Is your employee holiday “messed up”?

Employment Law, Holidays, HR Advice, HR Support, HR Stevenage, HR HertsHoliday – Ryanair cancelled 82 flights on Sunday after admitting it had “messed up” the planning of its pilots’ holiday.

The budget airline said on Saturday 16th September that it would cancel 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks.

Marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said, “Affected customers with bookings up to 20 September had been informed.”

“We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that,” he said.

Matthew Pinto-Chilcott from Consensus HR comments “Over the weekend I was amazed to see the news in relation to Ryan air and the mess up it has made of its employees holidays resulting in the cancelling of 40 – 50 flights per day. Holidays are such an important part of an employee’s employment together with their salaries and need to be managed accordingly. In all industries business owners / managers need to ensure that they are continually keeping an eye on what holiday has been taken & what holiday still needs to be taken by its employees and would suggest that the teams managers / HR have this as a subject / KPI in key business meetings.

Most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave, which has seen large numbers of the airline’s staff book holidays towards the end of the year.

Martin Callanan, the aviation minister, said: “I am very concerned to see all of these reports of stranded Ryanair passengers. We expect all airlines to fulfil their obligations to their customers and do everything possible to notify them well in advance of any disruption to their journey.

“In the event of any disruption or cancellation, airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”

The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead.

Complaints, HR Support, HR Advice, HR Herts, HR Beds, HR Stevenage, Holiday

Ryanair said the shift meant it had to allocate annual leave to pilots in September and October.

Passenger complaints

The cancellations could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds.

Mr Jacobs said affected customers would have been sent an email.

“We advise customers to check the email address used to make their booking,” he added.

Matthew from Consensus comments “Wow! 285,000 customers affected & their plans ruined. Managing the team’s holidays is a relatively easy exercise if you have the right procedures in place whether this is a simple pen & paper exercise to a more sophisticated cloud based electronic method, which we can supply to our customers. Business Owners / Managers need to remember that employees request holiday and it is to be taken when it fits in best with the business as well as the employee. They also need to remember the law and the Working Time Directive which gives all full-time employees 20 days holiday + bank holidays (8). Business owners can also block out specific times of the year if needed and the team are informed appropriately.”

A page on the Ryanair website details flights cancelled up until 20 September. It says 56 flights are cancelled on Monday, 55 on Tuesday, and 53 on Wednesday.

Ryanair has said that less than 2% of its flights would be cancelled and the move would help it hit its annual punctuality target of 90%.

But passengers have complained about the resulting uncertainty.

If you are concerned about your holidays & the managing of them appropriately, contact us to discuss on 01462 621243 or by filling in our Internet ‘Contact’ form.

Consensus HR – ‘Helping Companies with their People Solutions’

 

Holiday are coming!, Holidays are coming!

 

As the well-known tune goes, although for different holidays (Christmas), employee’s holidays are soon to be coming in their droves due to the summer school holidays.

This is when the Policies & Procedures you have in place to manage employee holidays becomes extremely valuable.

 

 

The Law:

Everybody is entitled to a holiday, which is covered legally by the Working Time Directive, which stipulates that a full-time employee is entitled to 28 days holiday per annum pro-rata (Including Bank Holidays). This is accrued from day one of employment.

Failure to pay when either employed or once they have left employment is classed as ‘un-authorised deduction of wages’ and is an area that is common for former employees to take their employer to an Employment Tribunal. This can be done from day one of employment if somebody is owed monies regardless of length of service.

Policies & Procedures:

Companies should have a clear set policy for employees to use that states what the minimum notice is for applying for holiday and what needs to be completed for this to be accepted. An employee’s holiday is their legal right as explained prior but it should be noted that it is a request when they request their holiday and not a definite as business demands take precedence. However employers should also remember that it is in their business interests to ensure holiday as requested is granted, so as to ensure an employee uses their yearly entitlement up and also for the moral of the team.

A clear holiday form should be used that sets the standard clearly and should be granted on a first come, first served basis dependent on company needs with two copies of the form produced, one for the employee & one for the employer and their files. Both should be signed with the required authorisation to confirm it has been agreed.

Matthew from Consensus HR states “In my time within operations and HR, I have worked for quite a few businesses where the holiday procedure is not clear and has had to be amended due to people booking their holidays with the holiday company prior to having authorisation from their employer. Employees need to be aware that a booking for a holiday should not be made until their holiday at work has been authorised as if the holiday cannot be authorised they could lose out financially.

Our last blog titled ‘The Temperatures Are Rising!’ explains the legalities in relation to heat in the workplace.

If you wish to discuss your companies current Holiday Policy & how best to manage holiday requests going forward, contact us now by telephone – 01462 621243 or fill in our Contact Form.

Happy holidays!!

Mental Health: The HR Perspective

mental healthMental health has been catapulted into the headlines recently, thanks to Mental Health Awareness Week (8 – 14 May) and royal revelations from Prince Harry about seeking counselling and his support of the charity Heads Together.

