Weather Warning!

We have some severe weather warnings forecast for this week across different parts of the country and it is always best to be prepared. But there are some things that as a business we should have in place already:

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  1. Ensure you have an adverse weather policy in place. Implementing a policy gives you an opportunity to show how you will be dealing with major disruptions, in advance of them actually happening, giving you the time to think about how to act when things take a turn for the worse outside. Employees also understand their responsibilities and what they are required to do when the weather is affecting work and can even start to think of alternative ways into work.
  2. It is worth checking that your employment contracts compliment and add value to this policy. The last thing you want is to contradict making it difficult to take decisive actions.
  3. Consider how you will deal with absences caused by weather disruption, to pay or not must also be defined in your policy. Remember you are not obliged to pay for this, it can be classed as unpaid leave.
  4. When considering payments, think how this will reflect upon your culture and attitude towards staff and is this the best approach to take? You may already have practices in place which make it possible for staff to continue fulfilling their responsibilities even though they may not be in work. Think whether any disgruntled employees will get your reaction into the public domain
  5. Consider alternatives which may be available for your staff with their working arrangements; taking holiday instead, working from home, working different hours, making up the hours over the forthcoming weeks are all suitable alternatives to people losing money which they may not be able to afford
  6. Always think through closing your establishment. Closing the workplace where people are willing to come to work will mean that you will need to pay them for the time during which the workplace is closed.
  7. Recognise the effort people put in to attend work. How can you make this time enjoyable?
  8. Consider your Health and Safety obligations as well as your duty of care and welfare to those employed. The workplace needs to be safe as far as is reasonably practical so consider those working outside or near the cold – if the conditions get worse you may need to consider how your staff will get home

Please do not hesitate to call one of our HR Consultants on 07989 343361 or email us on info@temehr.co.uk and we will be happy to talk through with you any of the above areas. Most of all keep warm and enjoy it when you can!

A magical time of year

It can be the most magical time of the year, when the Christmas spirit brings together all those who have been naughty or nice in the workplace. It is an opportunity for most of us to relax, unwind and celebrate the last 365 days and all those who’ve helped it be a successful one.

But for some, the season typically, of goodwill can feel a little deflated with  nearly 20% of office workers in the capital admitting to “hating” the annual Christmas get together, according to research by LondonOffices.com. Many workers are concerned over potential drunken embarrassment, or quite simply, seeing the same faces again socially as we have seen for the last 2000 hours.

A relaxed environment aided with alcohol are usually two ingredients for a great party most of which will happen at this time of year at the annual Christmas party, we can’t forget though the responsibility for behaviour is still vitally important. Employers should be mindful of doing as much as they can to avoid any stilted Monday morning meetings with their staff.

Ensuring employees know their rights before the celebrations is one of the key things to consider. Setting out the standards that are expected even though it is away from the normal workplace is key. Asking people to drink responsibly and a decision on whether to operate a ‘cash bar’ rather than a free bar,”

Recent cases have shown that if employers provide all alcohol free of charge (i.e. free bar) and something happens as a result of too much drinking, there could be a defence by the employee that the employer contributed to the actions.

Another familiar problem employer’s face is time off around the Christmas period. For the majority of us, being required to take annual leave ensures Christmas is spent with family and friends and not work colleagues, however, this can give risks of its own to indirect religious discrimination if non-Christian employees are required to use their annual leave during the Christmas period – a time with no religious significance to them.

To manage these issues, consideration needs to be given if non-Christian workers request time off during a time that is significant in their religion. It would be wise therefore to consider whether agreement needs to be reached to make different working arrangements.

Some other tips

  • Ensure that all annual leave payments are made in line with contractual requirements and that people are taken all unused entitlement if at the end of their annual leave year
  • Although your Christmas bonus may not be mandatory, it needs to be paid to everyone or face a claim of prejudice. Again this is not limited to sex, disability, race/nationality, religion/belief, sexual orientation, marriage/civil partnership, transgender or maternity/pregnancy etc.

If you want us to help you with any aspects of business over Christmas, please do give us a call or visit our website and complete a contact you form, http://www.temehr.co.uk or 07989 343361

Love is in the Air!

But how do we feel this affects our business, in particular when it comes to romantic relationships particularly in the office?

People develop relationships in all environments but, this is more likely when they spend substantial amounts of time together whether in meetings, working together in general, across teams or in the same team and there is no surprise therefore that this could happen in the workplace.

Many companies have a Relationship at Work Policy, which is great but sometimes this only encourages people to bury the relationship and for people to hide from superiors which could increase gossip and make the people involved feel uncomfortable in their own working environment which in turn could impact on their own morale and how they feel at work.

It is sometimes better to be sensible and upfront when a relationship develops in the workplace. Establish some guidelines and have a fair approach to how to manage such a delicate situation.

Also think about some relationships which may have an impact on the company’s integrity like; client and customer, supplier and contractor, manager and subordinate. There are of course ways to manage even these sensitive situations but, this needs to be clear and transparent to all employees so as to make coming forward easier for them should they be in this situation.

office desk Red heart Valentine dayThese clear guidelines make it easier for the individuals to accept any changes in working arrangements which may be needed to protect the company and their relationship. Some actions will help to maintain the fair and consistent approach which will enhance your own culture and values, remember managers must deal with situations as swiftly as possible without delay. There are additional steps that can be taken to try to reduce the risk of lawsuit by an employee who claims after a break up of sexual harassment – one of the biggest dangers of office/workplace romances.

We don’t want to be a kill joy! It’s great if relationships work out.

So, this Valentines Day we hope you and your employees have a romantic evening – whatever you do!

For more help in this tricky area call Teme HR Consultancy on 07989 343361 or visit our website Teme HR Consultancy