Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations Essay

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Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2562

  • Pages: 10

Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations

The Impact of Employment Law at the START of the employment relationship

2 Internal Factors which can impact on the employment relationship

• Policies & Procedures in place within the organisation – this is an important internal factor that can have an impact on the employment relationship; for example if there is job share/flexible working arrangements in place this can help to promote a work-life balance for employees allowing them to spend more time with their families or completing studies, this can help with employee motivation and they will be less likely to miss work due to personal commitments.

• Employee involvement/participation – this is another important factor; it is a good idea to ask your employees for feedback on their thoughts of the company/organisation and what they feel could be done differently to improve working conditions, an example of this would be to provide surveys to the staff or to set up a Representative Committee to allow the employees voice any concerns/ideas they may have. This will help to motivate the staff particularly if their ideas are being actioned.

2 External Factors which can impact on the employment relationship

• Current economic climate – periods of economic downturn can have a major and potentially negative impact on the employment relationship, for example during the recession many employers lost profits and had to make cutbacks which involved downsizing the size of their companies and implementing mandatory redundancies on their employees .

• Availability of talent/Labour Market – as the economic situation has changed somewhat in Ireland in the last few years this has led to a new variety of talent available; a lot of skilled workers and graduates have emigrated but many of the people who have decided to stay in Ireland have gone into Third Level education to improve their knowledge and skills in certain areas in order to get jobs. There is also a variety of cultures now living in Ireland which could benefit employers seeking people with language skills for example. Also, as the retirement age is continuously rising this will result in the age of the workforce being higher which could also result in retaining the skills and knowledge within the company which is also important and beneficial to the employer.

3 Different Types of Employment Status

It is important to establish your status of employment in order to identify the rights and responsibilities you have at work and also to determine any benefits available to you.

1) Fixed Term Workers – this is popular at the moment as a lot of employers are taking people on for ‘specific purpose’ contracts. An interesting point to note for fixed term workers is that according to the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003, employers cannot continually renew fixed term contracts and employees working on repeated fixed-term contracts are covered under the Unfair Dismissal’s legislation (although they need to have at least one year’s continuous service before they can bring a claim under the Unfair Dismissals Act) This is important as it prevents fixed term workers being taken advantage of and being treated unfairly by employers.

2) Part-time Employees have similar rights to full time employees when it comes to employment protection legislation, although in some instances a part-time employee will need to work a set minimum number of hours for a set period of time before gaining these rights. The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 provides that a part time employee cannot be treated in a less favourable manner than a full time employee.

3) Agency Workers – an agency worker is a person who has an agreement with an agency to work for another person. The legislation on Agency workers was brought into effect in 2012 so it is a brand new act (Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012) Agency workers do not have all the same employment rights as regular workers, temporary agency workers have the right to equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions. It is interesting to note that The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 does not apply to agency workers placed by an agency to work for an organisation. However, the Act does apply to agency workers employed directly by an employment agency.

3 Reasons Why It Is Important to Clearly Determine an Individual’s Employment Status:

1) Determines employees’ rights

2) It is easier to establish benefits available to the employee

3) Decides protection for employee

Employee Rights DURING the employment relationship

• Importance of work life balance and related legislation concerning holidays, rest periods, working hours and night working: Work-life balance can be achieved when an employee’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected, to the benefit of the employee and the organisation/company. It is important for employees to be able to balance their life at work and at home, as having an equal balance can lead to a motivated and retained workforce. Legalisation plays a vital role on how work-life balance can be implemented. For example, the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides that an employee cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average; meaning all employees can ensure they participate in personal external activities outside of the workplace, which in turn should reward the business with a dedicated and committed workforce.

• Family/parent-related legal support, including maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and dependants leave: the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 provide that female employees are entitled to 26 weeks Maternity Leave, with an additional 16 weeks unpaid if required. The Acts also provide that a pregnant employee is entitled to paid time off work for the purpose of receiving ante-natal care (for example doctor and hospital appointments) and also that they are entitled to return to work, to their old job or one equivalent in grade and location. Employers are not obliged to grant male employee’s paternity leave (either paid or unpaid) following the birth of their child in Ireland as Paternity Leave is currently not recognised in employment law in Ireland.

Annual leave taken following the birth of a child is treated in employment law in the same way as leave taken at any other time of the year. It is at the discretion of the employer to decide who can and cannot take annual leave at a given time. While male employees are not entitled under Irish law to either paid or unpaid paternity leave, they may be entitled to parental leave (Parental Leave Act 1998 and 2006 (amendment)). Parental leave entitles both parents who qualify to take a period of up to 14 weeks’ unpaid leave from employment in respect of children up to eight years of age. Where an employee has more than one child, parental leave is limited to 14 weeks in a 12-month period. This can be longer if the employer agrees.

