December, 2021

Increase in workers engaging in multiple jobs

A recent study from the Department of Education has shown that two-thirds of workers are working multiple jobs, or plan to do so in the near future. This is being referred to as ‘portfolio’ careers, whereby workers may work part time or flexibly within different industries, striving to build on their experience, skills and capabilities. This concept has grown significantly since the Covid-19 lockdown.

The main reason for workers taking up portfolio careers was thought to be a desire to do something different and retrain. This desire has led to the Government actively encouraging professionals to consider working part time in the education sector in order to pass on their skills and expertise to students in colleges and universities. In turn, this will also allow them to develop new skills through teaching whilst helping people, leading to increased satisfaction in the workplace.

It seems that portfolio careers can offer workers increased flexibility and the ability to get what they want out of their work, allowing greater learning opportunities and job satisfaction in the workplace. Over the last year, more employers are having to offer increased flexibility to employees around working practices in the form of part time, reduced hours or job-sharing. This has been shown by a steep rise in the number of flexible working requests.  Allowing employees more flexible working patterns in your organisation may help reap the benefits of employees engaging in portfolio careers, bringing additional skills and experience to their roles.

  • Posted on December 23rd, 2021

Two-thirds of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers over the next 12 months

Two-thirds of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers over the next 12 months, according to research, because they are hoping for a “more progressive approach towards working”.

A poll of 4,000 UK adults found that 64% planned to make changes to their working lives next year, either by finding a new role, changing the hours they work, or switching careers entirely. These figures suggest that 22 million workers across the economy could be looking for a job change.

The research found a wide variety of changes that employees planned to make. For many this meant increasing flexible working: one in 10 plan to find a role that allow them to work from home, while similar numbers plan to reduce their working hours.

Whilst flexible working had been growing since before the pandemic, the last two years has resulted in many people becoming used to not having to commute and to have flexibility to work at home.  This has resulted in the desire to extend this across a number of industries and situations.

The research also found many employees were looking to improve their skills over the next year. More than one in 10 workers said they planned to retrain or learn a new skill, increasing to one in six among those aged 35 to 44.

  • Posted on December 23rd, 2021

Survey says – apprenticeship instead of a degree!

The CIPD’s report, Youth employment in the UK in 2021, explores the extent to which young people understand and are prepared for the world of work.

Over 2000 people aged 18 to 30 were surveyed by YouGov as part of the research. Just 1% of all young people surveyed received help and support to apply for an apprenticeship during their time at school, 59% received support from their school on their educational and academic options available to them such as applying for university or college.

The CIPD is calling for careers advice in schools to give equal focus to vocational and academic routes into employment having found that a mismatch between skills supply and demand means that graduates often end up in jobs which do not require a degree to do the role.

A senior advisor of the survey stated, “We need to do a better job of preparing young people for the world of work, so they can make an informed decision about what route is going to give them the best chance of having a long and fulfilling career”.

As employers, during recruitment you should take into consideration the lack of experience and/or qualifications of younger workers when completing recruitment exercises and not automatically dismiss individuals who don’t fit the traditional job requirements.

Employers may be losing out on ideal candidates because they don’t have the ‘degree’ certificate typically associated with that role, despite them having relevant experience and increased motivation and desire to succeed than their older counterparts.

121 HR Solutions can assist in discussion from offering work experience and internship programmes, contact us today and we will be happy to discuss.

  • Posted on December 22nd, 2021

Office gossip leads to sexual harassment claim!

A senior accountant and his younger female colleague have won a sexual harassment case against a council after a colleague working with them at the authority accused them of having an affair.

The claimants were working together on the Council’s response to the Grenfell Tower fires. They were gossiped about in the office for arriving late/leaving early together, going out for lunch and taking ‘unnecessary’ trips to the Tower. Comments were made by a colleague about what they were doing whilst out of the office, including unfounded allegations of them getting a hotel room. The comments arose from a deputy who was disgruntled that the younger female had been recruited as she did not believe it was necessary. The comments made were of a vulgar and derogatory nature to other colleagues within the office.

The pair took the council to a tribunal claiming sex discrimination, victimisation and that they had been badly treated for whistle blowing.

The Employment Tribunal found these comments amounted to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.

The panel said that unless the pair and the council can come to an agreement themselves, a further hearing would be held next year to determine compensation.

121 HR Solutions can assist with policies and training employees regarding Dignity at Work to avoid such claims, contact us today and we will be happy to discuss.

