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.

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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’

 

Sports Direct resort to the use of the ‘Emoji’ to measure employee happiness.

Emojis, Emoji, HR Advice, HR Support, HR Consultant, HR Consultants, SME's, SME, Line Management, EmployeeSports Direct warehouse employee (s) who say they are unhappy with their working conditions are being identified by their fingerprints and asked to explain their grievances to management, according to the trade union Unite.

A recent article in the Guardian by Rob Davies titled Sports Direct workers invited to press sad or happy emboli clocking in highlights the way the company is now measuring the attitude of its employees whilst at work whilst ensuring it is brought to the attention of their manager so that the necessary action can be taken but is this an effective way to do this?

Matthew of Consensus HR comments “Business owners should surely not need the use of such gadgets to measure the attitude of their employees and should be down to the relationship they have with their teams. Regular constructive meetings / six monthly performance reviews should take place where the employee has the opportunity to have an honest, open & frank conversation with their manager where SMART objectives are set and any feedback received actioned upon. This should take place in a mutually friendly environment and not the manager’s office or an office where Disciplinaries generally take place.

Depending on the size of the company, a company could also get the team to nominate employee representatives and attend a monthly / quarterly meeting to discuss employee issues in a non-confrontational, anonymous way. An employee survey could also be conducted anonymously if required. However if the company culture is not correct you will still only be told what you want to hear and not the real feelings amongst the team. Too many times business owners / managers are extremely busy and do not have the time to manage correctly which results in a demotivated workforce who ultimately is one of their main business assets.”

The leisurewear company introduced a staff survey system at its Shirebrook warehouse, Derbyshire, which was at the centre of allegations of “gulag” conditions last year after a Guardian investigation.

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When the warehouse’s 3,500 workers clock in, they are asked to press a touchpad featuring a happy or sad face Emoji to indicate whether they are satisfied with working conditions.

If they press sad, they are asked whether they are sure about their decision and, if they press it again, they can be called in by managers to discuss why they did so.

Staff can be identified because the touchpad uses fingerprint recognition technology to identify those who express discontent.

Unite said the staff survey system was “bogus” because workers were unlikely to be candid about their feelings if they could then be singled out for questioning.

“Would you risk having hours withheld, possibly losing your job and being called in by management because you indicated dissatisfaction with your work environment?”

Turner described the survey as “a bogus exercise to gloss over past failures and some of the problems” which he said still persisted at the warehouse.

Frank Field, the Labour MP who chairs of the work and pensions select committee, said an anonymous feedback system would be better.

“All it will reveal is how brave some staff are,” he said. “We ought to extend it to MPs and see how they feel about Sports Direct.”

Shirebrook became the focus of a parliamentary inquiry last year after a Guardian investigation revealed dismal working conditions, including body searches, pay below the minimum wage and constant fear of sacking for minor transgressions.

Unite said conditions were still poor and that the “vast majority” of workers were on contracts that guaranteed no more than 336 hours a year.

“With reports from agency workers of crowded aisles, defective warehouse equipment and products stacked dangerously high, we know that health and safety is still a major cause for concern,” said Turner.

“Gimmicks like using Emojis do not escape the fact that Sports Direct’s reliance on thousands of insecure agency workers still poses a reputational risk or that many are still owed money for non-payment of the minimum wage.

“Sports Direct still has a long way to go to clean its act up and risks the charge of ‘business as usual’ until it makes temporary agency workers direct permanent employees.

Sports Direct said it had put in place multiple ways to protect staff and allow them to provide feedback.

“We believe these comments by Unite do not accurately reflect the position at Sports Direct,” said a spokesperson. “We have a range of different measures in place to protect staff. These include a comprehensive system for staff to provide detailed feedback via an initiative called your company, your voice, plus a workers representative who attends meetings of the board.”

Sports Direct also had a “staff listening group, a staff health and safety committee and a staff wellbeing service”, said the spokesperson.

“Whilst we are disappointed with Unite’s stance we will continue to engage with the union, and we recently contacted Unite on this basis.”

If you wish to find out how your employees feel about your company in an appropriate best practice & friendly constructive way, give us a call on 01462 621243 or alternatively fill in our contact form an we will contact you.

Consensus HR – “Helping Companies with their People Solutions”

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A Hidden Cost!

Recruitment within businesses can sometimes entail a hidden cost that business owners do not take into account such as the additional burden for the team to develop the new member in the role and systems of the business and is why the following survey information did not surprise us.

Around one in five employees (22 per cent) have left a job during or at the end of their probationary period, a survey seen exclusively by People Management has found.

The role ‘not being as expected’ was the most common reason given for quitting, cited by 43 per cent of respondents. This was followed by having found a better role (23 per cent), not liking the company’s culture (13 per cent) and not liking the boss (8 per cent).

Matthew from Consensus HR comments “Many business owners do not realise the overall cost of recruitment and the fact that they are paying for a considerable time for a new employee not just in the initial costs such as advertising & interviewing but also when the new member joins and the time being spent with them by their team. Business owners need to ensure that they invest in a new starter correctly so as to ensure they are motivated and happy in their new role / company.”

Recent recruitment figures obtained from the Cipd shows that on average businesses spend £5,433 on logistical costs, with the following factors contributing: Hiring temporary workers before the replacement HR Support, HR Advice, Legal, Employment Lawstarts: £3,618. Management time spent interviewing candidates: £767. Recruitment agency fees.

