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Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations – 3mer

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Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations – 3MER

1.1 Describe 4 factors, 2 internal and 2 external, which impact on the employment relationship
There are several external and internal factors that might impact on the employment relationship such as the following examples:

External Factors:

1. Given the state of the recession and how it might have affected an organisation’s finances, this has a large impact on the employment relationship i.e. due to cuts there be maybe redundancies, therefore leading to loss of jobs.

2. Another external factor that might impact on the employment relationship is the social impact. Organisations must be able to meet the demands of the business whilst managing the needs of their employees who due to social factors such as family etc. means organisations have to offer incentives such as flexible working, home-working or job sharing and other benefits such as holidays etc. in order remain competitive in order to attract candidates.

Internal factors:

1. An internal factor that might impact on the employment relationship is the employment contract. ACAS notes: “A contract of employment is an agreement between an employer and employee and is the basis of the employment relationship”. ACAS also notes “A contract of employment will contain some terms such as: Statutory terms- “imposed, varied or regulated by law such as the minimum statutory notice period”. Express terms: “these are terms that have been specifically mentioned, either in writing or orally, and have been agreed by both employer and employee”. Implied terms: “these are terms that are not set out in writing or agreed orally, but may be too obvious to need to be recorded. An example of this may be that the employee will not steal from the employer”. Incorporated terms: are things that have been put into contracts from work rules or collective agreements”.

Statutory terms must be written into the written statement of employment particulars, It must be complied with and has statutory force in court, and although written expressed terms in the employment contract is not always necessary as they can also be found in the letter of appointment although it is advisable for the employment relationship to be factored into a contract. An implied term such of mutual trust and confidence, is implied in every employment contract. As breach in this can lead an employee to claim for constructive dismissal.

2. Another internal factor that has an effect internally is employee motivation. Manging an employee’s performance through appraisals can motivate staff to reach individual and business goals which can have a positive impact on working relationships, improving productivity and the work environment.

1:2;1:3 Define the following types of work contract: permanent, temporary, fixed term; explain the main features of each, and why determining an individual’s employment status is important.

Permanent

Permanent - A permanent contract is usually received by an employee at the start of their contract. A permanent contract has no specified end-date.
The employee is entitled to fill employee rights and statutory/ company benefits. Permanent contracts provide employees with long term job security, and cover situations that may occur during their employment such as statutory redundancy, probation and sick pay.

Employers must follow strong protocols with regards to warnings and dismissals on a permanent contract once an employee has passed their probation, and cannot easily release an employee like how they can with a fixed term or temporary employee with a contract or assignment end date. Fixed Term

Fixed term – Fixed term contracts are usually contracted for a specific project that lasts a certain period of time. Fixed term work contracts will usually have the same written statement of employment particulars as a permanent contract. .

Fixed term employees will be entitled to the same pay, conditions and benefits as a permanent employee, although the difference is as a fixed term employee their employee could be rolling and ongoing with no certainty of a permanent contract, and once the contract comes to an the agreed end date the employer will not need to give notice.
Both fixed term and permanent workers are usually ‘employees’ of an organisation. Temporary

Temporary contracts, like fixed term contracts are usually contracted for a specific period of time. Temporary workers can be seasonal, contractors/freelancers, casual and/ or agency workers.

Temporary contractors can work under ‘self-employed’ or “worker’ status.

A ‘self-employed’ temporary worker, works for themselves and is responsible for their own NI and tax contributions, whereas with a ‘worker’ is paid directly by the employer or agency, who will be responsible to tax deductions.

Temporary workers are also are entitled to legal rights under the employment rights act (1996) and the Agency workers regulations (2010) such as: equal working conditions, holiday leave entitlement which is usually with the same amount of days as a fixed term/permanent employee pro-rata, the 48 hours a week working time regulations and the 12 week qualifying period”.

2:1 Give examples of legislation that impact on: employee holidays, rest periods, working hours and night working and explain why these are important for both employee and organisation:
Areas such as employee holidays, rest periods, working hours and night working are all important factors that equal to a positive work/life balance for employees and legislation plays a big part in how employers adhere to these factors/policies.

