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PROBATION

Legal rights and obligations during probation

When you hire a new employee, it’s advisable to make their employment subject to the satisfactory completion of a probation period. During that period, what are their legal rights and what are your obligations?

PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

Q&A - TV licences for work PCs?

POOR PERFORMANCE

Issuing an “improvement note” for poor performance

Acas has updated its guidance on how to deal with workplace disciplinary and grievance issues. One new development is the introduction of improvement notes. What are these and when should they be used?

UNFAIR DISMISSAL

Online shopper unfairly dismissed

An employee who was sacked because she used a work PC for online shopping during her breaks has won her claim for unfair dismissal and been awarded £16,000. What did her employer do wrong?

PAY

Staff to access pay early?

A new app which allows employees to access up to 30% of their salary before payday is growing in popularity. If you introduced it into your workplace, how would it affect your payroll reporting?

STAFF BENEFITS

Can staff demand dairy-free milk and herbal teas?

Many employers provide free tea, coffee and milk for staff to use throughout their working day. But what if some employees ask you to provide dairy-free alternatives, decaf options and herbal tea as well. Must you do this?

FLEXIBLE WORKING

Flexible working refused - that’s £35,000!

An employee at the Department for Work and Pensions, who was refused a flexible working arrangement, has been awarded £35,677 compensation by the tribunal. Why was the award so high and what must you not do?

PENSIONS

How to create state pension rights

Your partner’s current job doesn’t generate enough income to earn NI credits that count towards the state pension. To get around this a friend suggested your business tops up your partner’s income. Will that work?

HOLIDAYS

Unlimited holiday madness

More and more small businesses are offering staff unlimited holiday. Is it really a sensible idea and if not, what other options are available if you wanted to extend entitlement?

IR35

HMRC says get ready for IR35 changes

HMRC has published guidance on what steps businesses affected by IR35 should take before the new rules take effect. What’s the full story?

EXPENSES

Are your staff on the take?

It’s been ten years since the MPs’ expenses scandal but small business surveys suggest that many staff are still boosting their claims, perhaps by as much as £100 per month. What simple interventions can help reduce the cost to you?

TAX

Advance travel expenses - what’s the tax and NI catch?

One of our subscribers is going to pay his staff an advance to cover travel expenses. He’s getting conflicting advice about the tax and NI consequences. What steps should he take to avoid trouble with HMRC?