May 2017


Hello, we’d like to share 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.

Can I insist that employees work overtime?

Businesses sometimes need a helping hand and for employees to work more than their normal hours in order to meet the needs of the business but can you ask an employee to work more hours without paying them?

In practice, you can, however, there are a few things you need to bear in mind before going ahead, which are:-

  • The employees contract of employment must clearly specify that they may be requested to work additional hours and that you do not pay overtime.
  • As an Employer, it is important to bear in mind the Working Time Regulations, which means that employees cannot work more than an average of 48 hours per week. The average is worked out over a 17-week reference period. When calculating average hours, time taken as statutory annual leave or sick leave does not count.

The employee can opt out of this working week limit by agreeing to this in writing. Contact Cluer HR if you would like to request employees to opt out of this 48-hours working time limit.

  • The employer must ensure that the employee’s average pay for all the hours they have worked does not dip below the relevant minimum wage (either the National Living Wage or the National Minimum Wage rates)

If employers do pay overtime, details of overtime rates of pay should be clearly detailed in the Contract of Employment.

HR message/Implications:
Be clear about overtime expectations including details about pay rates in employee’s contracts of employment.

Non-Guaranteed Hours May Command Higher Minimum Wage

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Companies that want to employ people on zero hours contracts could face a hike in the minimum wage rate, the author of a review into modern working practices has proposed.

A former advisor to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor told the FT that a premium could discourage “lazy employers” from forcing workers to accept risk once shouldered by business. “The problem in the labour market is not security of work, it’s security of income,” he said.

Taylor was commissioned by Theresa May in October last year to lead the Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy, which reports this summer.

He believes that if employers had to pay a premium on “non-guaranteed” hours, they would be incentivised to promise more hours in advance.

What does this mean for employers?

Companies that want to employ people on zero hours contracts could face a hike in the minimum wage rate. Matthew Taylor admits that this could create confusion in the currently straightforward minimum wage – however it would serve to discourage zero hours contracts which are already showing a slow down since the highest increase shown at the end of 2016.

Jobseekers Turn Down Roles If They Don’t Like Work Space

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Have you found the perfect candidate, only to be perplexed why they turned your offer of employment down? Maybe your workspace just didn’t do it for them.

Outdated decor, no natural light, a dirty or unhygienic area, broken furniture and difficult locations are all off putting. More than half (53%) of job hunters would turn down a role if they did not like the company’s office or working environment, according to research from A survey of 1,014 UK workers in full or part-time work found that outdated décor would put off 41% of job seekers, while a lack of natural light would deter 38%. A third (32%) would reconsider a new role if they felt the office was dirty or unhygienic, and the same number would consider broken office furniture as a strike against taking a new role. However, the biggest factor when it came to the working environment of a new role was location. Half (50%) of those polled said they would be deterred by a role that was situated away from transport links, places to eat and other amenities.

There are a number of elements that candidates are looking for in a new job, not just the role itself. If you’d like a second opinion on your workspace – please get in touch [email protected]

Are Your Recruitment Methods Discrimination Proof?

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Was a job applicant with Asperger’s Syndrome discriminated against by being required to sit a psychometric test? Yes, held the EAT in The Government Legal Service v Brookes. The Government Legal Service (GLS) was recruiting lawyers in a very competitive recruitment process. This included a multiple choice Situational Judgement Test (SJT). Brookes contacted the GLS and requested adjustments on the ground of her Asperger’s Syndrome. She was informed that an alternative test format was not available (although time allowances were). She completed the SJT and failed. She claimed disability discrimination.

The employment tribunal concluded that the PCP placed Brookes at a particular disadvantage because she has Asperger’s Syndrome. Additionally, her psychiatrist had made previous recommendations (in relation to her university courses) that a multiple choice format test would not be appropriate for her.

Advice for Employers

We would advise all our clients to take great care when using psychometric tests as part of your recruitment process. We’re not suggesting avoid them altogether but be aware of people with certain disabilities which may prevent them taking the test. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss this issue further at [email protected]

A Few Quick, But Important Updates…

Immigration Skills Charge

This has now come into effect from April 2017. Employers that sponsor skilled workers under Tier 2 of the immigration points-based system, will have to pay a levy of £1,000 (£364 for small employers and charities). It will apply to each worker, although there are some exceptions. Other changes for workers under Tier 2 are:

  • For certain posts in health, education and social care the government is planning to request criminal records for the last 10 years in the country/s in which they have previously lived
  • The tier 2 salary threshold will increase to £30,000 for migrants who are “experienced workers”

Tax Advantages Under Salary Sacrifice To Be Limited

Benefits in-kind attracting tax and NIC advantages when they are provided under a salary sacrifice scheme are to be limited. The change took place from April 2017 with some exemptions. Arrangements already in place are protected until April 2018 and until April 2021 for some benefits.

Pensions Advice Allowance Introduced

Members of defined contribution and hybrid pension schemes will be able to take a tax-free amount of £500 from their scheme – to be redeemed against the expense of financial advice. This took effect from April 2017.

Blog Update: Salutary Warning from BHS case…

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This month we highlighted the unfortunate events surround the dismissal of the BHS head office staff, warning against following their example and following the correct procedures. Read the full blog here and get the redundancy process right for everybody.

Do you receive our blogs? They could be just what your business is looking for…

This month we highlighted the BHS Case which Warns Employers – Follow Correct Redundancy Procedures or Face Significant Pay-Outs.

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