Get right to work checks right

The penalty for not having checked your employee’s right to work in the UK has recently increased to £45,000 per illegal worker, plus a possible prison sentence for repeat offenders.

Why is it so important?

Checking an individual’s right to work in the UK before they start work with you is a legal requirement. Employers must follow the Home Office guidance in place at the time of the check to ensure they have a statutory excuse, providing protection against penalties in case of any inconsistencies or fraudulent documentation. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and, in severe cases, potential imprisonment for business owners.

Simplifying the Process

There are various methods and considerations to simplify the right to work checks. I have tried to break this down to keep it as simple as possible, as let’s be honest, anyone who has tried to read the Home Office guidance has got completely overwhelmed.

  1. British or Irish Citizens
  • For British or Irish citizens, requesting their passport (even if expired) is the simplest way to verify their right to work.
  • In the absence of a passport, you will need their birth certificate AND proof of National Insurance number
  • The employer should verify the passport’s photo or other ID, make a copy, sign, and date it, affirming its authenticity.
  1. EU Employees
  • EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status have a share code, which can be checked online through the government’s website.
  • By verifying the share code and ensuring the person matches the displayed photo, employers can print, sign, and date the verification notice.
  1. Non-EU Employees
  • Non-EU employees will have either a manual visa in their passport or a biometric visa.
  • For manual visas, the employer must physically check the documents in the passport, ensuring it is in-date.
  • Biometric visas can be checked online using a share code similar to the EU employee process.
  • Employers should be aware that having the right to live in the UK does not guarantee the right to work. Some visas may impose limitations on employment, such as restricted working hours for students.

Utilising ID Service Providers

Employers have the option to utilise approved ID service providers who can perform comprehensive checks on settled/pre-settled status, visas, and access Home Office databases. However, employers must still conduct manual checks for expired British and Irish passports as these won’t show up on the IDSP systems.

Making the process as easy as possible

Here are some additional tips to help make things easier:

1.Include a clear question in the application process regarding the applicant’s right to work. For example “Do you have the right to work in the UK?”  YES/NO

2.Request applicants to bring their right-to-work documentation to the interview stage, even for video interviews.

3.Consider arranging a face-to-face meeting or including a face-to-face element in the recruitment process to ensure proper verification.

4.Include a clause in the offer letter stating that the offer is subject to receiving satisfactory references and evidence of the right to work.

5.A driving licence is not proof of right to work, so you cannot accept it.

Right to Work

Ensuring compliance with these regulations is crucial for employers to avoid penalties and legal complications. It’s crucial to follow the Home Office guidance and conduct thorough checks. By implementing these best practices, employers can streamline their verification process while staying compliant with the law.  If in doubt, don’t let them start work for you until you are sure they have the right to work in the UK.

If you are unsure or need any further help or guidance, please get in touch today at [email protected]


Why lack of HR knowledge is damaging for business

I meet many business owners who tell me “My HR knowledge is zero” or “I don’t know much about HR”. 

This lack of knowledge can at best, cause people issues or at worst, land the employer in an employment tribunal.

As business owners, you get clued up about finances, how to market your business and the same should be said for employment law and some HR basics.

Here’s why:

Legal compliance: Understanding HR is crucial for ensuring compliance with employment law and other employer requirements.  Ignorance is not a defence and can lead to not only a costly employment tribunal but irreparable damage to your reputation.

Effective talent management: HR knowledge is essential for attracting, managing and retaining good employees.  Business owners need to understand recruitment strategies, employee development and performance management to build a skilled and motivated team. 

Positive workplace culture:  Business owners who are clued up about HR can establish policies and practices that foster a positive and inclusive environment.  A healthy culture contributes to employee satisfaction, engagement and overall success.

Conflict resolution and good employee relations: Conflicts and employee relations issues are inevitable in any workplace, however business owners with HR knowledge can effectively handle and resolve conflicts. 

Risk management: HR knowledge is essential for mitigating risks.  From addressing workplace safety concerns to handling disciplinary actions, a well-informed business owner can proactively manage risks, safeguarding the business against potential legal, financial and reputations repercussions.

When you look at the list of reasons, it sounds like a no brainer, doesn’t it?