There is increased awareness and openness about mental health. How should employers recruit, support and/or manage employees who are affected?

 

Recruitment

An Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Government Legal Service’s (GLS) mandatory test (used during recruitment of lawyers) was guilty of indirect discrimination. The claimant has Asperger’s Syndrome. Her psychiatrist had made previous recommendations (in relation to her university courses) that a multiple choice format test would not be appropriate for her. As the GLS test was not available in different formats, the claimant was severely disadvantaged during the recruitment process.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal acknowledged that the GLS needed to test the core competency of ability of its candidates to make effective decisions. However, it found that a psychometric test was not the only way to achieve this.

“It is valid for employers to assess the essential skills required within a job role, “explains Matthew Pinto-Chilcott of Consensus HR. “However, the test method should adapt to the needs of individuals.”

Support

Supporting mental health in the workplace can be challenging and the issues around it are complex. Therefore, it is important that employers are aware of their legal obligations and the issues that arise. Three key issues are involved:

  • Health and safety
  • Disability discrimination
  • Personal injury claims

Employers can manage mental health issues via two key approaches: having policies and procedure in place to deal with mental health issues, and supporting employees via training (for managers especially), return to work interviews and on-going support in the workplace and during periods of absence.

“Professional advice can ensure that policies support both the organisations and its people,” says Matthew from Consensus HR. “With growing awareness and openness about mental health issues, this step is increasingly important.”

Management

Clear, honest communication between employers and employees should determine the nature of support required and the best way to provide that help. However this path relies upon individuals being open about their mental illness. Often, people are concerned about revealing their illness to their employers, leading to deliberate concealment.

Concealment is potentially a problem right from the start as people are not obliged to disclose any health issues during the recruitment process. However Employment Law Consultant Kevin J Murphy explains that if there is a contractual requirement upon an employee to disclose medical conditions which may affect their ability to do their job and the employee has concealed it, there is action you can take.

He explains: “A deliberate concealment can mean that the contract is void if there was a requirement to disclose detailed within it. Further, an employer could rely on the employee’s dishonesty as a reason for dismissal, but might need evidence of their decision to hide their illness.”

“Any dismissal on either of these grounds should still follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures to assist the employer to evidence that the dismissal is not based on the employee having a disability – but their dishonesty.”

Matthew from Consensus HR adds: “By thinking through the functions involved with specific job roles and adding clauses to the contract of employment, employers can achieve protection for their organisations whilst supporting the individuals involved. It’s important to get the HR basics right.”

Mental health issues within the workplace is a complex subject and one that is very important to both businesses and people. Further details are available within our article: Employees with Mental Health Issues Face a Lack of Support and Discrimination.

mental healthIf you would like to find out more and discuss your organisation’s circumstances, contact Matthew on 01462 621243 or email info@consensushr.com for an informal, no-obligation discussion.

 

 

A spare £25,000 anyone? – Employment Contracts

Employment Contracts, HR Support, HR Advice, See, SME's, Employment LawA spare £25,000 anyone?

This is what it could cost a business in a worse case scenario for not providing an employee with a Contract, read on to find out why.

Why do you need to provide them?

When we carry out Company HR Health Checks on their current HR provision, one of the main questions we always get asked is why they have to have an Employee Contract & what is the benefit to the business on making this reasonable investment when funds tend to be tight?

Here are just a few of the main answers:

An Employment Contract ensures that all of your team are fully aware of the main terms within the business and ensures everybody is fully aware of the main terms of their employment such as:

  • Name of employer and employee
  • Pay and whether it’s weekly, monthly pay etc.
  • Job description/job title
  • Pensions and pension schemes
  • Date employment and continuous employment started
  • Working hours
  • Details of any collective agreements that directly affect the employee’s conditions of employment.Employment Law
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures following the Acas Code of Practice.
  • Job location
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Sick leave and pay entitlements
  • Appeals procedure under the Discipline & Grievance.

You are also required by law to provide employees with a written statement of terms and conditions of their employment (i.e. employment contract), within 2 months of them starting to work with you.  If this is not in place, you could be taken to an employment tribunal and fined between 2-4 weeks pay.

More importantly, if you don’t have any terms of employment put in writing for an employee and there is a disagreement later down the line about what was agreed, you could be looking at a breach of contract claim.  Compensation pay-outs for breach of contract claims can be up to £25,000 if taken to an employment tribunal or £50,000 at the High Court.  Definitely not worth taking any risks.

When we write an Employment Contract we ensure all of these areas are included but also look at what else maybe needed to suit the needs of the business such as ‘Deductions from wages’ an area that is often needed when somebody leaves the business, probation period and compassionate leave for families to name a few.

If you are worried about the contents / use of your current Contract and wish to ensure that your business is working to best practice & within the law, contact us now on 01462 621243 or alternatively complete our Contact Form by clicking here.