New legislation often has an enforcement date from 1 April and rates for statutory payments (Statutory Sick Pay; National Minimum Wage; Statutory Maternity Pay, etc) normally increase from 6 April each year.
As with our homes, Spring is a good time to do some cleaning and check that all our employment paperwork, processes and procedures are up to date. We can review any changes in legislation; best practice; which have happened in the last year and incorporate those changes into our employment documentation (policies; terms and conditions of employment; job offer letters; payroll; etc).
It is also important to advise employees of any changes to these things as and when they occur and the annual check is a good time to make sure the communications have happened properly. If the employee’s terms and conditions have changed, they must have been consulted about and agreed to the changes and had a letter to confirm them. If policies have changed, the changes must be communicated en masse, either by general email; notices and/or other means of communicating with the whole workforce. If your processes and procedures have changed, you need to make sure your managers, team leaders and relevant staff know what has changed and why.
Why do an annual review?
There are many reasons for making sure your documents and processes are up to date:
- It helps you to avoid costly and damaging Employment Tribunal claims;
- You can avoid underpaying your staff, which would have to be made up at a later date;
- It gives a message to your employees that you care about them and getting things right;
- As a result, it will help you to keep your employees for longer and they will be happier;
- It makes sure you are meeting best practice, which sets you apart from your competitors;
- It can improve your reputation as a fair employer which can help with things like recruitment;
- As well as your employees, it gives a message to your customers and clients that you are on the ball and care about getting things right.
Why use an HR professional to do it for you?
You can do this review yourself, or you can ask an HR professional to do it for you. The benefits of using HR are:
- You don’t have to research what has changed;
- We know which documents and processes are likely to be affected by the changes, so don’t need to go through them all;
- We can put complex legislation into user-friendly language;
- We can advise on how to apply changes in your particular business environment;
- We can help you to answer awkward questions from employees and other stakeholders
Whatever route you choose, I advise you to make sure you are up to date with everything. A little bit of work and cost now can save headaches and costly processes later down the line.