Does discrimination employment law apply to recruitment in the UK?

If you are considering setting up a UK company, you might have some questions about UK law and recruitment. Whilst you might have some grasp of your legal obligations after you have taken on employees, it can be difficult to navigate what is required before the employment relationship is established. This post looks at some things recruiters should consider when setting up a UK company.

What is considered discrimination in recruitment? 

If you set up a company in the UK, your business has a responsibility to make sure that no unlawful discrimination takes place during the recruitment process. Unlawful discrimination means negative treatment of a candidate on the grounds of disability, age, gender reassignment, maternity and/or pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief and sex or sexual orientation.

Can I refuse to give an interview on the grounds of a protected characteristic? 

No. Although the candidate may have simply given a CV or contacted you about the job, it is unlawful not to consider them for the job simply on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics listed above. You may, of course, refuse candidates with a protected characteristics if they are not suitable for the job, for example, if they do not have the qualifications or skills required.

Can I ask questions about a protected characteristic in an interview? 

Generally, you may not ask about protected characteristics in an interview. For example, you may not ask whether a candidate is married, has children or whether they plan to have children. You may, however, ask about a health condition or disability where there are job requirements that cannot be met by the candidate unless you make reasonable adjustment to the workplace or working practices, you are taking positive steps to recruit someone with a disability, or where you need to find out if the candidate needs assistance to attend another stage of the selection process.

What can I do if I am unsure? 

Goodwille has assisted hundreds of companies all over the world in understanding the law and recruitment practices of the countries we operate in. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

We’re recruiting – HR Advisor

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are looking for a HR Advisor to provide our extensive international client base with a full spectrum of high quality and compliant UK employment law. Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Delivering HR advice to clients directly and through colleagues
  • Acting as the HR advisor to some of Europe’s most exciting start-ups
  • Drafting & reviewing HR documentation and agreements
  • Covering HR issues including employee relations, organisation design, policies, procedures, implementation of contracts, benefits, benchmarking, recruitment & training solutions.
  • Ensuring quality standards & SLA’s are met
  • Supporting departments with adhoc requests

The applicant should be experienced working as part of a HR department, either as part of an inhouse team or outsourced advisor. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of, and involved in developing and expanding the offering of Goodwilles newest department.

Reporting to the HR Manager you will be expected to confidently provide HR advice independently, whilst covering for the HR Manager as required. Although an international language is not mandatory, being able to speak a Nordic language would be beneficial. In joining us, you will become part of a close-knit and growing HR team, and part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to work in.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

  • Office fruit every week
  • Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
  • Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
  • Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
  • Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
  • Yoga (London only by colleague

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact jacqui.brown@goodwille.com
www.goodwille.com

We’re recruiting – Office Assistant

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are looking for an Office Assistant who thrives on providing great customer service to join our Front of House team. Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Meeting & Greeting visitors
  • Post handling & telephone answering
  • Meeting room bookings
  • Supporting a busy reception area
  • Support clients with administrative tasks
  • Working with onboarding new clients
  • Liaising with suppliers
  • Order Handling & Sales Processing
  • Supporting departments with adhoc requests

The applicant should be computer literate, have an strong understanding of the Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word & Excel) and experience working within an administration/reception role. You should be passionate about providing great customer service and be able to confidently work independently to ensure the smooth running of the reception area. In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to work in.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
• Yoga (London only by colleague)

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Warwick
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact edith.ewald@goodwille.com
www.goodwille.com

We’re recruiting – Financial Controller

Location: London  (Kensington)
Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Financial Administration, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are currently looking for an aspiring finance professional, preferably fluent in Swedish, to join our talented Financial Administration (FinAd) team as a Financial Controller.

You will be responsible for
• your own portfolio of international clients
• day-to-day financial controller support to your clients
• producing a number of weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly reports on behalf of your clients
• control over cash flow, preparation of accounts for audits, assist accountants with year-end work, and compile VAT returns and EC Sales Lists
• some task supervision but this is a hands on role with you being responsible for maintaining quality standards

Reporting to the Senior Financial Controller and primarily working with your colleagues in the FinAd team, you will also find yourself liaising with all other departments, such as HR, Payroll and Company Secretarial departments on a regular basis, attending frequent team, company and client meetings.

