The benefits of outsourcing HR

Human resources – it sounds quite tyrannical. In fact, the HR department is a valuable asset for long-term business health. This is because employees are the lifeblood of any business. What’s more, research has found that the working environment is the most valued factor for employee happiness. As such, its important employers ensure they have adequate resources devoted to HR.

In this blog we’ll be going over the role of HR in businesses, and how outsourcing to experts like Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD allows employers to stay on top of their responsibilities.


The importance of HR for businesses

The goal of HR is to manage and support employees over the course of their life cycle. It’s therefore responsible for finding, screening, recruiting, and training applicants. Additional roles include administration, aiding in budget control, and conflict resolution.

Human resources also help shape and maintain company culture. This is because its activities impact employees at all levels of the business, including the owner. Creating a positive workplace environment takes constant attention, which HR outsourcing helps achieve.

The nature of a business’s HR responsibilities is characterised by the work done by its employees, as well as its size. For instance, many SMEs don’t have a dedicated HR department due to the number of people employed by the business. However, owners that take on HR roles themselves risk of failing to uphold legal requirements. Employment Law Services can provide qualified advice and support to business owners and managers, even if the business doesn’t have a HR function.


Why outsource HR?

Small and medium sized businesses can grow quickly, leading to the employment of more and more workers. During this process it can become too much for leaders to manage employee wellbeing alongside their other duties.

If you’re an employer considering whether to outsource HR, you should assess your current HR responsibilities. Are they detracting from profitable action? Do they require specialist skills and training? Does it mainly consist of temporary recurring tasks? If even one of these answers comes back as a yes, the business could benefit from outsourcing its HR.

Ensure legal compliance

Employment and labour laws are complex, with the ability for corner case scenarios to arise. It typically takes members from multiple in-house HR teams to formulate a policy that covers all areas. An external HR department can act as an employment law helpline for employers, constantly monitoring changes to employment law.

This is important as failure to comply can open the business up to claims, which can damage its reputation. This is alongside potential financial consequences too. Outsourcing helps avoid costly mistakes as there’s less pressure on HR administrators.

Time and resource savings

Outsourcing HR gives employers and managers more time to oversee key operations. This lets employers focus on improving business efficiency and facilitates vertical relationships. It also helps simplify time consuming procedures like payroll and benefits packages.

Improved information gathering

Using the most advanced and up-to-date employee management tools can be expensive. However, third party HR companies will employ these technologies and offer their benefits to your business. Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD can provide customers with comprehensive human capital metrics to measure performance and ensure company policy is being upheld.

Access HR expertise

Managing employee needs takes a great deal of experience and nuance. This is furthered by the range of responsibilities that fall within HR. For example, an employer with an accountancy background might be well suited to payroll duties but unable to deal with workplace disputes. Outsourcing gives a business access to expertise in all areas of HR.


Options for outsourcing HR

There are different outsourcing options for businesses looking for HR advice and support. These vary depending on the scope of processes that can be outsourced, along with the specific functions covered. As such, the choice will be guided by the needs of the business. Options for outsourcing HR functions are:

  • Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) – sometimes called Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), this involves employing a subcontractor to take over HR function to any degree.
  • Administrative Service Offering (ASO) – outsourcing administrative HR functions like worker’s compensation, payroll, employee benefits, HR management, and safety programmes.
  • Independent contractors – an individual that helps the company build their HR function without being employed. Independent contractors aren’t given full-time work either, instead they’re commonly on a retainer.
  • Staffing companies – agencies that help source candidates for new roles. These companies work with the business during the recruitment stage of an employees’ lifecycle. They aren’t concerned with the benefits aspect of HR.
  • Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) – companies that provide an outsourced solution for HR management. They form a joint employment agreement, meaning the PEO becomes the employer of record. As a result, a PEO can manage and perform more complex HR functions. This includes health benefits, payroll tax compliance, paid time off, leaves of absence, workers’ compensation and insurance claims.


Employment law services for businesses

Looking for clarity on how employment law affects HR in your business? The team at Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD is ready to provide expert HR advice for employers. We help by shouldering HR responsibilities with professionalism. Access a free consultation and we’ll help you take care of your employees.


Contact us today.

How to deal with workplace bullying effectively

The workplace is where many of us spend a large portion of our lives. Unfortunately, the reality is that bullying doesn’t disappear once we leave education. It’s not something employers can quantify and address in the same way as other business areas. However, bullying most certainly is something that has to be dealt with effectively.

In this blog we’ll discuss why workplace bullying arises, how to spot it, and how best to deal with it.


Identifying workplace bullying

Workplace bullying can be a difficult pill to swallow for employers. They might not be looking out for the signs. It can also be hard for employers to notice unless they’re physically close to employees on a regular basis. Generally speaking, the bigger an organisation is the harder it is to monitor. It’s therefore important to make sure measures are in place to identify workplace bullying early on.