Matthew also comments “In the past we developed a comprehensive 3 monthly induction / performance review process for new employees to ensure they are developed adequately in their new role and given the opportunity on a regular basis initially to discuss their performance & identify any areas that need to be addressed during their probationary period. We have found this to be very beneficial to the businesses and a reduction in turnover and also assisted one of our clients in a racial & discrimination case where awards are unlimited and ability for an employee to bring a claim from day one of employment prevented / managed. This also makes them feel valued & not just a number as their induction is written specifically for them but is also down to them to tell the employer in a constructive recordable manner what support / development they require to be successful in the role.”

The study, by CV-Library, also revealed that 12 per cent of people had been dismissed during a probation period, although almost half (44 per cent) of them agreed it was the right decision.

When asked why they were dismissed, the top reasons were poor performance (27 per cent), the company being unable to keep them on (22 per cent) or being the wrong fit for the company’s culture (20 per cent).

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said HR teams should take responsibility for running on-boarding processes and making sure new starters settle in well. “Induction sessions are the perfect opportunity to take new starters through what makes the company unique and a great place to work,” he added.

The vast majority (86 per cent) of respondents to the CV-Library survey believed probation periods are a good idea, with 49 per cent saying they allow companies to ‘test the waters’ with the new employee, though the concept of a probation period has no legal basis. Just over half (56 per cent) thought that both employers and employees benefit equally from probationary periods.

As for those who do not believe probation periods are a good idea, a little under half (49 per cent) believe the time period is not long enough to monitor an employee’s contribution to the business and 39 per cent said it can be upsetting to an employee if they fail to pass their probation.

Our Recruitment page discusses how we can help businesses and can be reached by clicking here.

For further information and to discuss your recruitment or how you currently carry out productive inductions please contact us using our contact form or alternatively by telephone on 01462 621243

 

Consensus HR – “Helping Companies with their People Solutions”

 

 

 

Compassionate Leave in the workplace.

One of the many questions we get asked in relation to compassionate leave in the workplace by our clients is what is the law in relation to ‘bereavement / compassionate leave’ and what should they provide to a member of the team when informed and is the topic of our current blog.

Firstly you should ask yourself what is your company policy (if you have one) and what has been the Precedent in the past when people have told the company of a recent death or the need for compassionate leave?

The next question should be: Does it affect a close relative or dependant? If yes then an employee is entitled as a minimum to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work without notice to deal with emergencies affecting their dependents under the Employment Rights Act.

‘reasonable’ can vary depending on the situation and can be anything from one day to attend a funeral to up to a week to plan an event for close family members.

Kim Pattullo – a partner in the employment team at Addleshaw Goddard comments further:

While this can help an employee to focus on arrangements and the funeral itself, it is often once the funeral has taken place that they require additional support. Shock or the sheer exhaustion of dealing with a protracted illness can have a severe impact. While some people will appreciate the structure and distraction of work, many others suffer from anxiety and depression following bereavement.

With more staff staying in the workplace for much longer than previous generations, this is a situation that managers will encounter increasingly often. The question is: what more can employers do to assist at such a difficult time?

For employees who suffer from mental health illnesses such as depression, it is important to have a line of communication between them and the their line manager. Where possible, an early referral to the business’s occupational health provider is crucial, both as a pathway to accessing other medical assistance and in securing the best chance of the employee successfully returning to work in the future. The objective should be to have a referral and appointment within four weeks of the diagnosis of depression. This is an extremely delicate conversation to have with someone so recently bereaved.

For an employee who wishes to have the distraction of work, there can be issues with performance, which can dip substantially on their return. At this point, managers have a key role to play in discussing the support the employee wishes to have. A return to work discussion about workload levels and weekly catch ups are recommended, and it’s important to keep a watchful eye on the team member. You also need to consider whether the employee has a mental health condition that would qualify as a disability. If so, there will be a requirement to make reasonable adjustments and not to take action that would discriminate against the person’s disability.

Financial matters can add greatly to the stress and anxiety experienced by a bereaved employee. The loss of a loved one who was the main breadwinner can have a devastating impact on them and their family, especially if there was not time to put financial affairs in order. Only by talking to them will this come to light. Some employers may be able to help with zero-interest loans or by directing the employee to additional sources of support and advice.

Managers and HR professionals are the key to dealing with staff struggling with bereavement. They can provide support and pass on vital information to the employee, including the fact that employee assistance programmes are much more than just telephone helplines. It will be for the manager or HR to tease out whether the employee has financial worries caused by their change in circumstances. However, employers must ask themselves this: have managers and HR professionals been trained to engage in these sensitive discussions with confidence?

Matthew from Consensus HR comments “In these difficult times it is vital that employers have a clear policy that is easy to follow and states what the procedure is for all members of the team so as to ensure in difficult situations that the appropriate action is taken and no further stress put on the individual or the business. Clear guidelines ensures that all members of the team are treated the same and managed accordingly. I always suggest that a clear documentation trail is also kept with payroll as unfortunately from past experience it has been known for a number of grandparents to pass way!”

If you wish to discuss your current policies / procedures in relation to compassionate leave or any other area of your companies HR Policies & Procedures give us a call (01462 621243) or fill in the ‘Contact Form’ and we will contact you asap.