Staying Open and Safe

As the social distancing rules start to relax and more businesses start to re-open in July the focus on ‘staying safe’ and practising good health and safety measures is of the upmost importance.

Changes to the ‘Furlough’ scheme from the 1st July allow business to offer a gradual return to work for employees ‘flexible furlough’ to accommodate the business whilst still receiving support from the government funding. This scheme is due to be phased out in October in its entirety.

The following focus points remain :-

• You are encouraged to keep working and where possible to work from home if you can.

• Only travel to work when you are unable to work from home.

• Where public transport is used face coverings are now a requirement.

• Whilst in the workplace you need to observe the social distancing guidelines where possible. (For the latest information and guidance please visit the GOV.UK website)

• Carry out good housekeeping practises, keeping hand sanitizers/washing facilities available

• Communicate clearly with your staff at all times to allay any fears

• If you show any signs of COVID 19 then you must self isolate for 7 days. By contacting the NHS a test can be provided and where possible the tracing of those you have been in contact with can be made. Full provided on the NHS website

By ensuring best practise is followed at all times businesses can remain open giving confidence to both their employees and to their clients.

For further advice on any of the above employment matters, please do contact mechange.

Engaging with your Workforce

Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we pay attention to engaging with our workforce to enable the workplace to move forward positively following lockdown.

Keeping engaged with your staff is a big commitment and requires time and effort on your part. However, the results of long-term commitment from your team will help towards the well-being of your staff. In turn this leads to fewer mistakes, reduction in sickness and absence, greater productivity, and customer satisfaction.

To achieve results engagement must be aligned with the business strategy. Implementing unplanned ideas and activities only has short term impact, good engagement strategy needs to be embedded into the culture of your business to see the long-term results.

The following tips will help you on your way to achieving good engagement:-

• Create knowledge sharing – help maintain key skills within the workplace without solo reliance
• Encourage wider involvement in projects – seeking input and sharing views
• Set financial goals – reward
• Create learning opportunities – improving your employee’s skillset has a positive effect for both parties
• Incorporate some fun activities
• Give something back – charity Initiatives
• Share ideas – encourage innovation
• Communication – sharing/feedback

Through the implementation of some of these ideas positive engagement can be achieved but the long-term commitment from you is key to getting the desired results.

If you would like some help to start looking into how you can engage better with your team please contact me. I will be happy to make an assessment without any obligation, so what have you got to lose.


Back to Work

Following the government guidance from the 13th May the UK lockdown has started to ease and we are now seeing an increase in businesses returning to work.

For many businesses this has meant recalling staff back from ‘furlough’ which is causing a dilemma in itself:-

• Who should be re-called, first furloughed first back
• Do we require full or partial return

For employees and employers alike returning to the workplace can be trickier than first imagined and therefore you may find the following approach helpful:-

• Firstly ensure that you are able to adhere to the ‘Health and Safety’ guidelines. Avoid      hot desks, ensure that social distancing can be maintained and provide screens where appropriate
• Maintain/implement new ways of working to include from home where possible
• Ask for volunteers to return to work initially, allowing those who are shielding or looking after dependants to hold back if preferred
• Consider who has the right skill set requirements
• Ensure you communicate to staff your intentions i.e. measures taken, reasoning behind  your decisions etc

If you still experience some reluctance by employees to return to the workplace do take the time to discuss this with them and try and understand their reasons for resistance. Often many issues can be overcome once you have taken time to talk things through.

For those employers who are unable to overcome these issues and refusal to return is maintained without good reason disciplinary steps may need to be taken and this in turn can have an unwelcome impact on your company.

If you require any advice on getting ‘back to work’ please do not hesitate to contact me when I will be happy to offer my help. Initial consultations of up to an hour are free.


Protecting your Workforce

As we start to reach the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK many companies have made, or are in the process of making, ‘furlough’ leave arrangements for their employees to ease the burden on their current cash flow.

As a business leader our priority is to maintain cash flow in order to keep the business afloat for future trading. However, let’s not forget the impact that some of these measures may be having on employees too.

