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  • HR Heartbeat: How to cement a plan for working parents, RMT lose their bonus, and…

HR Heartbeat: How to cement a plan for working parents, RMT lose their bonus, and…

HR Heartbeat is here! In this week’s edition find out how to plan for staff shortages amidst school closures, learn best practices for gross misconduct, and find out why Tesco is investing in new tech to protect staff.

First published on Wednesday, Sep 06, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, Sep 06, 2023

3 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

Hundreds of schools close due to RAAC concrete

Employers might have a hard time getting working parents back up and running this week as dangerous concrete was found at hundreds of schools, delaying the start of term.

Because of this, last-minute childcare issues could arise for employees, so it’s important for employers to cement a plan ahead of time and discuss the situation on an individual basis.

Your staff are likely to be entitled to time off for dependants, but consideration can also be given by employers on working-from-home arrangements or the option to take annual leave, especially if the return to the classroom is postponed for some time.

If you work in a school, BrightSafe offers tailored health & safety support in the shape of our Education Navigator. Designed to help you meet education standards and protect your staff and students.

No bonus for RMT striking workers

Even though RMT union members have ended strikes, Network Rail has announced they will withhold annual performance-related pay bonuses from RMT union members who took part.

Legally, before you make any decisions to withhold bonuses, you first need to establish if employees are contractually entitled to a bonus, or whether it’s truly a discretionary decision.

It’s also important to consider the impact this can have on employee morale and your retention rates.

Gross misconduct = dismissal for police officers

A recent review into the police dismissal process reveals a major change is on the horizon…

Officers found guilty of gross misconduct will be dismissed unless there are exceptional circumstances. But while conduct may be so serious that it amounts to gross misconduct warranting summary dismissal, a thorough investigation and disciplinary process should still be followed.

Failure to do so could result in a successful unfair dismissal claim and up to a 25% increase in any award if the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure is not followed.

Tesco employees to get body cameras as violent crimes increase

Tesco has announced they’re offering employees body cameras in a bid to tackle violent crime.

According to the British Retail Consortium, retail theft has increased by 27% in the UK’s largest cities, with a 68% rise in some areas.

Tesco has invested £44 million in the past four years on security measures including door access systems, protection screens, and digital radios. And they aren’t alone: Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are also investing in protective technology.

BrightSafe’s software comes with a number of risk assessments and tools that can help boost the safety and security of your staff, like, for example, health questionnaires for your night workers and incident reporting. Learn more here.

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!

Have more questions on this topic? We have 11,000+ answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas on BrightLightning.

Can I dismiss someone for gross misconduct?

Yes, gross misconduct is when something the employee has done or not done is so serious that you can dismiss them for the first offence because it would be impossible to keep employing them. You'll still need to do a full disciplinary procedure which may include holding an investigation and disciplinary meeting, depending on their length of service. You might also need to speak to witnesses and pull together evidence, like CCTV footage or computer records.

How much time off for dependents do I have to allow?

Employees are entitled to reasonable time off to deal with emergencies in respect of a dependant, but there's no set amount of time as it will depend on the individual situation. Speak with your employee if you think the time off is unreasonable or negatively affecting their work. Usually, one or two days per instance should be enough to deal with the emergency. Case law has shown that 8 days of time off for dependants over a year, taken in 7 instalments, was not unreasonable in the circumstances.

Do I have to pay staff a contractual bonus?

A non-discretionary bonus is a contractual bonus which employers have to provide. They usually have specific criteria or targets which employees have to meet to qualify for the bonus. This criteria should be set out in the employment contract so employees are aware of what they need to do to achieve their bonus.

Do I need to do a health assessment for a night worker?

Yes, night workers should be given the opportunity of a free and confidential health assessment. This should be done when they first start working and then updated each year. Have more questions on this topic? We have 11,000+ answers to all your HR and health & safety dilemmas on BrightLightning


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