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the hr guide A practical approach to Human resources in GREAT BRITAIN PUBLISHED BY THE FRENCH CHAMBER OF GREAT BRITAIN

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Foreword Jennifer Westen, Chair of the French Chamber’s HR Forum Group Director Human Resources, International SOS

The UK employment landscape has a strong legal basis and this has been reflected in this booklet. Whether you are working within a large HR team, operating as an external advisor or are a business leader with responsibilities for the HR aspects of your organisation, we hope that this guide will help you to prepare for the challenges you face when working with employees in the UK. Legal aspects aside, we acknowledge that doing business anywhere in the world is predominantly about dealing with people, customers, clients, suppliers, competitors and ultimately workers. All employers wish to ensure that they manage an engaged, motivated and productive workforce. This can only be achieved through ensuring that your organisation provides a challenging rewarding workplace that recognises individual contributions and provides career paths. This booklet is only intended to provide you with an overview of the topics that relate to managing any workforce. I wish to thank the fellow members of the HR forum for their valuable contributions. If you are not already a member, the forum will welcome new members at events throughout the year. I hope that you find this guide informative and that it will provide an initial insight into the work of the HR Forum of the French Chamber.

About the Chamber


stablished in 1883, our Chamber is part of a network of 112 French Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCI France International) and is one of the top French Chambers worldwide. We are also the largest Foreign Chamber in the UK in terms of both turnover and range of services offered. The size of our network and its diversity – we have 600 members, ranging from SMEs to blue chip companies, with 40% non-French representatives – contribute significantly to our reputation and success. Our main aims are to provide a platform for exchange and networking at the service of Franco-British firms in the UK, to promote our members’ interests to key decision makers and to help develop economic and commercial relations between France and the UK. Our Business Consultancy, Company Set up and Recruitment services support both British and French companies with a large range of bespoke professional services. The 50 events we organise every year offer great opportunities for our members to expand their network of contacts and develop their businesses. Additionally, our Forums and Clubs allow our members to share experiences and best practice at the highest level of management. We also take pride in the quality of our publications which provide a wealth of information and help promote the interests of the Franco-British business community.

About the Chamber’s HR forum


ttracting the highest management levels of the HR world, this Forum offers HR professionals of both small and large organisations an informal setting to share best practice and experiences on issues which impact their departments and, ultimately, their employees. It was tailored to meet the requirements of its members who set the annual agenda and determine future topics. Speakers are invited from member and non-member organisations, encouraging discussion and the exchange of experiences from a wide range of industries. The Forum provides an excellent opportunity for networking between members. It has an ultimate goal of reviewing the impact of employer legislation and, in the long term, influencing future decisions in this area. This forum represents a broad cross-section of organisations who have interests in France or who represent French organisations operating in the UK. The HR forum of the French Chamber meets regularly to provide guidance, insight and debate on current employment topics with like-minded HR professionals.


Florence Gomez, Managing Director, French Chamber of Commerce of Great Britain


he French Chamber has, over the years, launched a number of forums that focus on different transversal issues, Human Resources being one. These forums bring together professionals and experts, providing a platform for discussion and exchange of knowledge and best practice. Two years ago, our Cross-Cultural Relations Forum collated its expertise into a tangible, practical guide for companies operating in cross-cultural environments, which has gone on to be one of the Chamber’s most successful publications. This set the precedent for creating a second guide that would be useful for French companies crossing the Channel, and so the idea of producing a Human Resources Guide was born. The initial purpose of this guide was to provide French companies intending to set up business in the UK with the information and tools they would need to plan and implement their human resources strategy, while giving them a good overview of the HR landscape in the UK. To this end, CCI France, whose role is to accompany French companies abroad, has provided a subsidy for its production. However, while putting this guide together, we realised that its application could be far wider, as UK subsidiaries of French companies expressed an interest in using it as a reference tool for their French headquarters to clarify the differences between UK and French HR practice. This guide has been written by members of the HR Forum, many of whom work for FrancoBritish companies, and are aware of the key differences and pitfalls. Different writers have tackled difference subjects, making it a diverse, but rich collation of material, interspersed with testimonials, tips and examples of local HR practice. While the information provided in the guide is completely up to date at the time of publication, readers should be aware that the regulatory environment does change from time to time, and it is worth checking if there have been any subsequent developments. A lot of work has gone into bringing this publication to fruition and I would like to thank the HR Forum, its former Chair, Rose Gledhill, and current Chair Jennifer Westen, all the members who contributed to the content, the advertisers and CCI France for its generous support. Thanks too to the Chamber team who made it happen: Véronique Revington for coordinating and driving the project, Katherine Millet for the graphic design and Keri Fuller. However it is used, I hope this guide will be practical and useful.

