Managing employees who have a side hustle

A recent study suggests that 25% of employees in the UK are running at least one business project alongside their day job.

A side hustle is defined as a secondary business or job that brings in, or has potential to bring in, extra income. It is particularly popular among millennials, who tend to start a side hustle as a hobby or in order to explore a new challenge. Millennials tend to have different attitudes towards work and technology.

They are used to being able to work from anywhere, using a smartphone or a tablet.

Various studies have shown that employees who have a side hustle report feeling happier and more content. However businesses / employers seem to view a side hustle as a negative distraction from their employee’s day jobs.

The truth is that many of the best employees have a side hustle and employers need to be more supportive. A side hustle can actually be a good thing as long as it doesn’t involve working for a competitor or doing anything that might damage the main employer’s business.

Employees can learn new and useful skills from running their own side hustle. They can gain real-life experience of customer service, project management or budgeting that can be applied when they are working their day job. From an employer’s perspective, their employees are gaining new skills that can make them better at their jobs and the employer doesn’t have to pay for any training.

Research from numerous studies has found that an employee who has the drive to work a side job is more likely to be innovative, proactive, and organised. They are also more likely to come up with new ideas, which they have gained through their own new experiences.

A survey from a well-known careers website recently revealed that over 70% of employees with a side hustle want to remain in full time employment. They don’t want their side hustle to become their full time job, as it’s more of a hobby / passion that just happens to create an income.

It seems that the side hustle is here to stay and employers need to shift their view – a side hustle is a positive thing. However, employers should consider adding a non-compete clause to contracts and a secondary employment clause just to ensure that there is no temptation for employees to side hustle in any way that could damage the employer’s business.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR

Setting up a New Hire for Success

 No one has a bigger impact on a new employee’s success than the manager who hired them. Here are some tips on how to set your new hires up to succeed.

Investing time in onboarding brings new employees up to speed faster, which means they’re more quickly and efficiently able to contribute to the business. Effective onboarding also dramatically reduces failure rates and increases employee engagement and retention. The time between someone accepting an offer and starting their new role can be used to jump-start the process.

But even if new employees are already in their new job, there are many ways to get them up to speed faster. The starting point is to take care of the “onboarding basics” – such as documentation, compliance training, office space, support, and technology. Fortunately, most firms do a reasonably good job of these elements. The real work begins with integrating new hires into the business.

Understand the challenges

Starting a new job is challenging. Even experienced professionals can struggle as they are unfamiliar with the business, don’t understand the culture and aren’t fully aware of how things really work. New employees have to learn a lot and may be feeling quite vulnerable, even when they seem outwardly confident.  Integrate a new employee with the help of the existing team. The rewards of this will help create a more inclusive working environment for the new employee – lessening the chance of them wanting to leave after a short time.

Managers need to get involved

Managers have a vested interest in onboarding their new hires effectively. They need to coach their new recruits, check-in with them regularly and be ready to intervene if things look like they might go off-track. This requires an investment of time and energy but can help the new hire to secure some early wins, which can boost their confidence, their credibility within the firm and will increase the likelihood that they will succeed in their new role.

Make them part of the team

New hires need to build effective working relationships with their peers. The arrival of a new employee should be communicated prior to their start date so that the team understands who the new person is, why they have been hired and the role they will fulfill.

Once they join, a team lunch or social get-together is a good investment as it helps to connect your new hire with others in the team, in a more relaxed setting.  Introduce a tour of the office so that a new employee can meet everyone on a one to one bases and see where they sit.  Outside of the new hire’s immediate team, there are likely to be other stakeholders who will be critical to their success in the job. A good manager will take the time to set up introductory meetings with key stakeholders so that the new recruit gets connected with the right people from the start.


From the beginning, a manager should explain to the new hire what the expectations of the role are and set some key objectives for the first 100 days. The new recruit should be clear on what they need to do, how they should be doing it and what the purpose of the role is within the context of the wider business.

