5 myths about the HR department debunked
Human resources is a complex, multifaceted field that requires professionals to have the ability to juggle priorities and excel at a number of tasks-from the sometimes tedious to the often strategic. There are so many myths surrounding what this profession actually does that it’s easy to get the wrong idea and avoid it altogether.
Myths are false ideas of beliefs that have a tendency to carry through generations as truth. In regards to the workplace, not everything you may hear is true, even if it comes from your supervisor or is common practice in your department.
Myth 1 - All employees legally get bank holidays off work, or get extra pay
There are no legal rights to provide special treatment on public holidays. Many people still assume that bank holidays are automatic leave for all workers, and that any workers who are in the office on a bank holiday get some extra salaried incentive such as time-and-a-half pay.
While this may be a pleasant benefit in some workplaces, there are no legal obligations for an employer to let employees have bank holidays off, or pay extra wages. Essentially, it is entirely up to the employer whether they would like to include bank holidays in their employees’ statutory annual leave.
Myth 2 - They Can “Fire You for Any Reason”
An employer’s reason for termination must be legal and nondiscriminatory, cannot appear to be retaliatory, and cannot be based on race, religion, gender, sex or any other protected status. The reason for termination also cannot be in response to the employee engaging in a protected activity, and must abide by the terms of the employee’s employment contract.
Myth 3 - An employer can deduct anything from an employee’s pay
The only deductions that can be deducted from an employee’s pay are government deductions or deductions that are agreed to by the employee within a reasonable time frame. Any deduction that the employer does not have written permission by the employee, is not legally permitted. If you received permission from an employee years prior to the actual deduction (such as in a case of termination), new permissions need to be requested.
Myth 4 - Employees choose when they take their holiday
Holiday leave can be refused, restricted and enforced, within reason. Employers can legally tell their staff to take leave, for example on Bank Holidays and Christmas, and they can also state when leave cannot be taken, for example during busy business periods. Employees should refer to their employment contract to find out the usual protocol, but the general rule is that employers can cancel any booked holiday with a notice period twice the length of the time they booked off.
Myth 5 - Performance reviews are a waste of time and are not effective.
If a performance review or program is customized to suit the company and the entire organisation is trained on the program, it will be very effective. It will also prevent issues when there is a termination. They cannot work if no one is held accountable for completing reviews properly. They also cannot work if no one receives training on how to use the programs. A solid performance management program will protect an organisation when a dismissal is the only other alternative for an employee who performs poorly.
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