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”

 

 

 

10 Extreme Excuses for Underpaying Employees

 Investigators from HMRC have revealed some of the worst excuses given to them by employers caught out for underpaying staff.

This coincides with a new government awareness campaign designed to help employees know how much they are legally entitled to.

All workers should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (according to their age up to 25 years), or National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour if aged 25 years or older). Increased minimum levels will be introduced on 1 April 2017.

Top Ten Bizarre Excuses for Underpaying Employees

HMRC investigators have published the most bizarre excuses given to them by employers found to be underpaying their staff:

  1. The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
  2. It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
  3. I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.
  4. She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
  5. I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
  6. My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.
  7. My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.
  8. My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.
  9. My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
  10. The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

In a government press release, Business Minister Margot James says: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to. This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible.”

Matthew from Consensus HR comments: “Well we have seen it all now! It is unbelievable that these practices are still happening, despite employers continually being told the correct amount.”

He adds: “The Government is starting to come down hard on this. All employers must check the current rate and ensure their teams are paid the right amount. The financial penalty for failure is increasing and excuses will not be accepted.”

To keep up to date with the current pay rate for your team contact Consensus HR. Or – sign up to our regular news update, which gives details of current and planned HR requirements for employers. Don’t fall foul of employment law!