"the HR business
professional cannot be a traditional generalist.....must act as a broker of
service, a consultant to the management team, and a superb facilitator of
change, rather than a traditional H.R. manager."
on the links below to read about the following topics:
Health and Safety
The Disability Discrimination
Employment Act 2002
Employment Equality (Religion or
Belief, Sexual Orientation) legislation
Working Time Regulations
over the course of the last year or two, coupled with the shear weight
of the legislative changes planned over the next few years is creating
something of a crisis for all employers and a rapidly changing view
of “good practice”.
We appreciate that employers often struggle with the demands of
legislation whether from Inland Revenue, VAT, PAYE or Employment Tribunals,
and that it is a constant challenge to keep on top of the flow and
intricacy of new laws, and to reconcile them with effective management.
Indeed the constant demand for entrepreneurialism often clashes with
the detail required in the application of legislation!
At Bob Cunningham Associates we pride ourselves on a practical
and pragmatic approach to ensuring that our clients avoid falling
foul of Employment Law. We advise owner/managers, line managers and
individuals on “best practice” and are able to audit existing systems
to ensure that each business client is protected from expensive litigation.
We also realise that many organisations feel that they cannot afford
employing senior HR staff or a full time lawyer and are consequently
facing a real challenge in keeping up to date with the significant
changes in both employment law and best HR practice.
Our approach is to help businesses ensure firstly that the HR and
employment policies and procedures are correct by buying in specialist,
experienced, outsourced services at a fraction of the cost of a full
time, permanent in house appointment.
Secondly we can assist existing HR functions audit and tackle activities
often out with either their capability or their capacity.
to employers not only will be generated from the raft of altered employment
legislation, but also from existing Health and Safety legislation,
under which lives the threat of stress-related litigation, which currently
has no financial limitations.
The “duty of care” in dealing with the Health Safety and the well
being of Staff, both physically and emotionally, is increasingly important.
Based on a well proven Risk Assessment process BCA can assist as increasingly
the Health and Safety Executive are focussing on stress-related illnesses
and claims, both of which are a challenge to business management.
Discrimination Act (DDA) applies at present, and until October
2004, to all Companies with more than 15 employees. From October 2004
this “small employer” restriction is eliminated. This piece of legislation
brings with it a range of anticipatory and actual requirements ensuring
that employers do not discriminate against the disabled unlawfully
in employment, education, access to goods, facilities, services and
The employment climate both for employers and employees in general
is rapidly changing with the increasingly complex Legal framework
surrounding the “employment contract”.
time/seasonal/long term casual/fixed term staff are now covered by
aspects of the Employment Act 2002 and as such have employment
rights which, until recently, most employers believed applied only
to “permanent” staff. The implications of the Fixed Term Employees
(Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations which came in
to force in late 2002 are only now having an impact on the employment
relationship. In essence employers “need to objectively justify any
less favourable treatment”- a requirement which has a number of difficult
implications for employers and employees alike!
a key element contained in the Employment Act 2002, sets out a statutory
minimum dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures which will
apply to all employees and employers from October 2004. This new piece
of legislation makes provision for disputes to be resolved within
the workplace and therefore reduce the number of Employment Tribunal
The standard dismissal procedure will normally apply where an employer
wishes to dismiss an employee on the grounds of capability, conduct,
redundancy, expiry of a Fixed Term contract, or retirement, or where
an employer wishes to take disciplinary action against a member of
staff on the grounds of conduct or capability. Highlighted in the
Regulations are a number of “good practice” steps such as consultation,
fact finding, witness statements, representation and procedural adherence.
Equality (Religion or Belief, Sexual Orientation) legislation,
from December, has changed and relatively few employers have altered
their policies and practices to cope with the tightening of the Discrimination
laws which are designed to protect the religious, sexual and other
rights of employees.
All Employers need not only to comply with such legislation, but
to ensure that their staff are trained on the implications of the
legislation, as the employer could still be liable if employees are
harassed or insulted by colleagues because of their sexual or religious
beliefs. As an indicator of the cost of non-compliance, Employment
Tribunals in 2002 awarded £6.4 million last year in cases of unlawful
discrimination against staff, an increase of 65% compared to the total
from the previous year. The majority of this amount –circa 50 %- was
awarded for sexual discrimination in the workplace, 30% for race discrimination
and 12 % for disability discrimination. Around £2 million was awarded
for “injury to feelings”.
There is no limit on the level of compensation a Tribunal may set
and with Age Discrimination scheduled for 2006, the potential cost
of non–compliance is significant.
On balance the opinions of employers suggest that there is no place
in the workplace for personal prejudices and that it is increasingly
important to educate and train staff in organisations on the business
benefits of Equality and Diversity management.
Regulations were introduced in 1998 to implement the European
Working Time Directive, and make provisions governing various aspects
of working hours and holidays, including limiting the number of hours
per week an employee can be forced to work.
The Regulations provide statutory minimum entitlements to paid
annual leave, daily and weekly rest periods and rest breaks. The 48
hour per week “opt out”, and the scope of the legislation, now covering
all “non-mobile” workers in the Transportation Fishing and Offshore
sectors are still contentious areas, subject to further clarification.