Free Movement of People – Individual Mobility

By law, this freedom is called “Freedom of Workers”. We have expanded the notion here as in practice, it relates to more than just EU workers and includes for example family members and jobseekers, but also students and unemployed Union citizens. We have picked out the three most relevant categories here below.

Brexit for Employees

There has been a lot of speculation over the past 2 years around Brexit which has perhaps meant that many non-British citizens are questioning the security of their current situation in the UK. The key information is that there will be no change to the legal rights of EU nationals living in the UK until at least 31st December 2020, or later if there is an extension.

In December 2017, the UK Government announced that an agreement had been reached with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, whereby EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” (see below) when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. However, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19th March 2019 confirmed that free movement of people will be extended to the start of 2021. This recent assurance means that EU Nationals arriving in the UK would be able to stay in the UK indefinitely and also access work permits via the new immigration regime.

Did you know…

  • Currently, citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland plus any non EEA family members can live and work in the UK and do not need any specific permission to do so at present, however in the interests of security and perhaps reassurance, it could be beneficial to formally request documentation.
  • There are pro’s and cons regarding applying for Permanent Residency at this time and also criteria as to whether an individual has this option open to them, i.e. one stipulation is that an individual must have been a continuous resident in the UK for 5 years or more.
  • Currently anyone who is an EU citizen living and working in the UK does not have to make an application to preserve their rights at this time; and indeed the Home Office are encouraging EU citizens to not make applications just now as they are inundated with applications.
  • There will however be the need to demonstrate via documentation in the future that an individual has the right to live and work in the UK. This could be via Permanent Residency, British Citizenship or Visa, but the longer term plan would be that individuals who do not hold visa status will apply for Settled Worker status (which will be discussed later in the newsletter). Those currently holding Permanent Residency will also need to apply for Settled Worker status.
  • Key areas which individuals may want to consider are whether they wish to be British (British Citizenship or Settled Worker), whether they would like the right to vote in the UK, whether holding dual citizenship is a possibility, whether they have EU family members who they would like to bring with them to live in the UK (as the British Immigration rules may be more restrictive than those currently enforced under the EU) and their taxation status.

Brexit for Employers

As discussed above, immediate uncertainties over the immigration status post-Brexit were addressed in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement confirming EU citizens’ rights to remain unchanged until 31st December 2020. As previously, this means for the moment there is no issue for EU nationals to live and work in the UK. Irrespective of the recent assurances, employers need to think about future proofing their business, which of course means looking at how the company can support both current non British employees and also potential hires from outside the UK.

Some thoughts to bear in mind:

  • Consider the workforce and how many non-British employees are in the business or British employees who may have non-British spouses.
  • What can your business afford by way of assistance? Consider presentations explaining the current status re immigration and Brexit and also presentations to assist with applications. Perhaps you can afford to pay for some legal support for employees who may be affected?
  • When you are hiring non-British employees, consider that they may wish to have some reassurance from you that post Brexit, should they not be in a position to stay and work in the UK that they will have some support, this could be by way of a clause in a contract, legal assistance, relocation package etc.
  • There is an expectation that there will still be a high requirement for EU talent in the UK post Brexit. There is a continuing skills shortage in the UK particularly within Tech.
  • There may be a greater need for UK Companies to apply for sponsorship licences to perhaps cover both EU talent and also of course talent from outside of the EU (as is current practice).
  • There are an expanded list of sponsorship licence categories and Companies need to decide which (if any) are more appropriate for them if needed.
  • There is an expectation that there will be greater restrictions on low skilled workers looking to work in the UK with visa’s capped at 2 years. This cap is also to extend to high skill workers with some visa categorisations, where they will be able to stay for 5 years without settlement status.
  • Companies should think about ensuring they are tightening up their compliance checks, including Right to Work checks (which are the minimum which an employer has a responsibility to carry out currently). Compliance is extremely important for sponsorship licences and failure to comply could mean loss of licences and the personnel sponsored by the Company.

