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New Year - 5 Things HR Should Do

What are some of the key issues that HR should be thinking about over the next 12 months?

  1. Are Staff Handbooks and Employment Contracts up to date?

We have received a number of requests recently to review clients’ policies and contracts.The New Year is a good time to review key employment documents to make sure they are current and fit for purpose.

A number of Employment Rights Act changes came into effect in 2020 which added to the list of particulars that need to be provided to employees at the commencement of their employment.We still regularly see contracts that have not been updated to comply with these changes.

  1. Following on from this, have employment contracts and policies kept up with home or hybrid working patterns which have continued after Covid?

The speed with which changes were introduced during the various lockdowns meant that often documents and policies did not keep up, and lots of these changes have remained to date.  So it’s worth checking whether your contracts and policies reflect current practice, and contain relevant provisions to deal with matters like measuring performance during homeworking.  Also, are health and safety and risk assessments fit for homeworking staff?

  1. Is the business up to speed with new legislative changes due to come into effect this year?

A flurry of new employment legislation received Royal Assent in 2023 with implementation dates over the coming year, including:

  • Changes to holiday regulations coming into effect in January and April, in particular for irregular hours and part-year staff. 
  • Changes to TUPE regulations in July.
  • Updated statutory flexible working request regime expected to come into force in July 2024.
  • The Carers Leave Act which will introduce statutory unpaid leave each year for employees with long term caring responsibilities. 
  • A new right to neonatal care leave.
  • Extended protection for employees on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave who at risk of redundancy.
  • The right after 26 weeks for workers to request more predictable terms and conditions of work where there is a lack of predictability of working pattern.
  • A new employer duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment – with an uplift of 25% on compensation where the duty is breached.
  1. Review of absence records over the last year

Are there any employees or teams with consistently high absence levels that may need review or for formal action to be taken?

Conversely are there any areas where staff are not taking adequate leave or breaks?This may be an indicator of high stress levels or a deemed lack of support in some areas which should be addressed.

  1. Are staff appraisals planned and in hand over the next 12 months?

Are staff being provided with feedback at appropriate intervals?

Checking that managers are on top of their one to ones, whether there is consistency and adequate record keeping across the organisation, and ultimately whether performance concerns are being properly followed up with staff and addressed at an early enough stage.

If you need assistance with reviewing your Employment Contracts and/or policies, our Employment team can help. To get in touch, please call 01689 887887 or email

Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.