Having, or working towards, an accountancy qualification is a prerequisite, as well as the kind of excellent communication and customer focus skills that will allow you to explain financial information to the team and, more importantly, your clients at all levels.
An excellent working knowledge of accounting software and Microsoft office (particularly excel) are essential. International or cross border experience would be an advantage.

In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment in which to accelerate your career in finance and accounting.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
• Yoga (London only by colleague)

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact kevin.rutter@goodwille.com.

Meet Jacqui Brown

Jacqui Brown is a Senior HR Advisor here at Goodwille, who is working on supporting and growing our HR department. For the past six years
Goodwille have provided in-house specialist HR advice and support services to UK businesses, and foreign businesses looking to expand into the UK. Jacqui previously worked in the HR department of a large Financial Services & International Management consultancy – we thought it would be good for you to know her better.

Jacqui spared us 60 seconds, so we could find out what’s hot and what’s not, whilst getting some interview advice from a sector specialist:

1) Any advice from a previous boss that sticks with you?
Never walk out of a door that you know you can’t walk back through again.

2) What did you want to be when you grew up?
Hmm, when I was very young (pre discovering I had two left feet), I wanted to be a dancer. I had a good imagination!

3) Tell us a fact about you!
I played the role of Oliver in a school play – the part of a little boy when I was 17……

4) Something someone said in an interview that’s made you cringe?
Nothing in particular that stands out, aside from whenever the terms ‘reaching out’ are used…that is always cringe worthy. I find it more irritating when someone has not done their research, they give a blanket statement that they think the company looks really ‘good’ or ‘interesting’, yet cannot tell you anything about what they know when asked. It is uncomfortable for both the interviewer and interviewee when the applicant cannot think of an answer to a question. Also ranting about a previous company and how horrific it is can also be a little uncomfortable!

5) Your favourite all time film?
It very much depends on my mood….tricky one! I’ll say my favourite film today is Amelie.

6) Something that you hate
Butter and margarine (and parsnips)!

7) What is an absolute not to do in an interview?
• Don’t fail to prepare! Know about the Company – LinkedIn, Company websites etc are great sources of information, think about how your experience links.
• Don’t dress inappropriately, dress in relation to the Industry of the Company you are meeting
• Don’t stress too much, this can lead to poor communication skills (both failure to speak and on the flipside, over communicating (rambling))! Try to enjoy the meeting, remember you want to make a positive impression on the person you are meeting.
• Don’t answer your phone/handle your phone during the interview. Pop it safely in your bag or pocket (on silent)!
• Don’t bad mouth your past colleagues/Company
• Don’t omit to listen to the question – make sure you are answering the correct question!

8) Finally, Rock or Pop?
Rock


The HR department at Goodwille can act as a fully outsourced HR function, making sure you are up-to-date with best practice HR. Our knowledge and experience, particularly in helping overseas companies understand the complications of UK employment law, has been crucial to businesses setting up here. Our services include:

• Drawing up contracts of employment / appraisals / reviews
• Reference checking / training
• Salary benchmarking and benefits advice
• Payroll and expenses administration
• Legislation in multiple jurisdictions
• UK secondment agreements and applications
• UK PAYE and National Insurance compliance
• Pensions and benefits schemes
• Administration of corporate and personal taxation
• Liaising with tax authorities / Annual declarations
• Car leasing, mobile phone contracts and any other support you need

Please contact us to talk about any current arrangements which you have in place which will be affected – Anni or Jacqui in our HR Team: hr.support@goodwille.com

Goodwille HR Department

Important changes are coming into effect which may affect you as an employee or employer.

Salary Sacrifice
From 6 April 2017, a shift in legislation means that the tax exemptions for most benefits will be lost if provided under a salary sacrifice or flexible benefits arrangement. The only benefits to retain their salary sacrifice tax exemption will be Pensions, Childcare Vouchers, Cycle to Work scheme bicycles and Low Carbon Emission vehicles. This means that Employers will need to look at how they offer benefits such as Private Medical Schemes where perhaps family members are added via salary sacrifice, Gym memberships, Season Ticket Loans to name a few. Arrangements entered into pre 6 April 2017 will be honoured until April 2018 or until the scheme/arrangement renewal date – whichever date is earliest.

Apprenticeships
A hot topic currently is Apprenticeships.