  • Posted on December 22nd, 2021

Prevention of Illegal Working

‘Right to Work’ is an area of immigration compliance that applies to all UK employers, regardless of size, sector or whether or not you employ migrant employees.

‘Prevention of illegal working’ refers to the duty on an employer to ensure that anyone they employ is not disqualified from working in the UK, or carrying out the work in question, by reason of their immigration status.

This means that employers have a responsibility to prevent illegal working by conducting a right to work check on all prospective employees before employing them, even if they claim to be UK nationals, as well as carrying out checks on existing employees who’s right to work in the UK could be time limited.

The rules apply to employees of all nationalities and race, which means your Right to Work checks must be conducted on all employees to avoid discrimination claims.

Where an employer is found to have employed someone who, by reason of their immigration status, is prohibited from legally working in the UK or undertaking the work in question, they may be liable to pay a civil penalty.

Where a right to work check has been carried out, as long as this is done in the correct way, an employer ought to be able to establish a statutory excuse against any civil liability, even if someone is found to be working illegally for them.

The responsibility for carrying out a right to work check rests with you as the employer, even where the check has been delegated to members of your staff. If the prescribed check is not carried out correctly, you will remain liable for the civil penalty if any employee is found to be working illegally.

Right to Work checks on EU workers

Employers commonly have questions about the rights and status of EU workers since the end of EU freedom of movement and the introduction of a new points-based immigration system.

EU nationals who were already in the UK by 31 December 2020 are able to remain in the UK with lawful status, provided they registered under the EU Settlement Scheme for settled or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021.

EU nationals coming to the UK to work from 1 January 2021 should have applied to the Home Office for a visa, such as a Skilled Worker visa, for which the employer will require a sponsor licence.

Employers can continue to accept the EEA passport or ID card alone as proof of the Right to Work in the UK until 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, employers must then also check for confirmation of the EEA or Swiss national’s immigration status, which may be under the settlement scheme or a valid visa.

There are three basic steps to conducting a manual Right to Work check:

  • Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents from the prospective or existing employee.
  • Check the document’s validity in the presence of the holder.
  • Make and retain a clear copy and record the date the check was made.

The documents you may accept from someone to demonstrate their Right to Work are set out in two prescribed lists: ‘List A and List B’ of which are freely available to view and download from Right to work checklist – GOV.UK (

If you are found to be in breach of the prevention of illegal working rules, you may be facing a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. There is also a range of additional sanctions that may flow from this:

  • Disqualification as a director
  • Seizure of earnings made as a result of illegal working
  • Closure of your business and a compliance order issued by the court
  • A review and possible revocation of your sponsor licence, affecting your ability to sponsor migrants who come to the UK in the future
  • A review and possible revocation of a licence in the alcohol and late night refreshment sector and the private hire vehicle and taxi sector

If you know that you are employing someone who is not allowed to carry out the work in question, you will not have a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty, regardless of whether you have conducted a right to work check.

Where you know or have reasonable cause to believe an individual does not have the right to work and employ them anyway, you also risk criminal prosecution punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years and an unlimited fine.

121 HR Solutions can assist with any questions you may have on this subject, simply contact us today and we will be happy to discuss.

  • Posted on December 22nd, 2021

Happy New Year from 121 HR Solutions!

We wish you a Happy New Year and the very best for 2022 from 121 HR Solutions!

We hope that 2022 is a happy, healthy and profitable year for all of our clients and that life returns to normal once and for all!


  • Posted on December 22nd, 2021

Merry Christmas from 121 HR Solutions!

We hope that 2022 is a happy, healthy and profitable year for all of our clients and that life returns to normal once and for all!

Instead of sending Christmas cards this year we joined Mary’s Meals Big Family Christmas and gave 20 hungry children the gift of a brighter future. The support from 121 HR Solutions will help to transform the lives of children living in Bong County, Liberia with the promise of life-changing school meals for a whole year.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas… from all of us at 121 HR Solutions!Collection Christmas Santa Claus Set Cartoon Stock Illustration 1936436992

  • Posted on December 22nd, 2021

Does your organisation offer flexibility to employees with caring responsibilities?

A recent study of 2,000 UK workers has found that 62% of employees with caring responsibilities have given up career opportunities due to this. In addition, in another survey of 2,004 UK workers, 9% of working carers mostly aged between 18-34 years also feared they might have to give up their job entirely to care due to their employer’s lack of flexibility.

Despite more employers implementing flexible working practices post Covid-19, many working carers are still concerned about their ability to juggle both work and caring. The survey found that they felt overwhelmed and exhausted. However, the CIPD found that when employers support working carers, employees in turn have increased wellbeing and will less likely consider reducing their hours or resigning.