If you would like me help and support on hiring staff, please contact Andrew Tomlinson at Nicholsons  on 01522 815100.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR


What are the issues of redundancy after a period of absence

I read an article recently concerning the case of Charlesworth v Dransfields Engineering Service Limited (2017) UKEAT/0197/16/JOJ.

The case relates to a redundancy situation back in 2014 but the appeal was not heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) until January 2017. The situation is one that we have frequently given advice on; an employee was absent from work for some time, and this absence allowed the respondent to identify the possibility of restructuring the business in a way that deleted the absent employee’s post from the business and therefore saved costs (something like £40,000 in this case).

The employee (Charlesworth) who made the claim was employed by the respondent (Dransfields Engineering Service Limited) as a Branch Manager. Importantly the business was not achieving any level of profitability. The claimant developed renal cancer and was absent for two months due to having an operation. As you will be aware from previous Broadcasts the condition of cancer is automatically a protected characteristic in terms of disability.

After the period of illness the employee returned to work fit and was able to fulfil his role, however the employer, having undertaken a review, commenced consultation over the proposal for redundancy for the Branch Manager and unfortunately he was eventually dismissed on the ground of redundancy.

The case went to an Employment Tribunal (ET), at which the claimant argued that this was a sham redundancy in that there was no redundancy situation, and that the real reason for the dismissal was because of the disability. This claim was rejected by the ET. The ET found that the possibility of a restructuring that would enable cost savings to be made became apparent as a result of the claimant’s absence. However, the ET concluded that the claimant’s absence resulting from his disability was not an operative cause of his dismissal for redundancy.

The claimant appealed his case to the EAT on the basis that the original ET had failed to apply the correct causation test when dealing with Equality Act 2010 s.15. It was submitted that a cause or influence (however significant) is sufficient to constitute or to fulfil that requirement that it is “because of something arising in consequence of the disability“. It was argued that any cause, even if it does not operate on the mind of the putative discriminator and is therefore not an effective cause, is sufficient to satisfy section 15.

The EAT held that the causation requirement in Equality Act 2010 s.15 involved a two-stage approach.

  1. There must be something arising in consequence of the disability;
  2. The unfavourable treatment must be because of that something.

The question raised by the appeal was whether something less than an operative cause or influence is sufficient to satisfy the requirement that the unfavourable treatment is because of the relevant something. To the extent that it was being argued that a mere influence is sufficient, such an argument was not accepted by the EAT. The statute requires the unfavourable treatment to be because of something; nothing less will do. Provided the something is an effective cause (though it need not be the sole or the main cause of the unfavourable treatment), the causal test is established.

In this case, the ET had expressly accepted that in considering an Equality Act 2010 s.15 complaint it is not necessary for the claimant’s disability to be the cause of the respondent’s action, and that a cause need not be the only or main cause provided it is an effective cause. The EAT stated that there was no error of law in the ET’s approach.

The ET was entitled to ask whether the claimant’s absence, which it accepted arose in consequence of his disability, was an effective cause of the decision to dismiss him. To put that question another way, as the tribunal did, was the claimant’s sick leave one of the effective causes of his dismissal?

The ET accepted that there was a link between the claimant’s absence through illness and the fact that he was dismissed, the link being that his absence afforded the respondent an opportunity to observe that it could manage without anybody fulfilling the claimant’s role as Branch Manager. Nevertheless, the ET said that was not the same as saying that the claimant was dismissed because of his absence. This was a case where, on the facts found by this tribunal, it felt able to draw a distinction between the context within which the events occurred and those matters that were causative.

It is worth noting that the EAT commented that there will doubtless be many cases where an absence is the cause of a conclusion that the employer is able to manage without a particular employee and in those circumstances is likely to be an effective cause of a decision to dismiss even if not the main cause. This, however, does not detract from the possibility in a particular case or on particular facts, that absence is merely part of the context and not an effective cause.