Under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 and 2005 (amended), only the adoptive mother is entitled to adoptive leave from her employment, except in the case where a male is the sole adopter. The current entitlement for Adoptive Leave is 24 weeks. You are also entitled to take 16 weeks’ additional unpaid adoptive leave after your adoptive leave ends.

Another support tool available to employees is The Carer’s Leave Act 2001 which allows employees in Ireland to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of full-time care and attention. Since 24 March 2006 the minimum period of leave is 13 weeks and the maximum period is 104 weeks (was 65 weeks). Carer’s leave from employment is unpaid but the Carer’s Leave Act ensures that those who propose to avail of carer’s leave will have their jobs kept open for them for the duration of the leave.

• 2 reasons why employees should be treated fairly in relation to pay:

1) Discrimination: for example if a man is doing the exact same job/role as a woman within a company/organisation then the rate of pay for each should be the exact same. If an employer pays someone less than their peers, or refuses them benefits that other equivalent employees have access to, because of their age, disability, race, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, it could constitute unlawful discrimination.

2) Morale/Motivation: The psychological contract can have a significant impact on the organization if employees feel they are not treated fairly in relation to pay this can result in low morale and motivation among the other staff resulting in increased absence and poor performance. From my experience employees will always talk amongst each other and compare notes!!

• Main points of equalities legislation including the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation

Direct discrimination is where an employer directly discriminates on the grounds of the person’s age, race, sex, disability, religion or sexual orientation. To establish direct discrimination, a direct comparison must be made, for example, in the case of disability discrimination the comparison must be between a person who has a disability and another who has not, or between persons with different disabilities.

Indirect discrimination occurs when practices or policies that do not appear to discriminate against one group more than another actually have a discriminatory impact. It can also happen where a requirement that may appear non-discriminatory. An example of indirect discrimination would be change to working hours, for example a shift change from 6am to 2pm to 8am to 4pm – female employees could argue this is indirect discrimation on the grounds of gender as they may now be unable to collect children from school due to the new shift pattern.

Victimisation in a discrimination context is where an employer treats an employee less favourably for one reason or another. An example of this would be an employee who provided evidence for an incident against a manager and was then treated less favourably by that manager afterwards.

Harassment is where an employer or an employee violates another person’s dignity or creates an uncomfortable or offensive environment for them. A new code of practice on harassment at work was approved by the Minister for Justice and Equality this summer. This provides guidance to employers on how to deal with the issue in their workplace and what to include in their policy which is important at keeping this issue out of the workplace.

• The concept of the ‘psychological contract’ and examples of policies and procedures which can underpin this: The function of the psychological contract is to reduce insecurity, as not all aspects of the employment relationship are addressed in a formal written contract; the psychological contract is a concept that attempts to balance expectations and encourage effort

Issues to be addressed at the TERMINATION of the employment relationship

• Differences between fair and unfair dismissal:

A dismissal is considered to be automatically unfair if the employee is dismissed for any of the following reasons:

– Membership or proposed membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, whether within permitted times during work or outside of working hours – Religious or political opinions

– Legal proceedings against an employer where an employee is a party or a witness – Race, colour, sexual orientation, age or membership of the Traveller community – Pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding or any matters connected with pregnancy or birth – Availing of rights under legislation to maternity leave, adoptive leave, carer’s leave, parental or force majeure leave – Unfair selection for redundancy

Under the unfair dismissals legislation, redundancy is considered to be a fair ground for dismissal. However although a redundancy situation exists, an employee may have grounds for complaint if the manner of the selection for redundancy was unfair. They may qualify to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they consider they were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist

• Importance of exit interviews to both parties

Exit interviews provide and opportunity to talk with employees about what they liked or what they didn’t like about their job. An employer will get valuable information they can use to make positive changes within their company/ organization and it offers the employee a chance to provide their opinion which could result in the less likelihood of a court case. The purpose of the exit interview is to gain an insight into what factors led to the employee making the decision to resign. Sometimes in larger companies these can be done anonymously as some employees may not feel comfortable, this has both positive and negative sides, a positive being that the employee is more likely to be more honest if they are sitting in front of a computer or completing a survey rather than on a one-to-one basis, a negative of this however would be that as it is done anonymously it may be harder for the employer to gain the correct facts and info without knowing the person involved.

• Key stages to be followed in managing redundancies

The first stage of managing redundancy effectively should be planning; HR and line managers liaise to discuss the departmental structure. This is where the risk of redundancy becomes apparent. The next stage is fairly identifying the employees that are due to be put at risk by devising redundancy selection criteria. The next stage is to inform the employees and hold a consultation meeting. Once the employees are informed that they are at risk of redundancy, this should be followed up by at least one further consultation meeting.

