Employment Update for Small Businesses
November 2017

Dear Visitor,

Many of you will have heard of the GDPR by now (the new EU data protection rules) and may be starting to get nervous about what impact it may have on you.  So this month we have a brief introduction from an HR perspective.

Also, with mental health issues becoming much more widely talked about and recognised by health professionals, we report on a recently published independent review on mental health in the workplace.

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.

Regards
Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164

www.etherington.co.uk

Changes to Data Protection Law

Are you in top of your data protection requirements?

Since the introduction of the Data Protection Act, digital technology has expanded massively and bought with it huge advantages. However, with it comes a new host of Data Protection concerns. In response to this the EU is introducing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a new set of rules that bring data protection law up to date.

The GDPR comes into force in all EU member states, including the UK, on the 25th May 2018; all businesses must be compliant by that date. The GDPR comes with more stringent financial penalties for failures, with the maximum being 4% of the organisation’s global annual turnover, or €20m – whichever is greater. So it is essential that you are prepared.

The Data Protection Bill (DPB) is designed to bring the UK data protection laws up to date and bring GDPR into UK domestic law. It is currently being debated in the House of Lords and in time will become the new Data Protection Act, coming into force in early 2018. The UK government has made it clear that it intends to maintain this legislation in line with the GDPR after Brexit.

Whilst the primary focus of the GDPR and the DPB is with respect to those who deal with large scale third party data processing (such as on-line marketing) and very sensitive data (e.g. information about children, and health), it also has an effect on HR and processing of employees’ data for all organisations.

One of the key differences with the old Data Protection Act is the accountability factor: you must show how you are compliant. You can do this by having the right procedures and policies in place and by mapping all your data processing so you can log what is held, how it is held, and what goes where.

Over the coming months, we will be providing further updates once there is clarification on the new UK legislation.

The GDPR and the DPB contain more regulations than I can comment on in one short newsletter update. However, now is the time for us all to start thinking about how we will make sure we are compliant by the 25th May 2018. The Information Commissioner’s Office has provided guidance for organisations to start thinking about the new law and to consider to what extent they will need to make changed and update processes.

We do still have more than 6 months to ensure compliance, and there is still a lack of certainty over how the UK will implement the new rules, but it still makes sense at this stage to start preparing by ensuring you understand what sort of data you hold, where it is and what you do with it.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Mental Health at Work

Are you doing enough to support your workforce?

Earlier this year, the government commissioned an independent review into mental health in the workplace, with a focus on how employers can support the mental health of employees. The Stevenson / Farmer Review has now been published.

The report contains a number of recommendations for the government to consider, including the introduction of mental health core standards which should be adopted by all employers, with extra steps for larger employers and those in the public sector.

The stigma that has surrounded mental health has been eroded considerably in recent years, with people generally being much more willing to admit to having problems and to talk about mental health. This means that the issue is less hidden in the workplace than it has been, and that employers are being called upon much more frequently to discuss mental health with their employees, and to deal with sickness and absence issues associated with mental health conditions.

If you have any concerns about your own staff and their mental well-being, please contact us for advice and guidance.

National Minimum and Living Wage Rates

The current rates for the National Living Wage (for those aged 25 and over) and the National Minimum Wage are as follows:

£7.50 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
£7.05 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24
£5.60 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
£4.05 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
£3.50 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.