As an HR leader, you must ensure your policies and procedures demonstrate a thorough understanding of the legislation that directly affects your employees and your business. HR compliance is the practice of ensuring your business is adhering to relevant legislation, government guidelines and best practice.
Compliance becomes even more difficult if your business operates in multiple countries or if you employ staff on different types of contract. With everything else on HR’s plate, ensuring your continued compliance can feel like a monumental task.
Failing to meet your legal obligations as an employer is not only unlawful, but can lead to tribunal claims or court proceedings.
While many businesses are confident in complying with some legal responsibilities, such as the Working Time Directive and minimum wage requirements, they often feel less confident in complying with others. For example, how do you ensure you follow a fair recruitment policy that does not discriminate against someone according to equality laws?
It’s clear that regardless of the size of your company, compliance is instrumental to your success.
If you’re maintaining your employee records in outdated, disparate software systems, or worse, in an Excel spreadsheet, it’s highly likely that you’re not taking the practical steps you need to keep your company out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 cover four ways that software can ensure HR compliance.
Compliance with the GDPR
HR software provides a method for you to store, process, update and communicate employee records securely. Compliance with the GDPR means 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. As GDPR places greater importance on the timely deletion of documents that pertain to an individual, HR software can ensure records are deleted when they’re no longer needed (i.e. an individual has left your business).
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
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!). Particularly if your business operates in the provision of care or health services, construction, legal or teaching industries; ensuring your employees are correctly qualified to do their jobs is key.
HR software can help with the management of certifications, professional body memberships and accreditations. 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.
Managing employee Right to Work status
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. Workers that are citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are allowed to use their passport or identity card as proof of their right to work in the United Kingdom until 30th June 2021.
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 in nature, so storing them securely is critical and ensures you comply with both the GDPR and Right to Work.
HR software can ensure you 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.