Helping Business Owners
with all of their HR Needs

I'm Jo Trimarco and I formed JT HRConsultancy Ltd in April 2014.

No one size fits all, so you need flexibility from an HR consultant, so that’s exactly what I provide.

JT HRConsultancy will establish full HR legislation compliance for your business. My consultancy company is always up to date with the latest HR laws.

Whether you need a fully outsourced solution or assistance with creating your HR goals to conducting interviews and appraisals, providing a new employment contract or employee handbook or maybe something in between – with over 20 years’ experience I can offer an efficient and personal HR service.


I help clients who are struggling with employee issues and feeling really fed-up! Employee issues are often urgent and stressful for both the manager and employee, and I can take that stress away from you.

WHO I WORK WITH
My clients are business owners and directors who are so busy running their business they do not have the time, desire or expertise to deal with employee matters. You have no in-house HR or just need an extra pair of hands to take that stress away.

Are you:
- Juggling too many hats as a business owner or director and stressed out by employee issues?
- Not sure whether you’ve got your HR basics right?
- Taking on employees for the first time and not sure what you need legally?
- Struggling to find talent?
- Wasting valuable time on Google looking up ‘how to deal with a ‘grievance’?
- Waking up in the middle of the night worrying about your HR issues?

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT HR
Problem solving and finding a solution
Working in HR for over 20 years nothing surprises me, every day is different.

Your company may not possess all the skills & knowledge of an HR professional to deal successfully with employee relation issues and ignoring HR responsibilities and legalities could lead to a costly tribunal and we don’t want that!

I can offer a package specifically around your needs providing you with a clear focus on managing HR & employee issues.

I have worked within the following industries (and many more):
IT Software, Leisure, Technology, Logistics, Manufacturing, Recruitment, Education, Commercial Cleaning, Corporate Workwear, Printing, Shredding, Charity, Gardening Services, Media, Construction and International Consultancy.

HIGHLY QUALIFIED
I am highly qualified and experienced and there is not much I haven’t handled in my HR career. In 2000 I set up a complete HR function for a new start-up company and was instrumental in growing the business from 5 employees to over 100 with a 98% talent retention rate.

DEMONSTRABLE RESULTS
Reducing sickness absence from 7% to 3%
Employee retention saving £000’s in recruitment costs
Managing employee issues saving £000’s in tribunal costs
Reducing business owner headaches and saving them £00’s in painkiller costs

I'd love to have a conversation to explore if we are a good fit for one another. Send me a message jo@jt-hrconsultancy.com or call 07715 026128





AboutAbout
Minimum Wage increases – National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

From 1st April 2022 organisations must comply with the National Minimum Wage increases. The hourly rate of the minimum wage increases will increase from:
£8.91 to £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over (the national living wage)
£8.36 to £9.18 for workers aged 21 or 22
£6.56 to £6.83 for workers aged 18 to 20
£4.62 to £4.81 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age, and
£4.30 to £4.81 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.

It is essential that employers check their pay rates against the forthcoming minimum wage rates and ensuring where necessary they increase remuneration for the first pay reference period that is beginning 1st April 2022.

If employers do not pay in accordance with National Minimum Wage or National Living wage, employers can be fined a minimum of 4 weeks salary in addition to the difference if the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage is incorrect. Also, the Government publish a ‘name and shame list’ of businesses that have failed to pay National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

Proposed Statutory Increase to Family Friendly related pay and Sick Pay

The rate for statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental bereavement pay has been proposed to increase from £151.97 up to £156.66. In addition, it is expected that SSP will also increase to £99.35. These increases are due to take place in April 2022.

UK Right to Work Checks

The Government announced back in March 2020, temporary changes to UK Right to Work checks, allowing employers to conduct checks without seeing the individuals face to face. This means that checks can be carried out via video and scanned or photo versions of the original UK Right to Work documents.
These temporary changes are due to last only until 5 April 2022 and employers must revert to in person checks. Look out for further changes regarding new guidance on the UK Right to Work checks from the 6 April 2022. It is possible that the temporary guidance maybe extended.