If you have any employee concerns and would like to speak to me please contact the office on 01522 81 5100 and they will be able to direct you.

Slips, trips & falls

In 2002 20.2% of all reportable injuries were as a result of slips, trips and falls; this is second only to Manual Handling injuries which were at 36.9%. By 2010 this number has increased to 37%, with 28% of all fatalities in the workplace being as a result of slips, trips and falls. By 2012 slips, trips and falls accounted for 53% of all major reported injuries.

Regretfully, the Co-op has been heavily fined following an accident in which a customer was killed in a slipping accident. In July 2015 74-year-old Stanley May visited the Truro branch of the Co-op. In the chilled food aisle there was a wet area of flooring where water had been leaking from a faulty sandwich chiller. Mr May slipped over, striking his head. He died two days later in hospital.

We all know that it is not uncommon to see a slippery floor in a supermarket; this can be for a number of reasons; cleaning activities, dropped fruit, product spillages or leaking equipment. In my experience supermarkets, in general, act very quickly in dealing with any spillages and will have a supply of mops and buckets, wet floor signs, matting, etc. at the ready. However, in this case in Truro the chiller had been leaking for 44 hours prior to the accident but customers had been allowed unrestricted access to the area.

Management had initially taken the correct approach by attempting to stop the leak at source. Engineers had been called in when the machine broke down, but it had continued to leak. Staff had also put up a wet floor sign. However, the prosecution explained that the wet area of flooring extended beyond the sign so this appears not to have been adequate as a means of risk control.

Any risk assessment should examine the hazards associated with those at risk; visitors, young people, employees, etc. and in any public place, like a supermarket then the risk assessment should be extended to consider the elderly, disabled, people pushing prams, etc.

In this particular case the supermarket should have done more and the Co-op pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to protect members of the public, under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £50,000.

As the statistics above show, slips and trips are the single most common cause of major injury accidents in UK workplaces, therefore wet floors need to be treated seriously and with urgency.

There is a logical order in which to control and then eliminate the hazard.

  1. Fixing the leak
  2. Removing the source
  3. Contain the liquid in a tray
  4. If the wet floor cannot be avoided, or if there will be a delay in making the area safe, staff should follow pre-determined procedures.
  5. Following the clean-up, the floor should be left as dry as possible and then a wet floor sign displayed.

If you would like more advice on employee or health & safety issues please contact Andrew Tomlinson on 01522 815100.

What is a days pay?

I was recently asked the question … “How do I calculate a days pay?”

Apparently an employee had used up their holiday entitlement but had then been offered the opportunity of going to a Test match at the Oval for the day. The employee had asked for this day to be counted as “unpaid leave” and the employer had no objections to this but was confused as to how to calculate a day’s pay.

My immediate thought was to do a simple calculation;

52 weeks in the year multiplied by 5 days per week gives 260 working days, therefore one day of unpaid leave is simply 1/260 x annual salary.

However, before I answered the query I thought it best to do some research, and I found that this calculation was used in Hartley v King Edward V1 College 2017; in this case it was a deduction from pay following a one-day strike.

The Court of Appeal had also used the same 1/260 approach as I had, but I found that the employees involved had appealed this method to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court overturned this calculation and held that, in the absence of any express contractual wording to the contrary, the correct rate of deduction is 1/365th of the employee’s annual salary. It also stated that this 1/365th approach does not apply where an employee on an annual contract has a set hourly rate rather than a fixed salary.

For more information about human resources or to discuss a particular employee issue please contact Andrew Tomlinson on 01522 815100.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR

Homeworkers – do you regularly work from home?

In terms of Health & Safety there is a difference between an employee who is a “homeworker”, and an employee who “works from home”.  So what is the difference and why is the difference so important?

