For HR leaders, compliance is a significant, and often challenging, part of their job. As businesses strive to become more productive and more efficient than ever before, ensuring that employment and working practices, policies and standards reflect current UK law and regulation while being mindful of their business’ wider HR objectives is crucial.
Day-to-day, HR compliance includes safeguarding workplaces to meet stringent health and safety requirements, ensuring staff receive statutory breaks and any other entitlements, and much more.
What’s more, HR compliance also requires professionals to constantly stay abreast of any changes that could impact their business or their employees. In the past, changes to legislation around gender pay gap reporting and requirements for employing foreign workers changed the way HR approached many processes.
Frequently assessing your HR policies and procedures is a key part of ensuring continued compliance and reducing any risks associated with non-compliance. As businesses evolve and grow, frequent compliance audits must be carried out to ensure nothing is being missed from a legislative perspective. Failing to meet your legal obligations as an employer is not only unlawful, but it can lead to tribunal claims or court proceedings.
If you’re maintaining your employee records in outdated, disparate software systems, or worse, in an Excel spreadsheet, it’s highly likely that you’re not taking the practical steps you need to keep your company out of hot water.
From accurate timekeeping and secure employee records to managing certifications and training; HR software can help you to manage your compliance obligations.
In this article, we take a look at just some of the ways that great HR software can help you to remain compliant with legislation and ensure you’re always doing right by your employees and your business as a whole.
Managing Right to Work status of employees
All employers are required by law to check that their employees have the right to work in the UK, and this must be done before they enter your employment as part of your recruitment process. Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, if you employ workers from outside the UK, they will need to provide proof of their right to work in the UK.
Following the ‘Brexit Grace Period’ under which EU, EEA and Swiss citizens were able to apply to continue living and working in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme, changes to the rules around right to work checks were introduced. Since the 1st July 2021, all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals coming to work in the UK must now provide evidence of their immigration status (rather than their nationality) via an online service provided by the Home Office.
Employing workers without checking that they have the right to work in the UK, thus employing them illegally can lead to civil prosecution. This can lead to a jail sentence of 5 years or an unlimited fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.
HR teams are legally obliged to make and keep copies of the documents that prove an employee’s right to work and take note of the date you took these copies, along with the expiration date of any legal documents such as a passport, visa or identity card. Naturally, these files are incredibly sensitive and confidential in nature, so storing them securely is critical and ensures you comply with both the GDPR and Right to Work legislation.
HR software can allow you to keep track of the documents required and provided by employees as part of your recruitment process, you can monitor and notify an employee that their documentation is due to expire and track the types of work an employee is legally able to carry out.
Furthermore, it provides a secure location for the storage of your copies of sensitive documents and means all of this information is stored on an employee’s record in the software for easy access and management.
Compliance with the GDPR
HR software provides a method for you to store, process, update and communicate employee records securely. Compliance with the GDPR demands rigorous security practices and an awareness of what the GDPR means for the data you hold on your employees and how you manage this, your privacy policies and security processes.
With HR software, your internal GDPR processes are complemented with features that support your employees’ sensitive data. HR software can ensure that data is stored securely in one single repository rather than in multiple spreadsheets, records or filing cabinets.
Since the GDPR places greater importance on the timely deletion of documents that pertain to an individual too, HR software can ensure records are deleted when they’re no longer needed (i.e., an individual has left your business).
To boot, individuals now have the right to request a copy of all the information you hold on them under the GDPR (known as a Subject Access Request) which you must provide by law within 30 days. HR software makes it easy for you to export and provide an employee with their full record in a matter of clicks.
Easier management of mandatory certifications and training
Depending on the nature of your business, your employees may need to be qualified, certified or accredited by a professional body in order to carry out their work legally (and safely!). This is particularly common if your business operates in the provision of care or health services, construction, legal or teaching industries and ensuring your employees are correctly qualified to do their jobs is key.
HR software can help with the management of certifications, professional body memberships, accreditations and qualifications. Workflows can be created that notify HR or an employee’s line manager that their membership is about to expire, that they’re ready to progress onto further training courses to become certified or even if an employee does not currently hold a certification that your business requires.
Adherence with the Working Time Regulations
Under UK law, the majority of employees are not permitted to work for more than 48 hours in a 7-day period (unless they choose to opt-out or are employed in professions where this isn’t feasible such as health and care services, emergency services and armed forces). Furthermore, if you employ any staff that are under 18, they can’t work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
HR software means the days of punching in with a paper card are a thing of the past, along with the problems that these caused for payroll and fraudulent activity. With online software that allows employees to clock in and out and log breaks; calculating the hours worked by each employee is simple. HR software will automatically calculate the hours worked, which means you can keep an accurate, real-time record of working time for each employee in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.