The HR traps we guarantee you’re falling into

Running a business is tough, and there are so many hidden pitfalls. Here are some HR traps you might not have thought of, and our advice on how to solve them quickly and easily. 

You haven’t told your employees that they have the right to request flexible working 

All employees with 26 weeks’ service have the statutory right to request flexible working. What this means in practice is that they can request a change to their working hours, remote working or place of work, term-time hours, job-sharing, career break, or compressed hours.

You don’t have to approve their request, but you must consider it, discuss it with them and make a decision promptly.  You can reject requests for business reasons (see a full list here) but remember to explain your decision fully and wherever possible try and accommodate requests if they are reasonable.

You’re not quite sure what employer’s ‘duty of care’ means 

As an employer you have a duty of care towards the health, safety and wellbeing of your employees. This could range from doing a risk assessment of them in different operational areas, ensuring their desks and working space is suitable for working; that the noise levels are appropriate in their working space and that they have the correct eye-wear (which you would need to pay for).

More intangible, but equally as important, are aspects like stress, uncertainty and anxiety. You need to make sure that your employees know what is expected from them (clear objectives), aren’t working too many hours (Working Time Directive legislation) and that they feel supported in their role (good management practice). Get any or all of these wrong and you’re letting down your employees and, in extreme circumstances, running a risk of breach of duty of care claims at tribunal.

You don’t understand Shared Parental Leave legislation 

Despite having an important role for society, this legislation has a reputation for being complex. It allows parents to share statutory leave and pay when their child is born or they adopt – it can be taken separately or simultaneously.

Read up on the basics here 

Make sure your staff handbook has reference to this policy and talk to us about more of the detail of implementation.

You’re a bit worried about what you can and can’t ask during interview

You know the basics (don’t ask about age, questions relating to maternity, questions relating to marital status, criminal convictions and trade union membership) but you’re a little unsure about questions relating to health and disability.

If an applicant has a health condition or disability, you can only ask about this before interview if they might need an adjustment to help them do part of your selection criteria. You are allowed to ask about their condition after you have offered them a job.

Mistaking presenteeism for productivity

Your employees all turn up on time, don’t take long lunches and spend 8 hours at their desk. That’s a good start, but what are they thinking? When was the last time you sat them down and asked them? Go for a coffee and make sure they feel that you’re open to ideas.  In a bigger team a staff survey will help you to get an idea of what needs to be improved. Ask us for a free staff survey tool and analysis session from us at Bedrock HR.


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