It’s always useful to use this time of year to reflect on the twelve months gone by as well as looking forward to the New Year.
What has become very apparent over the last twelve months is how much more complicated employment has become.
I know that the government will crow about the reduction in Employment Tribunal claims and I think we are all glad to see the back of many needless and unnecessary claims. However, the reduction in tribunal cases doesn’t tell half of the story.
When the coalition government introduced fees for presenting claims to Employment Tribunal in the summer of 2013, we predicted that one of the likely outcomes was a change in the nature of employee disputes and conflicts and that has certainly been the case.
Whilst the statistics will indicate a fall in areas such as claims for discrimination, the statistics do not reflect the reality. Cream HR had predicted was an increase in different types of claim and different approaches taken by disgruntled employees to try and obtain compensation for any damage their employer has caused, whether that damage is real or imaginary.
On a weekly basis we receive calls from businesses seeking help in dealing with employees, almost ex-employees or recently departed employees who use a variety of means to try and extract some sort of financial settlement from their employer (or ex-employer). Typically employees are using the broad church of discrimination legislation to make threats and claims, we see mystery illnesses, incredible levels of stress, recently heterosexual employees suddenly discovering that they were gay (and have of course been discriminated against), sex discrimination applied in fantastic ways and people developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from relatively innocuous employment!. The list is almost endless! Added to this is the bag of tricks used by poorly performing employees who are just about to be performance managed – bullying by their manager, colleague(s), customers, discrimination and stress, some people will use any excuse to prevent their employer dealing with their poor performance.
Unfortunately the world we live in can result in many people deciding that they can try and make money out of any situation and employers are an easy target. As a result of this disturbing trend, genuine cases can also be treated with increased cynicism as employers are influenced by previous experience either directly or from friends and business associates.
In addition to this the regulatory framework has changed immeasurably, the Working Time Regulations, constant changes in how to calculate holiday pay (overtime and commission), holiday pay and the long term sick, pension rules, shared parental leave, employee eligibility to work in the UK, changes to the status of the self-employed, the Agency Worker Regulations, Impending changes to limited company contractors, health and safety legislation, the changes never seem to end.
Long ago we at Cream HR predicted that employment was changing dramatically and not in a god way from an employer’s perspective. Don’t for one minute think that we want a return to a Dickensian world, we don’t, we support workers’ rights and do not support any organisation that seeks to exploit workers.
However we realised that running a business, fairly and reasonably was going to become a lot more complicated and it has. Even the best HR department in the country will struggle to keep pace. It doesn’t matter how difficult employment has become, as a business you need to keep pace and you must keep on top of this. There is good and affordable support out there and we believe that Cream HR provides the best and most cost effective support available to help any business.