The Human Resource (HR) Department is at the centre of the company’s efforts to hire and retain the right people who can help achieve the organisation’s goals. But aside from this, HR also plays a key role in the organisation’s compliance structure.
Several laws and regulations apply to employment relationships in the UK, and HR professionals should be aware of this to ensure that the company avoids the hefty fines and penalties that come with non-compliance, not to mention the potential harm to the company’s reputation. In extreme cases, failure to comply can even lead to criminal courts.
Maintaining compliance with the UK’s ever-changing employment rules and regulations would require that HR is updated and can adapt at a pace. Here’s how Human Resource Departments in the UK are keeping up with compliance.
Making Sure Employees are Compliance Competent
Hiring the right talent is one of HR’s areas of responsibility, which is an important issue for several companies in the UK today. HR should have the knowledge, experience, and skills in hiring employees who have a clear understanding of compliance. These are employees who have taken up compliance training. This training ensures that employees are aware of the relevant laws, regulations, and internal policies that govern the company. Employees who have undergone compliance training are aware of their responsibilities and boundaries. As such, they can function well and work productively with less supervision.
HR should also make sure that everyone in the organisation is well-versed in the UK’s employment law and the legal requirements that could affect the organisation at any time. These laws and regulations are constantly changing, so HR must stay updated on the latest information available.
Coming up with an employee handbook and regularly updating it is also one way for HR to ensure that employees are compliance competent. This book will serve as a communications tool within the organisation that will state the organisation’s policies and procedures and how the company should operate.
Keeping on Top of Annual Leave
To encourage productivity among employees, HR should ensure a healthy balance between work and time off. Thus, part of their responsibilities is to provide employees with paid holiday entitlement. Every employee in the UK is entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of leave per year. For those working full-time, this means they are entitled to 28 days of leave each year. The computation of leave entitlement for those who are working part-time will be on a pro-rated basis.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has proposed measures to allow employees to return to their workplace safely. One of these is the introduction of flexible working or staggered shifts or hours. Flexible working can prevent a huge crowd of people from commuting to work during peak times, which minimises the spread of the virus. Aside from implementing flexible working, HR should ensure that employees who get sick will receive Statutory Sick Pay or SSP. SSP entitles workers who are too ill to come to work to receive £96.35 per week and will be paid for up to 28 weeks.
Regardless of what industry you belong to, keeping on top of compliance training is essential to protect you and your employees. HR should ensure that employees are well-trained for Health and Safety, Fire Safety, and Diversity in the Workplace.
Some companies may not recognise the value of compliance training, but it does add value to the business. By training employees to be more knowledgeable on the rules and regulations that pertain to their respective job roles, any detrimental impacts to the company will be avoided. The lack of knowledge on compliance can have disastrous effects for the company and the organisation since this will eventually reflect in the employee’s behaviour.
The purpose of compliance training is to ensure that everyone is on the right side of the law. Since workplace laws and regulations in the UK are constantly changing, it’s even more necessary that HR pursues up to date compliance training. The lack of compliance training could directly affect the organisation’s ability to maintain a well-respected reputation since legal complications could result in negative publicity for the company.
Having a bad reputation could dissuade potential clients and investors, which could eventually affect sales and profits. Compliance training will not only ensure good sales and profits, but it can also save the company some money. The training will not cost the company anything; however, non-compliance could cost the company a lot more money, which would go towards legal fees, business losses, operation disruptions, and more.
Staying GDPR Compliant and Cyber Secure
Several companies have already been implementing remote work even before the Covid-19 pandemic started. So, when the pandemic broke out, these companies were able to operate continuously using a distributed workforce. Internet-based companies like Twitter and Shopify have also made remote working permanent. These new work arrangements will also require different security requirements than centralised offices, especially in maintaining data security while complying with the GDPR.
Part of HR’s responsibilities is to manage remote teams properly and ensure that all personal data are kept private and secure. Employees should be aware of GDPR and how to avoid data security issues. Another issue for human resources is with how industry 4.0 will affect employment leading to more commercial data being automated across tech that will also need protection against cybertheft. A simple slip-up on their part could result in a data breach that could expose personal and private data. These data breaches will not only affect consumer confidence but can also result in costly GDPR fines.
HR should implement a cybersecurity policy that teaches employees how to keep the company’s data safe. If the company does not have this policy yet, HR should make one. When coming up with this policy, they should review the NIST cybersecurity framework, which indicates the best-practised guidelines for all the stages involved in threat identification and mitigation.
The most significant things that HR can do to stay compliant with GDPR when managing a remote team is to update cybersecurity policy, train employees, and create a cybersecurity team that will be ready to support in the event of data security issues. Above all, HR should also limit employees’ access to sensitive data and keep connections secure using a corporate VPN.
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