The Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 is now in effect. The Protected Disclosure Bill 2013, commonly known as the ‘Whistleblowers Bill’ was published on July 3rd 2013 by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, T.D. The Bill was drafted to establish a comprehensive legislative framework protecting whistle-blowers in all industries in Ireland. The Bill recently passed through the ... Read More »
The number of cases annually referred to the Employment Appeals Tribunal increased three fold during the Irish economic recession and the average compensation awarded by the Tribunal in Unfair Dismissal cases rose from €11,476.00 to €18,047.85 between 2009 and 2011.
During this time of economic hardship Employers must pay even closer attention than ever before to their expenditure. Many organisations are forced to downsize and - in this era of increased Employee Litigation - making sure you follow appropriate procedures in redundancy or disciplinary scenarios, for example, is growing in importance.
It is at times like these that Companies need to concentrate on their Human Resource functions even more. Some elements of HR, however, can be both complicated and time consuming – an enormous burden on Employers. In recent years the focus has moved towards legal compliance (which can be a minefield with all of the pieces of Employment Legislation currently in operation) and administrative processes that can slow down the productivity of the firm.
For SMEs in particular, it makes a lot of business sense to outsource HR tasks as firms specialising in the field can improve efficiency dramatically. Outsourcing allows Companies to offload work that isn’t part of their core business. It also saves money. At a Company that doesn’t have the funds to hire specialists outsourcing can allow it to gain access to a vendor’s services when required as well as the expertise and wealth of experience that they have accumulated – all at an affordable price.
While SMEs don’t have the same number of Employees as larger corporations and multinationals they still require the same HR elements on a smaller scale. For instance, they still need to recruit staff, they still need to abide by the vast array of Employment Laws and still require Employment Documentation (Contracts of Employment etc.).
Although some Companies do it, most SMEs cannot justify spending a large portion of their annual budget setting up a HR department comprehensive enough to incorporate the abundance of skills required to achieve a smooth-functioning, compliant working environment. Consequently, more and more Companies are choosing to outsource operations like HR and are directing vital, scarce, finances and resources towards other core/revenue-generating areas of the business.
On the other hand, some Employers end up trying to balance HR duties in addition to their other responsibilities which can leave opportunities for threats and vulnerabilities to creep in. As time goes by many Employers are realising that assigning a large percentage of their time to one area is not just inconvenient but impractical, too. Juggling all elements of a business without assistance can be extremely difficult and for this reason many Employers are opting for the cost-effective third party route which involves the use of an external HR Company. This gives them enhanced peace of mind and confidence that they are working within the confines of all Employment Legislation. Outsourcing Companies can deal with HR successfully and as a priority so that Employers do not have to concern themselves with the associated time constraints and conflicts. Companies can eliminate exposures they did not even know existed quickly and in a cost-effective manner by availing of the services of a HR Company.
HR Companies deal with all features of Human Resources comprehensively. They have a base of specialist Employees who are trained and experienced in all areas of Employment Law – meaning they are fully equipped to deal with any Employee Relations issues that arise in the workplace. Engaging the services of HR professionals gives Employers access to a bank of relevant knowledge and experience. HR Companies are well prepared to support or advise SMEs without costing an arm and a leg. They keep up-to-date with all changes in Irish Employment Legislation and are able to offer better support and guidance than the client can attain in-house. Navigating Government regulations can be a draining activity for Employers - it can be a time consuming and complicated process, however, it is what HR advisors are trained to do.
HR firms can do a lot more than you might think – not alone do they have a top-class portfolio of skills, knowledge and experience concentrated in this specific area. They can offer a range of services and support at an extremely affordable price. Some HR Companies provide comprehensive services for as little as €100 per month – Hiring a HR Employee, even on a part-time basis, would cost far in excess of this. Similarly, many Employers currently engage the services of Solicitors to prepare Contracts of Employment and other Employment Documentation – this can also be an extremely costly process.
HR Companies prepare Employment Documentation for their clients and on top of that they are there to advise on all individual Employee-related issues – discrimination claims, rest or annual leave entitlements, disciplinary and redundancy procedures, dismissals, grievances and much more. Lots of Companies operate outside of office hours and so some HR Companies even provide 24/7 advice lines for their clients meaning a client will never have an anxious wait for an answer. HR firms also provide support to existing HR departments within Companies - the level of service and associated costs are completely dependent on the needs of the individual Company.
HR firms are growing in popularity. In the past outsourcing was often a difficult process because of the issues distance can sometimes create. Thanks to the advances in technology, however, dedicated HR experts are only a couple of clicks or a phone call away – so Human Resource emergencies can be dealt with on the spot.
Reasons influencing decision to co-source:
Reduce administrative costs
Redirect HR focus toward strategy/planning
Allow company to focus on core business
Provide seamless delivery of services
Capitalise on technological advantages/expertise
Improve customer service
Have insufficient staff
Decrease response time to clients
Increase flexibility in handling special needs
Increase level of accuracy
Control legal risk/improve compliance
Tangible Cost Savings:
Reduce employee turnover
Efficient use of HR systems & applications
Reduce administration costs
Flexible cost base
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Since 2001 The HR Company, B2E Ltd. has been successfully providing a cost-effective HR and Employment Law Advice support service(s) for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) across Ireland. The HR Company also assists several large corporations and multinationals with their HR operations.