Managing Director: Florence Gomez Project Manager: Véronique Revington Layout & Design: Katherine Millet Illustrations: Pierre Abouchahla Printed by Wyndeham Grange Ltd ISBN: 978-0-9553371-5-4

2015 Edition published by the French Chamber of Great Britain Lincoln House 300 High Holborn London WC1V 7JH Tel: (020) 7092 6600; Fax: (020) 7092 6601 @FrenchChamber

Table of contents Foreword


About the Chamber / About the Chamber’s HR Forum




Jennifer Westen, Chair of the HR Forum, Group Director Human Resources, International SOS

Florence Gomez, Managing Director, French Chamber of Great Britain



Sharokh Koussari, Partner, DWFM Beckman Solicitors

I. How to recruit

1. Recruitment processes and channels Jennifer Westen, Group Director Human Resources, International SOS

a. Introduction to different recruitment processes

b. Recruitment on the Internet - the e-generation: social media

Extra info: Social media and recruitment - Kevin Poulter, Legal Director and Head of Social Media Law and Practical Team, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP

2. THE British CV and approach to recruitment a. The British CV, interview requirements and expectations

Lara Plaxton, Group Head of HR, FDM Group

b. French diplomas and English equivalents: a comparison Martin Schulz, Director Group Human Resources, Bouygues UK

14 16

19 23

II. The legal framework

1. The employment contract

Emmanuelle Ries, Managing Partner, ebl Miller Rosenfalck

a. What is an expatriate? What is a local contract? b. Types of employment contracts

Extra info: Several different types of employment contract exist in the UK - Andy Pennock, HR Director, Keolis

c. Typical clauses in an employment contract

d. The different recruitment options for French businesses

Testimonial: What is the VIE programme? - Debbie Griffin, Head of HR , Société Générale Testimonial: Apprenticeship - Cameron Mc Kay, Quality Conformance Engineer, Airbus

2. Working hours - Caroline Yarrow, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP Testimonial: Working hours in hospitality - Nathalie Seiler-Hayez, General Manager, the Connaught

26 30 31 33 36 44

Extra info: Employee’s internet and email use - Kevin Poulter, Legal Director and Head of Social Media Law and Practice team, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP

Table of contents

3. Statutory employment rights

Caroline Yarrow, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP


4. Discrimination at work - Caroline Yarrow, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP Testimonial: Combating a traditional male dominated culture Marguerite Ulrich, HR Director, Veolia


a. Practical examples of discrimination


Testimonial: Making reasonable adjustments goes far beyond legal compliance Emma Head, HR Engagement Manager & UK Diversity Lead, Capgemini

b. Equality and diversity in practice


5. Change and termination of contracts

Raymond Silverstein, Partner and Head of Employment team, Browne Jacobson


a. Change

Extra info: Four things to remember when modifing an employee’s terms and conditions of employment contract Thomas Bétis, HR Manager, le Pain Quotidien

b. Termination

Extra info: Everything you ever wanted to know about settlement agreements but never dared ask… Oliver Morel, Partner, Head of International Corporate Investment, Cripps


III. What salary and benefits?

1. Different Salary Tiers Alexis de Bretteville, CEO Hudson Europe, Hudson

• Salary



2. Improving people performance with reward and benefits

Andy Philpott, Sales and Marketing Director, Edenred

a. The talent retention challenge b. Employer of choice c. A strategy which delivers d. Making a difference with benefits

Extra info: Employer benefits schemes - Angela Cooper, Head of Human Resources, Altran

e. CSR

Testimonial: Martin Schulz, Director Group Human Resources, Bouygues UK

3. Automatic enrolment in pensions: get in line

67 67 68 68 71

Stuart Law, Director - National Payroll Services, Mazars

a. What is auto enrolment? b. What type of pensions scheme will eligible workers be enrolled into?

72 72

Table of contents

c. What will the minimum contribution level be? d. When will this happen? e. What action do employers need to take? Extra info: The challenge of auto-enrolment - Andrew Moore, Director, Leprêtre & Partners

72 72 73

IV.Payroll, taxation and other charges Stuart Law, Director - National Payroll Services, Mazars

1. UK payroll obligations - introduction to Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

2. employment allowance

3. income taxes and national insurance contribution • Example of payslip

76 79 80 82

V. Working conditions

1. Health & Safety - Melanie Stancliffe, Partner, Thomas Eggar Extra info: Health and safety checklist to remember - Thomas Bétis, HR Manager, le Pain Quotidien

a. The over-arching duty b. Specific legal requirements c. Business risk

84 85 85

2. Well-being at work

Melanie Stancliffe, Partner, Thomas Eggar

Testimonial: Jane Rawlins, Camino HR Ltd- Project Manager for Alstom’s Well-being and Performance Project

a. Work-life balance b. Broader compensation packages

93 87 87

3. TRADE Unions and employee protection IN ENGLAND AND WALES


Jane Klauber, Partner and Géraldine Fabre, Senior Associate, Russell-Cooke Testimonial: Geoff Cox, Director of People, Eurostar





