0161 603 2156

Meet the Team

We’re proud to have an expert team of advisors here at Supportis, servicing our valued clients round the clock with any HR and Employment Law queries they may have.

In our new ‘5 minutes with…’ series, we’re giving you a look into our team – starting with our Employment Law Consultant Team Leader, Katie McLoughlin…

Brief description of your role:

Providing commercial yet thorough employment law advice to clients, and guiding them through essential HR processes

First job:

Sales Assistant in a department store

My commute listen:

Radio 1

Favourite food & drink:

Carbonara and Pink gin with lemonade

Desert island disc:

Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

Currently reading:

Game of thrones

Currently watching:

Greys Anatomy

Sending to Room 101:

Pineapple pizza

3 Dream dinner guests:

Greg Davies, Lewis Capaldi, Judi Love

Specialist subject:

Harry Potter (Employment Law if it needs to be professional!)

Best thing about working at Supportis:

I get on so well with my team and the environment is just so friendly and welcoming

Monday 19 September will be a national bank holiday to coincide with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, and to mark the last day of the period of national mourning.

This will allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty and commemorate Her reign.

This bank holiday will operate in the same way as other bank holidays, and there is no statutory entitlement to time off. Employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

The bank holiday will take place across the United Kingdom.

More information

The bank holiday will be a unique national moment, and the UK government are encouraging employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off.

Does this bank holiday mean individuals can have the day off work?

This is at your discretion as an employer. There is no statutory entitlement to time off for bank holidays, but employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement.

The government cannot interfere in existing contractual arrangements between employers and workers. However, the UK government have announced that they expect many workers will be able to take the day off on the bank holiday. Employers are to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take the day of the funeral off work.

Some employment contracts ask individuals to work some Saturdays/bank holidays. Can these individuals take this bank holiday off work?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

If an individual will have to work on the day of the funeral – can they take an additional day’s holiday another day?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

If an individual will have work on the day of the funeral – will they be paid extra?

This is at your discretion as an employer. There are no statutory rules regarding extra pay on bank holidays.

If an individual has annual leave booked for the day of the funeral – will they be able to reclaim this leave?

This is at your discretion as an employer.

Will this bank holiday apply everywhere in the UK?

Yes, this bank holiday will apply in all parts of the UK.

Is this an official bank holiday, or does it have a special status?

This bank holiday is official and applies in the same way as all others.

Was King George VI’s funeral a National Holiday?

No, King George VI’s funeral was not a bank holiday, but the government wants to help give as many people as possible the opportunity on the day of the State Funeral to mark Her Majesty’s passing and commemorate Her reign.

Will there be a bank holiday for the Coronation?

No decision has yet been made. A decision will be made nearer the time.

Will the bank holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral be an annual holiday?

There are currently no plans for an annual holiday.

Will schools be closed on the day of the bank holiday?

Yes, schools will be closed, we are not asking them to remain open on the day of the bank holiday.

 

Supportis are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen. She faithfully served the nation as our Sovereign during her long, happy and glorious reign. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family.

The emergence of quiet quitting

Lockdown saw the emergence of a wave of people trying to instil the idea of ‘hustle culture’, capitalising on their new-found free time with business ventures such as producing and selling beauty products, wax melt, candles etc. There’s also been a surge of employees taking up a second job, aka a ‘hobby job’ and passive income such as investments, selling Etsy printables and other digital services have rocketed the last couple of years amongst younger generations, to boost income and ensure every second of the day is capitalised on.

Contrastingly, the idea of ‘quiet quitting’, in which disgruntled employees do the bare minimum at work, as they ‘work to live not live to work’ has come to prominence this year, particularly on social media, much to the concern of employers who are already facing extra challenges such as adjusting to post-pandemic people management.

Quiet quitting’s inception appears to be TikTok, and in essence it’s doing the working bare minimum required in order to retain a job. Employees engaging in this practice will not seek out new challenges or projects, and seems to nod to the wider anti-work movement which the pandemic has exacerbated amongst millennials and Gen Z.

Work-life balance vs. quiet quitting

We must stress, quiet quitting is not simply ensuring tasks are completed within working hours and arriving and leaving work at your allotted time. Time management and boundary-setting are to be praised. However, it does seem to be the lack of a work-life balance that has seen the rise of quiet quitting.

Reddit, a self-proclaimed ‘network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions’, host an active ‘anti-work’ forum, in which one contributor stated that they felt burnt out after pressure to work extended hours and not utilise annual leave.