It is a legal requirement to carry out UK Right to Work checks under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Failure to collect employees UK Right to Work can result in a £20,000 per employee fine and even imprisonment.

Changes to Statutory Redundancy Pay

It is proposed that new limits on employment statutory redundancy pay will come into force on the 6 April 2022. Employers that terminate employees for the reason of redundancy must pay those with two years’ service or more an amount based on the employees weekly pay, length of service and age. The new amount will be confirmed in the draft Employment Rights Order 2022, which will be published some time in February. For termination due to redundancy the payments must be calculated on the new maximum amounts for redundancies on or after the 6 April 2022.

It is essential that the correct redundancy payment is calculated, this must include any holiday that may have been accrued up to the date of termination.

Check out the Gov.uk calculator which helps employers work out the correct Statutory Redundancy payment for employees.

Managing the Bank Holiday Entitlement during the Platinum Jubilee

Friday 3 June 2022 has been announced as an additional Bank Holiday to celebrate to Queens Jubilee. In addition, the late May Bank Holiday has been moved to Thursday 2 June 2022.
This may cause confusion for employers and will need to be planned in advance. It will largely depend on how employment contracts are worded, even if the employer is not contractually obliged to grant an extra day annual leave, employers may choose to do so as a gesture of goodwill to employees.

Potential changes to Flexible Working Requests

In current legislation, to apply for flexible working you must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks before making a request for flexible working arrangements. A proposal is in place to allow employees to apply for flexible working from day one of their employment as opposed to waiting until at least 26 weeks. The Government says it will give 2.2 million people more access to different working arrangements, helping support work life balance.

Carers Leave

Carer’s leave to be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows. This allows employees with caring responsibilities to take up to one week (5 working days) of unpaid leave per year from day 1 of employment.

SSP Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) makes a return

The SSP Rebate Scheme, which reimbursed employers for the sick pay paid to employees due to Covid-19, has been reinstated.
The Scheme was created in April 2020 to assist employers with the rising cost of sick pay as employees took time off work because they had Covid, or they were self-isolating.

Eligible employers were able to claim back Covid related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), up to 2 weeks per person, for any absences which fell before 1 October 2021. Paying SSP is a legal requirement provided that the employee meets certain criteria. At the start of the pandemic, SSP laws were extended to include those who were self-isolating, in addition to those who were sick. Because of this, employers found that they were paying substantially more SSP to employees than before.

The Scheme enabled employers with fewer than 250 employees, counted at 28 February 2020, to claim back Covid related SSP to a maximum of 2 weeks per person. The Scheme was closed on 30 September 2021 – the same day the Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) was closed – due to the UK being in a better place in terms of Covid cases.

However, the emergence of the Omicron variant has seen an increase in cases and therefore an increase in time off from work due to either sickness or self-isolation.

To help employers meet this extra cost, the Scheme re-opened today (21 December 2021) for eligible businesses across the UK however claims cannot be made until mid-January 2022, when they can be made retrospectively. Employers should ensure they carefully record absence, reasons for absence and accompanying evidence in order to be able to make an accurate claim.

International Women’s Day, one of the world’s biggest employee engagement days, takes place on 8 March 2022. It is a global opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of women across the world.

#BreakThe Bias
This year, the theme for the day is focused around #breakthebias. The International Women’s Day Website states that, “Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.”


(internationalwomensday.com)
If there is a Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON) clause within the contract, the employer can terminate the contract and make payment that represents the money that would have been paid during the notice period.

