Monthly Archives: December 2014

Holiday Pay Update Seminar – February 2015

Holiday PlanningHoliday Hell or Holiday Heaven… What’s Your Strategy?

Date: Thursday 5th February 2015

Time: 8:00-10:00am              Cost: Free

Venue: FG Solicitors Offices, 2 Deanery Court, Grange Farm, Preston Deanery, Northampton, NN7 2DT

Holiday pay has become a legal minefield for employers.

  • Are you unsure about your legal obligations?
  • Have you figured out whether you need to take into account overtime, bonus and commission payments?
  • What happens during periods of sick leave?
  • Have you calculated what an increase in the holiday pay bill could mean for your bottom line?

Whilst no two businesses are the same, we understand at FG Solicitors that you will all have common goals:

  • Accurately assessing the problem
  • Introducing the right strategy for the business

A clear strategy avoids holiday hell. Join us to identify solutions relevant to your business!

To book your place at our seminar, please contact us using the details below:

info@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44 (0) 808 172 93 22

We look forward to seeing you at our next seminar.

If you feel this seminar would benefit other colleagues or companies please feel free to forward the details on.

Do you permit employees to bring their own devices to work?

141209 Bring your own device to workSUMMARY: Have you considered the potential risks and benefits of allowing your employees to use their own personal mobile devices for business purposes?

What does bring your own device (BYOD) mean?

Many employees now own personal mobile devices (such as tablets, smartphones, laptops or notebook computers) that can be used for business purposes. Businesses are receiving an increasing number of requests to allow employees to use these devices at work.

BYOD benefits

BYOD can bring a number of benefits to businesses, including:

  • Increased flexibility and efficiency in working practices.
  • Improved employee morale and job satisfaction.
  • A reduction in business costs as employees invest in their own devices.

BYOD risks

The boom in BYOD has been matched with an upsurge in activity by criminals trying to exploit the data and intellectual property stored on personal mobile devices. The use of personal mobile devices for business purposes increases the risk of damage to a business’s IT resources and communications systems, confidential and proprietary information and corporate reputation.

Ownership of the device

Personal mobile devices are owned, maintained and supported by the user, rather than the business. This means that a business will have significantly less control over the device than it would normally have over a traditional corporately owned and provided device.

Securing data stored on the device

A business is responsible for protecting company data stored on personal mobile devices. Businesses should consider implementing security measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful access to the business’s systems or company data, for example:  

  • Requiring the use of a strong password to secure the device.
  • Using encryption to store data on the device securely.
  • Ensuring that access to the device is locked or data automatically deleted if an incorrect password is inputted too many times.

The business should ensure that its employees understand what type of data can be stored on a personal device and which type of data cannot.

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management software allows a business to remotely manage and configure many aspects of personal mobile devices. Typical features include:

  • Automatically locking the device after a period of inactivity.
  • Executing a remote wipe of the device (make sure employees are aware which data might be automatically or remotely deleted and in which circumstances).
  • Preventing the installation of unapproved apps.

Monitoring use of the device

If a business wants to monitor employees’ use of personal mobile devices, it must:

  • make its  reasons for monitoring clear; and
  • explain the benefits the business expects will be delivered by monitoring (for example, preventing misuse of the device).

The business must ensure that monitoring technology remains proportionate and not excessive, especially during periods of personal use (for example, evenings and weekends).

Loss or theft of the device

The biggest cause of data loss is still the physical loss of a personal mobile device (for example, through theft or by being left on public transport).

Loss or theft of the device could lead to unauthorised or unlawful access to the business’s systems or company data. The business must ensure a process is in place for quickly and effectively revoking access to a device in the event that it is reported lost or stolen.

Businesses should consider registering devices with a remote locate and wipe facility to maintain confidentiality of the data in the event of a loss or theft.

Transferring data

BYOD arrangements generally involve the transfer of data between the personal mobile device and the business’ systems. This process can present risks, especially where it involves a large volume of sensitive information. Transferring the data via an encrypted channel offers the maximum protection.

Employees should be encouraged to avoid using public cloud-based sharing which have not been fully assessed. Businesses should consider providing guidance to employees on how to assess the security of wi-fi networks (such as those in hotels or cafes).

Departing employees

A business needs to think about how it will manage data held on an employee’s personal mobile device should the employee leave the business.

BYOD policy

If you allow or want to allow employees to bring their own devices to work, or use their own devices to carry out work during non-working hours, we would advise having in place a suitable policy dealing with the above issues.  We could prepare an appropriate policy or review your existing policy.

Contact Details

For more details about BYOD policies please contact:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.

Launch of Fit for Work

Fit for work?What does the recently launched Fit for Work Service mean for employers?

Fit for Work is part of the Government’s long term economic plan to help employees and employers manage sickness absence.  It is hoped that the new service will significantly cut sick pay costs to businesses and also increase economic output.

The Service will provide an occupational health assessment service and general health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs. The aim is to help an individual to stay in or return to work and prevent sickness absence recurring.

How will it work?

GPs will refer employees for an occupational health assessment to provide specialist independent and objective advice.  Early intervention is seen as key to the success of the Service so it is proposed that the first assessment will take place within two working days of receipt of the referral.

Health Management Limited has been appointed by the Government to provide the service.

When will the assessment be triggered?

With nearly a million employees each year reaching the four week sickness absence point, the Government has chosen the four week mark as the appropriate referral point for an assessment.  If it is clear at the outset that the employee will be off work for more than four weeks the GP can make an early referral.

Employers will be able to refer an employee if the GP has not done so by the four week period.

What will the Service provide?

The occupational health assessment will result in a return to work plan being prepared. This will be shared with the employer and GP.   The employee will also be allocated a case manager to ensure that their level of need is correctly identified along with appropriate steps to get them back to work.

There will be more general health and work advice for GPs, employees and employers via the telephone and a website.

Who will pay for the Service?

The Service is expected to be funded through the abolition of the percentage threshold scheme, which enabled employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay in certain circumstances.

A tax exemption of up to £500 a year for each employee on payments for medical treatment recommended by the Service, or an employer arranged occupational health service will also be available to employers.

When will the Service be in place?

The Service will be introduced on a phased basis later this year and is expected to be fully up and running by May 2015.

Does this mean that as an employer we do not have to follow any absence management procedures?

The Service is intended to complement rather than replace existing occupational health provision.

If you are considering dismissing an employee who has been off sick long term it is important that a proper process is still followed including obtaining appropriate medical advice, discussing this advice with the employee and considering alternative employment. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that if the employee has a disability, the obligations under the Equality Act 2010 are satisfied, which may include the need to make reasonable adjustments to the individual’s work environment or duties to support a return to work.

Whilst employers will still need to follow fair procedures and act reasonably and in a non-discriminatory way, it is hoped that early independent intervention under the Service will lead to more employees returning to work sooner.  The Service will be particularly useful for those employers who do not have ready access to occupational health advice.

Contact Details

For more details about the Government’s new Fit for Work Service please contact:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.