Subsequently, the value that some people place on their employment is declining. A recent survey found that over 51% of young full-time workers said the pandemic had ‘decreased the importance [they] place on [their] career.’ 63% of all British workers said they had recently experienced burnout, and only 49% considered their work-life balance as ‘good’. This opens up debate around the positives and negatives of the pandemic fusing the workplace with the home; smartphones mean many of us struggle to set proper boundaries with work, responding to emails at all hours.

Open communication

If you’re concerned about quiet quitting in your workplace, it’s important to ensure there’s open communication between senior management and the wider workforce! Having adequate staff in place, checking that employees are coping with their workload and setting the expectation that long hours should be the exception, not the norm are all ways to combat quiet quitting. Overworking almost always ends up counter-productive when employees end up burnt out and resentful.

Moreover, employees should be engaged with your company’s mission and eager for new opportunities to contribute to it.

Be pro-active!

Anonymised surveys are a great way to gauge how employees are feeling. If you’re confident that you personally encourage employees to have a healthy work-life balance and have an open line of communication with them, there will be no anxiety around hosting such a survey.

Hosting regular one-to-ones with employees to check on how they are, discuss their evolving workplace goals and possible opportunities for advancement will guarantee that your workforce will feel more comfortable approaching you with any concerns in the future. Don’t forget remote workers in this process, as often they can be overlooked if not a physical presence in the office, however, they should also feel motivated and part of the mission.

If you think your business could benefit from our 24/7 HR, Employment Law and H&S services, please give us a call on 0161 603 2156 to see how we can help your business flourish.

  • Do my staff have the right to time off on bank holidays?

  • Can I make staff work on bank holidays?

  • What’s the law around bank holidays?

These are just some of the questions we’re often asked by our clients when a bank holiday approaches… In this article, we look at the law around bank holidays to answer some of your questions around what can often be a confusing topic for Employers.

Employees often believe they have a right to time off work on a bank holiday, but this is untrue.

There’s no official requirement that workers work on bank holidays; rather, this is governed by their employment contract. The employer’s stance on this will typically be influenced by the nature of the business operations and commercial requirements.

You need to check the specific wording within their contract carefully, as this will make clear what your position on time off for bank holidays is. If you only offer the statutory minimum (5.6 weeks) holiday, you’ll need to give time off in lieu for working on a bank holiday as otherwise you’ll be giving under the minimum allowance.

There’s no requirement to pay over the standard hourly/daily rate for working a bank holiday, contrary to popular belief. You can of course offer this as an incentive if a bank holiday is a non-working day for a particular employee, or as a gesture of good will to motivate staff. Of course, ensure that you’re paying NMW or usual contractual pay where this is higher.

If employees request annual leave on a bank holiday that would usually have been a normal working day, you can treat this request as you would any other according to your holidays policy. If there’s a business need to refuse the request, you’re within your rights to do so. You could also arrange a ‘shift swap’, banked time off in lieu or unpaid leave as a last resort.

Depending on the wording of their contract, if someone works part-time, they’re entitled to request holiday on a bank holiday on a pro-rata basis – subject to your agreement. If the worker isn’t contracted to work Mondays for example, they won’t usually automatically be entitled to time off on a bank holiday Monday or TOIL to compensate.

The 2022 August bank holiday weekend is fast approaching. You should therefore remind your workforce that Monday 29th is a bank holiday and confirm whether or not you require them to work. As an employer, making clear the arrangements with plenty of notice is not only helpful for employees to get organised, but will save you stress down the line of last minute requests and possible absences on the day.

You could also consider offering incentives such as snacks or meals, a relaxed dress code etc. to boost productivity and motivation for staff who are obliged or choose to work on a bank holiday.

If you have any queries around bank holiday working, or anything else HR, Employment Law or H&S related, please contact us at [email protected] or on 0161 603 2156 to see how we can help ease your worries and help your business flourish.

According to a poll, too many companies are failing to take advantage of the potential of “rebound” workers.

More than 2 in 3 (71%) of organisations, lack an offboarding procedure that encourages workers to leave on good terms and possibly return in the future.

Furthermore, 78% of organisations have trouble finding replacement workers; 21% of employers struggle to fill a position by the end of the departing employee’s notice period, and 22% struggle to find any replacement.

The ongoing great resignation is making the growing skills shortage—which is already a problem—worse for many organisations.

Employers frequently disregard the importance of boomerang employees as potential remedy for this issue. When it comes to developing a good company brand, happy former employees who have positive things to say about their former employment are essential.