Bullying can broadly be defined by persistent negative behaviour that targets an individual.  However, the challenge is that it can manifest in many ways. For example, bullying doesn’t have to be solely physical or verbal abuse. It can also occur in-person or through online channels. Bullying can include:

  • Belittling – when someone doesn’t have their contributions taken seriously. Belittling can also be undue criticism from colleagues.
  • Name calling – it could be a name that relates to the person’s actual name, their appearance, culture, gender, or something else altogether. Whatever the case, the intention is to cause discomfort.
  • Exclusionary behaviour – actions that isolate someone and make them feel ignored.
  • Spreading rumours – falsehoods based on someone’s actions or personality that are circulated among employees.
  • Scapegoating – blaming an individual for mistakes the aren’t wholly responsible for. In cases where one person may be responsible, jumping on them immediately can be seen as scapegoating.
  • Patronising – behaviour that appears outwardly friendly but in reality, creates a sense of superiority. One way this type of bullying can occur is by one person constantly being assigned menial or pointless tasks.


Effects of workplace bullying

Preventing workplace bullying falls within the bounds of employee health care. As such, it’s within an employer’s duty of care to try and prevent workplace bullying. Aside from decreasing motivation and engagement, there are real health risks associated with workplace bullying. Those affected can develop a range of psychological issues. Even people who aren’t the primary target of bullying can be impacted. Witnessing bullying can still cause some trauma. Problems include:

  • Stress
  • Blood pressure complications
  • Loss of sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Depression

It’s also been shown that employees being bullied at work can experience physical symptoms. Examples include loss of appetite, headaches, and increased muscle tension. One paper even found that workers that had been bullied were 59% more likely to develop heart-related illness. This, combined with the mental effects, distract workers from doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Bullying affects the nature of the workplace itself. People that are affected may develop habits to avoid bullies, which damages efficiency. Employers may see drops in productivity, increases in absenteeism, and the rise of costly legal issues.


How to deal with workplace bullying

Once you’ve identified one or more employees committing workplace bullying, what should you do? Depending on the severity of the bullying, employers might not want to outright dismiss perpetrators. This can potentially cause more damage to the overall company environment.

There are many options for businesses to deal with workplace bullying. Here are our steps for employers that have been made aware of workplace bullying, either formally or informally.

Talk to the suspected victim

Gain a full understanding of the issue and what has happened. At this point, employers should try to understand if the accusation of bullying is true. This will gather relevant information that can be used further down the line, especially if legal action is brought against the bully.

Agree an approach

Discuss how they would like the situation to be handled. The employee may want to keep it quiet, want advice, a written statement apology, to try mediation, or to make a formal complaint. Alternatively, they may want to be moved to a different role. For mediation, employment law services for businesses can serve as a valid third party. All these options should be made clear to the affected employee.

The challenge for employers is reaching an agreement on what should be done. As an employer, you may feel as though the person’s proposed course of action isn’t appropriate. It could be a conflict of interest, or they could understandably be acting emotionally. Whatever the case, employers should try and agree an approach that works best for both parties, whether it’s formal or informal.

Support the individual

Make them aware of any available resources that can offer support. These can be:

  • Counselling – either through an employee assistance programme (EAP), or other means provided by the employer.
  • Staff support networks.
  • Trade union advice.
  • Internal support workers – those responsible for encouraging a fair staff treatment in the workplace.
  • Specialist anti-bullying and harassment support organisations or charities.

Review your policy

Every instance of unrest in the workplace, while unfortunate, is an opportunity to learn. It’s worth sitting down with your HR team and reviewing the scenario, how it was handled, and what process was followed. There can be different policies that relate to different types of bullying – was the most relevant procedure used in this instance? Employers can use reviews to make improvements to workplace wellbeing policies over time.

As an employer you’re responsible for preventing bullying and harassment. There is a difference between the two, as the latter is illegal under the Equality Act 2010. According to the UK government, harassment is unwanted behaviour relating to:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity


Tips for preventing workplace bullying

Even if your company culture is overwhelmingly positive, there could be factors that are contributing to a rise of workplace bullying. It might be design features, work tools, noises, or other environmental factors.

It may also be the case that people are bringing in issues from outside the workplace. For instance, in relation to their living situation or personal life. Although this aspect is out of your control, the best way to prevent workplace bullying is by creating an enjoyable work environment.

Reduce workplace stressors

Managing the stress levels of employees can have many benefits for employers. For example, increased morale and productivity. However, it can also help prevent bullying behaviour, as stress is often a factor in people lashing out at others.

