10 Reasons You Should Outsource Your HR Department

For businesses with less than 100 employees, it’s often more cost-effective to outsource your HR services, rather than keep them in-house. Are you thinking about working with an HR consultant in your business? What’s the relationship really going to look like?  What are the real benefits?  Below we’ve revealed 10 reasons you should outsource your HR requirements to Kiss HR :

  1. Expert Skills & Knowledge

    We ensure our knowledge is topped up when it comes to the ever-changing employment regulations, guidelines and best practices which results in us being able to give you appropriate advice, guidance and support when dealing with complex and difficult situations.

  2. Up to Date HR Procedures

    Be honest, do you really enjoy reading up on the latest changes whilst trying to deal with the day to day operation of your business? Our policies, procedures, letter templates, documents etc always reflect current employment legislation, helping you keep organised and up to date.

  3. Saves You Money

    Outsourcing HR can significantly reduce your costs and some businesses don’t really have the need for an HR department; so to save costs, savvy business owners have discovered outsourcing is a perfect solution and above all you only pay us when you use our services.

  4. Saves You Time 

    With the absence of HR staff you’ll probably be tying yourself up in knots trying to handle the latest HR issue as well as spending time on a non-revenue generating activity; we’ll almost certainly have what you’re looking for in a flash.

  5. Employee Development & Engagement 

    We’ll help you manage employee performance and development with effective processes.

  6. Reduces Internal Risk Factors 

    Perhaps you don’t have anyone in the company with the necessary experience and capabilities to provide the required HR advice; muddling through on your own comes at high risk. Having us on hand will save you a lot of hassle by nipping problems in the bud.

  7. Impartial Advice

    It can be difficult to address sensitive issues with your own staff.  We offer detached and expert advice and ensure matters are dealt with appropriately and professionally.

  8. Speedier Solutions

    Particularly in smaller businesses, HR is often handled by the FD or Office Manager alongside their current roles; we will focus solely on your HR issues and therefore provide efficient and effective HR solutions.

  9. Regaining Your Primary Focus

    It can be distracting dealing with day to day HR matters and dilutes your primary focus; outsourcing some or all of this function to an external HR consultant will help give you this focus back.

  10. Flexibility 

    We provide an entire employee life cycle range of services and we’ll provide you with a bespoke service.  You can use us a little or a lot and anything in between.

Statutory Rates of Pay 2019/20

The Government has published the statutory rates of pay for maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and sick pay for the forthcoming tax year.

These increases usually occur on the first Sunday in April, so for 2019 and with effect from 7th April the new statutory rates of pay will be:

     2019-20                         2018-19 & current rate

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)                  £148.68                            £145.18

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)                     £148.68                            £145.18

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP)       £148.68                            £145.18

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)                    £148.68                            £145.18

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)                               £94.25                              £92.05



Tribunal Fees to be Quashed!

The Supreme Court has ruled employment tribunal fees are unlawful under both UK and EU law because they have the effect of preventing access to justice and are indirectly discriminatory.  The result is that there will be no fees to be paid to file or pursue claims.

Whilst it was accepted that the purpose behind the introduction of fees were potentially legitimate, the Lord Chancellor could not lawfully impose whatever fees he chose in order to achieve those purposes. The immediate consequence of this important judgment is that tribunal and EAT fees cease to be payable with effect from the date of the judgment, 26 July 2017.

Another major victory for employees everywhere!

…and finally

It’s official, as the Supreme Court states in its judgment “employment law is characterised by a relatively high level of complexity and technicality”, but then of course all those involved in employment law already knew that!

Changes to Salary Sacrifice

From 6 April 2017 there will be changes to the income tax and employers’ NI advantages that are currently applicable to some salary sacrifice schemes and they will be limited; below are the benefits in kind (BiKs) that won’t be affected:

The BiKs which will continue to attract income tax and employers’s NI advantages are:

  1. employer-provided pension savings
  2. employer-provided pensions advice
  3. childcare vouchers, workplace nurseries and directly contracted childcare
  4. bicycles and safety equipment provided under the cycle to work scheme, and
  5. ultra-low emission cars

NB: The changes don’t apply to any BiKs that are offered on top of an employee’s salary – they are only applicable to those schemes where the employee gives up some of their salary in exchange for benefits in kind!

For existing schemes, any arrangements that are already in place by 5 April 2017 will be protected until 6 April 2018.  Those which relate to accommodation, cars and school fees will be protected until April 2021.

Where you have an employee who wishes to enter in to a salary sacrifice arrangement, they should seek their own tax advice, it is not your responsibility to give them the appropriate advice.

Key Employment Law Changes for 2017

There are a few things that you can guarantee in life – death, taxes and employment law changes!  It’s essential that as a business owner, you know exactly what’s coming, and how to prepare for it.

If you think that you can just hope for the best and plead ignorance if you’re caught out?  Well, let’s be honest, you don’t really believe that’s an option.  You need to be compliant and I’m here to help.

