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Thursday, 22 April 2021 21:42

Employer Top Challenges

We’ve probably all come to accept that life is never going to return completely to how it was. There is plenty of talk and predictions over what the new normal will look like and there is also much hankering over getting back to the normal that we once knew just a year or so ago.

So far, as the roadmap out of lockdown gradually unfolds and more businesses and employees come back to the workplace, our message would be, “be careful what you wish for!”.

Despite some business being back at work for just a few weeks, we are already seeing a reprisal of disputes, claims and grievance issues that employers must deal with. As we find our feet in the new normal, there seem to be some individuals who want the best of both worlds; the flexibility of working in a new and innovative way whilst maintaining strict adherence to their employee rights. A bitter pill for the employers who had done their upmost to keep a business afloat and the employees in a job for the past year.

Without wishing to be pessimists, we’ve compiled what we think are the top hot-spots that employers will be facing over the coming months:

Redundancy and subsequent fallout: We expect a moment of truth for many businesses over the coming weeks and months. As the economy and the marketplace stabilises and the reduction in furlough support starts to bite, it’s going to be time to make those tough decisions that have been kicked down the road during lockdown. Once the effect of Covid on customer behaviour is assessed and understood, workforce planning will result in retraining and hiring for some but redundancy for others. If you’re affected by the latter, ensure your process is flawless to overt the risk of any claims.

Variation of contract: If you’ve put your staff on furlough at any stage then you’ve effectively already done this and should have had it agreed in writing. We provided a letter template for staff on furlough. Going forward, judging by media coverage, a lot of business are going to have to deal with contract variations as staff request new working arrangements. This could be new hours or working from home more. Variations to contract should be mutually agreed and in some cases preceded by a flexible working request. For businesses that have decided to close their offices and impose home working on their staff then some form of consultation should have been part of that process. Again, get new terms and conditions clearly laid out and agreed in writing.

Tribunal Claims: With job losses we expect Tribunal claims. No matter how good our processes and how well we follow procedure, we can’t stop employees submitting tribunal claims. As it is effectively free to do, if you’re a disgruntled employee who feels hard done by, you might just take a “what have I got to lose?” attitude in the hope of getting a payout. We hope that pre-tribunal judgements will throw out the spurious claims but it’s no guarantee. Following procedure and keeping everything appropriately documented to a water-tight standard will mitigate the risk. Don’t be the one that gets caught out because you cut corners.

Return of the SAR: We are seeing more cases of vexatious Subject Access Requests. A disgruntled employee may know they have been dismissed fair and square but they might also know the potential grief and turmoil submitting a SAR will bring. For any organisation, the resources and time it can take to respond can have a significant impact on productivity as it detracts from normal day to day tasks. Imagine having to collate all documentation and communications that reference an individual including Email, Teams, Twitter, WhatsApp, Slack or any other platform; not to mention hard copy notes and personal files. Imagine then having to redact all of that information so that no-one else’s personal information is compromised. It could be a truly mammoth job. Whilst we would like to see some legal ruling against vexatious SAR requests, we recommend that in line with GDPR rules it really is worth only holding the information that you really need and securely disposing of anything you don’t.

Getting on top of all of these issues and ensuring you have robust policies and procedure in place may seem like it’s even more work to do on top of everything that Covid is throwing at us. But think of the consequences of not doing it and the hassle and headache that will bring.

We’re on hand to lend support of course and we’re just a phone call or email away on 01452 331331 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Read 59 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 April 2021 21:43

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