The employer must be seen to consider any argument that the employee puts forward. If redundancy occurs employees will be informed in writing and be given an explanation of the redundancy payment that they will receive. The employee is then able to appeal against the decision, to show that the employer has actively considered alternative employment within the company for the employee. If there isn’t alternative employment and no appeals have been made, the next stage is to make the redundancy payment. After a redundancy has been carried out, employees can often feel deflated, so ideally advice should be offered on seeking alternative employment.

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Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations Essay

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2132

  • Pages: 9

Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employee Relations

The aim/objectives of this assignment are to explore employee relations in detail, including the psychological contract, differences between fair and unfair dismissals, redundancy, and the direct link to my organisation. Pershing is a medium sized financial services company, who has seen strong growth over the last two years during the economic downturn.

1.0 Internal and external factors that impact on the employment relationship

1.1 When an employee starts a new company, there are many external and internal factors that impact on the employment relationship. One external factor is the state of the economy, in recent years the economy has experienced a recession. This has impacted businesses in many ways; one example is the case of redundancies, less capital means companies can no longer afford to keep all staff.

1.2 A second external factor is the social impact, for example, the retirement age has increased in recent years which has resulted in an older retained workforce, meaning that the retention of specialised skills and knowledge of the company will be a positive impact on the employment relationship.

1.3 On the other hand, there are also internal factors that impact the employment relationship. Firstly, employee participation, one example of this is to give employees a voice by distributing employee engagement surveys; this allows employees to express their views on the company and can motivate employees when actions are taken from their opinions.

1.4 Furthermore, control of performance can also be a vital internal factor. Managing employee’s performances in the process of appraisals can motivate staff to continue reaching individual objectives which contribute to company goals.

2.0 Three types of employment status and three reasons for the importance of identifying an individual’s employment status 2.1 One employment status is ‘self employment’ whereby a person will work for themselves rather than an employer. If you hire this type of worker it is important to make this definition as the company will not be accountable to make NI contributions or pay any employment tax on behalf of this type of worker.

2.2 A second employment status is a ‘worker’ which includes individuals working under a variety of contracts. It is important to establish this type of worker as they will be entitled to the core legal rights, they will be entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage and be protected against unlawful deduction from wages.

2.3 The Final employment status is an ’employee’. This is the most common status, and applies to the largest group of people in the workplace. The difference between workers and employees are that as an employee you have a wider range of employment rights and responsibilities to and from your employer, such as Statutory Sick Pay, and Statutory Redundancy Pay.

3.0 The importance of work life balance and how it can be influenced by legalisation. Work-life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as the norm, to the mutual benefit of the individual, business and society. (Works Foundation). At Pershing we believe that it is important for employees to be able to balance their life at work and at home, as having an equal balance can lead to a motivated and retained workforce. Legalisation plays a vital role on how work-life balance can be implemented. The Working Time Regulations (1998) means that an employee cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average; meaning all employees can ensure they participate in personal external activities outside of the workplace, which in turn should reward Pershing with a dedicated and committed workforce.

4.0 Four areas of legal support given to the employee as a family member. 4.1 Pershing very much supports legislation that can offer legal support to employees with families. Firstly there is the support of the Paternity & Adoption Leave Regs 2002; this legislation allows employees to take paid adoption leave following their choice to adopt a child.

4.2 Secondly, the Maternity & Parental Leave Regs 1999. Maternity allows female employees to have the basic rights including, time off for anti natal care, not to be unfairly dismissed, and the choice to return to work after their child has been born. Parental leave provides the right for employees to take unpaid leave to support dependants in an emergency which we at Pershing fully support.

4.3 Thirdly, the Flexible Working 1997; this legislation provides a statutory right for employees to request flexible working. At Pershing this is seen in the form of a change to working hours, working times, and which location the employee is based.

4.4 Finally, the Employment Act 2002 which includes Paternity Leave. This entitles employees to take Statutory Paternity Leave (2 Weeks). Pershing will grant this leave as long as employees can provide documentation to support the child’s birth and give the required notice.

5.0 Two reasons that justify treating employees fairly in relation to pay 5.1 The purpose of the Equal Pay Act 1970 is to eliminate discrimination between men and women in terms of pay. One reason that justifies treating employees fairly in relation to pay is that lower earnings make it harder for women to take care of their families. A report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that if women were paid fairly, single women’s income would rise by 13.4%, single mothers would earn 17% more. “This would greatly increase the ability of women from all economic backgrounds to provide basic support to their families”. (Smith 2009). If salaries are particularly lower for women this would reflect in their benefits package, however at Pershing these benefits are based on the annual salary, and salaries are benchmarked to job levels which are assigned to the role. This ensures salaries are fair for the job being performed, regardless of gender, race, or age, to ensure there is no discrimination among employees.

