Harries Human Resources

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Money doesn’t grow on trees

Posted on July 22, 2015 at 7:09 AM Comments comments (3)

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, you need to go out and get a job” are words I’m sure my fellow teenagers can say they’ve heard more than once when complaining about needing money. Although for those of us that are ambitious enough to want to work, it’s not easy. The elusive ‘summer job’ is incredibly difficult to secure and schools need to do more to prepare us for the real world. I’ll be honest, I’m blessed to have a mother that works in human resources however, it shouldn’t have been up to her to teach me how to write a basic CV.

Legally you’re able to begin working part time at 13 years old but once I hit 15 my paper round days were over, I wanted more. Each weekend I’d scour the internet and newspapers  for part time jobs but CV’s and fancy cover letters aren’t enough anymore believe me. A simple waitressing job application often required 4 references, a year of experience and (if you’re one of the lucky ones) a fun-filled 45 minute ‘values assessment’ full of questions that are answered on the CV you spent ages preparing.  As well as this, despite completing the hour long application process, most businesses don’t have the courtesy to inform you of whether you have been successful or not. Not even an automated email. I even tried to physically hand out my CV, whether the business was hiring or not, in the hopes that I’d receive that one email inviting me to an interview. Not once did it work – shout out to all of the stores in my area that ‘put my CV on file’.  

In my experience it is due to a ‘lack of experience’… in life I presume as if you are providing the successful applicant with training I don’t see why it should be a problem for someone scanning items at a till. How much experience qualifies you as having enough experience? As well as the usual babysitting that you see on most CV’s, I’ve done admin work for 3 companies, completed work in a café and a restaurant. At 16 years old juggling exams, coursework, homework and obviously attending school, I apparently still have a ‘lack of experience’. Do you see my problem? Adults constantly pressure us to find a job and earn our own money because weekend and summer jobs for students were so seemingly abundant when they were young but the fact of the matter is, things are different now. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills reported in 2012 that the number of teenagers with Saturday jobs has halved since the 1990s to around 20% or 260,000 teens. There’s no doubt in my mind that many of those 260,000 only managed to secure a part- time job because of ‘connections’, you know the :“oh our dog walkers - brothers – friend has a café so I help out in there”; as that’s certainly the case with all of the employed teenagers I know (myself being one of them).

The truth is that trying to find a job whilst studying full time feels like an impossible task and I’m sure most young people can empathise. It is disheartening to constantly be rejected, whether it be due to experience or age, made worse by the attitude of the older generation generalising us as ‘lazy’.

Holiday Hell

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (0)
A client of mine has recently suffered the consequences of poor holiday management processes. Often my clients have too many employees off or requesting leave at the same time as a major bugbear, particularly during the summer months. These issues are relatively easy to manage by ensuring holiday leave policies are robust and time bound and outline fully any mandatory shutdown periods or peak time clauses restricting holiday.

But what happens when employees refuse to take their annual leave?  As a contractual clause I often encourage my clients stipulate that holidays not used in the year it is accrued cannot be taken forward and therefore they will lose their holiday entitlement; if there are no extenuating circumstances such as long term ill health problems. However, this deterrent does not always work.

A worker is entitled to 28 days annual leave each year including the bank and public holidays under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). Many employers provide the basic and many slightly more. The objective of the law is to protect the wellbeing, health and safety of workers by ensuring they take a sufficient amount of rest leave. Established case law proves this as workers continue to accrue holiday while they are off sick and when they are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
As such should workers be forced to take their annual leave to ensure, as an employer, you have not only complied with the WTD but also met the duty of care obligations?
Regulation 15 of the WTR actually allows employers to:
  1. Require workers take annual leave
  2. Specify the days on which that leave must be taken
So some practical steps to help are:
  1. State within employment contracts or employee handbooks that the Company has the statutory right to require all personnel take annual leave and may instruct staff to take leave on particular days.
  2. Remind staff in advance of the main holiday season to book leave.
  3. Encourage employees to plan out main holiday leave based on a week off per quarter to use their accrued leave and get the recommended rest periods.

If you need help with holiday calculations, contractual holiday clauses or creation of employee handbooks and supporting policies contact Harries Human Resources on 01206 865464 or email -  [email protected]

The Modern Business Woman

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 5:54 AM Comments comments (4)
I had the great pleasure of meeting the most incredible business woman this week. Ellie Goff the Owner/Director of Butterfly Lodge Education also known at Wellies On is the embodiment of today’s women in business.  

After a successful teaching career Ellie brought her dream into reality when Butterfly Lodge a 40 acre care farm based in Abberton opened its doors. Their qualified teachers combined with Occupational Therapists provide a therapeutic and educational approach to learning. The farms service users have the opportunity to get involved with worthwhile, meaningful activities which stimulate the mind and keep the body active as well as leading to recognised qualifications.

As Ellie’s service provision evolves she secured Harries HR services to support and enhance the existing emphasis placed on empowering and supporting her employees to achieve their personal best.

What makes Ellie so fascinating is not only her approach to running and growing her business but this enthusiasm coupled with the fact that she is heavily pregnant with her 3rd child and almost went into labour during our meeting.

This meeting took place at the Farm at 9:30am on Tuesday morning shortly after Ellie had been seen by her mid-wife who advised her to go directly to the hospital. With bags packed ready for the hospital we went through all the employee contractual requirements and policies and procedures and then took a tour of the newly built office gifted to the farm. An hour later Ellie then drove herself to the hospital.

Gender parity remains a major issue within both private and public sector firms where female directors are still not only paid less but are also under represented on boards. The belief that women are not able to continue to have a successful and senior career due to bearing children is not only antiquated but simply no longer the case.

With the proposed Maternity regulatory reform and other safeguards being put in place the ideal remains to see a day where businesses improve on planning around pregnancy at work and careers are enhanced on return from maternity leave. There is no longer the need to choose between having a family or a career, women can have both.

Ellie working right up to the day of childbirth is proof it is achievable.

Harries Human Resources are able to provide comprehensive family friendly policies and procedures in line with current legislative changes to support your business with planning for maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. To get your free copy of the new “Maternity Policy” contact Harries HR on [email protected] or call 01206 865464.