Employee Holidays – as part of the UK holiday entitlement rights, most workers are legally entitled to a statutory 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year. Employees are free to take their holidays within the year, and are entitled to be paid for an unused leave upon exit. Employers can choose to include public holidays as part of the statutory holiday entitlement and must allow employees to carry over between 5-8 days holiday from one year to the next, employers can also control holidays depending on projects and times of the year i.e. Christmas.

Rest periods – in order for employees to be productive at work, in line with legislation they need adequate rest periods. Workers have the right to a 20 minute break if they work more than 6 hours a day, and they have the right to 11 hours rest in between work days. Rest periods allow employers to have breaks in between their working life and are important as they help employers to avoid long term absences, sick leave etc.

Working hours – ACAS notes the Working Time Regulations provides employees the rights to : “a limit of an average 48 hours a week on the hours a worker can be required to work, though individuals may choose to work longer by "opting out" working time regulations”. This legislation allows employees to manage their work/life balance and provides employers with a committed workforce, it also allows for flexibility for both parties, as an employee can choose to opt-out and work overtime, and allow the employer to give time off in lieu in supporting the constant needs of the business.

Night working – night working is another flexible options for employees with other external responsibilities. Legislation notes that: “staff who regularly work at least 3 hours during the ‘night period’ are night workers. The night period is 11pm to 6am, unless the worker and employer agree a different night period”. Night working can be great for employers who may run a 24 hour service or operate in different time zones providing incentives such as a higher pay per hour.

2:2 Identify and describe 4 ways in which the legal system supports working parents, including maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and dependants’ leave:
In today’s working society, there are many parents in the workforce and government legislation support families with much needed legal support.

Maternity Leave – Maternity leave based on the Maternity & Parental Leave Regulations 1999 allows for females employees to be entitled to ordinary maternity leave provided that she satisfies certain conditions. A female employee is entitled to basic right such as statutory maternity leave of up to 52 weeks, statutory maternal pay and anti natal care. This legislations allows new mothers time to recover and support their family.

Paternity Leave & Adoption Leave – In line the paternity and adoption leave Regulations 2002, employees are allow to take leave of up to 2weeks and are entitled to “the statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay and Additional Paternity Pay is £139.58, or 90% of your average weekly earnings”. Employees wishing to adopt are also entitled to leave.

Dependants Leave – According to ACAS, the employment relations act (1999): “Time off for dependants is unpaid unless an employer is willing to give paid time off under the terms and conditions of employment. The right is to a reasonable amount of time off - normally a day or two but this will depend on individual circumstances. All employees have the right to time off during working hours for dependants, this time off is intended to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies. There is no legal right to be paid; however some employers may offer a contractual right to pay under the terms and conditions of employment”.

2:3 Give 2 reasons why it is important to treat employees fairly in relation to pay:
According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission: The ‘equality of terms’ provisions in the Equality Act (2010) entitles a woman doing equal work with a man in the same employment to equality in pay and other terms and conditions. One reason why this demonstrates the importance of treating employees fairly in relation to pay is, for women who look after their families, earning a significantly lower income would make this harder for them to provide basic financial support. If pay is set equally, then this will give women more of an opportunity to improve their financial status and provide a better quality of life for themselves and their families.

Another reason why it is important to treat employees fairly in relation to pay is that pay can have a big effect on employee morale and productivity in the workforce. Particularly where you have two employees, one male one female that are of the same skill set and experience, you must reward pay fairly, else you will risk losing your strongest resources in your business. Salaries should be benchmarked according to the skills of the employee and the job profile. Finding the balance is crucial to building respect, improving morale and retention rates in your organisation.

2:4 Explain the concepts: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation and summarise equalities legislation that relates to each one. ACAS refers to nine protected characteristics and four types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. These are:

Protected characteristics:
Age - The equality act protects those who may come into contact with discrimination, victimisation and harassment due to their age (Direct discrimination)

Disability - The Equality Act protects those are harassed, victimised or discriminated against because of disability. (Direct discrimination and by direct perception and association)

Gender reassignment – The equalities legislation protects those who are in the process of changing the gender. Employers must ensure they not treat those undergoing surgery less favourably.