If there is no PILON clause, then doing this without the employee's agreement would amount to a breach of contract, and hence could lead to a claim of wrongful dismissal. However, if you have paid the employee for the notice period, the employee would actually gain no more money by bringing such a claim. Even so, you should be aware that any dismissal that breaches the contract will mean that post-termination restrictions (eg a restrictive covenant) would not apply.
The short answer is no. It remains your decision if you are going to permit your staff to work from home, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic. In England, provided your workplace is 'COVID-secure', you are able to ask staff to return to the workplace and can even treat their refusal as a conduct issue if it is not reasonable. That said, you should take care in this situation. If staff are able to fully conduct their role from home, permitting them to continue doing so may help you to maintain social distancing in the workplace. You will also need to fully demonstrate, as part of the request procedure, why business need will not permit them to stay at home.
Organisations are urged to keep an “open dialogue” with their staff and respect their concerns about returning to the office after the government announced the remaining coronavirus rules in England will end later this week.

Boris Johnson announced yesterday that all legal restrictions on Covid will come to an end in England on Thursday (24 February), meaning that individuals who test positive for Covid-19 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate.

Individuals who test positive will, for now, still be advised to stay at home for at least five days. However, from 1 April that guidance will also end and instead people with Covid symptoms will be asked to “exercise personal responsibility”.

As part of his ‘Living with Covid’ plan, the prime minister also announced an end to several support packages that were put in place to help individuals self isolate.

The £500 payment for those on low incomes who test positive for Covid-19 will be scrapped from Thursday, along with routine contact tracing, and workers will no longer be required to tell their employers if they have to self-isolate.

From 24 March, employees with Covid will also no longer be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from day-one of their illness – with SSP only being paid on the fourth consecutive day of illness.

And the government will no longer provide universal free testing in England from 1 April. From this date employers will also no longer have to explicitly consider Covid in their risk assessments.

When deciding what rules and guidance to put in place, employers need to be led by the principles of what is fair and reasonable to ask, respecting that many people with vulnerabilities will still be very concerned about coming into places of work.
Firms should continue existing practices to keep workplaces safe, including maintaining good ventilation, cleaning and sanitation.

While many firms will want to continue to ask individuals with Covid to stay at home after the guidance changes, businesses will need a sound business case to explain very clearly why a Covid isolation policy is needed, i.e. to protect vulnerable staff or clients.

Employers will also need to decide whether they want to make testing a requirement going forward – and if so, whether they will provide testing kits to staff – and consider how the changing rules around SSP might affect their business

While the end of the extended SSP scheme for individuals who test positive for Covid could mean lower costs for employers, the end of the SSP Rebate Scheme for smaller employers will also mean some firms will see their SSP bill go up, he said.

Employers should carry out a risk assessment of its offices to identify any specific risk to infection and transmission in that workspace and then take steps to reduce those risks - employers should also consult with individuals reluctant to return to the office.
Under ss 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), employees are protected from being subjected to a detriment or being dismissed for exercising their right to leave their workplace. To gain such protection, employees must have a ‘reasonable belief’ that their workplace poses a serious or imminent threat to them or to others which they could not reasonably have been expected to avert, and they left and refused to return to work while the danger persisted.

This will be much harder now with vaccinations and a reduced prevalence of the virus.

Where an employee or worker has genuine concerns, you should listen to them and try to accommodate them where possible. Don't rush into disciplinary action or dismissal.

Make a well informed decision - if you have followed all government guidelines and ensured the risk is minimised for employees, but they still refuse to return, then the business needs to be prepared to conclude a staff member doesn’t have reasonable grounds.

Employers can force people to return to work following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions if they are contractually obliged to work from a particular location.

Ultimately it could end in the disciplinary action for unreasonable refusal or failure to follow a reasonable management instruction. If they are refusing on the grounds of serious underlying health conditions, then disciplinary action would be risky. If the employee has no reasonable grounds then you can start disciplinary proceedings which could lead to dismissal.
In the past few months’ sickness absence has become a real problem for a number of my clients.

