The Insider Issue Three

YOUR MONEY MATTERS HE INSIDE ISSUE THREE

Don’t miss out! This month’s edition is a motorbike-special! Did you know we sponsor some big names, including Guy Martin. Plus...the chance to win British Superbike hospitality tickets inside ...

THE 2016 BUDGET: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

The 2016 budget last month revealed a few surprises for Britain. The Chancellor announced that this budget will see the Government ‘act now so we don’t pay later’. But what does this mean to you as an employer?

Job creation is always welcome news here in the UK, as well as lowering the unemployment rate, it is also good for our economy and business growth. From an HR perspective, there will perhaps be an increased emphasis upon the recruitment processes of businesses. As it stands, there is no legally-required recruitment process within the UK. As an employer, you are not obliged to request and post applications, conduct interviews, score your candidates or provide feedback – you could simply cherry-pick your employees if that is what you wanted to do. The only thing you must be mindful of within your recruitment process is the possibility of discriminating on the grounds of race, gender or disability to name but a few. Regardless of the proposed creation of the one million jobs, at ELAS, we advise our clients to always follow a robust process when recruiting new employees. Recruitment processes such as application forms, interviews and scoring help and protect employers when justifying their decision to hire or to not hire a person. This is especially crucial if you happen to be faced with someone alleging that they were not offered a job because of a protected characteristic they possess. At ELAS, we understand how essential it is to ensure you have made the correct recruitment choice. It is a respected fact that the greatest asset of your business is your staff. Good employees are the foundation of your business. Our team of professional HR experts are on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week to advise you on any recruitment issues you may have. For complete peace of mind, call us today on 0161 785 2000 for more information.

The main announcements that are to affect you from an employment law and a HR perspective are:

• The introduction of compulsory national insurance contributions (NICs) on settlement agreements over £30,000.

• The creation of one million jobs over the next parliament.

Let’s start with settlement agreements. Settlement agreements are a useful and legally binding way of achieving a mutual parting of ways with an employee without having the fear that they could possibly bring a claim against you in the employment tribunal.

Settlement agreements are lengthy and complicated documents that need to be completed correctly.

The Chancellor’s amendments see settlement agreements exempt from employer NICs, with the first £30,000 being income tax free. These changes are due to come into force from April 2018. This may be unwelcome news to employers as it will be an additional cost, potentially making these redundancies much more expensive in the future. However, you can breathe a sigh of relief, as the vast majority of settlement agreements are under the £30,000 threshold.

Secondly, The Chancellor has told us to expect the creation of a further one million jobs over the next four years of parliament.

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RE-HEATING RICE – BEWARE OF THE DANGERS.

In a cost-sensitive food environment, where food waste and cost reduction issues are key factors in business efficiency, certain foods naturally lend themselves to recycling, re-heating and re-serving. In a catering operation where large numbers of customers need to be served in a short space of time; pre-cooking, pre-heating and maintaining safe food-serving temperatures requires careful control - especially when that food is rice! We all know that chicken, eggs and shellfish are classic high risk foods when it comes to food poisoning. It is a lesser-known fact that products such as rice, pasta, couscous and other cereal based, starchy foods have a lower risk-profile but actually carry just as much risk. Many in the food industry are aware that these foodstuffs carry risks without actually knowing what those risks are or what controls need to be put in place. There are also those that have no concept that the risk exists. Ignorance is dangerous. Ignorance is no defence if prosecution followed a serious outbreak.

practise. These back-to-basics procedures will minimise risk that comes from Bacillus cereus. This ‘spore forming’ bacterium is naturally found in rice, couscous and bulgur wheat, as well as in all types of pasta. Washing will not help avoid the potential problem as the Bacillus cereus bacteria are literally embedded into the grains and cannot be removed, making careful food preparation, heating and serving absolutely critical. When rice is cooked, it can be consumed quite safely if it is eaten immediately when hot. Bacillus cereus survives cooking by forming protective spores. When the temperature conditions are again favourable and the rice is left in the ‘danger zone’ of between 5-63°C for a prolonged period of time, these spores begin to germinate. This causes the Bacillus cereus bacteria to be released into the rice. The bacteria then grow and multiply, excreting a poisonous waste product called exotoxin. Cooking temperatures less than or equal to 100 °C (212 °F) allow some Bacillus cereus spores to survive. This problem is compounded when food is then improperly refrigerated allowing the endospores to germinate.

Going back-to-basics is inevitably the best way to educate and dispel myths once and for all.

The safe cooking, serving and re-heating of rice is achieved by paying attention to the rules of food safety and implementing good

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This exotoxin is heat stable, and therefore even if the rice is thoroughly re-heated before consumption, it will still be present in the food. The poison affects the upper gastrointestinal tract and the consequences of eating food containing the toxin will be abdominal cramps and vomiting within one to five hours after eating. The symptoms then prevail for six to twenty-four hours. Furthermore, if the rice is not piping hot before consumption, the bacteria is broken down in the intestine where they release another type of poison called endotoxin which within eight to twelve hours will result in stomach pain and diarrhoea which may last for one to two days. When rice is served cold and it has been subjected to temperature abuse, or has not been re-heated thoroughly and left in the danger zone, there is the distinct risk that the consumer will suffer the full effects of Bacillus cereus as described above.