Marriage and civil partnership - Employers should also ensure that employees in same-sex marriages or civil partnerships are not subjected to behaviour that could amount to harassment because of sexual orientation

Pregnancy and maternity - protects an employee from one type of direct discrimination and victimisation because of their pregnancy and/or maternity leave, the employer must ensure the employee is not treated less favourably in regards to redundancy, promotion or job opportunities

Race - legislation protects employees from discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of the protected characteristic of Race.
Religion or belief - employees from discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of religion or belief, employers must act as an equal opportunities employer and be committed to the process.

Sex - protects both male and female employees from discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of sex (gender). Employers must not favour one gender over another

Sexual orientation - protects both male and female employees from discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of sex (gender). An employer must ensure a sexual orientation is not victimised in the workforce. Four types of discrimination:
Direct discrimination – Direct discrimination is where an individual is treated less favourably by characteristics, association or perception
Indirect discrimination - occurs when an organisation's practices, policies or procedures have the effect of disadvantaging people who share certain protected characteristics.

Harassment - The Harassment Act was introduced in 1997 to protect individuals from harassment situations in and out of the workplace.

Victimisation - when an employee is treated less favourably than others for i.e. making an allegation, giving evidence and/or supporting a complaint of discrimination.

2:5 Explain what is meant by ‘the psychological contract’ and how is this applied in practice within your own organisation or one which you are familiar, giving examples of good practice policies and procedures which might underpin this:

Rousseau (1989) explains the psychological contract is: “The beliefs individuals hold regarding the terms and conditions of the exchange agreement between themselves and their organisations.”

The psychological contract forms part of the employment relationship, and is seen as a contract of trust and confidence between the employer and employee. This has applied in my organisation through performance management. Managers are at the core of performance management and as part of the psychological contract, employees offer hardwork, flexibility, loyalty, honest, innovation and dedication to the organisation in return for regnition, pay, feedback, pay rises and benefits, job security and pleasant and adquent working environment.

Organisational policies such as learning and development, overtime, employee benefits, sick leave, compassionate leave, maternity/adoption leave, working conditions, grievance and conflict resolution, are all policies that form part of the psychological contract within the employment relationship. For e.g. a dedicated employee who works overtime, trusts the organisation for time off in lieu, or recognition of their work through performance management etc leading to promotion/new opportunities.

3:1 Explain the main differences between fair and unfair dismissal, giving an example of each and the impact on the organisation:

CIPD defines dismissal as: Dismissal of an employee occurs when:
- the employer terminates the contract, either with or without giving notice
- a fixed term contract ends and is not renewed
- the employee leaves, with or without giving notice, in circumstances in which they are entitled to do so because of the employer’s conduct.

Fair dismissals - CIPD also defines ‘fair dismissal as: ‘fair’ provided the employer has given one of the five specified reasons (see below) for the dismissal and has acted ‘reasonably’ in carrying it out

To be potentially ‘fair’, a dismissal must be for one of these reasons:
- capability or qualifications
- conduct
- illegality or contravention of a statutory duty
- some other substantial reason
- redundancy

An employer must also ensure they have acted fairly in dismissing an employee and have followed all steps required in a displinary procedure such as informing the employee in writing, holding a displinary meeting and allowing the employee to appeal. An example of a fair dismissal is redundancy. So long as the employer is not in breach of the equality act 2010, then statutory or contractual notice must be given, and there must be an explanation as to how redundancy pay is calculated. Redundancy affects the organisation as it affects them financially, and contributes to the low morale and the behaviour of survivor employees.

Unfair dismissal - According the employment rights act (1996) employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. An unfair dismissal can take places where an employee has been dismissed by an employer being unable to show the employee was released of a ‘fair reason’ as describe above.

An example of unfair dismissal is where an employee may have been released from a job outside of the 5 reasons or correct procedure such as adquent warnings in displinary procedures were not taken. This affects the organisation as there are penalties for unfair dismissals and should a case go to the employment tribunal as employer may have to pay compensation, re-engage or re-instate the employee.

