HRLegal Newsletter Sept 2022: Back On Track: The Irish Employer’s Essential September Checklist

Welcome to the September edition of the HRLegal Newsletter. This monthly collection of focused features seeks to keep readers abreast of all updates in the quickly developing world of human resources and employment law. As we enter a new world and way of working, HRLegal is at hand for all advice in relation to all things people and HR. Our responsive and personable team of experts are available by phone, email and via our social media channels for any support they can provide.

Read on for explainers and features compiled by our experts, Una Clifford, and James Condon. For more on how we can assist your business, visit www.hrlegal.ie.

Back on Track: The Irish Employer’s Essential September Checklist

James Condon, HR Business Partner

In this edition of the HRLegal Newsletter, we discuss the items that employers should be ticking off their HR checklist as we move away from summer and into autumn. 

Summertime can bring about some looseness around good HR practices with lots of employees on extended periods of leave and some industries experiencing a slowdown in output or demand.

September 1st brings about a new season and many businesses begin to switch focus with the end of the year coming into sight. As businesses begin to prepare for a very busy couple of months ensuring they have their HR processes robustly operating can be beneficial. Using the month of September to tie up any loose ends from the summer and to put some structure on items like annual leave balances within teams can help to reduce the pressure that generally comes over the next few months. HRLegal would advise that businesses look to ensure they tick of at least some of the below checklist to ensure no HR headaches arise in the near future. 

1.    Review annual leave balances 

September is an excellent time to review annual balances within your teams. Regardless of whether your company leave year runs from January to December or March to April, it can be useful to carry out a review of how each employee and team currently stand. Over the past two years, we have seen employees have huge balances to take due to Covid restrictions but thankfully this year has been different. Should you have any employees with large a balance of leave to take, it is a good time to engage with them and map put when they expect to use remainder of their leave. Additionally, analysing leave balances now can be very important in the run up to Christmas as businesses need to workforce plan accordingly and ensure they have sufficient staff to maintain operations.  Employees may need to be reminded that, dependent on company policy, they may lose annual leave days if it is untaken at year end.  

2.    Carry out check in meetings 

Carrying out informal check in meetings with your team is an excellent way of re-engaging with employees after a summer where contact may have dipped slightly. Communication within teams always takes a hit during this time and so taking some time to have a coffee with each team member may help to boost engagement. A lot of change can happen in an employee’s life in a very short space of time and so having a well-being chat and a catch up is always useful for individual and team morale. Informal check ins are regularly where managers obtain the most useful information and help to take the pulse of the team in an easy way. 

3.    Review employee performance goals and metrics 

Refocusing employees can be hard after summer and so taking so time to review their goals can be very effective. Many businesses set their goals with their employee and review them regularly throughout the year. September is the perfect time to reflect and to refocus by having honest conversations with employees about where they currently stand. For employees who are under-performing, the meeting should be the first step in addressing the issue and a plan should be put in place for the coming months to ensure they hit their goals. For over-performers, it is a chance for managers to create some ‘stretch’ goals that look to further challenge the employee that will help to maintain their focus to the end of the year.

4.    Review and plan your recruitment needs

Depending on the industry, September can be a very busy or very quiet month on the recruitment front. For businesses that hire graduates on a tailored programme, September can be a busy month and time should be allocated to create suitable job descriptions, marketing plans and clear selection methods. Businesses who don’t generally hire from now until the end of year can also use this period to workforce plan/predict for early 2023. Taking some time now can help to reduce panic in the new year when businesses have a lot spinning plates to contend with.  Rushing your recruitment plans is never a good idea. 

5.    Review your employee documentation and policies

Now is a very good time for businesses to review their employee documentation and policies as the summer brought about some notable legislation changes. Keeping up to date with these changes is very important particularly as the recent changes relate to additional ‘family friendly’ leave entitlement and an update to whistle-blower legislation that will impact a lot of businesses over the coming years. 

In our July edition of this newsletter, we outlined the changes to Parents Leave entitlement which will now see an increase from 5 weeks to 7 weeks for children born or adopted after 1 July 2022.  
August brought about the enactment of the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2022 which has now been signed into law by the President of Ireland. This new piece of legislation will amend and bolster the already existing legislation under Protected Disclosures Act 2014. 

If you or your business requires further information on this new legislation, or expert guidance in amending your policies and procedures, please contact Una at +353 1 639 3000, or visit www.hrlegal.ie.



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