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Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations



2 internal factors which impact on the employment relationship

Pay -

It is well known that pay helps to motivate and even retain staff in most cases, but nowadays it is not just the financial rewards that employees are seeking, its possibility of career enhancement and training opportunities. If employees know that they are being appreciated and groomed for greater things then this could have a positive impact on employee and employer relations.

Organisational culture –

A company’s organisational culture can have a huge impact on employment relations. Some companies may be very strict about work timings; so if an employee were to leave work 10 minutes before they are supposed to, some managers may discipline them for it. Other companies are more relaxed in this approach as they may let employees start work a little late, or early with no threat of a disciplinary. So employee relations could be affected in a positive or negative manner depending on the type of culture that a company adopts.

2 external factors which impact on the employment relationship

Technological changes –

The advent of new and improved software’s and technologies may impact employment relationship. Employees may feel that their company is not keeping up to date with new technologies and software’s that are constantly being released in order to make peoples jobs easier. Therefore the employee may feel that company would rather avoid spending money on new software then investing in them. This could dishearten employees and make them think that the company does not care about them and could eventually lead to a negative employment relationship.

Economy –

Due to economic factors, some managers may have to change the contract timings and salaries for certain employees to save the company money. Some employees may be told that due to bad economic climate their roles are reduced from full time to part time. This could have a negative impact between employers and employees; especially if the employee in question has been in the same role for a long time at the company.


Defining the following work contracts

Permanent –

A permanent contract is the most common type of contract in employment. It does not mean that the job is for life as there can be factors that may cause the position to be taken away from the employee, redundancy for example. The main features of this include the employee having to undergo an interview before employment commences, signing a contract of employment and undertaking induction training. Also the contract includes the employee getting paid monthly wages, being part of a pension scheme if offered and having to give a notice period of at least 4 weeks if they decide to leave their current employment.

Temporary -

Temporary contracts are usually issued by job agencies to people who are looking for temp jobs. A person may be asked to start a temp job at very short notice, and they may also be told that they are no longer needed after just a day of employment. It is not the most stable of contracts but it is convenient for employers as there is no interview process for them to go through. Temporary contract employees mainly get paid by the agencies, and the companies pay the agency to find employees for them.
Temp staff get paid weekly, do not qualify for a pension scheme and can be released from their contract with basically no notice at all.

Fixed term

Fixed term contracts are offered to employees by the companies that they work for, not by job agencies. Fixed term contract means that an individual is in employment with a company until a specific date which is agreed beforehand, or until a certain project has been completed. A fixed tern employee could be with a company from 3 months to a year, or even longer depending on the role or project that needs completing. This type of contract is used a lot as maternity cover because it is already established how long the pregnant employee will be off for, therefore someone is bought in by the company as a fixed term cover. A company may keep on the fixed term employee after their contract is up if they wish.


An individual’s employment status is important to determine because

• It will determine how much tax is to be paid • To determine the wages the employee will get • When the employee would get paid. Weekly or monthly. • Leaves such as paternity and maternity are only granted to certain contracted individuals (Permanent) • Only certain contracted individuals would be protected and disciplined under company disciplinary acts. • Temp employees cannot appeal when they have been let go but permanent employees can • Rights of tribunal regarding unfair dismissal • Training may not apply to certain individuals on different contracts • Pension schemes do not apply to temp employees • Chances of company progression will be higher for permanent employees


Legislations that impact

Employee Holidays -

Employees and workers are permitted to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year and this also includes bank holidays. This is according to the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The organisation controls when annual leave is to be taken as the needs of the company are taken into consideration. Some months of the year a company may grant less annual leave then others, because during the requested month is when the company is most busy.

Rest Periods

Working Time Regulations 1998 also protects Rest Periods. During the working day workers are entitled to one 20 minute, uninterrupted break. This applies if the worker works for more than 6 hours in a day.
If an employee is a temp, then it is the responsibility of the company, not the agency, of making sure that the employee is taking a rest period or break during the working day.

Working hours
The Working Time Directive was brought in 1998, which placed ‘certain limits on working hours and provide certain entitlement such as rest breaks and annual leave’,

(Introduction to Human resources Management, page 366)

The Working Time Regulations control the maximum weekly working time, the pattern of holidays and work, and the weekly and daily break periods.

Night working
Workers who regularly work at night cannot be obligated to work more than an average of 8 hours in any 24 hour period.

In addition, if their work is involves dangerous elements such as hazardous working conditions and physically strenuous tasks then they cannot be required to work more than 8 hours in any 24 hour period

A Night workers are also entitled to free health assessments under the Working Time Regulation. In addition it is important that employers keep records of their night workers for at least 2 years. This is to ensure that night workers are not exceeding their working hours.

Why are legislations important for employees and employers?

Legislation regarding employment is vital as it clarifies the rights of the employer and the employees. Offering them the proper channels to pursue in case their rights are breached at the workplace. Its additional benefit is that it will help elevate equality at work and prevent mistreatment.


4 ways the legal system supports:

New parents can get up to 52 weeks off during adoption leave and maternity leave, ad 2 week for fathers. During maternity leave a mother has the right not to be let go because she is on maternity leave and she also has the right to re-join her post once her maternity leave is over.
Numerous pregnant women on maternity leave are allowed to claim statutory maternity pay (SMP)

Paternal leave can be taken by both mother and father in the case they need to attend urgent matters pertaining to their child. Parents are entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child. The legal system protects this right because if the employer rejects the request for parental leave then the employee who made the request has the right to go to tribunal.

