HR in 90 Seconds - May 2018

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 16 May 2018
Legal Island
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Last month’s article (HR in 90 Seconds - April 2018) proved really popular, so we thought that we'd give it another go! This month, we bring you up to speed with the HR stories we thought we could all learn a little something from! We’ve selected articles and summarised a few learning points to help you stay up to speed with minimal effort!

Looking at the news from the last few weeks from the view of an HR professional there were a few things that we were interested to read. There were a few interesting judgements from cases in the last number of weeks that we as practising HR professionals can use as a reminder of the basic day-to-day principles that often get lost in our busy, busy working lives. Let’s take an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of:

  • Keeping proper records on the detail of an employee’s compensation package;
  • Having clarity about when notice will be deemed to have taken effect; and
  • Being properly prepared for training sessions in order to create a fun, engaging and interactive session for the participants.

Here is a bit more detail on why we are reminded of these points…

Compensation Strategies - how to use these and why we need to be clear about them!

Having experienced working in an organisation where recruitment and retention were quite challenging and where people were driven by the financial reward and the package, it was interesting to read what Ciaran Sheehan from Clarendon Executive had to say on how to use compensation strategies to attract and retain talent. This article reminds us that it is not just about the monetary side of things but also about trying to have the edge in offering other softer, but very much appreciated benefits. He examines the notion that a consistent and structured approach creates transparency and fairness.

Having read Ciaran’s article it is relevant to a recent case from the Industrial Tribunal - Nicola McLoughlin v Clear Channel NI Ltd. In essence, the case arose from issues over the structure and calculation of the bonus owed to her. The practical lessons from this case highlight that, when creating compensation packages, especially those with a monetary value, there is the possibility that disputes can arise. The lesson here is that, as with everything in HR we must keep proper records and documentary evidence –this is crucial! Where there is not sufficient paperwork the employee (as a claimant) stands to benefit and this was demonstrated in the Clear Channel case where the claimant clearly benefitted from the respondent’s failure to properly keep records. The tribunal pointed out that where there is a lack of sufficient information any other evidence will be used to attempt clarification even an email chain or as in the case of Clear Channel, notes from a budget meeting.

This case also highlighted that as employers we need to keep an eye out for the differing time limits when considering how to respond to a claim.

Effective Dates of Termination

Another case where we can take away a note from, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Appellant) v Haywood (Respondent), although this is a UK Supreme Court decision there are definite notes to be taken away.

The main issue, in this case, was that the Court had to determine when notice given by the employer was deemed effective – was it when the letter was delivered by post; when it arrived at the chosen address; or when it came to the attention of the employee and s/he had read it (or had a reasonable opportunity to do so). In this case, the decision held that in the absence of an express contractual provision, a written notice of termination served by an employer does not take effect until the employee has read it or had a reasonable opportunity of doing so. The takeaway point here is to check that there is a clause in the contract about when notice will be deemed to have taken effect.

If you have 6 minutes to spare, you can watch President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, deliver a summary of the judgment on the Newcastle v Haywood case.

A few other things that are worth highlighting from the last month…

Helen O’Brien – 5 part video series

This series of short videos are a great and easy way to take 5 minutes out of the day and refresh on the key points from our most searched subjects, including:

Check out the other articles that Helen has written for Legal-Island over the years.

Overcoming nerves and becoming a great trainer!

If you have a fear of public speaking and would like some tips on how to deliver a successful training session, read Olga Pollock's latest article on how to overcome your nerves and dispel any negative self-limiting beliefs!

Two-thirds of Businesses Worried about GDPR Breach

It seems that it is ok to be worried about the GDPR, we are definitely not the only ones concerned with the coming changes! The NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry and corporate law firm A&L Goodbody carried out a survey which found that over two-thirds of NI businesses are concerned about a potential breach of the new Regulations in the next year to year-and-a-half. Read the full report on Irish Legal.

As we continue to get closer to the deadline and continue to try and get through what is now required of us under the new GDPR, Fiona Cassidy, Senior Partner and employment law expert at Jones Cassidy Brett Solicitors, clarifies the position in NI regarding retention periods under the GDPR.

If you have seen any HR related articles you’d like us to share with our readers, drop a line to


This article is correct at 16/05/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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