Looking Ahead: Things to Think About in December

As the year begins to draw to a close there are a few HR matters employers may wish to think about if they have not done so already.

Holidays

For many organisations it just wouldn’t be December without the annual holiday rush – whether it’s employees trying to get holiday fitted in by the end of the holiday year or managers dealing with competing holiday requests.

For employers whose holiday year mirrors the calendar year it will be particularly important to identify as soon as possible whether there are any employees who have built up a significant amount of untaken holiday this year. This can be an issue in a small number of cases in normal times, but this year has been anything but normal and there may be many reasons why employees have not taken much holiday to date.

Identifying whether there are any employees in this situation in your organisation will enable appropriate steps to be taken. In most cases, this will initially involve informing the employee of the amount of leave they have outstanding and asking them to make a booking request urgently. If you think it may not be possible for an employee in your organisation to take all of their holiday during the holiday year, or there are circumstances which may affect the taking of holiday such as an employee being off on long term sickness absence, you should contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice on the facts of your case.

Some managers may find themselves dealing with competing requests for holiday from employees, in this situation it’s important to treat employees fairly and consistently and to deal with the matter promptly. If you require advice on your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us as we are happy to help.

Finally, if an employee is on furlough, as discussed in our previous Legal Update https://kingfisherps.co.uk/holiday-and-furlough-fast-facts/ don’t forget about them when it comes to holiday. This can be easy to do if an employee has been on full furlough for some time.

Looking Ahead to Staffing Requirements

It can be difficult for many employers to assess what their forthcoming staffing needs are likely to be, however there are a few things it may be helpful to bear in mind:

  • If additional employees are needed over what is expected to be a busy Christmas period, employers may wish to consider employing them on zero hours contracts as these provide more flexibility. Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd can provide you with further information on this where required.
  • If your existing employees will be working overtime, it’s important that the Working Time Regulations which will apply to most employees, are complied with. Don’t forget that if you are employing young workers, there are different rules regarding limits on working time and rest breaks than those for adult workers. If you require information on the Working Time Regulations, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.
  • If you are using or might need to use the government furlough scheme, this will be open until 31st March 2021. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the government will be reviewing it in January, so there may be changes to it. The government has said that they will be examining ‘whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions’. It’s also worth noting that for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, employers cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period for the employer.
  • If you identify that you need to take any action which will affect your employees it’s important that the appropriate process is followed, for example if you need to make redundancies or are proposing to change an employee’s contract of employment. You should always seek advice from Kingfisher Professional Services on the facts of your case.

Redundancies

There will be some employers who will be considering whether they need to propose redundancies before the end of the year. If your organisation is one of these it’s important to bear in mind that this will usually require warning and consultation, fair selection and consideration of alternative work. As making redundancies can be tricky, it’s important to seek advice on the facts of your situation before taking any action. Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd can provide practical advice and support from the planning stage and throughout the process.

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not  hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.

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