From 6 April 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new Apprenticeship Levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers. All employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, will be required to invest in apprenticeships, regardless of whether they hire apprentices or not.

This means that for those Companies who do qualify to pay the Levy, they will be required to use the Apprenticeship Service for assessment and training of apprentices from April 2017. For those Companies who do not qualify for payment of the Levy, they will not need to use the Apprenticeship Service until 2018.

Please contact us to talk about any current arrangements which you have in place which may be affected – Anni or Jacqui in our HR Team: hr.support@goodwille.com

Why you should be outsourcing your HR department?

If your company is looking to expand to the UK, or if you’ve recently expanded but aren’t reaping the rewards you expected, it could be time to consider outsourcing. Outsourcing can help you save money and gain expert skills you lack in your business. And when your base of operations is outside the UK, outsourcing is particularly beneficial when it comes to HR. Here’s why:

Risk management

HR is a field filled with legal risks, and these risks are heightened when your local HR team is trying to deal with issues abroad. Changes to employment and labour laws are always occurring and can be difficult to keep up with – even if you’re located in the same country! It’ll be much easier to stay on the right side of the law, and keep your British employees happy, if you have a team at your disposal that are experts in everything, from PAYE and National Insurance to pension schemes and contracts.

Efficiency

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is improved efficiency. As the HR team you hire specialise in providing UK HR services to overseas companies, they will know the quickest and best ways to get tasks, such as payroll, done. However, you’ll only enjoy more efficient work processes if you choose your outsourcing provider wisely. Make sure you research your options thoroughly and look for feedback from previous clients to help you identify a provider you can trust, such as Goodwille.

Reduce costs

Done properly, outsourcing your HR department can drastically reduce costs. Leading on from the previous two points, by making your HR systems more efficient and reducing legal risks, your business will see costs lowered. Time won’t be wasted researching the latest employment legislation, an improved system will be put in place by the HR experts, and everything will run more smoothly overall.

If you’re ready to enjoy all these benefits and more, contact the team at Goodwille today. With years of experience in helping businesses expand to the UK and over 1,500 happy customers over the years, you can rest assured we’ll have all your UK HR issues under control.

Summary of HR Legislation changes for 2016

Gender Pay Gap Audit:
Employers need to start preparing. Initially the ruling was that at ‘sometime’ during 2016, companies with employees of more than 250 would need to run a gender pay audit and publish the results! Now this has been pushed to 2018 (recent development) however a snapshot of the data must be taken in 2017. Look out for the government’s response to the ‘Closing the Gender pay Gap’ consultation which will determine the final policy.

The National Living Wage:
Set to come into force in April 2016, starting at £7.20 and rising to £9 p/h by 2020, the National Living Wage is already proving divisive. 54% of employers expect their pay bill to rise when the NLW is introduced, almost 1/3 are planning to improve efficiency and productivity in response. This will no longer be a voluntary option for employers for those 25 years and older. Some suggestion (CIPD) is that employers may look to employ more under 25’s to combat the increase……some diversity and discrimination issues may be on the horizon!

Sunday Working Hours:
From this Autumn, local authorities and city mayors in England and Wales can extend Sunday trading hours, allowing shops to stay open for longer than the current 6 trading hours. Workers will be able to opt out of Sunday working by giving one months’ notice (rather than 3 months which they currently must give when opting out).

Not legislation, but issues HR should be aware of:
Stress related absence and mental illness in the organisation. CIPD has found that a continued lack of manager training (a stressed employees first point of call is their boss) is contributing to the ongoing issue along with increased workloads and 24 hour access to technology leading to employees becoming unable to switch off. According to the Health and Safety Executive, 9.9 million days were lost to work related stress, depression or anxiety last year, therefore this should be a focal area for HR to look at more mental health initiatives catered for more organisational wellbeing packages and a more supportive corporate culture (as well as signposts for employees to access appropriate help). CIPD have also suggested a policy on stress.

Cyber security – Increasing the organisations cyber security. There have been some high profile data breaches recently (Morrison’s facing a legal claim from 2000 employees whose data was leaked from a disgruntled employee, in 2014 Sony Pictures was also involved in a huge hacking scandal).

For more information on how this might effect you, please contact our Senior HR Advisor, Jacqui Brown (jacqui.brown@goodwille.com)