Unpaid parental leave applies to male or female employees and full or part time employees who have one year's qualifying service and have responsibility for a child under 18 years of age.
Employees are entitled to take up to 18 weeks per child (so in theory a parent of triplets could take 54 weeks!). The unpaid leave can be for any purpose connected with the care of the child.
No more than four weeks can be taken in any calendar year. Unless there is any contractual agreement to the contrary, parental leave may only be taken in blocks of one week or multiples of a week (unless the child is disabled).
21 days notice of the intention to take leave, and of when the leave starts and ends, must be given.
Flexible working requests
Employers are receiving more requests for flexible working than ever before. The good news is that if you can accommodate these requests, there are a variety of benefits to the business.
Recruitment - demonstrating a willingness to be flexible and improve your employees' life balance (because work is part of life) is a useful recruitment tool.
Retention - if your employees can adjust their work patterns they are more likely to be retained as they won't need to look for something that 'suits them better'.
Productivity - many employees who work reduced hours are as productive as their colleagues who work full time - something to think about!
Improved attendance - if employees can occasionally work from home this can help them manage their home life and support their general wellbeing.
Cost saving - if you have a number of employees who work from home, or who work different hours, you may need less floor space, fewer desks, or make cost savings on utilities.
Having said that, it isn't always possible to accommodate every request and there are a number of business reasons for which they can be refused. Please contact us for advice on handling flexible working requests.
Employee vehicles: Mileage Allowance Payments
MAPs are what you pay your employees for using their own vehicle for business journeys.
You can pay your employees an approved amount of MAPs each year without having to report them to HMRC. To work out the approved amount, multiply your employee's business travel miles for the year by the rate per mile for their vehicle.
Type of vehicle
Rate per business mile 2019 to 2020
For tax purposes: 45 pence for the first 10,000 business miles in a tax year, then 25 pence for each subsequent mile.
For national insurance purposes, 45 pence for all business miles.
24 pence for both tax and national insurance purposes and for all business miles.
20 pence for tax and national insurance purposes and for all business miles.
Calculating leave for part-time workers
Statutory entitlement for full-time employees is 28 days paid annual leave. There are normally eight specified bank holidays each year, which may be included as part of the statutory entitlement. Calculations for part-time employees takes a little more work! A part-time employee is pro-rated to the full-time entitlement.
When employees are entitled to bank holidays off work in addition to their annual leave entitlement, this can create questions, because most bank holidays fall on a Monday, so a part-timer who works on a Monday will have a higher proportion of their holiday to take on a specified day than a part-time colleague working other days of the week.
If an employee typically works on a bank holiday and receives this day off as a fixed holiday, this should be taken from their overall holiday entitlement. If an employee does not typically work on a day when a bank holiday falls, they do not need to take annual leave.
The simplest way of calculating entitlements is to deal with all holidays as an inclusive amount. If your organisation allocates more holiday than the statutory entitlement you need to ensure your part-time employees also receive the additional entitlement on a pro-rata basis.
For help with ensuring your employees are treated fairly, please contact us today.
A contract of employment starts once the offer is accepted (whether in writing or not). There is then a legal requirement to give a written statement of employment within two months of starting work, which sets out the main terms of employment. To provide clear expectations it is sensible to go further than a written statement of employment and have a written contract of employment, which clarifies many things such as notice periods, confidentiality and any restrictive covenants etc.
We can review your contracts of employment. If you don't have any we can put them into place for you.
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage 2019 (and Voluntary Living Wage 2018/19)
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is set by the low pay commission and is reviewed annually in April. The current rate, since April 2019, for those aged 21-24 is £7.70. This rate is compulsory for all employers.
From 1 April 2016 the National Living Wage replaced the NMW for those aged 25 and over. The current National Living Wage is £8.21. This rate is compulsory for all employers and is also reviewed annually in April.
The Living Wage is a voluntary rate applicable to those aged 18 and over and is set by the Living Wage Foundation,with over 5,000 businesses signed up to the scheme. The current UK rate is £9.00, and for those in London is £10.55. New rates are announced on Monday of the first week of November each year and employers who utilise the living wage should implement the change as soon as possible, and within six months.
Maximum weeks pay for calculating unfair dismissal and unfair dismissal basic award £525.
Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment: £15,750 (30 weeks pay subject to the limit on a week's pay).
Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal (unlimited for certain automatically unfair dismissals, eg whistleblowing, health and safety): £86,444.
Failure to allow right to be accompanied correctly, such as during a disciplinary or appeal hearing: £1,050 (two weeks' pay capped at the statutory amount).
Advise HR in partnership with breatheHR
We are delighted to say that Advise HR is a partner of breatheHR. breatheHR has been implementing HR systems across the UK for over 22 years and offers a complete cloud-based software solution specifically for small and medium sized businesses. Our exciting partnership enables you to use the combined experience of Advise HR as well as increase the value of our service offering with great HR software.
At Advise HR we work hard to understand your business, and our collaborative partnership with breatheHR takes this one step further, using a seamless and integrated platform for managing HR functions in your business.
If you would like to know more, or need assistance with any aspect of HR, please contact us today.
The current weekly rate of statutory maternity/adoption pay is £148.68 or 90% of the employee's weekly wage if this figure is less than the statutory rate.
Statutory paternity pay is paid for two weeks and is also paid at the lower of £148.68 or 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings.
Statutory sick pay is currently set at a weekly rate of £94.25.
To be entitled to these statutory payments the employee's average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit of £118 per week.
Employers can usually reclaim 92% of employees' statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay, this rises to 103% if your business qualifies for small employer's relief.
Need your family friendly policies updated? Contact us.
In a recent case Metroline West Ltd v Ajaj, the EAT said that if an employee “pulls a sickie” and this is then found to be untrue, the employee is in breach of trust and confidence. Therefore, the EAT agreed that the employer was right to dismiss the employee.
It is however important to ensure that a proper procedure is followed as well as a proper investigation and the employer has a reasonable belief that the employee is not sick.
We can review your existing absence policy, or if you don’t have one we can put one into place for you.
A current topic in HR is zero hours’ contracts, the Office of National Statistics reported data in January saying that there had been a 6% increase in the use of zero hours’ contracts by UK businesses during the last year. Zero hour contracts have attracted a lot of media attention following the Labour Party saying that they will ban them if they get elected. Some argue that they offer a greater flexibility in working patterns and 54% of those people on zero hours’ contracts are women.
In May 2015 a new regulation preventing employers from enforcing exclusivity clauses were brought in and in January 2016 zero hours’ workers were given the right to claim for unfair dismissal if they were subjected to a detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause.