The Department for Employment and Learning has confirmed that temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland will be given important new rights under the EU Agency Workers Directive – see link.
The Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, has indicated the Department will bring the necessary legislation into effect by 5 December 2011.
It is likely the legislation will largely mirror the English equivalent, the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, which come into operation in England and Wales on 1 October 2011. Those Regulations give temps and agency workers some of the same rights as full-time staff from their first day on the job. After 12 weeks in the same job, as indicated by the Minister, the new regulations will grant temps the same pay and overtime rates as your permanent employees, as well as paid holiday.
It is estimated that one half of temp assignments are longer than 12 weeks, and the Department’s own website indicates there are some 22,000 temporary agency workers in Northern Ireland. That means a considerable number of businesses in Northern Ireland will be affected.
So, if you employ temps for more than 12 weeks at a time, are there any steps you can take to prepare before 5 December 2011? Read more
In our last post, Social Media and Employment, we commented that if employers are to implement a social media policy then it needs to fit with their business. We finished off by saying that such a policy needs to be interpreted properly, and that the employer still needs to act reasonably.
We looked at the risks of not having a properly prepared social media policy, and in turn the reasons why employers should have such a policy, in our post Social Media in the workplace – do you have a policy?
However, simply having a policy in place isn’t necessarily going to avoid the risks identified in that post. Employers must still act reasonably in enforcing a policy. The case of Stephens -v- Halfords plc earlier this year demonstrates the point (see xPert HR for the summary) – a Facebook page criticising the employer was not held to justify dismissal. Read more
As we’ve just started blogging, an article on the use of social media and how employers should try to regulate it seems an apt place to start!
The use of social media has risen dramatically in the last few years. Not that long ago not many people had heard of Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and the like – but these sites are now used everywhere, 24/7, by very many people – more so as they are accessible all the time from mobile phones. Can you be sure your employees aren’t using such sites whilst at work? Do you know what they may be posting on such sites that could adversely affect your business? Have you taken any steps to regulate the use of such sites by employees whilst at work? Read more