Introduction Sharokh Koussari, Partner, DWFM Beckman Solicitors

A good time to do business in the UK This HR Guide is being produced at arguably the best time in the last decade (or more) to be an employer in the UK. Whilst employees are protected by a host of employment rights as set out in this Guide, the government has introduced legislation which has the effect (if not the stated purpose) of curtailing the risks to businesses in employing staff. These changes have included: • the increase, from 6 April 2012, in the qualifying service required to bring an unfair dismissal claim from 1 year to 2 years; • from 29 July 2013, - the introduction of fees (particularly to issue and have a hearing) for claims brought in the Employment Tribunal (the forum where most statutory and employment rights are dealt with) and - the cap on Employment Tribunal awards for unfair dismissal being reduced to the lower of the figure of 52 weeks’ of the employee’s gross pay or the statutory cap (currently £76,574). Statistics for claims brought in the Employment Tribunal for October to December 2013 were published on 13 March 2014 and showed a drop in claims of 79% compared with the 10

period of October to December 2012, and 75% fewer than in the previous quarter (i.e. July to September 2013).

Whilst the accuracy of the statistics has been questioned, there has been a definite decline in the number of claims being brought by employees and it is felt that changes to the qualifying service to bring unfair dismissal claims, the reduction of the cap on unfair dismissal claims and the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees have all contributed to this decline. These changes have been made in what appears to be a concerted effort to ease the burden on businesses of the risks of employing staff and, from the statistics and our experience, this is working so far.

Doing business in the UK For anyone looking to set up or acquire a business in the UK, a basic knowledge of their employees’ contractual and statutory rights is a prerequisite for avoiding unnecessary and costly disputes and for generally maintaining workplace morale and productivity. While there are variations in the legal framework between the four countries of the UK (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales), the cornerstones of the employment relationship between employer and employee remain the same: • the express contractual terms agreed between employer and employee, whether orally or in writing; • legislation (including that derived from the requirements of the European Union) provides a bedrock of minimum rights such as a right to a minimum wage, a statutory right to paid holidays, statutory minimum periods of notice, parental leave entitlements, key protections from unfair dismissal, discrimination, harassment as well as

safeguarding health and safety. Employers, particularly those setting up businesses/companies, also need to be aware of other, more operational, statutory obligations in relation to their employees such as those under the Data Protection Act 1998, especially if they are headquartered outside the European Economic Area, payroll obligations (PAYE: Pay As You Earn) to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) in relation to deduction of income tax and national insurance from their employees’ salaries, as well as employer’s liability insurance requirements; • implied terms under common law; • in some instances, collective agreements between an employer and a trade union as well as the benefit of other workforce agreements, including information and consultation processes under any European or national works council arrangements. What follows in this HR Guide is a basic overview of the contractual and statutory position of UK-based employees.

Illustrations: Pierre Abouchahla


Chapter I

How to recruit In this chapter you will find an overview of the approach taken to recruitment in the UK. You will gain a better understanding of how the UK education system works, the usual rules regarding candidates’ CVs and other recruitment tools used in the recruitment process. 1. Recruitment processes and channels

Jennifer Westen, Group Director Human Resources, International SOS

a. Introduction to different recruitment processes b. Recruitment on the Internet - the e-generation: social media

Extra info: Social media and recruitment - Kevin Poulter, Legal Director and Head of Social Media Law and Practical Team, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP

2. THE British CV and approach to recruitment a. The British CV, interview requirements and expectations



Lara Plaxton, Group Head of HR, FDM Group

b. French diplomas and English equivalents: a comparison Martin Schulz, Director Group Human Resources, Bouygues UK


1. Recruitment processes and channels

Jennifer Westen, Group Director Human Resources, International SOS

a. Introduction to different recruitment processes

The job market is an ever-changing one, but the heart of any business, whether large or small, will always be PEOPLE. Regardless of the state of the job market or economy in your industry, recruiting knowledgeable and competent staff is the only way to keep your business successful. People are the most important asset to a business. Client satisfaction begins with the attitudes and abilities of your employees. Having committed and effective employees in your organisation is your key route to success and growth. The recruitment function of a company may be carried out in-house or can be outsourced to agencies and/or RPOs (Recruitment Process Outsourcing companies). The in-house recruitment function has become more and more popular, especially in larger organisations. Often in-house recruitment is a more cost effective and efficient way to recruit as the team are recruiting for only one organisation, allowing them to develop expert knowledge and insight into the company’s needs, culture and values. Although agencies will most of the time do a good job, there is an argument to be made for creating an in-house recruitment team when an organisation has a continual high volume of roles. Why pay agency fees when an in-house recruitment team (from agency backgrounds where necessary) will do the same job, work closer with the business and be demonstrably cheaper? This, of course, only stands if the in-house recruitment team have access to the same tools as an agency would (see below). Although, should disaster strike, an in-house team could always liaise with an external agency where appropriate. For smaller companies and start-ups however, using agencies may be a cheaper option if they are only hiring small numbers of people each year. It is important to know how to recruit staff in a timely way that will ensure that you find the right employees to work with, who will stay and develop themselves within the company. Qualify the position Speak to the hiring manager and get all the details on the vacancy. This will include the role details, time scales, necessary credentials, previous experience and more. The more detail you can get at this stage, the more chance you will have of finding the best candidates to accept your position. 14

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