3:2 Explain the importance of exit interviews, for both the organisation and for employees.
Exit interviews are conducted by employer towards the end of an employee’s notice period, and this allows the employer and employee to explain and understand the employee’s reasons for leaving. Feedback may not always be as insightful as employees may not wish to disclose real reasons for leaving i.e. poor pay or issues with other staff/management or lack of respect for the organisation.

An exit interview is important for the employee as it gives them to a chance to voice their grievances and opinions about their time at an organisation and give valuable feedback. It also helps the employees to maintain a positive work relationship during their time and once they’ve moved on from the organisation. It may even serve as a purpose to remain at the organisation if issues are address and the employee is happy to stay.

For the employer, an exit interview is beneficial for them in several ways. The interview allows them to protect themselves against any employee lawsuits that might occur, by ‘agreeing’ on the reasons for leaving with the employee and having this in writing to be legally compliant i.e. in addition to calculating holiday entitlement etc. An exit interview also gives employers a chance to gain insightful feedback to review leaderships and potential issues to avoid and improve retention in the organisation.

3:3 Summarise the key stages to be followed in making redundancies and explain what impact redundancies have on the whole organisation:
Redundancy usually takes place where financial issues are out of the employers control such as lack of business growth, when a business goes into administration and so on.
ACAS refers to a 7step plan organisations must follow when making redundancies.

These are: Step 1: Brief managers – HR professionals discuss redundancy options with management
Step 2: Talk to staff – the next step is for the employer to hold consultation meeting to inform staff
Step 3: Choose redundant staff – another consultation meeting will be held with staff how can argue their reasons against their post being made redundant. Some of the effects of this could be voluntary redundancies, and using the Bradford index where an employee’s sickness is calculated can be taken into account.
Step 4: Notice and pay – once decision has made, this should be put in writing with information about the redundancy and the compensation which is to be received. Step 5: Notice rights – legally the employer must adhere to minimum statutory notice depending on how long the employee has been in the organisation. As well as redundancy pay, the employer must pay the employee through their notice period or pay in lieu of notice depending on circumstances
Step 6: Appeals – an employee has the right to appeal against their redundancy and the employer must be able to show they have looked at other alternative options of employment within the organisation. Step 7: Focus on the future – once formalities and appeals have been addressed the redundancy pay is now paid out and the employer and employee can look toward the future

In regards to the impact of redundancy on the organisation, there are some positive and negative effects for e.g. redundancy will help the employer to save money in areas of the business, change the span of control within the organisation, and extend the work throughout the workforce, which although beneficial to them, will affect staff morale, trust and may lead to a high turnover in staff. For an employee who is no longer motivated or challenged in their role, redundancies provide an opportunity to receive compensation and explore other job opportunities either within or outside the organisation the employer can make support the employee through the transition by offering support with cvs and counselling.

References ACAS: Contracts of Employment. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1577

ACAS: Employment Contract Terms. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3969:

Terms and Conditions of Employment. Available from: http://www.lag.org.uk/media/40098/employment_law_sample_chapter.pdf ACAS: Working Hours. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1373 GOV UK: Night working. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/night-working-hours/hours-and-limits GOV UK: Maternity pay. Available from. https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/overview GOV UK: Paternity Pay. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/pay ACAS: Time off for dependants. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3235 Equality and Human Rights. http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/private-and-public-sector-guidance/employing-people/guidance-employers-about-their-rights-under-equality-act-2010/equal-pay/equal-pay-and-equality-act-2010

ACAS: Equality and Discrimination understand the basics. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/d/8/Equality-and-discrimination-understand-the-basics.pdf Accessed [16th January 2016]

ACAS: What’s the difference – Direct and Indirect Discrimination. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4614

Rousseau, D.M. (1989) New hire perspectives of their own and their employer’s obligations: A study of psychological contracts, in Journal of Organisational Behaviour 11, pp. 389-400.

CIPD: Dismissal. Available from: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/dismissal.aspx#link_0 Accessed [16th January 2016]

Wikipedia: Employment Rights Act. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_Rights_Act_1996#Part_X.2C_Unfair_dismissal Available

ACAS: Handling small scale redundancies. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4547 GOV UK: Redunancy: Your rights. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights/notice-periods

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