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Peter Etherington
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Employment Update for Small Businesses
May 2021

Dear Subscriber

This month sees the third anniversary of the implementation of GDPR.  I seem to receive as much unsolicited email as ever, so I am not sure how much has changed, but we will remind you of your duties with respect to HR data in this month’s update.  Also, with home-working likely to be a much more common feature post-COVID, we consider what steps you may wish to take to formalise home-working arrangements with staff.
Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.

Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.

Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164


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Peter Etherington
GDPR – Happy Anniversary!
Are you keeping on top of GDPR compliance?
The approach we took to GDPR with respect to HR data for our retained clients was, as ever, to try to keep it as simple as possible and to cause them as little difficulty as possible to comply. To that end we helped them set up a register of HR data (an Excel spreadsheet) to show what data they keep (process), why they keep it, and to set out the legal basis for them to do so. This was the platform from which we then drafted their privacy notices for staff and recruitment candidates and their data protection policy. We believe that by maintaining the register and reviewing these documents as necessary, they will be able to demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps to comply with GDPR if they were ever to come under scrutiny.

We recommend that they review the register on an annual basis and update the documents accordingly as necessary. If you are not yet fully compliant with GDPR, please contact us so that we can talk to you about how we can help you.

Working from Home
Time to formalise arrangements?
Since March 2020, working from home has been essential for many organisations, and we have all learned to live with it. To some extent it has been very positive and has helped show some employers that they can trust the majority of staff to work effectively whilst they are away from the workplace, and many employees have welcomed the flexibility that often goes with it (such as working at times to suit the employee, juggling child care and home-schooling around work, and working from a lap top in bed (or is that just me!))

Not everyone has welcomed it, however, particularly if they do not have a suitable work space or supportive home environment. Some staff have suffered mental health problems as a consequence and that has had a knock-on effect with their performance.

As we hopefully emerge from lockdown and get back towards a life living with COVID, it is time to consider how work will be managed in future. If home-working is something you can accommodate in the longer term, it would be a good idea to consult with staff to see what they think. In many cases permanent home-working may be feasible, or it could be a hybrid approach with a combination of home- and office-working.

If home-working is going to remain for the foreseeable future, we would recommend that you update or introduce an appropriate working from home policy. We can work with you to develop one that works best for you. We would need to consider factors such as the need for a suitable and safe working environment (you still have a duty to maintain a safe working environment when someone works from home); IT connectivity and equipment; maintaining team working and considering the social aspects of work; monitoring and assessment of work; and financial aspects.

Please contact us if you would like to update or introduce a home-working policy.

National Minimum and Living Wage
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £8.91 per hour for workers aged 23 and over
  • £8.36 per hour for workers aged 21 to 22
  • £6.56 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £4.62 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £4.30 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*

*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.