Settled Worker Status

In December 2017, the Government announced that it had reached an agreement with the European Commission on citizens’ rights, under which EU citizens arriving in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be entitled to apply for “settled status” when they have five years’ continuous residence in the UK. This will give them the right to stay indefinitely. Settled Status is currently known as Permanent Residence, however those currently living and working in the UK under a Permanent Residence agreement will need to also apply for Settled Status.

Applicants who are not able to give evidence of five years’ continuous residence necessary to obtain settled status, but who can evidence that they were resident before the specified date, will be given temporary status. This means that they will be given the opportunity to build up the required longevity of residency to be able to apply for Settled Status.

 


If you have any questions about Individual Mobility,
get in touch with Jacqui Brown,
HR Manager at Goodwille. 

jacqui.brown@goodwille.com

 


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Changes to Childcare Vouchers – Join a Childcare Voucher Scheme before 6 April 2018

There will be changes to childcare vouchers from 6 April this year. Make sure to join a childcare voucher scheme before this date to offer your employees childcare vouchers as an attractive employee benefit.

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are an employee benefit offered by employers to help with approved childcare costs, for example a staff nursery. Employees can take up to £55 a week of their wages as childcare vouchers, which they don’t pay tax or National Insurance on. Per year, this adds up to around £1,000 that each parent can save on childcare costs. For businesses – offering childcare vouchers instead of offering to cover childcare costs for your employees can save the company up to £402 per year per parent.

Changes to childcare vouchers

From 6 April 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. This means that employers who want to offer their employees childcare vouchers as an employee benefit must join a childcare voucher scheme before this date. The changes only apply to new applicants, and will not have an effect on companies and employees already registered on a scheme. Employees of companies who join the childcare voucher scheme before 6 April can keep getting vouchers as long as they stay with the same employer and the employer continues to run the scheme, and they don’t take an unpaid career break of longer than a year.

Offering benefit schemes such as childcare vouchers is a way to attract employees, as it can cover living costs without incurring any tax for the employee. It can also save your business money, so it’s worth having a look at joining a childcare voucher scheme now before it is too late.

Goodwille can guide you through the changes to childcare vouchers and the effects this might have on you, your employees and your business. We can also help you with joining a childcare voucher scheme, and other employee benefit schemes.
Get in touch with us today if you want to know more.

Hiring UK Employees: What is considered a disability in equality legislation?

If you are thinking of entering the UK market, it is likely you will have some questions about hiring employees in the UK. All employees in the UK are protected by the Equality Act 2010. The act protects those with a disability from suffering detrimental treatment in the recruitment process, and in the course of their employment, as a result of their disability. However, not all disabilities are obvious and so it is important for employers to understand what amounts to a disability under the law, to ensure you are compliant with your obligations under the Equality Act 2010. This post looks at some of the things you might not be aware of in relation to employees with a disability.

What amounts to a disability under the law? 

Under the Equality Act, a disability is described as being a mental or physical impairment which has a “substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. Employers do not need to establish what the cause of the impairment is, or even categorise the impairment as physical or mental. Many disabilities cause both physical and mental impairment. Similarly, disabilities do not need to be apparent for the applicant or employee to qualify for protection under the Equality Act.

However, a disability must be long-term to qualify the candidate for such protection. Long-term is defined as lasting for one year or more, and likely to last the rest of the person’s life, or to reoccur. A disability does not have to be continually present to qualify, and may change in severity periodically.

There are exceptions for certain people on having to show a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. This applies specifically to those who have cancer, HIV, or multiple sclerosis. The Equality Act details that a person with any of these conditions is considered to have a disability from the day they are diagnosed. Furthermore, where a consultant ophthalmologist has certified a person as blind, severely sight-impaired, or partially sighted, the Equality Act defines that person as being disabled.

As you can see, discrimination and equality law can be complex, so it is always best to seek advice and assistance on matters that affect you. At Goodwille, we have several specialists with extensive HR experience who can advice you on equality legislation and any other issues or questions you may have regarding employees in the UK. Get in touch with us today for more information.

