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Director, Kate Matthews, considers the finer points of keeping in touch with work while on parental leave.

“Keep in touch” is an age old phrase that we have probably all used at some point when parting company. This is no different during employment when an employee takes an extended period of parental leave, be it for maternity, shared parental or adoption.

Whilst it’s perfectly reasonable that some new parents may not want any communication at all for the duration of their leave, often a lack of contact can leave employees’ feeling cut off from work, which in turn can lead to feelings of apprehension around the time of their return.

Thank you to Torfaen Economy and Enterprise for including us in the July E-Newsletter, which looks as Business HR.

Watch the video here

Friendships in the workplace

Planning a lunch catch up with two good friends this week it occurred to me that, as with many of my close friendships, our relationship began when we worked together.  Despite all moving on to pastures new, our bond has endured and we get together often.

If you like many, are confused about what exactly the ‘National Living Wage’ is all about, then you’re not alone. Even the EST team have been asking each other what the difference is between the ‘National Living Wage’ and the more commonly discussed ‘Living Wage’.

Having worked in HR for as long as I have, there’s not much that surprises me anymore. Well maybe a little (some of my clients throw some very colourful situations my way), but it doesn’t take me long before I’m considering the legal angle and scouring their policies so that I can best advise on how to move forward.

I’ve just returned from a fantastic holiday! Family time in the sun and a chance to re-fuel following a ‘full on and busy’ first month at EST!

Since getting back into the full swing of HR duties, it got me thinking that ‘SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!’. The time when employees either start going on that well deserved holiday, start thinking about booking time off or start worrying about booking the time off….” Who will cover my workload”? and the worry of “Will I come back to double the amount of work”?

The European Football Championships are almost upon us starting on June 10th until July 10th. I’m sure that all businesses have a number of employees who are a little more fanatic about the football than others and it may be likely that one or two or more employees may suddenly call in sick around that time.

From a HR perspective, we understand that work life balance is more important than ever and many businesses have or are aiming to move towards a more flexi working culture. But even around major sporting events like this, it shouldn’t mean that productivity and your business should have to suffer.

A hot topic for me of late has been post-termination restrictive covenants in contracts of employment, with several matters arising on their enforceability.

A question I often get asked is whether restrictions can really be enforced, and in the short, the answer is “yes”!

I say this with a cautionary note though and the construction of clauses dealing with post-termination restrictions is very important.

Yes, that’s right, plans to extend ‘Shared Parental Leave’ to Grandparents have recently been announced and first consultations started in May this year.

Now, I look at this as a mother and a HR Professional and initially had mixed feelings of…..‘Great, my mum could possibly get paid time off work to help when I consider growing my family’ but also, ‘What are small and medium sized business owners and managers going to say about this when I tell them!’

Legislation changes within the Immigration Act has recently seen ‘Right to Work’ checks and ‘Illegal Working’ making headline news. It is unlawful to employ an individual who does not have the appropriate right to live and work in the UK or who is working in breach of their conditions of stay in the UK.

The ‘Gig Economy’ is currently in the spotlight due to the recent Uber case and the ruling is a green light for those working in a similar fashion to come forward and submit claims. Watch this space for upcoming potential cases with Hermes and Deliveroo!

So what is the ‘Gig Economy’ I hear you ask!
People who work in the gig economy usually have small ‘non-guaranteed’ jobs instead of standard full time jobs and these ‘workers’, as they are now finally being referred to, only get paid for the ‘gigs’ they do. Employment in the gig economy is growing faster by the day and is prominent in certain industries such as creative and ground transportation.