With so many pieces of employment legislation in place in Ireland it is a challenge for companies to ensure that they are fully compliant on all counts. The HR Company is an Irish-owned company headed up by Philip Carney, former head of HR for Microsoft’s European Operations Centre, and Angela O’Grady, former Staffing and Recruiting Manager. A team of 20 HR specialists provide peace of mind for Employers by guiding them on all aspects of Irish Employment Law.
The HR Company provides a very affordable 24/7 protection service to those who wish to offload the burdens and risk associated with HR activities. Whether it relates to disciplinary procedures, annual leave, redundancy or anything in between; a dedicated account manager is at the end of a phone to guide Employers and help insulate companies whenever a query about best practices in HR arises.
Not only does The HR Company provide bespoke employment documentation to ensure companies pass a National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) inspection, tailored disciplinary letters and any other relevant material are prepared by dedicated account managers to ease the load on the Employer. The HR Company acts as the eyes and ears of the Employer on all HR related issues – protecting companies by keeping them informed on any relevant legislation updates.
In this era of increased employee litigation employees know their rights – companies should shield themselves against the risk of a costly dispute by arming themselves with the best on-call support.
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Crèches in Ireland have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. On the 28th of May 2013 the Prime Time Investigates programme “A Breach of Trust” highlighted grave mishandling of infants in the care of a number of crèches in the Leinster region.
While the programme uncovered substandard care in three specific childcare facilities it exposed widespread failures in the industry in general. The programme researchers acquired a HSE inspection report that illustrated that a staggering 75% of Irish childcare facilities were in breach of regulations in 2012.
Understandably, these statistics caused uproar and opened up a huge debate on childcare standards throughout the nation. Many parents were very upset by the revelations of breaches in child protection regulations. The poor practices exposed in certain crèches distressed many people and the disturbing reports have seriously tainted the image of the childcare industry in Ireland.
Subsequent to the Prime Time Investigates programme there have been two reported incidents of unaccompanied toddlers leaving crèches in Dublin while in the care of employees at the facilities. The most recent of these incidents occurred last Friday, 21st June, where two little boys made it out of a Giraffe Crèche on the North side of Dublin. The boys were lucky to have been spotted before they made it as far as the busy road behind the building.
These revelations have again raised serious concerns and the childcare industry will have to work hard in order to earn back the trust of parents. In order to protect their reputation it is absolutely vital that management in childcare facilities take the steps necessary to ensure that all employees are fully qualified for the roles in which they have been hired.
It is imperative that all employees working with children are vetted thoroughly and that all relevant paperwork is in place.
The HSE report from 2012 highlighted serious policy breaches and failures on numerous grounds like the child-carer ratio. It is imperative that employers seek advice from Employment Legislation experts if they need clarification on policies and procedures that they are required to have in place or if they need help in determining whether or not they have the appropriate paperwork on file.
The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is carrying out inspections to ensure that all employers have contracts of employment in place with their employees as well as employee handbooks and so on. NERA seeks to ensure that employment paperwork is up to date with all of the recently implemented employment legislation changes. NERA inspectors can impose large fines if they find that employers are in breach of the regulations.
It is essential that all facilities are adequately staffed and that management take every precaution in ensuring a high standard of protection and care for children at all times. One suggestion perhaps might be to install a CCTV system to monitor the interaction between employees and children – before doing so, however, a CCTV policy is required – again, it is essential to seek advice from the appropriate body if you are considering such a course of action.
Reports suggested that multiple employees were suspended and at least one dismissed after the Prime Time Investigates programme aired in May of this year. Employers need to remember that, to avoid any risk of exposure, it is absolutely imperative to follow approved disciplinary procedures prior to disciplining employees. Regardless of the severity of the situation there are steps that need to be followed in order to ensure employers remain compliant with all Irish Employment Legislation.
It is vital to follow procedures that are in line with the Labour Court recommendations to insulate your company against the risk of a future claim. To avoid jeopardising the process contact an Employment Law expert prior to initiating any disciplinary action and arm yourself with the appropriate guidance.
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Administration can be an extremely frustrating and time-consuming part of the job but efficient internal mechanics (the nuts and bolts if you will) is what keeps the HR department flowing smoothly.
Well-organized administration is what maintains the forward moving momentum of the company yet it is the element of human resources that most HR professionals look upon with trepidation. Rightly so – it’s not glamorous – in fact, one could call it the ‘slog’ work. The professionals at The HR Company thrive on it and turn it into something useful…. information.
From processing new employees to delivering redundancy packages, our HR systems management covers every aspect of back-office administration. The HR Company’s dedicated account managers do much more than administer and process, however, they track your company’s HR information and prompt you and your employees to keep information fresh and up-to-date to avoid any unforeseen issues. Dedicated account managers at The HR Company also use this information to generate the reports and statistics you need to integrate HR into your company’s overall strategic planning.
Here is a list of the main tasks that fall under the tricky Human Resources Administration umbrella:
•Data entry of new employees
•Setting up of email aliases and accounts
•Tracking headcount movement
•Tracking vacation time
•Provision and management of electronic filing systems
•Preparation and delivery of redundancy packages
•Tailored generation of reports and statistics
We can help to ease the burden of HR administration in a cost-effective manner.Read More »