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  • HR Heartbeat: Boss, can you pay my bills? More autism support in the workplace, and…

HR Heartbeat: Boss, can you pay my bills? More autism support in the workplace, and…

Get your HR headlines in a hurry and stay on top of the latest employment insights

First published on Friday, Mar 15, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Mar 15, 2024

5 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

More autism support in the workplace

This week, the government published the Buckland Autism Employment Review. This included a list of recommendations to support people with autism in the workplace.

There are around 1 million autistic people in the UK, and shockingly, the report found only 3 in 10 autistic people of working age have a job. The study also shows there is an apparent lack of understanding of autism amongst most employers.

Lots of people struggle to openly discuss their neurodiverse conditions at work. So, it’s important to create an environment where your staff feel safe enough to be open about their condition if they want to be.

A few ways you can improve attitudes and your approach towards neurodiversity in your workplace is through increased awareness, training, and improved methods of communication.

BrightLearn’s neurodiversity e-learning course can help provide managers, and supervisors alike, with the proper guidance and training they need to support the neurodiverse members of your team and help them thrive.

Boss, can you pay my bills?

Pluxee UK recently found 68% of HR professionals have noticed an increase in financial support requests in the last year.

On top of this, ONS statistics reports around 4 in 10 people are struggling to afford bill payments. This has led to more demands for pay rises and financial support to cope with the recent rise in costs.

It’s also sparked a debate about whether responsibility falls to employers to support employees financially beyond their monthly pay check.

While raising salaries might be an option for some employers, not everyone can afford to extend further financial support to their employees. Especially with more businesses feeling the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis themselves.

But without financial wellbeing support, employers stand to lose valuable talent who will go elsewhere if their financial needs are not met.

So, what can employers and HR teams do to show their support aside from pay reviews?

Some employers have opted to help their employees by paying the real living wage, a higher rate of pay than the national minimum wage structure.

For employers that struggle to meet increased financial demands, there are more ways to show support. For example, holding financial education sessions, offering hybrid working to reduce commuter costs, and giving employees impartial wellbeing support and financial coaching.

Bank holiday advice

Employers with an April/March leave year take notes!

In 2024, Good Friday falls on the 29th of March. Because of this, there will be an extra bank holiday in this leave year, but only seven in 2024/2025.

While there’s no statutory entitlement to time off on designated bank holidays in the UK, employers need to make sure their employees receive at least 28 days’ annual leave in total (which can include bank holidays).

That’s why it’s important to check your contractual wording to make sure you’re meeting all your legal responsibilities on holiday entitlements.

BrightHR has an entire library of employee documents, templates, and policies. Plus, our team of advisors are on hand to review annual leave provisions in your employee contract whenever changes are needed. Discover BrightAdvice for expert employment law backup.

Dates and rates set for Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, and more

April 2024 is a busy month for employment law change…

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase to £116.75 per week from April 6 2024. Similarly, from April 7, 2024, the rate for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay and Parental Bereavement Pay will increase to £184.03 per week.

It’s also been announced that the full set of carer’s leave legislation, approved by parliament, will be introduced on the 6th of April 2024.

Increased compensation limits for employment tribunal claims

Finally, employment tribunal compensation rates are also rising from the 6th of April 2024.

This means claims will become more costly for employers, making it more important for organisations to have legally robust policies and processes.

The changes include:

  • The max amount of a week’s pay increases from £643 to £700 when calculating a statutory redundancy payment and unfair dismissal basic award.

  • The limit on the amount of compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £105,707 to £115,115.

  • The amount of statutory guarantee pay increases from £35 to £38 per day. This is payable in lay-off situations for a maximum of one working week per 3 months.

For more expert advice in a pinch, ask BrightLightning: How much can employees win for unfair dismissal claims?

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!

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