HR Problems PageTuesday, December 6th, 2011
We have decided to keep our helpline open over the Christmas weekend. What rate must we pay the affected employees for working on Christmas Day and Boxing Day?
Unless there are collective agreements determining these arrangements, you are free to pay whatever the two parties agree, provided that it satisfies the National Minimum Wage requirement. Double time is quite common, but in fact so is ordinary time for shift workers on a fixed rate for whatever days their shift pattern brings. However, be realistic. Ask for volunteers. Some people may be pleased to get away from the in-laws, but nevertheless offer them an attractive rate. You and the response will tell you what that is.
Length of notice
What length of notice should we require senior staff to give and of course receive?
The length of notice that you require employees to give to end their employment need not be the same as the length of notice you agree to give them. In fact the legal minimum requirement shows this distinction. The law requires that you give your employees at least one week’s notice per year of service, minimum one and maximum twelve weeks, but regardless of service they need give you a minimum of only one week. However the parties are entitled to put longer periods of notice in the contract of employment and usually do for senior staff.
Be realistic. If you want to dismiss someone, would you wish to give them a long period of notice or payment in lieu? You may be inclined to make that a short period. However assuming that you feel twelve months notice is appropriate for the job, why not put them onto three months notice in year one, rising to six months in year two and subsequently the full twelve months? If someone is going to leave you, would you want them out of the way as soon as possible or would you want to hang onto them until a replacement has been recruited and trained? If you go for the long period, bear in mind that the next employer will want your employee as soon as possible, and he or she may well leave right away – and in practice there is little you can do about it. Keep the period fairly short but agree with an outgoing employee that he or she may leave before it ends if they complete an agreed programme of work. Think carefully about these questions. I doubt that a senior employee would join you if you offered only a week’s notice, but otherwise you are likely to find that, if the job and the remuneration package are right, recruits will not argue much about notice periods.