Having discussed this over the last few weeks with some of those impacted, it has become apparent that the effect of ‘furlough’ for some is not dissimilar to that of being made ‘redundant’. This can be likened to a period of mourning, a sense of great loss.

The Coronavirus poses a real threat to both us and those around us. The working environment brings a sense of normality and purpose, work brings us together with colleagues.

Here are some tips to help keep morale up during such difficult times:-

• Keep in touch – regular communication with colleagues re-enforces the team ethic as a united front. It’s important that if some, or all of, the workforce are put on furlough that they are made to feel they are all playing a vital role in keeping the company going.

• 121’s – try and keep up with 121’s, a quick virtual meeting with your line manager can help ease any concerns

• Wellbeing – look at what support packages you could provide your workforce online to help with their general wellbeing.

It may not seem like it at the current time as we fight for survival to keep our heads above water but without our workforce waiting in the background, ready and able, the struggle to come back from this will be so much harder.

If you would like some further guidance or help during these difficult times on any of the above or other employment queries, please do get in contact with me. I am able to offer a free of charge one hour consultation with you to understand your business needs.



As a direct result of COVID – 19 businesses are finding themselves in a position where due to business interruption cash flow is becoming a serious issue.

To assist businesses at this time the government has set up the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ which is open between March and May (this will be reviewed). The scheme provides an alternative to offering ‘lay-off’ working or ‘redundancy’ to staff, helping businesses to retain their employees whilst providing financial support to them.

The scheme is available to all UK employers with a PAYE scheme in place and any employee who has been employed as of the 28th February 2020. Please visit the Government website for full details on how to make a claim.

Employees will be entitled to receive at least 80% of their current wage during ‘furlough’, capped at £2,500 gross per month. This may be topped up by the employer once agreed.
Furloughed employees will not be able to work for the employer during this time however, voluntary work is permitted as long as the work does not make any money for the business.

It will be necessary to obtain the employees express permission to be classed as a ‘furlough’ worker and a variation to their contract of employment should be put in place for good order. In some cases where over 20 employees are involved it may be necessary to carry out a consultation. However, if you already have a ‘lay off’ clause in your contract of employment you do not need agreement.

Should an employee not agree to ‘furlough’ working you should advise them that this could result in them being ‘laid-off’ or made ‘redundant’.

Following any period of ‘furlough’ working the employee can return to their duties where possible. However, it may be necessary for the employer to still consider ‘lay-off’ or ‘redundancy’ depending on their situation.

If you require any assistance with documentation or just some friendly advice please do contact me when I will be happy to help


Coronavirus in the Workplace

As Coronavirus is now increasing globally and the spread of the virus is growing daily there are increasing concerns for employers and employees alike.

Whereas we cannot foresee just how severely this outbreak will impact on individual businesses we can mitigate some of the fears surrounding work expectations. Employers have a duty of care under the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’ and therefore should take steps to protect their workforce.

Communication to your staff plays a vital role into keeping the workforce up to date and will help allay any immediate fears. Regular updates will ensure that all your workforce is fully aware of expectations and processes to follow over the forthcoming months.

Precautions recommended:-
Hygiene – Encourage your staff to wash their hands regularly and ensure supplies of soap and disposal hand towels are made available. Outline the symptoms to be aware of and process to follow if they feel they may be infected or have come into contact with someone who is infected.
Risk Assessments – should be carried out within businesses to ensure that they have the right policies and procedures in place to deal with absence.
Absence – Re-confirm the procedure steps to your managers so that absence can be reported and managed i.e. sickness, self-isolation, bereavement, caring for an independent, travel etc.
Absence reporting – re-iterate the guidelines to staff for awareness
Sick Pay – the Government have announced emergency legislation plans to be passed imminently entitling those eligible to SSP from day one. Statutory sick pay is currently set at £94.25 per week.
Confidentiality – under GDPR employers must ensure that employee data remains confidential. Grievances may be lodged if situations are not handled delicately so ensure your process takes care of this.