Returning former employees may provide a much-needed source of skilled labour. This not only enables businesses to address the skills gap, but it also ensures that time and resources invested in workers’ professional development will continue to be a wise investment.

Maintaining a positive connection with people who are deciding to relocate may be important in addition to employing strategies like more thorough training programmes for entry-level personnel and reskilling efforts for current employees.

Supportis can help with onboarding, offboarding and any other HR procedures you can think of! Get in touch with our friendly team today on 0161 603 2156 for a free, no-obligation chat around how we can help your business flourish.

In a landmark tribunal case, a Caretaker successfully claimed long Covid as a disability. Supportis dissects what this means for employers…

Mr T Burke, a charity caretaker has become one of the first to successfully claim that his symptoms of long Covid amounted to a disability.

An employment tribunal heard that he was dismissed on grounds of ill-health after being unable to work for 9 months following substantial suffering with long-term side effects from Covid-19. He first contracted covid back in November 2020.

He claimed he was unfairly dismissed and also discriminated against on the basis of age and disability – citing his disability as long Covid – and adding that a redundancy payment wasn’t offered by his employer.

Although the judgment has not yet been passed regarding whether or not the dismissal is deemed to be unfair, it was ruled that in this instance, long Covid DID amount to a disability under the Equality Act in a recent preliminary hearing.

Judge Young, the sitting judge at the Employment Tribunal in this case, stated that:

Burke’s condition had a ‘long-term substantial adverse effect’;

meaning it was likely to last for a period of 12 months; and

His impairment had ‘an adverse effect on day-to-day activities’.

The Judge said of Mr Burke “I consider that the relevant tests are met to meet the definition of disability, and that Mr Burke was a disabled person in the period of the alleged discriminatory acts.”

This landmark judgment could potentially be the first of many long Covid-related Employment Tribunal cases. With this in mind, Employers should treat employees that come forward stating they’re suffering from long Covid on a case-by-case basis and take their complaints seriously. This includes risk assessments and possibly putting in place reasonable adjustments to accommodate requests from suffering employees. This includes instances where medical evidence is inconclusive, as a tribunal could decide either way and it would be prudent to mitigate any risk of a disability claim.

It’s also expected that more employees may come forward with similar claims now that this case has proven long Covid can be deemed as a disability under the Equality Act in certain circumstances.

Burke undertook employment as a caretaker at Turning Point Scotland from April 2001-August 2021. The tribunal heard that Burke contracted Covid in November 2020 and suffered the typical flu-like symptoms whilst in isolation. However, after the isolation period, he developed fatigue and severe headaches.

Burke addressed the tribunal, sharing that following isolation, after waking, showering and dressing, he would need to lie down from exhaustion and that he struggled with even standing for long periods. It became difficult to walk to his local shop to buy a newspaper, so he stopped.

Other symptoms reported by Burke include joint pain in his arms, legs and shoulders, a loss of appetite, problems concentrating and problems sleeping. The tribunal noted Burke felt too unwell to socialise and attend important events, including a family funeral in December 2020.

Over this period, Burke had multiple GP consultations; he was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue syndrome and submitted several extended sick notes to his employer.

In the 9 months between testing positive for Covid and his dismissal, Burke did not work. He did however have a phone consultation with occupational health (OH) who subsequently provided a report in April 2021, concluding that Burke was “medically fit to return to work” and advising a phased return approach. The report also stated that it was “unlikely” that Burke’s illness would be classed as a disability under the Equality Act.

A review consultation followed in June. Burke was dismissed on 13 August 2021 on grounds of ill-health.

The dismissal read: “It is my view that you remain too ill to return to work and there appears to be nothing further we can do to adjust your duties or work environment that would make your return more likely…. there does not appear to be a potential date on which there is a likelihood of you being able to return to full duties in the future and due to uncertainty around a potential work date.”

Judge Young ruled that while Burke had not suffered “substantial adverse effects in a consistent manner” from his long Covid, his symptoms were likely to recur and therefore should be deemed to have a “long-term effect within the parameters of the legislation”.

The case will now proceed to a hearing in respect of the claims of discrimination arising as a consequence of disability, indirect disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

A representative at Turning Point Scotland refused to comment on the case as it is ongoing.

It’s more important than ever to ensure that as an employer, you have a legally compliant sickness absence policy so that you don’t fall foul of the law.

Supportis can provide legally compliant contracts, handbooks, policies and training. Give us a call on 0161 603 2156 for a free, no-obligation chat with our friendly team around how we can help your business flourish.

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If you'd like to find out more about how Supportis can help your business flourish then give us a call on 0161 603 2156 or send us an email.

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