All expenses paid company holiday, travelling bonus, wine discounts, Christmas shopping leave and use of a holiday home, are just a few of the benefits that some companies offer. And while these might seem a little out of the ordinary, businesses know that to stay competitive they need to be offering more than a standard holiday package.
So, what should businesses be offering their employees according to employment law? And what can businesses do to go the extra mile for their employees?
All employees in the UK have the right to request flexible working after they’ve given at least 26 weeks’ service to the company they are requesting flexibility from. All employers are advised to deal with requests in a reasonable manner, and asses the advantages and disadvantages of the application. This could mean you allow employees to compress work days, to extend or make them shorter where necessary. Allow flexible daily hours, or working from home.
Allowing flexible working enables employees to manage their schedules and have greater control over their day and work load. Flexible working proves to employees that you trust them to maintain their productivity levels and work flexibly when it suits them. Providing the work gets done and standards are upheld; does it really matter what hours your employees work?
Workers in the UK are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per year, including bank holidays. This means that workers who work a 5 day week, should receive 28 days paid annual leave. However, many companies are shunning the minimum amount and offering employees a far greater allowance, or in some cases; unlimited annual leave.
Offering unlimited holiday allowances, allows employees to take greater control over their work-life balance, empowering them to take control of their time and giving them the opportunity to spend valuable time away from the office.
For businesses, the result is a happier, more engaged workforce, who are ultimately more likely to stay with the business for longer as perks such as this are a rarity. Many will be concerned that offering an unlimited allowance, will lead employee productivity to slip. A good starting point would be to offer employees the chance to buy back or sell part of their entitlement. It’s likely you’ll find that employees don’t necessarily want an unlimited amount of time off, just an increased amount of control and a degree of flexibility when it comes to using their leave.
Maternity and Paternity Programmes
Parental leave programmes are often a big source of contention for employees, with many businesses simply offering the minimum requirements. This article has guidance on what some of the top companies offer.
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced in April 2015 and was seen as a breakthrough for working parents. It’s designed to give parents greater flexibility over their leave, and essentially enables parents to share their parental leave. However, uptake has been slow with only 3,000 couples taking SPL in the first three months of 2016.
In order to make SPL work for your organisation, it’s important to keep up with administrative duties. Simon Parkes, solicitor at Taylor Rose TTKW, says: “As with any new policy, the devil is in the detail, so maintaining administrative records is important. For example, an employer has 14 days to request a birth certificate to evidence the birth, and the other employer’s address, following the employee’s notice of taking up SPL.”
Maintaining up-to-date HMRC records is also important. “Records must be kept for three years and cumulative weeks of SPL should be recorded to avoid any individual going over their entitlement,” Parkes notes.
Offering employees incentives and opportunities which help to grow the company. Rewarding employees for their contribution to the company incentivise them to work harder for the company and help to grow it, rather than offering them a standardised reward each year.
Some companies are testing the idea of offering an ‘Idea bounty’ which is a way of encouraging teams to contribute ideas to improve the business. Rewards don’t need to be of huge financial value, but it’s the sentiment that helps employees feel as though their voice truly matters when it comes to the future of the business.
Offering employees, the opportunity to take paid time off to volunteer allows them to invest their time in a worthwhile cause and have some much-needed time away from the office. It helps to demonstrate your commitment to your employees and causes they are passionate about.
Taking time away from the office shouldn’t be something you feel you are unable to trust your employees to do. Instead, you should be thinking of the benefits that being away can bring. Volunteering can help to realign purpose and add a new perspective when employees return to work; which will ultimately impact your business.
Culture has become one of the biggest corporate buzzwords in recent years, and there’s a good reason for it. Employees are becoming increasingly motivated by what their working environment is like. No one wants to go in to the office to be greeted by silence and a dull working day.
Creating a culture where employees are valued, have fun and enjoy their working day can help to cement a positive environment, which inevitably improves employee productivity and your bottom line.
Think about what else you can offer employees outside of statutory entitlements, you may be surprised at how it impacts your business for the better.