The risks will inevitably continue to change as we face new phases of the virus spread so be sure to continue to update your staff.

If you would like any assistance implementing any of the above or have a question that isn’t covered please contact me at


Employment Law – April 2020

The following is a snapshot of upcoming changes with effect from April 2020:-employment-law-1024x683

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018

This will give employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ leave following the death of a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks’ pregnancy, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.

Changes to written statements of Employment

With effect from 6th April 2020:-
• All workers will have a right to a written statement of employment
• A statement of employment must be provided on or before the first date of employment
• Additional information to be disclosed:-
a, hours and days of the week the employee/worker is required to work
b, entitlement to any paid leave
c, any other benefits
d, details of probationary period
e, details of training to be provided

Changes to holiday pay calculations

From the 6th April 2020, the reference period to calculate a ‘weeks pay’ for holiday pay purposes will be extended to 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

Please note that changes are also being made to ‘agency workers’ rights and to the ‘Information and Consultations of Employees’ regulations. For full details please either contact me or refer to the ACAS guidelines.

Dealing with Coronavirius – Covid 19
As we face an uncertain period of time with the outbreak of Coronavirus please visit the ACAS website for some useful and practical information on how to deal with this within your business.

Time to Talk

I am writing this blog on ‘Time to Talk’ day 2020

3d people partner.
Some of us find talking about our personal life and troubles difficult and many of us still believe that your personal issues should not enter the workplace. However, no matter how hard we try to carry on as normal our feelings do impact on our work which can result in poor concentration and in some cases absence issues.
Our colleagues around us are equally impacted by our mood within the workplace. If we are feeling low we may appear very negative to new ideas and unwilling to help others, which in turn can drag a team down.
Time to talk day is trying to encourage us to change our mindset and help us to understand that by taking the time to talk to others in an understanding manner can not only help that individual feel supported but reflect on the mood within the workplace in a more positive way. This in turn creates greater productivity.
We are not expected to solve any personal issues and we must be aware that we are not all experts in dealing with mental health issues but by opening up some communication in a supportive manner can make a real difference.
Make sure you raise awareness in the workplace and consider upskilling your teams to support one another, the results will be rewarding. If you would like some further advice or help on this issue please contact me when I will be happy to help.

Embracing Change

changeFor many of us after the Christmas festivities its back to day to day life as we know it, setting new goals for the year ahead and looking forward to new challenges.

However, spare a thought for those that are now facing a more uncertain year ahead. With businesses under increased pressure within our local communities the security of our jobs is uncertain.

Many local high street shops will be forced to close after the years trading as lack of support from shoppers sees online trading remaining a real threat to retailers. Businesses are looking to consolidate their asset’s by merging with like organisations leading to closure of offices and creating further unemployment.

This is not only an economically difficult time for business but the effects on family life can prove very challenging.

If you find yourself in caught up in this situation NJM HR Consulting will be happy to provide you with sound advice to help you back on your feet whether you’re are a business or an individual. It is important to stay positive and ride through the storm with positivity, you are not alone!

Please contact me for a chat to see how I can help you move forward positively into the New Year.

How to avoid the office party drama’s!


As December fast approaches and the countdown to Christmas begins, we start to plan the festivities for over the holiday period.

The office Christmas party seems first to appear in the social calendar offering a way to bring teams together to show your appreciation for all their hard work over the year.

However, the office party can be a risky event for an employer, as the drink flows often work-related frustrations come to the surface.

So, as employers, how can you help to ensure that all your staff have a good time without the dramas?

  • A gentle reminder to all employees in advance of the event explaining that despite this being an out of hours event the employee policies for misconduct still apply – its wise to re-distribute this to all beforehand
  • Encourage staff to look out for colleagues that may be drinking in excess to manage their behaviour
  • Consider how much free alcohol is supplied at the event
  • Where possible supply transport
  • Ensure your social media policy is up to date, you don’t really want to see any compromising pictures appearing

Just by following the above steps can help avoid any headaches after the event. If you do find yourself in need of a little advice though please do contact me when I’d be happy to help.