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When is a bribe not a bribe?, Social Networking and changes in Worker’s Visa arrangements.

Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act comes into force on July 1 2011 and creates four new criminal offences, namely:

  1. offering promising or giving a bribe,
  2. requesting, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe,
  3. bribing a foreign public official,
  4. failing to prevent bribery.

What does this mean for small employers?

All employers should read the guidance released by the government on the measures you should adopt. Most small businesses will only need to ensure that they have appropriate procedures in place and to make sure that their employees read them! A word of warning though, due to the serious nature of the Act, you need to treat any breach of your anti-bribery procedures very seriously and to take disciplinary action. Contact us for further information on what your policy should contain.

Social Networking

In the last twelve months or so, social networking – notably the use of Facebook and Twitter – has thrown up a number of potential problems for employers when employees make comments on these sites about the company, or fellow employees, that are there for all to see. Whether these comments are meant to be of a personal nature and directed at friends or not, the fact is that this information is widely available for all to see and can potentially bring your company into disrepute or reveal confidential information that could threaten your business.

Clearly, such indiscretions on the part of employees must be dealt with through your disciplinary procedure – but if you don’t state explicitly what your expectations are of employees, they can argue that they didn’t see a problem and haven’t breached their terms of employment.

Make sure that you include a clause on the use of social media and what employees should not be discussing over the net. Also strengthen your confidentiality clauses and make sure that comments on social networking sites may be treated as gross misconduct is clearly stated. Contact Sarah for your free social networking clause on sarah@jsconsult.co.uk

Eligibility to work in the UK

For those employers who rely on staff from overseas to provide the necessary expertise for roles that they cannot fill from the available workforce in the UK, you should be aware of the recent changes that came into effect from 6th April 2011. These changes now require employers to apply to the Home Office UK Border Agency for a certificate of sponsorship for a specific post instead of receiving an annual allocation.

Details of this and further changes that have come into effect can be found online here and the Home Office Employing Migrant Workers Helpline can be contacted on 0845 010 6677.

Also, all employers should remember to check the eligibility of all employees to work in the UK as a matter of routine and include a clause in the employment contract that requires employees to notify them of any change of circumstance that might affect their employment status. Contact jenny@jsconsult.co.uk for further information.

Contact us if you would like to talk about any of the above, any other employment matter or to arrange a free HR healthcheck of your existing contracts of employment, policies and procedures.