Your top workforce planning tips for 2019/20
Vicky Roythorne, Outsource UK's Head of Compliance, offers you her key things to consider as part of your workforce planning strategy for 2019/20
With Christmas now seeming like a dim and distant memory, and the slightly depressing, ‘blue Monday’ feel of January also firmly behind us, for those of us with workforce planning responsibilities – whether that be in a HR, procurement or Line Management capacity – it’s a great time to take stock of some of the legislative and regulatory challenges that we all will be facing over the coming months.
Whether your focus is contingent (contractor) hiring, adding permanent headcount to your organisation or perhaps even juggling a blended workforce solution approach, there are a whole host of compliance type challenges that will affect your ability to secure the best talent for your business:
The ‘B’ word
Whatever your personal opinion on the subject, unfortunately there is no getting away from the dreaded BREXIT word.
With continued uncertainty over the negotiations, it’s worth thinking about what the varying scenarios could mean for your existing workers, and your new potential hires.
Immigration policy is the most obvious (and immediate) BREXIT related staffing concern for most businesses, particularly if you currently engage a large number of EU workers. Whether or not we secure a deal to leave the EU on March 29th, there will be a transition period where workers from the EU who are currently in the UK can apply for either settled visa status, or pre-settled visa status, depending on the length of time they have been living and working in the UK. Whilst the Government recently announced that there will be no charge for this application, and have stated that the process should be straightforward (via an app in most cases) if you have a high population of EU workers who are critical to your businesses productivity, you may want to consider assisting workers in some way with this process. The timelines for what happens next depends on whether we are in a deal or no deal scenario, but either way we are going to see a new VISA system where EU workers who want to live and work in the UK are likely to need sponsorship in order to do so. This means more businesses may need to apply for sponsorship licences, and have compliance processes in place to manage these effectively.
Similarly, right to work check processes will need to be updated, as businesses will need to take additional steps to ensure that workers from the EU have the correct work permit in place (once the transition period has come to an end). At the moment, it seems that workers who have had their settled or pre-settled status approved will not be given a biometric card, or similar document to prove their status, but instead this information will be stored in an online portal. This will obviously mean a change for businesses in terms of RTW check procedures.
As we approach April, it will also be time for businesses with over 250 employees to report once again on their Gender Pay Gap.
Introduced for the first time last year, this year businesses who meet the reporting thresholds will be required to submit their reports, and ideally, provide commentary on the measures they have taken to reduce their gender pay gap. In an additional development last year, the Government also released a consultation regarding Ethnicity Pay reporting – the next step perhaps in terms of pushing businesses to really focus on their diversity and inclusion strategies. Although there are no dates for any suggested implementation of this latest reporting requirement, it is undoubtedly something businesses should start to consider. If it were introduced, how would you approach collating this data? And how would you change your recruiting strategies to ensure compliance?
Good Work Plan
Towards the end of last year, you may have seen some announcements regarding the Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’. Published in December 2018, this document sets out the UK’s ‘vision for the future of the labour market’.
The follow up to the Matthew Taylor Review (an independent paper published in 2018 which investigated modern working practices in the UK, and which made recommendations for reform), this is a big old document, covering a wide range of topics. Some of the key areas however are around additional rights for flexible workers, a focus on ‘quality work’ and new protections for workers. The Government has also launched new consultations to delve into more detail on some of the topics raised. So this is definitely something to keep an eye on, as this wide ranging plan could mean increased fines and penalties for non-compliance, but also requirements for policy or process updates.
The Good Work Plan also contained plans to help clarify employment status by providing improved tools for this purpose. Which leads me neatly, last but not least, on to the subject of IR35.
For those of involved in the hiring, management, or compliance surrounding the engagement of professional contractors, the IR35 2020 legislation changes are looming. In a nutshell, these changes mean that instead of contractors being responsible for determining IR35 status for the assignments they complete, this responsibility (and liability) will flow up the supply chain to the agencies and end clients who utilise these services. Now, whilst it may be tempting to take the view that with over a year to go there is lots of time for procrastination over policy on this one, I would throw a note of caution to this approach. This legislation reform is a game changer for businesses who engage contractor resource. This really doesn’t have to be a disaster, it just requires early planning in order to get the correct (compliant) policies and procedures in place. Businesses can – and should- continue to benefit from the services our every growing number of professional contractors provide, there just needs to be a bigger focus on compliance, and on matching the correct type of resource to the role requirement.
I could go on, but as seems to have been the trend over the past few years, there is plenty to keep us busy, and lots of opportunity to take these challenges and transform them into opportunities to improve process, update policy and consider new solutions.
To discuss how Outsource UK can help you with your Inclusion & Diversity programme, contact Claire Farrow at email@example.com
To discuss BREXIT, the Good Work Plan, IR35 or any other Compliance concerns, contact me, Vicky Roythorne firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 430021.