The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, a Contract in a pear tree. Make sure that you have up to date contracts for all your employees.






On the second day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, two boxing gloves. Don’t go picking a fight with your employees just because they don’t do what you want them to do. Learn to manage them properly!





On the third day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, three French Hens. If you have employees from Europe, keep an eye on our blog for news of how Brexit could affect your employees and your business.





On the fourth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, four dreaded words. “You have been fired!” Before you rush to sack anyone, check to make sure you have a good reason and make sure you do it properly.






On the fifth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, five golden things. Here are the five stages of HR that your business will go through.






On the sixth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, six staff-a-laying. Keep your employees delivering all those golden eggs, to the best of their ability, by looking for ways to develop them and their performance.





On the seventh day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, seven swans-a-swimming. If, like a swan, you’re all grace and elegance above water, while below you’re frantically paddling to keep afloat of all things HR, just get in touch to see how we can help.





On the eighth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, eight maids-a-milking. Except that these days, you have to let the men do the milking too, if they want to! You’re not allowed to discriminate. Acas can help you create a fair workplace.





On the ninth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, nine ladies dancing. And the men can dance too!






On the tenth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, ten lords (and ladies) leaping at the Christmas party. Make sure you lay down a few rules for proper behaviour, so that things don’t get out of hand.





On the eleventh day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, eleven pipers piping. Make a big noise when your staff do a great job. Look for the best way to reward them.






On the twelfth day of Christmas, my HR Consultant gave to me, twelve drummers drumming. I keep drumming good HR practices into my clients’ businesses, to help them grow successful companies that are great places to work.




Merry Christmas …

And have a stress free New Year with lots of happy, productive employees!








Top Five Employment Law Cases in 2016 (So Far!)

Here are the top five employment law cases of 2016 so far, some of which have fairly far reaching implications.

Commission and holiday pay – Lock and another v British Gas Trading Ltd (No.2) (EAT)

This Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) agreed with the employment tribunal that the Working Time Regulations 1998 can be interpreted to require employers to include a worker’s commission payments in the calculation of his or her holiday pay.

The case went to the Court of Appeal and was heard on 11 July 2016. The Court of Appeal judgment is awaited.

Childcare vouchers during maternity leave – Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Donaldson (EAT)

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) advice has traditionally been that it is unlawful for an employer to make the suspension of childcare vouchers scheme membership during maternity leave a prerequisite of joining.

Official HMRC guidance stated that “non-cash benefits, such as childcare vouchers that can be used only by the employee and are not transferable…must continue to be provided during ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave”.

Peninsula’s childcare vouchers scheme was the subject of a legal challenge because its scheme requires employees to agree to suspend their membership during maternity leave.

An employment tribunal decision that Peninsula’s childcare vouchers scheme was discriminatory was overturned by the EAT. The EAT found that employers that make deductions from an employee’s salary in return for childcare vouchers do not have to continue to provide the vouchers during maternity leave.

Monitoring employees’ social media – Barbulescu v Romania (ECHR)

In this Romanian case, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) examined the scope of employees’ right to a private life in relation to social media activity.

An engineer who was dismissed for using Yahoo Messenger to chat with his family, as well as professional contacts, challenged his employer’s actions as a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, the ECHR held that the employer’s actions were justified because it was seeking to verify that the employee was using his work computer and social media account for work purposes only.

This case will now go to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber. The hearing is scheduled to take place on 30 November 2016.

Misconduct dismissal for “pulling a sickie” – Metroline West Ltd v Ajaj (EAT)

The EAT affirmed that an employee who makes up, or exaggerates the effects of, an injury or illness to take fraudulent sick leave is fundamentally breaching the implied term of trust and confidence and can be dismissed for misconduct.

This case reiterates for employers that “pulling a sickie” is a misconduct, rather than a capability, issue. This means that a dismissal for fraudulent sick leave must be based on reasonable grounds, following a reasonable investigation.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled people – Carreras v United First Partners Research (EAT)

When considering the duty to make reasonable adjustments, employers need to pay particular attention to disabled workers’ hours of work.

In this case, the disabled employee believed that he was disadvantaged because there was an expectation in his workplace that employees work late, even though there was no strict requirement to do so.

In upholding the reasonable adjustments claim, the EAT held that working late does not have to be presented as an instruction to cause a disadvantage.

In practice, workplaces can put pressure on employees to conform, even if there is no written rule or direct management instruction.

If you think any of these issues could affect your business, do get in touch with us. Call us on 0118 940 3032 or email

On 18 October 2016 we’ll be running our next Employment Law Update workshop, to bring you right up to speed on any changes that might affect your business. You can book your place online here.


Source: XpertHR

Is Your Business Ready for Ramadan?

For many Muslims, Ramadan is a period of religious observance, which includes fasting from sunrise to sunset. To help make sure your business is ready, here is a checklist for employers that will help you support any of your employees who observe religious festivals.

  1. Have a policy on religious observance

Your managers should familiarise themselves with your employer’s policy on religious observance during working hours. Making allowances for observance to employees of one religion, but refusing to provide equivalent benefits to employees of a different one, will amount to direct religious discrimination.

Having a policy on religious observance during working hours should have a positive impact on your employees. An absence of such a policy, together with a failure to be supportive towards employees whose religious beliefs require them to observe certain practices, could lead to accusations of religious discrimination.

  1. Show tolerance on reduced productivity levels

It is likely that the productivity of an employee who is fasting will be affected, particularly towards the latter part of the working day. You and your managers should be aware of this and not unduly penalise or criticise an employee whose productivity has suffered because he or she is fasting during a period of religious observance.

  1. Find a way to accommodate annual leave requests

You may experience high demand for holiday requests for a certain period from employees observing religious festivals. The end of Ramadan is marked by the Islamic holiday of Eid, which also signals an end to the fasting period. As an employer, you may, as a result, receive a large number of requests to take holiday towards the end of Ramadan.

It may be impractical for you to grant all of the requests. However, you should be supportive towards employees who observe religions other than Christianity, particularly because the majority of Christian holidays are provided for in the UK as bank holidays.

  1. Consider the effects of training events, conferences and offsite meetings

You may find that some of your employees who are in a period of religious observance are reluctant to attend training events, conferences or offsite meetings.

During Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food and drink between dawn and sunset. This means that you should consider carefully an employee’s request to be excused from attending work conferences, offsite locations, training and similar events during Ramadan because a failure to do so might amount to direct and indirect religious discrimination.

Your managers should arrange to meet with the employee concerned to explore fully his or her reservations about attending an event and determine whether or not a compromise can be reached. For example, the presence of food and drink at the event might be one of the concerns for the employee.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on Monday 6 June 2016 and it ends 30 days later on Tuesday 5 July 2016.

If you need help developing a policy for religious observance or holidays for your business, please contact us and we can provide one for you. Call 0118 940 3032 or email

This information was provided by Xperthr.