The reasons vary from long-term sickness absences – are they ever going to return to newly-diagnosed illnesses, such as long COVID - what reasonable adjustments do you need to make, to those having many sporadic days off – are they just taking the Michael?

Client no 1 – just employed a new lady and after 2 weeks in the job advised she was pregnant and presented a fit note for the full term of her pregnancy, stating light duties. I advised my client to consider whether light duties were a possibility, which it was however, it may not always be possible to offer light duties, so the employer would have no option but to place the employee on sick leave.

Client no 2 - a prolific short term absence issue, a third of the workforce (in my view taking the Mick). I reviewed the trigger point system they were using and we have changed this now to the Bradford Score and introduced a new managing sickness and capability policy. They currently have a large number of disciplinary meetings lined up!

Client number 3 - an employee stating various medical issues which have been on-going. They asked for a reduction in hours, which the client agreed to. It didn’t make a difference, sickness absences continued. In these instances you can request a GP’s report and/or an Occupational Health report on this employee to understand more about the medical issues, prognosis and any reasonable adjustments.

An employee does have to give their consent though, but it looks very suspicious if they don’t. Refusal to consent can mean that an employer can make a decision without the benefit of a medical report.

It can take up to 6 weeks to get the GP’s report, and then it may not give much useful information.

Another good tool is to use Occupational Health. These are medical professionals who will do a telephone conversation or a face to face visit with the person in question to work out if they are able to do their job and what reasonable adjustments should/could be made.

One report came back that the employee was not going to be capable of returning to their job and as there were no reasonable alternatives, they were dismissed on medical capability grounds.

Another option is to consider having a without prejudice conversation and offer a settlement agreement if an employee is not going to return because they simply can’t face it. So even though you can’t sack them for being sick, you could consider this as an option.

Consulting

Even short-term pieces of work can have an extreme impact on your business. No matter how simple or commonplace, these can escalate into much bigger issues if they’re not managed and just ignored. Whether it's managing an employees’ poor performance or a redundancy process, I can guide you through every stage. I keep abreast of latest case law and legislation and am able to offer the best solutions to your employment issues.

Recruitment & Selection

It is important to get the right people for your business and I can assist you with all your recruitment and on-boarding needs.

Disciplinary & Grievance

It is important that issues are handled quickly and in a fair and sincere manner to avoid unnecessary and costly tribunal cases. I can support you through any stage of the process.

Employment Law

Employment Law can be a minefield and very daunting. I stay on top of legislation and regulations and can guide you through the complexities, no matter how big or small your question.

Policies and Procedures

As a business, it is important that you protect yourself and your staff. Having well written employment documents is essential, the documentation must be legally correct, as well as protecting your company's confidential information and demonstrating HR best practice. I can help you draw up contracts of employment, develop policies and procedures, produce job descriptions and employee handbooks to ensure compliance.

Performance Management

Good performance management helps everyone in the company and is the activity and set of processes that aim to maintain and improve employee performance in line with an organisation's objectives.

Restructuring

Change is unavoidable and that at some point every business will go through a period of transformation, whether it is relocating your business, restructuring or downsizing.

HR Health Check

Do your HR practices support the needs of your business, are your policies fit for purpose and do they meet current legislation?

TUPE

TUPE can be complex and I can help you through the complexities

  • Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK
  • Registered office: 49 The Drive, Rickmansworth, WD3 4EA. Company No: 09004469

JT HRConsultancy is an established HR Services company in Dunstable Bedfordshire & working all over the UK. Call for a friendly chat about your HR needs.