A homeworker is an employee who regularly works from home and as a result they should be treated the same way as other employees. The homeworker would typically have their home as their permanent working base. Full risk assessments of all work activities must be undertaken, including appropriate Display Screen Equipment risk assessments by a competent person. Any hazards highlighted by the risk assessment process must be addressed so that the level of risk can be reduced as much as possible or “so far as is reasonably practicable”. Failure to follow this may lead to homeworkers being injured or suffering from ill-health.

An employee who “works from home” is someone who has their permanent place of work situated away from their home but, at times, just happens to undertake work at home. This is typical of the employee who takes a file home to read in the peace and quiet of their home, possibly in the evening after dinner.

To help identify the hazards associated with the “homeworker” it may be helpful to have a check list of all typically associated hazards and more importantly the appropriate ways of consistently controlling each activity and how to control or reduce risks to an acceptable level. You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any hazard that could, and more importantly is likely to, cause an accident or injury.

You may require the assistance of a competent health & safety practitioner.

When assessing the hazards, as with all risk assessing, you do not need to include activities that simply do not need to be there. However, keep in mind that if there is any chance of your employee being unaware of the safe way of doing something, then you will need to make it clear what the safe way is. As with any risk assessment, any control measure can only be to the level of “so far as is reasonably practicable”.

Listing every single hazard will be impossible; however, you should be able to document all “significant” hazards that are likely to be identified with your employee working at home. Please remember that you may have a list of generic risks associated with homeworking but as with all risk assessments you need to examine whether any individual, peculiar risks are present. The risk assessment should take into consideration the actual tasks that your homeworkers carry out on your behalf. I would recommend that these risk assessments are carried out in conjunction with the individual homeworker so that the requirement are fully understood.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR


Sickness Absence During Notice Periods

A question that we are regularly asked concerns what an employer should do as regards pay when an employee, who is signed off sick, resigns giving notice.

Sickness absence can always be a problem for employers; especially so when it happens during a departing employee’s notice period. Assuming that you do not have an Occupational Sick Pay scheme in place many employers believe that it is in order to pay the departing employee statutory sick pay (SSP) only during their period of absence through sickness when they are working their contractual notice, but is this correct?

To determine the answer we must go back to the law and what the Employment Rights Act (ERA) of 1996 states. The Act states that the employer must pay full pay during the statutory notice period where an employee is “incapable of work because of sickness or injury”. In the case of a resignation the statutory notice period is always one week, but in the case of a dismissal effected by the employer, e.g. a redundancy, it is one week for each complete year of service to a maximum of twelve weeks.

So if an employee has say one month’s contractual notice, that includes one week’s statutory notice, this means that the statutory part of the notice period should be paid at full pay and any additional contractual amount may be paid at SSP. The statutory notice is the first part of the notice period and any additional contractual notice follows on.

There is however an exception to the rule. Section 87(4) of the ERA states that the employee’s rights to statutory notice pay does not apply if the contractual notice to be given by the employer is “at least one week more than statutory notice” . This is the case if it is a resignation by the employee or a dismissal by the employer.

This particular situation was examined by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Scotts Company (UK) Ltd v Budd 2003, where Budd (B) was dismissed on three months’ contractual notice after two years’ sickness absence but was not paid any notice pay as he had exhausted all his sick pay entitlement. B was entitled to twelve weeks’ statutory notice as he had been employed for over twelve years, and three months’ contractual notice. He brought a claim for statutory notice pay but the EAT held that Scotts Company (UK) Ltd was not liable for it because B’s employment contract provided for at least one week more than the statutory notice.

Had B only been entitled to receive statutory notice, his employer would have been liable to pay him full notice pay for twelve weeks. It is always the employer’s notice that is looked at to decide if the contractual notice is at least a week more than the statutory minimum.

So, generally speaking, the first week of the notice period should be paid at full pay and the balance paid at your normal sick pay rates, e.g. SSP only. This rule does not apply where the contractual notice you are required to give under the employment contract is at least one week more than statutory notice.

Head of Human Resource at Nicholsons Chartered Accountants Lincoln HR