing and applying legally compliant procedures. Though of course, an employee may choose to exercise their right to place a claim before an employment tribunal.
If you find yourself in such a situation Go Legal take care of the preparation and submission of all relevant documentation on your behalf.
Choose Go Legal to give yourself the best chance of winning your case.
Maintenance of Personnel Records
Go Legal HR offer a bespoke HR management system which will collate and hold all relevant personnel information and details normally kept on personnel files.
This includes a module on absence management which incorporates the administration and monitoring of the annual holidays.
Interface with payroll
One of the most critical activities we do as employers is ensure we pay our employees accurately and in a timely manner. Nothing can be worse for an employee than to have their pay wrong, particularly when they are expecting more, and rectifying the error can be costly and time consuming. Overpayments can be just as problematic as you need to take steps to recover the money.
Whether you have your own in-house payroll or outsource the requirement to a third party, let Go Legal HR take the administrative strain by liaising with your payroll department/bureau to ensure that any monthly or weekly changes are collated and submitted to payroll in good time for the cut–off so that payments are correct. This can apply to permanent changes, such as pay increases or regular payments or deductions such as overtime or sick absence deductions. It is all too easy to miss the cut-off or overlook something that payroll need to be aware of. Just let Go Legal HR do it for you. It is a logical extension to the HR administrative service we provide.
There’s never going to be a situation where you have no staff absences. It’s important to remember that most employees feel bad about letting down their colleagues.
Yet absences for any reason can be tricky for your business. More so if you don’t have policies in place for managing them.
You need to know why staff are away from work, when they’ll back and how you’ll deal with:
- Short-tern sickness lasting less than a week.
- Repeated short-term sickness. These may follow a pattern.
- Long-term sickness absence lasting several weeks or more.
- Unauthorised absences not sickness related.
Return to work interviews
As an employer, you’re required to acknowledge and discuss an employee’s sick absence with them when they come back to work.
In most cases this needs only to be an informal thing with a brief note on the employees record to record that you undertook it.
In situations where sickness is frequent or a pattern is evident then a different approach is needed. In such circumstances, you’ll need to conduct a structured RTW (return to work) interview.
Both of these formats are good practice in terms of supporting your employee and identify any ways in which you can help.
Go Legal HR will give you all the advice and support you need with your RTW interviews.
Not directly related to absence management, exit interviews are an important consideration for all Employers.
As an employer, you should carry out exit interviews with employees that leave you just before they depart. It’s a golden opportunity to get information on what your business is doing well –or what it might need to improve on.
You’ll rarely receive such frank feedback from your employees so this is key to your business improvement.
Employment Law Training
Employment Law Training
Go Legal HR will be your eyes and ears and the means by which you ensure your keep up to date with developments in Employment Law, particularly where compliance is key.
Subject to size and employee number, you may also need to ensure your Managers and/or Department Heads are conversant with the day to day requirements of the law to avoid problems arising. Go Legal HR can offer bespoke training courses and/or modules on any aspect of Employment Law, from general awareness of main principals and their application, to more detailed courses covering Discipline, Grievance, How to conduct an investigation, Diversity, Harassment & Bullying etc.
Generic Training courses are available, but we can also tailor courses to meet the specific needs your business.