Let’s look at the changes that you need to pencil in your diary…

  • Gender pay gap reporting – private sector, public sector and voluntary sector employers with 250+ members of staff will be required to publish information relating to the gender pay gap for the first time.  The exact requirements are still being drafted, though it’s expected that the deadline for the first report will be 4th April 2018, based on data from 2016/17.
  • Changes to regulations surrounding employment of foreign workers – from April 2017, employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will have to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker.  This will be reduced to £364 for small employers and charities.
  • In addition to this, the minimum annual salary threshold for ‘experienced workers’ applying for a tier 2 visa will be increased to £30,000.  If you employ foreign workers, or plan to open up your recruitment channels in the near future, you need to make sure you’re compliant.
  • National minimum wage and living wage changes to be aligned – these can be found under my page headed ‘Statutory Pay’. This does at least mean instead of rates changing in both April and October, it will now only be April – unless of course they change their minds again!

Keeping you up to date …

A brief overview of the latest news from Kiss HR

NEWS, SICKNESS ABSENCE – hurrah, employer friendly ruling from the EAT – malingerers beware, the EAT has just made it easier for you to be dismissed, but don’t get too excited! In March the EAT handed down its ruling in Metroline West (M) v Ajaj (A) 2015.

(A) reported he had slipped on water in the toilets at work and suffered an injury.  Although he was signed off sick, (M) grew concerned about (A’s) alleged injuries and arranged for covert surveillance when (A) attended one of its sites for a sickness absence interview.

There appeared, from the footage, to be inconsistencies between (A’s) mobility and his sickness claims. The upshot is, (A) was dismissed and claimed unfair dismissal.

(A) won at the tribunal, (M) appealed to the EAT and ruled in (Ms) favour! The EAT concluded that when an employee claims to be unable to attend work due to sickness, yet they are not actually ill or not as sick as they claim to be, their actions amount to dishonesty.

However, never jump to conclusions. You must be able to show that the employee has, in all likelihood, made a dishonest representation about their condition and inability to work. This could be via medical evidence, social media posts or a direct admission. Do tread carefully all the same.

NEWS, FLEXIBLE WORKING – awarded £11,000 for refusing flexible working? Or did the media give the wrong impression? When the tribunal awarded a female police officer just over £11,000 media reports gave the impression that this was because her flexible working request was denied. Are you surprised that wasn’t the real story?

Hayley Burden (B) was given a promotion by Hampshire Constabulary (HC) but that meant relocating to a different police station – which was over an hour’s drive away from B’s home, and this posed a problem. In her new role B was expected to start work at 7am meaning she would have to leave her house by 5.30am.  At that time of day B had nobody to look after her two small children and she advised her bosses of this; so to enable her to provide childcare she requested flexible working in her new role.  This was refused by HC and B felt she had no option but to turn down the promotion.

However, B didn’t leave things there and she lodged a tribunal claim and was awarded £11,621 for injury to feelings, aggravated damages, loss of earnings and loss of pension. The media reports however suggested that this amount was awarded purely because B was denied flexible working – but this isn’t true.

Whilst the full facts aren’t clear, HC made a much bigger mistake; through its actions it prevented B from taking up a promotion specifically because she had children and this was deemed to be indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and that’s what B was actually awarded compensation for.

Never make the terms of a promotion inflexible, e.g. full-time only, unless you can prove why this is necessary.

NEWS, TIME OFF – a right to paid menstrual leave? In March 2016, there were some interesting reports about Coexist, a Bristol based company, who it is believed to be the first employer in the UK to introduce a “period policy” that gives all of its female employees paid menstrual leave if and when they need it! On the back of this, the Government has been asked to follow this company’s lead by making paid menstrual leave a statutory right for women.

Whilst many female MPs support the concept, the Government is reluctant to introduce any new paid statutory rights.  Even if it’s persuaded to bring in paid menstrual leave, take up would probably be low purely because they wouldn’t want their employer to have knowledge of such personal matters. I wouldn’t worry about this one just yet but if anything changes I’ll let you know!

PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT – to tackle the serious health problems causes by prolonged periods of sitting, employers are being urged to participate in “On your feet Britain”.  It’s been dubbed as a ‘silent killer’ since research has revealed that prolonged periods of sitting can have serious health implications for employees. If you missed the date this year, here’s a link to what it’s all about http://www.getbritainstanding.org/

It’s difficult to see why you shouldn’t remind staff about the health risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting and encourage them to take regular standing breaks, but you can’t force employees to do so.  However, those who are unwilling may be interested if they see Get Britain Standing’s online sitting hours calculator – a sobering thought when you see your total daily sitting hours and the risks it brings with it!

The benefits for you are lower sickness absence levels and increased productivity. So come on Britain – get on your feet!

The HR Horizon for 2016…

Here’s a snapshot of some of the changes coming our way during the year ahead –

In January

  • regulations giving zero hours workers the right not to be unfairly dismissed or subjected to a detriment for failing to comply with an exclusivity clause, and to claim compensation comes in to force on 11th January.