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

THIS VACANCY IS NOW FILLED. CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE.

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

Human resources management tips

If you’re planning to set up a UK company or open a UK office to expand your overseas operations, getting the best from your workforce will be crucial to your success.

In fact, there are usually just two reasons why your employees aren’t performing consistently at their best:

1. They can’t
2. They simply don’t want to

Your staff either lack that essential something that prevents them from performing with excellence, or they never achieve what they are capable of because they simply have no desire to do so.

It’s important that managers think about these causes as separate issues, requiring different approaches and strategies to remedy them.

Employees who don’t perform because they can’t

Sometimes, irrespective of how much you ask, demand, instruct or cajole your staff for a certain level of performance, you just don’t get it, because they simply are not able to give it to you. Some employees are masters of the ‘can’t’ syndrome as an excuse for laziness and lack of motivation.

Tackle this by asking them one question: “What makes it difficult for you to do your job in the way I’m asking you to, with excellence, consistently?”

There are four legitimate barriers that could be the problem: physical barriers, time barriers, wherewithal barriers, and know-how barriers.

It’s a simple task to identify these barriers. If your staff are given an opportunity to communicate their issues without fear of recrimination, it will be easy enough to compile a list of problems.

The easiest way to eliminate all these barriers to performance is to listen to your workers. Most people will offer a solution to their problems given the chance; you might often hear them say, “If I was in charge of this department, I’d …” Ask your staff for their ideas and give them the power to implement the solutions. If the solution doesn’t work, give them another chance and praise them publicly when success is achieved.

Employees who just don’t want to

Having removed all the barriers to excellence, you have effectively left nothing for the lazy to hide behind. Once the “can’ts” have been removed, what’s left are those who excel, and those who clearly need replacing.

It’s never easy to replace staff but it can be a necessary evil. Staff members who perform to a high level will not tolerate lazy co-workers who they have to carry and may eventually become resentful or even leave for fear of not being appreciated. Therefore, getting rid of slackers is a necessary part of managing excellence; in doing so you raise the bar for everyone and reward those who have been carrying the dead-wood.

The first step…

Set your employees up for success by removing barriers and listening to their challenges and you will find the mystery of HR management simply disappears. For more expert HR advice, contact Goodwille.

3 essential tips for managing difficult people

In management, we all have to deal with difficult people. Some people are quite happy to help themselves, help us, and help others. Others seem to be hellbent on making life as difficult as possible for all involved. As a manager, you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing who you manage and who you leave to fend for themselves. It’s your responsibility to effectively manage all of your employees, even the difficult ones. Here are three essential tips for managing difficult people…

1. Accept the complexities of management

First things first; don’t fight the madness. While some people genuinely don’t realise how difficult they are being, others are fully aware of it and either don’t care, or don’t know how to be any different. Trying to deny that certain people are more difficult to deal with is a waste of your valuable time and mental bandwidth. The sooner you accept the fact that you have a troublesome person to contend with, the swifter and more effective you will be at finding a good solution.

Take a moment to recognise that they are frustrating and cause difficult situations to arise. Acknowledge that part of your role as a manager, and the reason your salary is higher than your subordinates, is that it is part of your responsibility to tackle difficult issues like this one.

Make sure you approach delicate employees, troublesome teammates, and their respective issues in the most positive manner possible. Think of it as an intriguing challenge, a puzzle that needs solving. Never try to bulldoze your way through the conflict, or avoid it. You want to tackle the issue with an even and direct hand. Your instincts may tell you to avoid conflict, however, the most effective managers are neither avoiders, nor bulldozers of conflict; they don’t look the other way, or pull rank.

Always remember that you will need to keep working with these people once the immediate problem has been resolved. Always be as constructive as possible, looking for the best solution rather than simply forcing people to do things your way.

