Does the continuing spell of glorious weather in the UK mean sunny dispositions all around your office? Although we hope this is the case, in reality we are seeing that summer can bring a relatively unique set of challenges when you are trying to motivate your work force or in some cases keep the peace!
On Friday 13th July 2018, The Court of Appeal handed down its much anticipated reserved judgement, in the joint case of Royal Mencap Society and Claire Tomlinson-Blake and John Shannon and Mr and Mrs Rampersad t/a Clifton House Residential Home.
One of our partners Ashfords LLP was acting on behalf of Clifton House Residential home and successfully defended the claim that Mr Shannon entitled to have the entirety of the hours between 10pm and 7am counted as salaried hours work for National Minimum Wage purposes for 365 days a year. The arrears that he claimed on that basis were calculated to amount to almost £240,000.
The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Shannon's appeal and upheld Mencap's appeal thus finding that in both of these cases, the time that counts for National Minimum Wage purposes is limited to the time when the worker is required to be awake for the purposes of working.
In 2015, the Government issued updated guidance to employers to reflect the pattern that had emerged from previous case law on this matter. The rulings previously suggested that time asleep could, in some circumstances, amount to “working time.” . The Government recognised these legal developments placed a new strain on employers, particularly those in the social care and housing sector. Most of these organisations had historically paid sleep-ins by way of an allowance less than the NMW (in reliance on earlier Government guidance).
As such, the Social Care Compliance Scheme was set up to support these employers in understanding their liabilities. HMRC indicated that it would waive fines in respect of non-compliance found to have occurred prior to July 2017 and suspended HMRC enforcement activity concerning payment of sleep-in shifts until October 2017. It is understood that the general practice of residential care providers is now to pay the NMW for all hours of the shift, but many have been unable to meet their back pay liabilities, and have been lobbying the government for assistance.
In light of the Court of Appeal judgment, all this may change again! We will keep you updated on any further developments in this case and how it may affect future practices.
I was recently given a book about employee engagement that was co-authored by Glenn Elliott, who owns the very successful employee benefits platform Reward Gateway. In it was a sticker bearing the legend: “Bad bosses ruin lives”. They certainly do, and they ruin businesses and charities too.
The signs of a good finance department are when invoices are paid on time, financial reports are on schedule, entries are always correctly posted first time and no-one ends up apologising to the chief executive and the board at the end of the year because the slight surplus they were forecasting has turned out to be a sizeable deficit that nobody saw coming.
When a finance team isn’t performing, failures in these areas are all signs of poor recruitment and lack of good performance management and teamwork – in other words,a failure of line management.
There are reams of research literature illustrating the straight line correlation between poor leadership and people management on the one hand, and lack of productivity on the other. Despite this, many organisations are still not careful enough about who is promoted to management positions. They persist in the belief that if someone has the higher-level technical skills, then the people management stuff will just follow on naturally. I still see job descriptions for managers that set out pages of technical and operational duties and have one line about managing people.
In reality, the quality of any service is absolutely all about how good the manager is at managing people. Even the most naturally self-motivated people begin to struggle when they are managed by somebody who just “lets them get on with it”, with no quality time spent tracking their goals, giving them constructive feedback and supporting the development of their skills.
Generally these good people move on, leaving their space to be filled on a hit-and-miss basis by the manager, who puts as little thought and time into good recruitment as they do the rest of their line management responsibilities.
Where an organisation – or a department – is getting this right, the following will lie behind that:
Of course there is cost to this, particularly the training aspect. If there has been no leadership and management programme for the charity before, then everyone needs to participate.
It’s a mistake to omit more senior managers who say they don’t need to do it – this is about developing a shared ethos and capability around management. You’ll also need to budget for new managers to access training as they join.
Over time, this approach pays for itself many times over: lower staff turnover and sickness; higher levels of performance and greater efficiency; much higher beneficiary satisfaction levels; and cost-effective succession as staff grow their skills under good line managers and develop their potential for promotion.
It remains a truism that more people leave their bosses than leave their jobs – don’t be one of those bosses!
Earlier this year, a sexual misconduct scandal engulfed the third sector and it once again brought to the forefront the importance of safeguarding the most vulnerable in our society.
In 2010, Oxfam aid workers were stationed in Haiti after the devastating earthquake left millions of people homeless. A year later, Oxfam was made aware of allegations that some of its aid workers had used prostitutes in Haiti whilst working on the relief effort. Oxfam, one of the UK’s largest charities, dismissed four members of staff and 3 others resigned while under investigation. This included the former Haiti Country Chief, Roland van Hauwermeiren.
There is no doubt that the behaviour of some Oxfam staff was inexcusable and rightly the case brought to public attention the need to prioritise safeguarding. The Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam resigned when the scandal broke in the media and the organisation pledged to increase the resources dedicated to safeguarding. The Department for International Development also announced they would introduce new standards that all aid organisations would be required to comply with.
In all the media attention, one of the main points of criticism of Oxfam in this case was that staff, who had admitted to wrongdoing, were able to go on and work for other agencies in the sector. For example, Roland van Hauwermeiren went on to work as Action Against Hunger’s Country Director in Bangladesh from 2012 to 2014, a charity which reported that ‘they received no information regarding the inappropriate and unethical behaviours of Roland van Hauwermeiren when he was with Oxfam in Haiti nor any warning on the risks of employing him’. As a result the Government ordered Oxfam to provide the Charity Commission with files on the implicated staff.