Statement of Employment

Statement of Employment

What you need to know about the new Statement of Employment

Read More  
Dismissals and length of service

Dismissals and length of service

Dismissals and employees with less than 2 years service

Read More  
Disability Discrimination

Disability Discrimination

Mental health and disability dismissal

Read More  
Top Tips for effectively managing change

Top Tips for effectively managing change

Top tips for managing change especially if you are looking to introduce hybrid working

Read More  
Return to the office

Return to the office

Top tips on returning staff to the office

Read More  
About MeAbout MeAbout Me
I think it is always good to know a little about the person, so this is the interesting stuff and a few facts about me:

  • In 1989, I resigned from my job and went to work in Rhodes, Greece for the Summer Season and in 1990, I headed to Australia on my own where I stayed for a year, working and travelling and continued backpacking for another 2½ years mainly around SE Asia and New Zealand visiting 16 countries. This gave me a passion for travel and to-date I have visited 100 countries and all 7 continents, Antarctica and South Georgia remain my favourites.
  • I started my HR career in 2000 when I joined a start up company and then founded JT HRConsultancy in 2014
  • In 2009 I gave up my career to be a holiday rep (on the bucket list and had to do it).  I worked in Egypt, Spain and Cape Verde and spent 7 weeks on a ship sailing up and down the Rhine and Moselle.
  • I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and have bungee jumped and skydived in NZ, paraglided in Bolivia, parasailed in Rio, dived the Great Barrier Reef, abseiled in Argentina, flown a Tiger Moth to name a few of my favourites.  
  • I have a cat named Chablis and she did have a brother called Merlot (so yes, I like wine) and have known my best friend all my life, we grew up together and meet up every week for a walk and coffee.

Advice Line

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Welcome to the JT-HR Consultancy Human Resources assets page. Below you’ll find examples, templates and sample agreements all to support your HR needs.

While we try to make these documents and PDF’s as up to date as possible, some may be dated as employment law and HR compliance is a rapidly changing field. If you have any questions about the HR assets please get in touch.

Claiming Expenses When Working from Home

Employers have no obligation to contribute towards household costs. Whilst the employee may now be incurring additional costs at home, for many people these are more than covered by the decrease in commuting costs. 

Find out what you can and should do as an employer.

Deductions from Salaries

You must make sure all of your staff members receive their full pay but claiming some money back is possible in the right circumstances. 

Read what the Employment Rights Act says.

Disability Discrimination

The definition of disability (Equality Act 2010) is ‘You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.’ 

Find out more about your responsibilities.

Dismissals and Length of Service

Employers have the ability to let staff go without following a process if they’ve been with the company for under two years.

 Learn more about your requirements as an employer.

Flexible Working

The right to request flexible working is available to employees with a minimum of 26 weeks' continuous service with the employer. 

Read more key points in this PDF.

Importance of Contracts of Employment

Not Issuing a Contract Of Employment Is Against The Law. The law changed in April 2020, and you now have to give employees a contract of employment on or before their first day of working for you. 

Read about your legal responsibilities in the PDF.

Managing Long Term Sickness

Long-term sickness absence is usually defined as a period of continuous absence of more than four weeks. 

Read some tips on managing long term sickness.

Redundancy Support

Redundancies arise when employees are no longer needed to perform their job. This could be for a number of reasons.

 Learn about reasons for redundancy.

Resignation – Heat of the Moment Template

An easy to understand Word .doc template for managing sudden resignations. 

Download the Resignation template.

Resignations Retractions

It is important to nip any employee issues in the bud before they escalate. This PDF offers a real-life story of how it was managed.

Download the PDF here.

Return to the Office

A single page checklist for managing a return to the office. 

Download the PDF here.

Returning to Work After Lockdown

A packed two-page checklist for the dos and don’ts of managing those returning to work after a long absence. 

Download the PDF here.

Staying Afloat During the Skills Shortage

Some tips on supporting your employees and their skills. 

Download the PDF here.

Statement of Employment    

An employer must give employees and workers a document stating the main conditions of employment when they start work. This is known as a ‘written statement of employment particulars’. It is not an employment contract. 

Download this important document for employer compliance.

Top Tips for Effectively Managing Change

A single page checklist for effecting positive change in your business. 

Download the PDF here.

Do let me know if I can help with any of your HR needs. 

Jo Trimaco