Agile Monthly Newsletter – July 2021

 

 

July Newsletter 2021

 

 

 

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Beware the Bantersaurus Rex

 

 

 

As the dust settles after the emotional rollercoaster of the Euro football tournament, we can look back with a combination of delight and horror at the passion it brought out of us a nation. The heady combination of patriotic camaraderie, competitive spirit, national identity and alcohol had 98% of us (don’t quote me on that statistic) talking football as if we were BBC One pundits, but without Gary Lineker’s chart-topping salary.

Of course, particularly after our defeat in the final, we saw the ugly and jingoistic side of the sport’s fans; a small percentage of tantruming louts who were not taught how to be gracious in defeat by their parents.

This brings me, perhaps long-windedly, to the topic at hand: ‘banter’. A word now so over-used and abused that it brings a shudder to every HR professional across the land. I urge you as a responsible employer and as a colleague, to act out ‘banter’ with extreme caution. It’s a word that became popular approximately a decade ago, and in that time has become synonymous with offensive words or behaviour, dressed down to allow the perpetrator to get away with otherwise unacceptable actions.

There is an exceedingly fine balance to strike when ‘joshing’ with ones colleagues. To the return to the football analogy I used earlier, we have all playfully teased colleagues or friends who support different teams to ourselves, verbally sparring on the skill of our best (and worst) players. This is entirely acceptable. I am not suggesting a 0% tolerance on workplace camaraderie! However, what I am suggesting, is to avoid this playfulness in relation to personal attributes such as nationality, religion or sexuality.

There are a plethora of examples where a naïve colleague has landed their employer in a tribunal with poorly-worded, ill-considered ‘banter’. The reason why this is an issue, other than the obvious problem of having offended someone, is the associated cost. And that cost would be in the guise of a direct discrimination claim, a very pricy affair. To give you an idea; the highest sum awarded to an employee in the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 was £265,719 for a disability discrimination claim. This was closely followed by an award of £243,636 for an age discrimination claim. ‘But I was just joking!’ I hear you exclaim. Undoubtedly, you had no vicious intentions. However, if the judge fails to see the funny side of ‘banter’, you will be paying a very high price.

 

 

 

 If you want to discuss any of the above, please contact
lydia@agilehrconsulting.com

 

 

 

 

Right to Work in the UK Checklist

All UK employers are required by law to carry out initial right to work checks on each individual worker they intend to hire, in order to prevent illegal working. Now with the United Kingdom out of the European Union, there have been several changes to the right to work checking system and the employer needs to ensure the correct process checks are fulfilled first.

It is an offence to knowingly employee anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK by reason of their immigration status. Employers can face a penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegally employed worker who does not have the right to work in the UK and where correct right to work checks were not undertaken.

Employers may conduct either a physical document check or perform an online check to establish their employees right to work.
Here is some advice on what types of documents to accept and how to conduct physical and online checks to ensure your business is compliant;

  1. Obtain the Applicants original documents

When carrying out manual right to work checks, you must request to see the applicant’s original documents.
Here is a link to the Home Office right to work checklist that sets out the types of documents that can be accepted for a physical check: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checklist
Acceptable documents are categorized into the 2 lists and employers must obtain documents from either List A or List B when performing a physical right to work check.

List A
Documents under this list show that the holder is not subject to immigration control and has no restrictions on their stay, therefore they have an ongoing right to work in the UK. This includes all UK citizens, EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who have been granted settled status and non-EEA nationals holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (IRL).

List B
Documents under List B show that holders right to be in the UK is time limited or there are restrictions on their right to work. This includes all non- UK Nationals who are subject to immigration controls

Temporary Changes
As a result of the Pandemic there are temporary changes to viewing an applicants’ original documents.  These changes were made on 30th March 2021 and remain in place until 31st August 2021 (inclusive):

  • Checks can currently be carried out over video calls
  • Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents using email or a mobile app
  • Employers should use the Employer checking service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents: https://www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status
  1. Check the documents are genuine

Once you have obtained the acceptable document you must check the document are genuine and the person presenting them is the employee and have permission to the work.

  • Are photographs consistent across documents and the person appearance
  • Dates of birth correct
  • Check work restrictions
  • Are you satisfied the document is genuine and not been tampered with?
  • Have you checked the reason for different names across document?

Conducting an online right to work check
Employers can use the online checking services for employees who hold:

  • Biometric residence permit
  • Biometric residence card
  • Status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Status under the Points based immigration system

The steps are:

  1. Visit https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
  2. Satisfy yourself that any photograph on the online right to work check of is of the individual
  3. Retain a clear copy of the response provided by the online right to work check and store that response securely either electronically or in hard copy for the duration of employment and for two years afterwards.


The most significant change to the right to work checking system is for the EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals, these became effective from 01st July 2021;

  1. All workers from out the UK and Ireland now require a visa/evidence of a right to work in the UK
  2. Irish citizens can continue to use their passport or passport card to prove their right to work.
  3. EU citizens that were living in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 should have applied for EU settlement status and will provide evidence of this at the point we employ them.
  4. EU citizens that arrive in the UK from January 2021 onwards must have applied for a visa before arriving, which from 1st July 2021, we will need to see before we employ.
  5. Non-EU citizens will continue to obtain visas much as they do currently, although some job types will need sponsorship under the skilled worker rules.


Advice, supporting and training on Right to Work checks
If you have questions on Right to Work checks or are needing support on maintaining ongoing compliance, Agile HR can help, contact petra@agilehrconsulting.com
We can provide tailored advice and training for your business to ensure your company is fully compliant and up to date with the latest guidance on right work checks.

 

 

 

 

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