April sees

  • The new National Living Wage, as from 1 April, this will replace the National Minimum Wage for over 25s. The rate of pay will be starting at £7.20 per hour rising to £9.00 per hour by 2020.  So prior to April, you might wish to consider:-
    • auditing your workforce to identify those will will be affected by this increase
    • what you can do to off-set the additional expense, e.g. improve efficiency or productivity etc
  • Statutory rates of pay (SMP, SPP, SAP & SSP) usually increase in April; the Government has increased the rates will not increase this April.
  • The NMW amendment regs also doubles the financial penalties if employers are found to have paid less than the minimum, with effect from 1 April
  • Duty to prepare modern slavery statement takes effect
  • Employees in the public sector with annual earnings of £80,000 or more will have to repay exit payments if they return to work in the public sector within one year of leaving
  • Employer NICs for apprentices under the age of 25 are abolished, wef 6 April

During 2016

  • Employers, with 250 or more employees, will be required to publish information showing whether or not there are differences in gender pay.

The New National Living Wage

With effect from April 2016 it has been confirmed that all employees will be obliged to pay the new national living wage (NLW).  Do you know who qualifies for it and what rate is it currently set at?

All working people aged 25 and over will be entitled to receive the NLW from their employers.  The rate has initially been set at £7.20 per hour and by 2020 the Government wants the rate to reach at least £9.00 per hour.

Please be aware – paying the national living wage is mandatory, it’s not an option!

Reminder: On 1st October the four existing NMW rates will increase:

  • Rate for workers aged 21 and over will increase from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour
  • Rate for 18 – 20 year olds will rise from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour
  • Rate for 16 – 17 year olds rises from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour
  • Apprentice rate increases from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour

Hot topics in the land of employment news!

Have the floodgates been opened to historic claims in this new case law?

The EAT, bless ’em, has ruled that an employee who submitted a claim 6 years late must be allowed to proceed!  Tribunal claims are subject to strict time limits, for example, if an employee wishes to claim unfair dismissal they must do so within 3 months of their employment ending. In the case of Higgins v Home Office 2015, however, the employee had only been allowed to proceed with her (unusual) case because medical evidence indicated she had not been mentally capable of bringing a tribunal claim at the appropriate time and for 6 years afterwards.

Withouth going in to all the detail, I’ll cut to the chase and you’ll be pleased to hear, it does not open the floodgates to other historic claims!

A tale about the wee crops in the farmers field…

There were recent reports about a farm worker who had been sacked on the spot after he was photographed having a wee near some crops!  A passer by caught him on camera and was so disgusted by this he sent the snap to the mangers at the farm.  The good old media later picked up on this incident, contacted the farms owner and after they issued a statement, it was revealed the worker was sacked with immediate effect.

The morale of the story is, whilst technically possible, on the spot dismissals are highly risky as the employee may be able to claim unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.  Be sure to always follow a fair and reasonable disciplinary procedure.  Do remember however, an agency worker’s services can be terminated with immediate effect.

Here’s a brief round up of some proposed and forthcoming changes to employment law

  • Holiday pay arrears – from 1 July 2015 employees will no longer be able to issue unrestricted deductions from wages claims, such as for unpaid wages and holiday pay, new regulations came into force to prevent claims of arrears of holiday pay going back more than 2 years.  There’s no need for you to alert your employees to these pro-employer Regulations. Many employees won’t bother bringing unlawful deduction from wages claims at all.
  • Managing sickness absence – ‘fit for work’ service becomes available for employer referrals during Autumn 2015.
  • NMW rates increase with effect from 1 October 2015:-
    • workers aged 21 and over rates will rise to £6.70 per hour
    • the development rate for workers aged 18 – 20 will increase to £5.30 per hour
    • young workers rates for those aged 16 – 17 will rise to £3.87 per hour
    • apprentices under 19, or over 19 in first year apprenticeship increases to £3.30 per hour
  • Sikh exemption – with effect from 1 October 2015, turban-wearing Sikh workers will be exempt from having to wear a safety helmet at any workplace

If you require further details on any of the above changes or news stories, please do get in touch – Employment law is complex and trying to muddle through on your own will lead to high risk!

Fit for Work

Fit for Work…

…advice service launched (but not everywhere – just yet)!

There has been some positive developments with the government’s new Fit for Work scheme.  You’ll be delighted to hear it’s designed to help you, the employer – particularly the smaller ones – deal with health issues and handle sickness absence matters.

Fit for Work is separated in two – the first is an occupational health service and the second is it’s free, impartial, work-related health advice service – this is being delivered by a team of occupational health professionals.

Employer referrals – once this element is fully functional in your area, you’ll be able to refer an employee who has reached, or whose GP expects them to reach, 4 weeks’ sickness absence for a free occupational health assessment.  This service should, we are informed, be fully operational by the end of 2015.

Advice and guidance – the second part (free, work-related health advice service) has been launched.  You can chat online or by phone to a specialist advisor; you are able to submit queries about specific problems via e-mail.  There’s also an “Advice Hub” for more general information, which contains a range of topics.

Quite what their capacity to deal with matters from an employment law aspect will be, is not known.  However, it’s free and impartial – so you’ve nothing to lose by trying it!