July 2016

Welcome

As a subscriber, we’d like to share with you the latest news within Cluer HR as well as keeping you up to date with developments in the world of HR and employment law as they occur.

We hope you find it useful. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Should employers tolerate the pokemon craze?

Employers are only too aware of the distractions that are available to their employees through the internet. The opposite ends of the spectrum are the relatively innocent game of patience or candycrush®, and, more worrying, running a side-line business or satisfying one or more vices. The recent arrival of the Pokemon® craze has all the hallmarks of innocent but, anecdotal evidence is suggesting that this may naïve. Aside the loss of time and productivity that accompanies many internet activities, there are reports of drivers hitting trees, employees nearly falling out of windows and general lack of concentration as people stare into their mobile device.

Concerns have also been raised about the inadvertent disclosure of confidential information as smart phone users scan their environment with their smart phone cameras and pick up information off screens and documents. Businesses dealing in personal data might be particularly concerned about unintended disclosure. Ways of dealing with the risks include having the right social media policies in place and alerting staff to the risks. An approach based on personal responsibility might encourage the positive view taken by some employers who value the social interaction, networking and general improvement in morale that come with crazes like this.

All New Updated “Employer’s Guide To Right To Work Checks”

Image credit: Shutterstock

All businesses should know that the May 2015 Guide has just been updated this month, largely because two new offences have come into force:

The offence of illegal working (when a person is subject to immigration control and works when disqualified)
The offence of employing an illegal worker (when an employer knowingly employs an illegal worker)
Employers must repeat checks if employees have provided a limited statutory excuse and we consider it prudent for all employers to ensure that they have checks on file for all of their employees.

If employers fail to carry out the checks correctly, or at all, and they are found to be employing someone illegally, they can face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

If an employer knowingly employs someone who is not permitted to work, you will have committed a criminal offence and could face up to 5 years imprisonment and/ or an unlimited fine. Ultimately, even if the job of carrying out the checks are delegated to someone else in your company, the owner of the company is still liable.

A work flow has been developed which can now be accessed on Check If Someone Can Work in The UK which makes it super easy for employers to check the work status of their potential employees or current employees (if re-checking). If you need to request a verification check, you can use an online tool to check with the Home Office.

Keep Your Team Cool and Active When The Temperatures Soar!

Image credit: Shutterstock

We hope you’re enjoying this spell of heat? As with any changes in temperature – it brings along some issues to be aware of in the workplace. If your employees are working in the outdoors, ensure that they’re:

  • Covered up with tops on, hats with a brim or flaps that cover the ears and back of the neck
  • Wearing sunscreen of a minimum factor 15 and are regularly applying it
  • Drinking lots of water to keep hydrated
  • Regularly check for any moles or spots, particularly if any are itching or bleeding then they will need to see a doctor

What else can you do as an employer to ensure your staff stay safe and well in the sun?

  • Include sun protection advice in routine health and safety training
  • Encourage workers to keep covered up during the summer months, particularly at lunchtimes when the sun is hottest

What’s the benefit to your business?

  • Fewer days absence due to sunburn or exposure
  • A healthier workforce free from the damaging effects of sun
  • Reduced risk to employees of skin cancer

If sickness prevents a worker from taking annual leave, can the leave be carried forward?

Image credit: Shutterstock

A reaffirmed yes is the answer confirmed by the Eurpopean Court of Justice in the Sobczyszyn v Skola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie case, where a teacher took convalescence leave provided by a Teachers’ Charter and was unable to use her annual leave.

Whether leave has been scheduled or booked makes no difference: if sickness prevents annual leave, workers must be able to use annual leave at a later date.

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Image credit: Seattle Municipal Archives – Tennis Instructor and class 1968

This month we looked at the effect of Brexit on UK employment law Will UK Employment Law Change Following Brexit? and we how to manage the sporting season with Don’t be a spoil sport!

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