We consider the challenges of carrying out a workplace investigation remotely during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In our podcast, we discuss:

  • Planning for a virtual workplace investigation
  • Practical steps to consider 
  • What to do if an employee refuses to participate
  • Can furloughed staff participate?

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require specialist legal advice relating to carrying out workplace investigations remotely, please contact HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938 or Sarah Martin on 07799 136091.

We discuss the importance of effective consultation and how to correctly consult staff remotely, in our first Narrow Quay HR club webinar.

Included in this webinar:

  • Why are consultations needed?
  • Effective consultation
  • Individual and collective consultations
  • Consulting with staff remotely

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require support with consulting your staff, please contact Caitlin Anniss on 07799 136 091 or Jessica Scott-Dye in the VWV Employment Law team on 07799 901 428.

We consider the challenges of establishing and maintaining teams whilst working in a virtual environment. Also providing practical steps to mitigate the impact on productivity.

In our podcast, we discuss:

  • issues when team bonding in a virtual environment
  • how to retain the effectiveness of teams
  • developing new teams and integrating a new team member
  • the role of managers
  • mitigating the impact of virtual environments

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

If you require specialist legal advice relating to managing teams in a virtual environment, please contact HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938 or Joanne Hill on 07392 085 778.

Managing the menopause in the workplace has become a more topical issue in recent times.

In this article, we will consider:

  • why employers need to think about this
  • the legal context and risks
  • practical tips for managing staff who may be going through the menopause.

There are 15 million women in the UK workforce, and 3.5 million women over 50 in UK workplaces. Currently, one in eight women in the UK workforce is over 50, but this is forecast to rise to one in six by 2022. In the UK, the average age for a woman to go through the menopause is 51, so there is a large group of UK employees who are going to go through, or have gone through, the menopause.

ACAS suggests that two million women aged over 50 will have difficulties at work, due to symptoms of the menopause and that one in three women over 50 will have had severe symptoms from the menopause or perimenopause.

How employers manage the menopause in the workplace will impact on staff well being, staff retention, and equality and diversity.

Legal Context

Employers have a duty to minimise, reduce or where possible remove, health and safety risks for workers. So, ensuring that menopausal symptoms are not made worse by the workplace or work practices, and making changes to help a worker manage their symptoms at work is critical. There is also a duty not to behave in a way which may undermine the implied duty of trust and confidence.

There is limited case law dealing with menopause transition in the UK but two first instance decisions have recently linked the menopause to the protected characteristics of sex, and disability. There is the possibility of other successful discrimination claims being brought in future, for example, indirect discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments, victimisation or harassment.

Employers should consider how to manage their risks by carrying out risk assessments, reviewing their policies and procedures, considering training and thinking about environmental factors, such as temperature control.

What is the Menopause?

The menopause is a natural stage of life, usually starting in the late 40’s and involves the decline of women’s oestrogen levels until no eggs are produced. As it goes on for a number of years, it is better to view it as a stage or transition rather than an event. Some women may also have an early menopause, either naturally, or as a result of surgery or medical treatment. The perimenopause usually starts in mid 40’s.

There are a number of symptoms of perimenopause and menopause – both physical and psychological. Symptoms affect women differently and some can experience very mild symptoms while others experience very severe ones. Symptoms can include; feeling tired and low on energy, hot flushes, irregular and heavy periods, aches and pains, mood swings, difficulty sleeping and night sweats, anxiety and panic attacks, struggling with concentration or focus, and headaches and migraines.

Women who do not get support with symptoms may lose confidence in their roles at work, and may suffer with poor mental health.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Think about and talk about the topic
  • Treat symptoms of the menopause as you would any other health condition.
  • Make work an open environment where employees can talk about their symptoms, if they are causing difficulties at work
  • Think about introducing a Menopause Policy
  • Talk to staff who are struggling about appropriate adjustments
  • Involve line managers
  • Think about appointing Menopause Champions in your workplace
  • Raise awareness of the topic in your workplace, in a way appropriate for your culture – posters, newsletters, a menopause policy, menopause cafes can all work. Use simple messages and get senior management on board.

Appropriate adjustments may include private areas to rest, working time arrangements, access to toilets, and a good temperature in the workplace. Discuss options with the staff concerned. Think about alleviating the barriers to allow women affected to carry on in their role.

Think about how this process will be managed in practice. There should be conversations with the employee, identifying specific issues, and identifying any appropriate adjustments which may help. These should be recorded and a follow up should be arranged. Decide who can make decisions about adjustments; line managers or senior management?

The Role of Line Managers

Line managers are critical in managing the menopause in the workplace. They are typically the first point of contact for people who are struggling with symptoms. They are responsible for implementing policies and supporting good performance, as well as also responsible for managing absence and supporting returns to work.

  • Encourage regular one to ones between managers and their staff. This can create the environment where staff can speak up. Managers should keep information discussed at these meetings confidential and agree with the staff member who they are happy to inform and how.
  • Train line managers in how to deal with sensitive conversations such as these.
  • Encourage managers to ask about staff well-being or issues which they have noticed, but not to ask direct questions about the menopause. Remember that it is up to the individual to disclose their symptoms.
  • Create awareness for managers so that they are comfortable in providing information and training on the topic.