2. See it their way

Leading on from this, it’s important to see things their way as well as your own. This isn’t as simple as it sounds; however, there are usually reasons people are behaving in a particular way, especially if that way is awkward. Have they always been this difficult? Are there new situations or external forces influencing their behaviour? Are you doing anything to inadvertently trigger their troublesome attitude, such as micromanaging, criticising, overburdening, or withholding praise, bonuses, and/or promotion?

Try to take the most holistic view of the situation possible. It will help you to gain insight into the problem and the reasons motivating the behaviour of all the players. This will ensure you find a plan that constructively solves all issues, and not simply the issue of someone not doing as you say.

3. Ask for help when needed

This is easily done, but often avoided, due to the perception that managers should be capable of dealing with everything. You also have to take into account your personal pride, which may often feel bruised when you try to ask for help.

The reality is, when you work in a business, be it large or small, help is always at hand. It’s important to gain the perspectives of other like-minded individuals, peers, and employees. Gaining perspectives from a range of people in your organisation, and impartial outside observers, can greatly improve your managerial skills. In addition, the ability to ask for additional help when you need it is vital. Otherwise you will end up struggling and failing to complete everything to the standard you are capable of achieving, which is no help to anybody.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather of sensible judgement. For more information on how Goodwille  can help look after your HR, don’t hesitate to contact us.

11 essential HR tips and tricks

HR is an extremely competitive business. It can be tricky to stay ahead of the game and achieve excellence, but if you’re willing to go the extra mile it’s perfectly possible. Here are 11 essential tips and tricks that will ensure you’re leading the charge in HR.

1. Your HR speciality
Whether you’re a jack of all trades or a generalist in the field of HR, you still need to ensure you’re the absolute master of one specific area. You need a speciality. A speciality is the one thing that makes you utterly unique and propels you to the head of the pack.

2. Relationships over results
In HR, your performance and ability to deliver results are vital. They are the tools that help you gain recognition, attract attention, and earn promotions and rewards. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and become obsessed with your results, but they only matter to a point. Of far greater importance in HR, especially when it comes to ranking in the leadership stakes, are the relationships you forge. The higher up the ladder you get, the truer this becomes – results will always be important, but your relationships within your organisation, and with other HR specialists, carry even more weight.

3. Your team is your talent
If you’re a leader in HR, nothing speaks more to your talent than your team. Hire the people who are, at the very least, your equal. Where possible, hire people who are a bit better than you. Stocking your team with B and even C players will not only ruin your department – it will leave your leadership reputation in tatters.

4. Stay current
Staying current and at the top of your HR game is essential. This business is a rat race, and the pace is only getting faster!

5. Street cred
You likely spend a lot of time composing elevator pitches to ensure you always have the perfect thing to say about yourself. The thing is, what other people say about your reputation in HR carries a lot more weight than anything you say yourself. Nurture your reputation.

6. Healthy pipes
The most successful HR pros have a lot of different projects in the pipeline. Make sure you keep your options open with different paths that have the potential to skyrocket your career.

7. Feedback
Getting regular feedback is vital. Set up face-to-face meetings on a regular basis to ensure you have the chance to clarify your feedback, and really drill down to the core of any feedback you’ve received.

8. Monofocus
Multi-tasking is not your friend. Have laser focus on one thing at a time, and make it your most important task.

9. Career hour
You will often get so caught up doing your job that you forget to spend time on your career. Set aside one career hour per week, and spend it doing things that will actively further your HR career.

10. Ego
It’s easy to let your ego get out of control, especially when you’re doing well and compliments are coming at you from all angles. Keep your ego in check!

11. Blog
If you really want to stand out from the crowd and distinguish yourself, start a blog. Position yourself as an HR thought leader and blog consistently – you may only post once a month (blogging is time-consuming!) but consistency and quality are more important than quantity. Get you thoughts and views out there!

HR and People Management for UK employers and employees are one thing that we at Goodwille are experts at! If you have any questions or need help and support with UK HR, then feel free to get in touch with our HR department.

