Tips to avoid the headlines

All businesses are at risk of adverse headlines, not least the care sector. Here are some tips for keeping out of the newspapers and off Panorama.

Be sure you really are paying the National Minimum Wage

Questions that we receive suggest not everyone is familiar with how to calculate employees’ wages for the purpose of satisfying the legislation. Some of those named and shamed understandably (in our view) protested that they were caught out by misleading rules. East Cheshire Council has come under fire recently and John Lewis also recently discovered that they too have been breaking the rules.

Not paying for travel between jobs and sleep-over rates are ones that present particular risks for care sector pay.

Treat grievances about the National Minimum Wage seriously. You need to be able to show employees how the wage has been checked. Whistleblowing is a risk.

Recruit well

We know that attracting the right employees is a challenge, recruiting at the “lower end” of the labour market may be particularly so. But potential employees at all levels of the market have a choice. If you have a reputation as a good employer then your task will be easier.

Pay attention to your advertising processes. There are some great twenty first century approaches to finding good employees. Make sure you are not relying on twentieth century approaches.

Think carefully before recruiting members of the same family. It may be easy recruitment but it can create problems later.

Train well

Employees need to know clearly what is expected of them. It is easy to assume, for example, that an employee knows how to be courteous. They might not. We all needed to learn at some point in our careers what would be expected of us in the workplace. Training can accelerate the process.

Retain well

It should go without saying that individuals remain with employers if they are happy working there. There are many ways and means of keeping employees happy without paying them more! Speak to us.

Tackle problems early

Not every recruitment decision works out well. There is a two year “cooling off” period from the date of appointment when you are free to dismiss an employee without them claiming the dismissal was unfair.
Suspicions of theft or abuse can lead to dismissal without the ramifications of having to account for the dismissal in court.

However, it is still important to follow a process. You will need to be able to show that there is no element of unlawful discrimination. Providing there is none then, you are free to dismiss an unsatisfactory employee within the two year period. If you are unsure about what might constitute unlawful discrimination then please talk to us.

Have a whistleblowing policy

If you have such a policy then the whistle-blower is bound, if they don’t wish to risk dismissal, to talk to you first. Treat any matters raised seriously.

If the employee is not satisfied, then there is a specific list of public bodies to whom they can make a complaint.

Employees need to feel they have a fair outlet for complaints without going to the press.

We hope that by addressing these matter you will avoid the headlines, or at least the adverse ones.

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