Train staff

Ensure all workers are aware of what bullying looks like and how it can affect others. This allows employees to recognise when it’s happening, while also demonstrating your commitment to a safe workplace.  We offer a variety of e-Learning courses, including an Anti-Harassment and Bullying course.

Foster strong vertical relationships

Employers should focus on those in leadership roles to help reinforce workplace guidelines and culture. Managers should encourage openness by presenting themselves as people that can be spoken to about workplace conflicts. This employment relationship helps set expectations and influence company culture for the better.

Employers should also be mindful that bullying can come from a variety of sources, including vertically. This is another reason to train managers accordingly.


Employment law for employers UK

Whether you’re looking to establish an anti-bullying procedure or get bullying advice for employers, Employment Law Services can help. Our team have years of experience providing employers with expert advice. By choosing us, you’ll be ensuring your workplace remains safe and inclusive. Book a free consultation and we’ll see what we can do.


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Government to triple fines for employing illegal workers

On 7 August 2023, the UK government announced the tripling of fines for the employment of illegal workers. The last time this civil penalty was increased was in 2014, with a first-time breach costing £15,000 and repeat breaches costing £20,000. The increase, set to be implemented in early 2024, will see fines rise to £45,000 for first time offences and £60,000 for repeat offences respectively.

The government has said the move is necessary to combat illegal working practices in the UK, reportedly at their highest levels since 2019. Since 2018, the Home Office has recorded around 5,000 civil penalties issued to employers totalling an estimated £88.4 million. This is based on quarterly reports to assess the government’s illegal workers policy.


What employers need to know

It is unlawful to employ someone who does not have the right to reside and the appropriate right to work in the UK or who is working in breach of their conditions of stay.

Currently, those that employ individuals without the right work in the UK can face up to 5 years jail time, in addition to the fines. The regulations also affect landlords who allow illegal migrants to rent their properties. However, this only applies in the case the employer/owner has ‘reasonable cause to believe’ someone doesn’t have the right to work in the UK. Examples include:

  • False or incorrect papers
  • Their leave has expired
  • They have not been given permission to do certain types of work
  • They were not granted permission to enter or remain in the UK

If you are found to be in breach of these regulations as an employer, you will be issued a civil penalty notice. This contains details on how you can pay the fine, the next course of action, and what can be done to make an objection. After receiving the notice, employers have 28 days to respond.

In light of these upcoming fine increases, it is therefore advised that employers conduct thorough employee background checks. This allows them to obtain a statutory excuse to the civil liability penalties outlines above.


The individuals caught working illegally are also deemed to be committing a criminal offence. As a result, while their penalties are not as severe as those for employers, they still face consequences. This can include fines, confiscation of wage earnings, and up to 6 months imprisonment.


Conducting right to work checks

It is the responsibility of all UK employers to prevent illegal working. Therefore, reporting an illegal worker should be a step that businesses never reach. This can be avoided by conducting right to work checks on an employee-to-employee basis. While there is official government guidance on how to do this, here is a list of simplified advice:

  • Check the eligibility of all prospective employees prior to their first working day.
  • Conduct follow-up checks on those with UK right to work permissions subject to a time limit.
  • Keep records of what checks were carried out and when. This information should be stored securely so it can be referred to if necessary.
  • Do not employ individuals where it has come to your attention, or you have ‘reasonable cause to believe’, they are an illegal worker.

With the tripling of fines for employers who employ illegal workers, this is now more important than ever. This is because the fines now represent a more significant financial risk to business owners. Therefore, if you’re unsure of anything related to illegal working regulations in the UK, you should seek the advice from employment law professionals.


Avoiding claims of discrimination

To avoid claims for discrimination, employers should carry out appropriate checks on all prospective employees, not merely those who appear to be of non-British descent.  To assist employers, the Home Office issued a Code of Practice, which came into force in May 2014.  This latest version, which applies to employment commencing on or after 6 April 2022 and where a repeat check is required on an existing worker on or after that date, includes changes to further clarify the code of practice, including the meaning of terms used within it, what amounts to unlawful discrimination, and how to avoid discrimination when carrying out right to work checks. There is also additional guidance on fair recruitment processes, including in relation to online checks, and information for employees about employers’ obligations to conduct right to work checks.

If an employer has carried out checks and established that an individual is not permitted to work in the UK, it can refuse to employ that person but failure to observe the code of practice may be taken into account by an employment tribunal in deciding whether there has been discrimination.


Employment law specialists

If you want help with employee right to work checks, contracts, HR policies, and more, look no further than Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD. We offer fixed fee legal solutions for both employees and employers. These are created in consideration of your business, its workers, and the situation. As a result, you can be confident in achieving the desired outcome for your business. Contact us today to book a consultation with members of our expert employment law team.