5.2 The psychological contract can have a significant impact on the organization, if employees feel they are not treated fairly in relation to pay. At Pershing a case occurred where an employee felt they were not being paid what they deemed to be fair, which resulted in decreased morale, lack of customer service, and early departure from the organisation.

6.0 Four areas of discrimination legalisation

6.1 Direct discrimination is whereby an employer directly discriminates on the grounds of the person’s age, race, sex, disability, religion or sexual orientation. At Pershing all employees are treated equally by not discriminating between an older candidate and a younger candidate going for the same job.

6.2 Indirect discrimination occurs when the discrimination is less obvious than something direct such as sex. An example which occurred at Pershing was a change to a shift system that meant that staff who previously started at 6am and finished at 2pm now had to start at 8pm and finish at 5pm. A mother may be able to claim she has suffered indirect sex discrimination, as the shift changes particularly disadvantage women who may wish to collect children from school.

6.3 Victimisation in a discrimination context is where an employer treats an employee less favourably for one reason or another. At Pershing an employee had given evidence in connection to a discrimination claim, and 6 months later they felt that they were being victimised by their line manager due to these events that had happened.

6.4 Harassment is where an employer or an employee violates another person’s dignity or creates an uncomfortable or offensive environment for them. This situation has not yet arisen at Pershing but The Harassment Act was introduced in 1997 to protect individuals from harassment situations in and out of the workplace.

7.0 Good practice that underpin organisational policies and can contribute to the psychological contract. “The beliefs individuals hold regarding the terms and conditions of the exchange agreement between themselves and their organisations”. Rousseau (1989). The function of the psychological contract is to reduce insecurity, as not all aspects of the employment relationship are addressed in a formal written contract; the psychological contract is a concept that attempts to balance mutual expectations and encourage discretionary effort. “The psychological contract gives employees a feeling of influence on what happens to them in the organisation” (McFarlane Shore and Tetrick 1994) David Guest believes that managers are at the centre of performance management, and “establishing and maintaining a positive psychological contract, is essential to organisational performance”. (CIPD 2005). For example at Pershing, a line manager promised full responsibility on a project to an employee but did not deliver, therefore the trust was affected, the psychological contract was broken resulting in decreased loyalty, lack of discretionary effort and an earlier exit.

8.0 Fair and unfair dismissal

9.0 Exit interviews

9.1 The exit interview at Pershing provides an opportunity to allow the employer and employee to express and capture their reasons for leaving. Exit interviews can sometimes prove difficult to collect information, as some employees prefer, or are not willing to disclose their reasons for leaving or any problems they have had.

9.2 The importance of an exit interview to employers is that, if conducted well provide an excellent opportunity for Pershing to gain insight into employees’ perceptions of the organisation overall, underlying workplace issues and managerial leadership.

9.3 The importance of an exit interview for the employee is to voice their views on their working experience during their time at Pershing. This also gives them a chance to suggest improvements to their role and to draw a line under their employment relationship.

10 Managing redundancies

10.1 A redundancy occurs when an employee is dismissed which is out of the control of the employer, this could be a closure of a line of business, location move, or job diminishment. During the past year, Pershing have made many employees redundant due to a diminishment of their role or a workplace move from the UK to Liverpool/India. Pershing have to be able to prove that a redundancy situation exists to ensure a cost save to the business.

10.2 The following stages are met by Pershing when managing the redundancy.

The first stage of redundancy is planning, whereby HR and line managers liaise to discuss the departmental structure. This is where the risk of redundancy at Pershing becomes apparent. The next stage is fairly identifying the pool of employees that are due to be put at risk by devising redundancy selection criteria. The next stage is to inform the employees and hold a consultation meeting. Once we consult the employees that they are at risk of redundancy, this is followed by at least one further consultation meeting. As the employer we must be seen to consider any argument that the employee puts forward. If redundancy occurs employees will be informed in writing and be given an explanation of the redundancy payment that they will receive. The employee is then able to appeal against the decision, to show that we have actively considered alternative employment within the company for the employee.

If there isn’t alternative employment and no appeals have been made, the next stage is to make the redundancy payment. After a redundancy has been carried out, employees can often feel deflated, so at Pershing advice is offered on seeking alternative employment and in some cases counseling is suggested.

Conclusion To conclude, this assignment has shown that Pershing have clear policies and procedures in place. By having these procedures in place Pershing can deal with issues that arise by having a clear structure to follow e.g. redundancies, disciplinary or exit interviews. Pershing has also shown that they abide by the Equalities Act 2010 and protect the umbrella of characteristics such as discrimination on the grounds of age, race, sex, disability, religion or sexual orientation. By having strong organisational policies and practices in place, Pershing are more able to support and maintain a healthy psychological contract, which results in employees feeling motivated, high performance levels and reduced absenteeism. The organisation is then better placed to delivery on its aim to be.

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