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  • HR Heartbeat: Lessons from the viral TikTok firing fiasco, The Bill to ban unpaid trials, and…

HR Heartbeat: Lessons from the viral TikTok firing fiasco, The Bill to ban unpaid trials, and…

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

First published on Wednesday, Jan 24, 2024

Last updated on Wednesday, Jan 24, 2024

3 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.

How NOT to fire an employee

A nine-minute video of an employee getting fired over Zoom went viral on TikTok recently, dividing opinions.

Brittany Pietsch caused a lively debate between employers and viewers alike when she secretly recorded her own dismissal during a conversation with a woman from HR and a director, she’d “never heard of.”

Despite some applauding Pietsch’s bravery and others wincing at the exposé. The video did reveal key lessons for best practices when dismissing employees.

Namely, having an immediate supervisor or manager at the meeting is recommended. And in the UK, it's important employers allow the employee to present their case before a decision is made. If the employee is then dismissed, they should be provided with reasons for dismissal.

Remember, there's always a risk of reputational damage for your business if an employee decides to go public. Get more advice about how to handle situations like this effectively here.

Stalled progress in train strike negotiations

The train drivers’ union Aslef has called off five days of strikes on LNER services that were set to start in February.

But don’t get your hopes up if you’re an avid commuter! Walkouts in response to pay and conditions will continue, which means strikes will still take place between 30 January and 5 February.

Four of the 16 train operating companies that face strikes between 30 January and 5 February have approached the union Aslef to discuss minimum service levels to reduce the disruption to travellers.

Ask BrightLightning: Do employers need to ensure a minimum service level during a strike?

Delays to the Immigration Health Surcharge increase

In October 2023, a government proposal published plans to increase the UK Immigration Health Surcharge. The Immigration Health Surcharge is paid by foreign nationals applying for temporary leave to enter the UK for more than 6 months, who are not exempt.

But this week it’s been announced that implementation dates for the increases have been delayed.

Originally planned for the 16th of January, increases are expected to take effect from the 6th of February. But this is yet to be confirmed. Alongside this, the increase to the civil penalty for unlawfully employing foreign workers is also delayed.

For more advice on employing foreign workers, ask BrightLightning: What are the visa rules for employing foreign workers?

Could unpaid trials be banned?

A Private Members Bill to ban unpaid trials has been presented to Parliament for debate.

Currently employers can ask job candidates to do an unpaid trial shift to find out if they’re suitable for the role. But unpaid trials will attract national minimum wage if work is being performed.

An SNP MP who supports the ban has dubbed the practice “exploitative.” The next stage for this Bill should take place on Friday 15 March.

Unsure how to hold a fair trial shift? Find out what your legal responsibilities are by asking BrightLightning: Do trial shifts need to be paid?

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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