If you would like help in improving your HR knowledge, please get in touch today on [email protected]


What does non judgemental actually mean

What does being non-judgemental actually mean?

Many people claim they are, but what is actually involved to truly not judge someone?

I help HR professionals and business owners with their HR emergencies. This means things like dismissals gone wrong, appeals, complex grievances or difficult employee issues that take a while to untangle.

When I first speak to people, it’s important they tell me the whole story. My advice is only as good as the information I am given, so if people miss out a bit of the story because they are concerned I will judge them, it won’t end very well.

So, here’s some of the ways I show I am non-judgemental:

  • I’ll encourage you to tell me everything and when you do, I won’t be shocked or surprised. Believe me, I have seen a lot in my HR career, so it takes a lot to shock me.  My aim is to help you sort it out not blame anyone.
  • I won’t think any less of you. The fact that you contacted me shows that you want help sorting it out and that is a good thing.
  • I’ll provide you with the facts. I’ll explain what you are dealing with, what the risks are and what your options are.  Everyone feels better when they know what they are dealing with and what the potential solution is.  I’ll evaluate circumstances objectively, focusing on facts, behaviours and policies rather than personal opinions or assumptions.
  • I’m a trained Samaritans listening volunteer. I say this because they are the experts at non-judgemental listening.  I practice active listening, empathise and will withhold personal judgement to better understand the nuances of a situation.
  • I’ll try to understand what caused this to happen. Was it human error?  Lack of a clear policy? Or just ignorance?  Whatever it is, I’ll also help you make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • I’m an external HR consultant – this means I don’t have a vested interest in the internal politics of a business. Sure, I care about my clients and their businesses, but in the cold light of day, it doesn’t matter to me who is right and who is wrong.  I just want to help you fix it.

The benefits of remaining non-judgemental are:

  • My clients are far more likely to confide it me and tell me the truth. This means we can get to the bottom of the issue and fix things quickly.
  • My clients are far more likely to call me earlier on before things escalate. This means that they will likely save money dealing with a bigger issues or having to engage an employment lawyer.
  • It not only builds rapport, but trust. And in any relationship with your HR consultant, trust is essential!

If you would like a chat about how my approach could potentially help you with an issue, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

#grievance #conflict #conflictresolution #communication

Why Grievances can be a good thing

Why Grievances can be a good thing

As a line manager or HR professional, when an employee sends you a written grievance, it can make your heart sink.

There are some who believe that for an issue to get as far as a written grievance means that something has failed. Sometimes this is true, but not always. In this blog, I share with you why sometimes grievances can be a good thing:

Improved Communication: Grievances often prompt conversations that might not have happened otherwise. Addressing issues openly can lead to better communication between employees and management, fostering a more transparent and supportive work environment.  Having to deal with something formally forces those conversations you otherwise wouldn’t have had.

Identifying Systemic Issues: When grievances arise, they can shed light on deeper systemic problems within a business. Addressing these issues at their root can lead to positive changes that benefit everyone in the workplace. Without someone investigating them via a formal process, these things can continue being swept under the carpet.

Employee Engagement and Trust: Taking grievances seriously demonstrates that the business values its employees’ concerns. When employees feel heard and supported, it can increase their engagement and commitment to their work and the company.  It goes a long way to building trust.  Even when a grievance outcome doesn’t always go their way, knowing that it has been taken seriously and that they have been listened to is often enough.

Opportunity for Resolution and Growth: Handling grievances properly offers an opportunity for resolution and growth. By addressing problems head-on, companies can implement changes and improvements that prevent similar issues in the future, leading to a more productive and positive work environment.  It prompts you to do something about it!

Preventing Escalation: Addressing grievances promptly and effectively can prevent minor issues from escalating into larger conflicts. By creating a culture where concerns are heard and addressed early on, companies can avoid potential larger disruptions or legal challenges down the line, saving time and resources for all parties involved.

While workplace grievances can be challenging, addressing them effectively can lead to positive outcomes and contribute to a healthier work environment in the long run.  If you would like help dealing with a grievance in your workplace, please get in touch with me by emailing [email protected]

#grievance #conflict #conflictresolution #communication