Category Archives: benefits

Nigella is not the only boss to have a problem with unauthorised expenses

See on Scoop.itEmployment law in a mad world

unauthorised expenses are suprisingly common problem in growing businesses

Annabel Kaye‘s insight:

Are you leaving yourself open to a Nigella  moment when it comes to staff expenses?

See on irenicon.co.uk

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, performance management

TUPE or not TUPE

The TUPE regulations [the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006] cover a range of scenarios –   from mergers to ‘service provision changes’ – which occur when the work being done by an ‘organised grouping’ of employees (which can be just one person) is moved to another organisation.

A fortune has been spent on legal fees arguing about when moving a piece of work from one provider to another is a “service provision change”, and so is, or is not, covered by TUPE.   You can see in the case reports the desperation of legal advisors and HR teams who simply failed to realise early enough that the Regulations applied to their circumstances.

Whilst there have been some useful cases about what happens when the work is entirely dispersed across a wide range of organisations (no TUPE), the majority of contracting-out exercises (and  contracting-back-in,  and change-of-service-provider  exercises) are covered by the TUPE regulations and are likely to remain so for a while.

TUPE is a bit of a melting pot for HR and employment lawyers, since it is also part of the commercial contracting and purchasing (or sales) side of the organisation, and the thinking of those functions does not always incorporate what HR need to do to make the process work.

In simplistic terms, an organisation considers outsourcing when the function/individuals:

  • are too expensive to retain in house for the benefit they deliver;
  • are isolated experts on specialist subjects for whom the organisation can offer no ongoing professional development or support;
  • are  not delivering the right performance against budget;
  • where an external body has made a policy decision this should be so

Whatever the reason for deciding, the end effect of TUPE is as profound in psychological terms as it is legally.

Think about it this way.  Imagine you woke up this morning with a complete stranger beside you, only to find out that the law regarded you as having been married to each other for years.  Not only that, everything the other person did with regard to your household legal affairs is something that is binding on you.  So if your new (but in law, longstanding) partner ran up a major credit card bill before you met them, you are required to pay the bill.   That is how it is for an employer who has just TUPEd in a team.

And how about being the person transferred.  Suddenly you are ‘in bed’ with a complete stranger (or worse someone you know well and positively decided never to date, never mind marry).    You are being passed around in a crazy wife-swopping party and you didn’t ask to go to the party.

No wonder people go into denial and say – this can’t be happening to me.   But TUPE is real, and it does have this effect.    You can see why people spend a fortune litigating and saying “this can’t be applicable to me”.

To be continued …..

If you want to join our free KoffeeKlatch seminar to talk about TUPE register via http://koffeeklatch.co.uk/category/tupe/

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.
Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website:  www.irenicon.co.uk
You can follow Annabel on Twitter

1 Comment

Filed under benefits, contract, employment law, free stuff, pay, redundancy, TUPE

Future Of Part Time Work

Organisations still tend to have trouble with part time women who want to work at senior level (though there are some notable exceptions).

There is a feeling that being ‘senior’ requires full time attendance – at least until you get to be a non executive director!

Part time workers tend to get the double whammy of earning less because they work less hours AND because they are relegated to less senior posts.

Perhaps the time is coming to clarify the supervisory and managerial elements of pay in a way that allows for job splitting, part time working and role tailoring.  Just as many non cash benefits have been converted to pay (e.g. company cars).  Perhaps it’s time for the compensation and benefits people to come up with a new pay structure that is transparent, fits the organisation’s needs and reflects the modern world.

How about a basic FTE wage for everyone that is the same, to which are added supplements per direct report, per indirect report, per £k of budget controlled, or other measureable financial criteria.   We can have uplifts for being on target and reductions for taking mad risks.  We can have elements for specialist knowledge qualifications and experience.

Then, if someone wants to take a step back, reduce their number of hours/reports/level of responsibility, they can calculate for themselves what this would mean financially.  Wouldn’t it make flexible working requests easier to deal with now if the person making the request could reasonably anticipate what this would mean for them financially?

Then, if someone wants to go part time, we know what elements of their role we are splitting (and which elements we are not).

Why not have a pay scale that does not automatically reflect the hierarchical structure of the organisation?  Why not pay some ‘niche players’ more if they are really worth that much?

The future world of work is not the past and maps are already out of date.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye and check our regular articles and news throughout the autumn on our blog site – https://irenicon.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, employment law, flexible working

Benefits – are they really so great?

Why not let people make their own choices, within a range that works for the employer? For example, you could set basic annual leave entitlements, and let workers take salary sacrifices as a trade off for enhanced leave.  Perhaps some people would rather have a discount on their gym membership than medical insurance? 

Our idea of equality has become an idea of uniformity.   But there are ways to be equal that do not involve standardisation of everything.  Small organisations tend to work on the basis of a salary without any benefits.  Many organisations have changed company cars into car allowances. If we extend that idea, we could convert all our packages to ‘cash’, and then allow grown-up individuals to make choices about what benefits they want.  Then we can show pay transparency across a spectrum of options, without having to work out whether a medical insurance scheme is or is not equivalent to a small car loan scheme.

Unless your staff are working across a variety of jurisdictions and tax bases, why not keep it simple?

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, pay

Benefits – are they really so great?

There is an argument for giving staff access to ‘cafeteria style’ benefits, paid out of net taxed income. These arrangements allow employees access to ‘wholesale rates’, without tying individuals into employer-specific schemes.  Then employees can establish a “personal benefit package” which, like a personal pension scheme, does not automatically end when changing jobs.

From the employer’s point of view, this makes TUPE transfers so much easier administratively.  It also keeps contractual pay entitlements clear and simple, and avoids the need for contractual clauses making some or all benefits ‘non contractual’ or substitutable.

One of the ‘advantages’ of the old company-style benefits packages was that they promoted lack of pay transparency, but of course this is in fact a disadvantage, causing complications when it comes to diversity or equal pay.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, pay

Benefits – are they really so great?

Time was when there was a real financial reason to offer staff benefits.  Years ago, many benefits were exempt from National Insurance (although not tax for higher earners), and a generous benefits strategy represented a real saving for employers and employees.

Today, almost all benefits are subject to National Insurance, and there is an argument that there is little point in retaining any benefits that are not tax or National Insurance exempt. 

It is almost impossible to apportion some benefits – half medical insurance for half time workers?  Some benefits cost more for older workers, or by gender, where they are based on actuarial data.    Employees often have no idea of the real cost of providing benefits and undervalue them when considering the value of their employment package.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, pay

Abolish the perk

Perks have existed in the English labour market as far back as the 12th century, where manorial records document tenants who completed their obligatory labour being given sheaves of corn as a perk.    By the 17th century, Samuel Pepys (MP and diarist) was working for the Navy in a role where perks traditionally made the officeholder’s fortune.   In many cases, the office itself was poorly paid, but it was attractive for the perks it provided.

These arrangements existed within a relatively stable social context, where people shared an expectation about what was appropriate behaviour.  The modern grey area of perks is anything but transparent, and these fuzzy boundaries lead to claims of corruption and scandal.    And perks will often need to be counted into ‘pay’ when considering inequality issues, so they can aggravate problems in pay structures.

Who among us has a way of justifying any of this within established pay scales?  Has the time come to formally abolish the perk? 

If we feel people can legitimately command a high wage or package, why not put that on the table and make our pay systems transparent?  Let’s make it plain to everyone, however senior, what expenses can and can’t be claimed, and stop using ‘expenses’ as a hidden part of pay.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye

Leave a comment

Filed under benefits, pay