Caring responsibilities were also found to disproportionately affect women, with women more likely to be working carers, work part time and become a carer at a younger age, compared to men. Therefore, it is important that employers work to combat these issues in their workforce by being transparent with employees, offering flexible working where possible and developing clear policy, protocols and guidance in order to support carers in their employment.

Currently, working carers can request flexible working after having 26 weeks continuous service and can also utilise emergency time off for dependents. However, the Government aims to go further and implement a dedicated ‘Carer’s Leave’ in the near future. Consultations for this leave have now come to an end, and it has been established that the Government does intend to implement entitlement to unpaid carer’s leave of up to 5 days unpaid leave a year- from day one of employment.

When this legislation will come into effect is still undecided. However so far, it is known that in order to be eligible for the leave, it is likely:

  1. The definition of the person being cared for will follow largely the definition of a ‘dependant’.
  2. The person being cared for must have a long-term caring need, such as an illness or injury.

The unpaid leave is thought to be used for providing care or making arrangements for care, and the leave can be taken flexibly from one day at a time or five days in one week. Employers will not be able to deny the request for leave but can postpone it. Whilst the specifics will be decided when the legislation comes to fruition, it is extremely beneficial for employers to be aware this right will be brought into place in order for them to begin to prepare.

  • Posted on December 14th, 2021

Running effective meetings

Daily or weekly meetings are part of working life and a very popular way to communicate with staff, but how many times have you felt like your time has been wasted, or you have left a meeting feeling confused? Optimising your meetings is one of the easiest ways to have a positive impact on your teams and even your entire organisation. It may seem like an obvious requirement, but a lot of meetings start with no clear sense of purpose. The first and most important thing to establish, why is this meeting taking place? Is it necessary or has it just become routine?

The most effective way to establish the purpose of a meeting is to set the goals and prepare an agenda. The agenda simply provides a compass for conversation and allows issues to be prioritised. The meeting’s agenda can be summarised on a handout, written on a whiteboard, or discussed explicitly at the outset, but everyone should know why they’ve gathered and what they’re supposed to be accomplishing. If there is a clear and well understood agenda or outline of the meeting type (e.g., Is it informative? Is it for brainstorming?) then it limits the time spent going off piece and perhaps moving away from the ultimate objective of the meeting in place.

Once an agenda/ the key purpose to the meeting has been established, it’s important to arrange all logistics, making sure there is a comfortable and convenient meeting place for all attendees. It’s important to arrange in advance any equipment needed and ensure this is set ready to go to avoid unnecessary time wasting. You want your employees to show up ready to contribute, feeling positive and motivated and so it’s important to minimise any reason for frustration or lack of patience. There are countless reasons that meetings start late, but it happens far too often. Delayed meetings early in the day can lead to a cascading effect that impacts everyone’s schedule for the rest of the day. Respect your colleagues by starting on time.

Another contributing factor to running an effective meeting is to take notes collaboratively. Having everyone take their own notes can lead to confusion because each attendee may hear different things, misinterpret a piece of important information or even miss information completely. Using a shared platform with everyone in the meetings ensures not only that everyone is literally ‘on the same page’ but will encourage a more switched on environment as the focus shifts from notetaking to listening and contributing.

Ending a meeting with time to collect actions, key points raised in the meeting and highlight the progress made will leave attendees feeling satisfied and make the meeting feel worthwhile. Time management is an essential element to an effective meeting, so that you don’t overrun and miss discussing key points or concerns. It’s essential to maximise the value of your meeting to get the most out of everyone to benefit not only the team but the organisation as a whole.

  • Posted on December 14th, 2021

Flexible working still not mentioned in many job ads

Nearly three-quarters of job vacancies are still failing to offer flexible working, research has found, despite many changes to working practices created by the pandemic over the last two years.

The survey found that only 26% of UK job vacancies advertised some form of flexible working such as remote working, home working or part-time hours. It is thought that this represents a missed opportunity for UK businesses given the record number of vacancies in the current UK labour market.

Additional flexibility can be used as a vital tool for attracting talent and whilst many businesses offer flexible working to stop talent leaving, few use it as a tool when hiring.

It is felt that offering more part-time opportunities for jobs at the top end of the pay scale and more different types of flexibility for jobs at the lower end would significantly help to tackle some of the inequalities in the UK.  It may be a sound investment to consider how opportunities can be offered in a flexible way, to increase opportunity and contribute to retention and loyalty, in the long run!

  • Posted on December 14th, 2021

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