HR tips: how to manage your remote employees

With over four million UK workers now regularly working for home, it seems businesses are slowly coming round to the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely. But, with distractions aplenty, no pressure to be productive and a lack of supervision, how do you ensure flexibility works out for both the staff and the business?

Here are four top tips for managing your remote workers:

1. Set overarching goals
When employees are present in the office, it’s easy to keep an eye on their workflow and what they’re achieving, whether that’s through regular meetings or informal conversations. Forbes recently reported that 93% of employees are at their most productive when they work from home, but how do you translate this into trackable achievements?

It’s important to set goals to ensure things are getting done, whether on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, but try not to micromanage. After all, if you can’t trust the person to do their job, what are you letting them work from home for?

2. Make use of technology
There are a plethora of online tools and software applications out there to track where people are up to with tasks and to communicate what needs to be done, so use them!

Whether it’s a ticketing system to allow you to know when a job has been completed, a fully-integrated project management system or simply Skype, communication regarding work doesn’t have to stop just because staff aren’t in the office.

3. Be flexible
In an office, 9 to 5 is the norm and is often unavoidable, but such strict scheduling isn’t always necessary when someone is working from their home office.

If employees are required to be online at these times, make it clear to them, but also outline that hours are flexible if other things need to be prioritised. Your employees will appreciate your acknowledgement that a work/life balance needs to be maintained.

4. Be open
Remote working can be isolating. As well as encouraging staff to make use of co-working spaces and the like, ensure you let them know that you’re approachable and there to listen to any questions or concerns they may have. If possible, set up regular face-to-face meetings or ‘office days’ so workers can meet up and talk things through.

At Goodwille, we can act as HR advisers to keep you up to date with current UK best practice. If you need help and advice on how to manage your remote employees, get in touch with us today.

Here’s why your foreign employment contract will not protect you in the UK

Without stating the obvious, employment contracts are written to follow the laws within the country they are drafted. There are vast differences between employment laws around the world, so we strongly advise using locally drafted employment contracts.

Choosing to use an employment contract which is drafted for a foreign market leaves you vulnerable as an employer and employee in case of future disputes. Where everything might seem good to begin with, it does not always end up that way.

Here are three differences between UK & international employment contracts you need to consider:

1) Disciplinary & Grievance
It is mandatory for UK employment contracts to have clauses that refer directly to the disciplinary and grievance policy, i.e. you must state that you have a policy and where it can be found, also that the disciplinary and grievance policy does not form part of any contractual agreement. It may seem direct to address this issue when your employee has only just joined, but this is a legal requirement for the UK and the employee is likely to expect it to be part of their agreement.

The disciplinary and grievance policy must be fair & clear, but stored separately to the contract of employment.

2) Absences
Holiday allowance varies from country-to-country when it comes to statutory holiday and public holidays. Also the way that holiday is treated, i.e. if it is accrued during the year or paid in advance is another international variance. Sickness also varies when it comes to statutory sick pay and statutory sick leave. Using an employment contract which is not drafted for UK law is therefore likely to not only contain incorrect information, but risk leaving the employee with the incorrect holiday and sickness entitlement, which could also land you in hot water as the employer.

3) Notice period
If an employee is not performing, and the decision is made to terminate the agreement then a non-UK employment contract may leave you vulnerable should the employee raise a dispute. The garden leave and PILON (payment in lieu of notice) process varies from country-to-country and without the correct clauses you are likely to be left exposed. It is not uncommon for UK employees to seek legal advice when faced with a termination of their contract, so getting it right from the off is vital for all involved.

Typically international employment contracts can be just a couple of pages long, whilst UK employment contracts are in excess of fifteen pages and contain clauses and appendices – the agreement will then be underpinned by a staff handbook which contains information about company policies and procedures.

Employment contracts are designed to protect both the employer and the employee in case of future disputes. To ensure you are covered, or to review your existing employment contracts, please contact Anni or Jacqui in our HR Team: hr.support@goodwille.com