An employee who adopts a child from a UK based adoption agency is permitted time off to settle the child in its new home. The legal system has helped adopting parents by increasing the statutory pay to £136 a week from April 2013.
Dependent leave may occur if a child has suddenly fallen ill and the parent needs to go off work for few days or so. It is up to the employer’s discretion whether or not to pay the employee for this time off. The legal system supports a dependent because there is no rule stating that there will be no pay for dependent leave; a parent or guardian may take leave for a week and still get paid, at the employer’s discretion ofcourse.


2 reasons regarding fair pay


Treating employees fairly and paying them fairly is vital in today’s working environment, especially if two people are getting paid different wages for doing the same job. If one person gets paid a higher wage then someone else for doing the same job then this could cause resentment towards the company.
Employees could be de-motivated and even leave the company if they are not being fairly treated in relation to pay.

Company reputation

More then anything it is the law that every company must abide by the equal pay act.
If a matter of unfair pay arises then an employee could complain and take the company to an industrial tribunal. It is preferable to sort the problem within management but it is not legally required. Not only will going to tribunal lead to legal proceeding but may also give the company a reputation of someone who does not treat their employees fairly in relation to pay.


Direct Discrimination –

When a person is treated unfairly compared to someone else, because of their religion, sexual orientation, age, sex disability or ethnic origin. These are the main reasons but there are others also.
Example of direct discrimination could be if a barman refuses to serve a Sikh customer alcohol because he is wearing a turban in the pub. Or if a man and a woman both apply for the same role in a company and the man is hired for the role instead, even though the woman is better qualified for it.

Indirect discrimination –

Indirect discrimination is unfairness which may occur when particular conditions forced on an individual have a disadvantageous impact. It arises when a condition applied equally to everyone can be attained by a smaller number of people in that population.
For example, a clothes store forbids its workers from wearing hats when serving customers. The implementation of this rule means that people whose religious beliefs involve them to cover their heads, such as Sikh men, are prevented from working in the store.

Harassment –

Harassment is unwelcomed behavior on the grounds of sexual orientation, sex, or age etc. This may cause the individual being harassed to work in an uncomfortable environment where they are being humiliated, hassled and degraded on the basis of their particular feature. The most common one is sexual harassment, which most commonly occurs when a man is constantly making inappropriate sexual remarks or comments towards a fellow female employee.

Victimisation –

Victimisation is used to define the biased treatment of an employee by an employer, because of something that the worker has done which the employee doesn’t like. This could also be a personal dislike to the employer.
For example, an employee may constantly question her manager’s decisions, which in turn would make the manager feel insulted. Therefore the manager would make that employee stay longer at work than usual, give her the tougher tasks or snap at her on the smallest of mistakes.

Equalities legislation

The Equalities Act 2010 shields: • Civil Relationships • Sexual orientation • Religion and beliefs • Disability • Gender • Race • Disability • Age

If the equality act 2010 is breached on any of the grounds mentioned above, then the employee has a right to take their employer to court or an industrial tribunal.


Psychological contract

‘The perceptions of the two parties, employee and employer, of what their mutual obligations are towards each other' as defined by GUEST, D.E. and CONWAY, N. (2002), (CIPD). Though the obligations are not written in a contract, they tend to be taken as a promise or an expectation that both employees and employers have with one another and these tend to be mutually agreed. Pointon and Ryan (2004) that these expectations concern the areas of ‘work, pay, loyalty, commitment, flexibility, security and career advancement’,

C.Leatherbarrow, J Fletcher, D. Currie (2010).

An example of a psychological contract at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) would be if one of the physiotherapists is contracted to see only 7 patients a day. But the physiotherapist may see an extra patient on the same day if someone has accidently been booked, which would make it 8 patients on that day. And rather then send the patient home the physiotherapist agrees to see the patient. This could be considered as an example of a psychological contract.
The next day the same physiotherapist may want to leave an hour early due to some urgent matter; the manager may allow this because the physiotherapist did see an extra patient the day before even though he did not have to.

This is a true example because it is a regular occurrence at the NOC due to patients turning up on the wrong day and getting seen anyway because a physiotherapist has agreed to it. But because they have seen the patient, they expect some leniency on other days as reward.


Fair dismissal –

Fair dismissal is when an employer or company have a valid reason for dismissing an employee from their position. The reasons can include the following: • Conduct • Being made redundant • Legal matter
For example; if a bus driver were to lose his license due to his own negligence then the company would have a valid reason for dismissing him. Because he can only do his job on the basis of him having a valid license for driving a bus.
Unfair dismissal –
Unfair dismissal is the termination of a contract of employment for reasons that may be inadmissible or prejudiced. Or in some cases the employer may not have followed the proper procedure to dismiss an employee i.e. no warnings or disciplinary action. An employer may think that the reason for dismissal was sufficient and fair, but an employee can take the employer to court if he/she believes the decision was unfair. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide evidence that the reason was indeed fair, but in some cases they fail. There are instances when employees are unfairly dismissed.
Few examples of unfair dismissal – • Joining or not joining a trade union • Acting as a representative of another employee • Reporting a manager for an incident • Being a part time employee • Not providing verbal or written warning beforehand
The main difference between these two forms of dismissal is that with fair dismissal it is usually incidents that are not in control of the employer.

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