• Date

    01 Jun 2022
  • Category

    HR Consultancy Services, Payroll

Taking care of your HR headaches

Employee lifecycle solutions to help maximise your payroll investment 

Employment legislation is continually being updated, and a tailored HR consultancy service can help businesses to navigate their way around this minefield and ensure that they are both compliant and doing the right thing by their employees. 

It is hard enough running or setting up a business without having to worry about the complexities of people, employment legislation and best practice.

The aim of our HR consultancy service is to help reduce the ‘worry factor’ and provide sensible, practical advice and pragmatic solutions based on each individual situation. We know that a simple question can soon escalate into a bigger headache.

Each HR-related situation will have different influencing factors, but for the most part we will start with looking at the relevant policy, checking what is in the contract of employment, and confirming length of service before advising further.

H-J Dobbie, Head of HR Consultancy Services, and Sam Aldridge, Senior HR Consultant look at some real-life queries below and the key considerations for each:

  1. I’m ready to take on my first PAYE employee, what else do I need to think about?

As well as registering a PAYE scheme with HMRC, you must issue them with a contract or at least meet the legal minimum requirements of the Employment Rights Act in a written statement of particulars. Your employee will have some ‘day one rights’ and you will also need to determine provisions for pensions, sick pay and holiday entitlement. You need to ensure you have the legally required policies in place, as well as taken data protection into account. Additionally, you should think about things like a job description, probationary period, and any business protections you might to want to put in place.

  1. An employee is off on long term sick; do I have to keep paying them?

Subject to their entitlement to contractual and/or statutory sick pay, the answer is likely to be yes. It may be prudent to consider the nature and length of this person’s illness and future ability to render good service when determining next steps. You must follow a fair process and ensure the relevant reports and/or certification are acquired. Bear in mind also the need to be consistent and your obligations under the Equality Act.

  1. What do I need to pay my employee who we have terminated?

Although there are some statutory obligations to adhere to, it very much depends on a number of factors including the reason for dismissal (i.e., redundancy, conduct/capability), length of service, notice period, right to pay in lieu of notice, and additional contractual entitlements. This can be a tricky one to answer without reviewing your contracts, and you want to ensure you avoid any potential wrongful dismissal or other claims.

  1. Do we need to pay overtime and at what rate to part time staff?

Part-time workers have had protection under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) legislation since 2000, and this means they have to be treated the same as full-time workers. Your contract terms, and overtime policy should be clear and unambiguous on matters such as how and when overtime is worked and at what rate it is paid. It may be that overtime doesn’t apply to anyone unless a certain number of additional hours have been worked; it may be that any hours up to the full-time working week are paid but only at normal time; it may be that different overtime rates apply to evenings and weekends.

  1. I overpaid my employee; can I get the money back?

Yes, potentially, but it depends on what you have in your contract. You want to avoid an unlawful deduction of wages claim, however with the right wording, you are able to reclaim any monies overpaid to an employee. This includes deductions where there is not enough money in their final salary payment.

  1. A lady is on maternity, does she still get a pay rise and a bonus?

Generally, the answer is going to be yes, but there are a number of things to consider such as contractual terms, bonus criteria and the timing of such increases or awards. Bonus awards cannot discriminate on the grounds of protected characteristics (in this instance maternity/pregnancy & sex). Following the well-known Alabaster case, maternity pay calculations need to take into account any pay rises effective between the start of the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) calculation period and the end of the statutory maternity leave. This potentially leaves open a seventeen-month period and may include more than one pay increase!

  1. How do I calculate holiday for someone with no fixed hours?

Firstly, you would need to look at the type of contract i.e., casual hours, zero hours, bank, seasonal, term time only or a standard contract, which allows for regular but varied amounts of overtime. Then you would need to consider the Working Time Regulations, statutory minimum entitlements (both as per the EU and the UK), additional contractual entitlements, and the notion of rolled up holiday. You would look at the reference period (now 52 weeks), and the calculation of an ‘average weeks’ pay’. In some instances, you may be able to apply a percentage multiplier based on hours worked, in others the calculation may need to be done manually.

The team

The dedicated HR Consultancy team maintain an industry wide reputation for providing professional commercially focused HR advice and support. We provide assistance on all aspects of the employee lifecycle from recruitment and onboarding, through absence and performance management, to dismissals and other exit strategies. 

Get in touch

For more information or to discuss how we can help to relieve your staffing headaches, please get in touch with our HR Consultancy team today.

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