Difficult Areas:

  • For some women, the symptoms of the menopause may affect their performance or cause absences. Take this into account when managing performance and making adjustments, for example by treating absence related to the menopause separately to absence for other reasons.
  • Remember that the menopause is potentially a long term health issue and may fluctuate over time.

Summary

There is likely to be an increased focus on managing the menopause in the workplace as the number of women going through the menopause increases in the UK workforce. This presents potential challenges to employers, but also rewards in terms of increased staff well-being, good staff retention rates and good HR practice.

Related Resources

The HR consultants at Narrow Quay HR are available to chat through any queries you may have related to menopause and are able to help with any of the issues raised, including menopause policies or a review of your practices and procedures. Please contact our HR specialist Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683 938.

How do you appropriately manage the process of a redundancy situation? Narrow Quay HR Consultant, Sarah Martin provides practical advice for dealing with difficult conversations

Included in this webinar:

  • What is a redundancy situation?
  • What is collective consultation and how does it work?
  • Interaction between individual and collective consultation
  • Who are the employees representatives?
  • How do notice and redundancy payments work?

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require any HR support in relation to dealing with a redundancy situation, please contact our HR Consultant, Sarah Martin on 07799 136 091.

Experienced HR Consultants, Simon Martin and Joanne Hill, from Narrow Quay HR, provide practical advice for managers on improving your team’s ability to work remotely.

In our podcast, we discuss

  • The role of managers
  • Facilitating wellbeing discussions
  • How to maintain regular contact
  • Tips for remote working

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require any HR support in relation to the challenges of working from home, please contact HR Consultants Simon Martin on 07384 813 076 or Joanne Hill on 07392 085 778.

How can managers support individuals going through the menopause? Our HR Consultant Caitlin Anniss and VWV’s Employment Associate Jessica Scott-Dye discuss.

In our webinar, we discuss:

  • Why it’s important
  • Legal context
  • Options for employers
  • Current guidance around managing the menopause in the workplace
  • Practical tips
  • Raising awareness

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require any HR support in relation to consulting with your staff, please contact our HR Consultant, Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938 or VWV’s Employment Law Associate, Jessica Scott-Dye on 07799 901 428.

On Friday 29 May, the Chancellor provided new details about the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which he had announced on 12 May.

We already knew that he had listened to industry bodies and was planning to introduce the ability to bring employees back on a part-time or reduced hours basis. But that can now take place more quickly than expected, on 1 July. Employers need to note however, that this new, flexible scheme will only be available to those employees that have already been furloughed for the minimum three week period. This means the deadline for furloughing new staff is 10 June.

Whilst Sunak had already made it clear that employers would be asked to contribute during this extended period, he has now set out what those contributions will look like. In addition, he has announced that the self-employed income support scheme, which was due to end last weekend (30/31 May), will now be opened for a second and final round in August. In line with the changes to the furlough scheme, the grants will drop to 70% of earnings, up to a maximum of £6,750 for three months.

The Timeline

10 June

The final date on which employers can furlough staff in order to ensure they will qualify for the new scheme.

1 July

Employers are able to bring back furloughed staff on a part-time basis.

1 August

Government contributions of 80% of salary (up to a maximum of £2,500) continue, but employers will have to pay employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions and cannot claim these back.

1 September

The Government contribution under the CJRS will drop to 70% of salary (up to a maximum of £2,190), but employers will need to top up to 80% (or whatever higher percentage has been agreed with the employee).

1 October

The Government contribution under the CJRS will drop to 60% of salary (up to a maximum of £1,875), but employers will need to top up to 80% (or whatever higher percentage has been agreed with the employee).

31 October

The furlough scheme ends.


The HR consultants at Narrow Quay HR are available to chat through any queries you may have related to new work arrangements under coronavirus (COVID-19). Please contact our HR specialists Jo Hill on 07392 085778, Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683 938, Sarah Martin on 07799 136 091 or Simon Martin on 07834 813076

We have appeared on the VWV On the Case podcast, discussing the issues employers face when consulting with employees, who are working remotely.

In our podcast, we discuss:

• Practical considerations of consultations
• Do you still have to consult?
• Consultations and furloughed staff
• Managing remote meetings
• Methods of communication

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedure to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

• Coronavirus – How Can Employers Consult With Their Staff Effectively?

If you require any HR support in relation to consulting with your staff, please contact HR Consultants from Narrow Quay HR, Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938 or Sarah Martin on 07799 136 091.

Practical Tips on How to Fairly Consult With Staff to Survive a Coronavirus Downturn

In this free informal webinar, HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss and Sarah Martin from Narrow Quay HR and Jessica Scott-Dye from VWV will talk you through the practical steps a business needs to follow to ensure a consultation process is fair and compliant. We will also talk through how to consult with staff who are working remotely.

There are lots of different scenarios in which a business may need to consult with their staff. Unfortunately, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, some businesses are going to be in the difficult position of having to consider fairly significant measures in order to survive, particularly once furloughing staff is no longer an option. This might include salary cuts, part time working or even redundancies, all of which require consultation with staff.

There will be opportunities to ask questions and consider practical scenarios around how to tackle a consultation process in practice.

Cost: Free Entry

When: 18 Jun 2020

Time: 9.00am – 10.00am

Who Should Attend?

  • Business Owners
  • Those Within a Business Responsible for HR Issues.

For further information, please contact the VWV Events team.