• If rice is not to be served immediately, keep hot at 63°C or above.

• When cooling to serve cold or to store in a refrigerator, cool the rice as quickly as possible using cold running water and refrigerate at preferably 5°C or below.

• Never leave rice at room temperature unnecessarily.

As in many large catering operations, the steps required to avoid food poisoning with Bacillus cereus are the same as those needed to prevent many other types of bacterial food poisoning. Adhere to these established guidelines, ensure that your controls are in place, train your staff to better understand the requirements to reduce risk and we will all be safer. As leading providers of food safety consultancy and training services to: caterers, food retailers and suppliers in the hospitality, healthcare and education sector, STS provide a comprehensive range of food safety training courses nationwide. These courses range from our popular Level 2 Award in Food Safety to the more precise TACCP. We have the courses that benefit you; your business and your employees.

So, what are the rules when cooking and re-heating rice?

• Ensure that rice is stored in dry conditions – dried rice contains Bacillus cereus spores, moisture can cause the spores to germinate, as described above.

• Avoid cross-contamination of Bacillus cereus from dried rice to other foods in storage, especially ready-to-eat foods.

• Cook rice thoroughly (to 75°C or above) and serve immediately.

For more information on our food safety courses, please click here

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LEGAL HIGHS? THEY COULD COST YOU YOUR JOB.

British workers who use ‘legal highs’ thinking they are harmless and carry no legal penalties may still be risking their lives, their health, and their jobs. According to the results of the latest Global Drug Survey, 20% of British respondents admitted that they had taken drugs one or two hours before going to work. In addition, 10.9% used what they described as “a mystery white powder” – highlighting what the survey calls the UK’s ‘reckless attitude’. So-called ‘legal highs’, also known as synthetic or designer drugs, are sometimes produced to be used for more benign purposes such as solvents or plant food. Others are purposely designed to mimic the effects of more traditional illegal substances such as cannabis and amphetamine, although the chemical composition of these mimic substances is not banned by existing drug laws. Worryingly, many of these ‘legal highs’ can be sourced and purchased via the internet from suppliers shamelessly exploiting such loopholes in the law. The Global Drug Survey also points out that consumers may assume that, because these products are readily available via the internet, they must be both harmless and of a reasonable quality. In reality, this could not be further than the truth. Despite the commonly-used misnomer: ‘legal highs’, these concoctions are rarely approved for human consumption. At Sound Advice, we urge employers to ensure that their businesses are protected against the risks posed by staff that may arrive for work still under the influence of such substances – whether technically legal or illegal. Danny Clarke, health & safety manager for Sound Advice, who also used to sit on the European Workplace Drug Testing Society, said: “All drugs carry health risks, and that applies equally to these ‘legal highs’” “In most cases, the chemicals that ‘legal highs’ contain have not been designed for human consumption, they haven’t been subjected to the rigorous testing needed to evidence that the chemicals are safe for human consumption.

My employees are using their e-cigarettes in company buildings and they are saying that I can’t stop them doing so as it is not against the law. What can I do? A. E-cigarettes have caused a lot of concern for employers since their rise in popularity over recent years, especially as, unlike with cigarettes, there is no statutory ban on their use indoors. This means that technically, your employees are correct when they say that it is not against the law for them to use their e-cigarettes in company buildings. But, this does not mean that you cannot stop them from using e-cigarettes in company buildings. It is possible to prevent their use altogether, or at least limit their use, as the productivity of your employees can be affected, so it is important that you take steps to address this as soon as possible. CONSULTANT CORNER. . .

To do this, you need a clear and detailed policy covering the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace.

In the policy, you can state that it is against company rules to use e-cigarettes in company buildings and in any building entrances. As with a smoking policy, you can restrict the use of e-cigarettes to a specific smoking area and restrict the amount of breaks an employee can take to use their e-cigarettes.

However, you will need to remain reasonable in the number of breaks that you allow.

For assistance and advice on implementing a policy on e-cigarettes, please contact ELAS on 0161 785 2000

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Users can never be certain what they are taking and what the effects of use might be – or how long those effects may last. “Employees who are ‘under the influence’ are unsafe – full stop. They could endanger themselves or colleagues, for example, whilst operating machinery or driving. “Even people working in apparently less risky environments, such as an office, could pose problems by acting recklessly or without due care. Sending an e-mail containing confidential information to the wrong recipient, for instance, could result in untold damage to the business”. Peter Mooney, head of consultancy for ELAS, urges employers to ensure that their workplace policies, employment guidelines and codes of conduct are updated to include provisions for tackling substance misuse of all types – including ‘legal highs’. Peter added: “At first glance, it might seem heavy-handed to insist that staff understand that drug misuse could cost them their job. But there are very severe penalties for employers who fail to prevent accidents caused by the actions of an employee.” “Hard as it may seem, it is better to let a worker go than to risk the business going under just because that individual chose to put their own enjoyment above the safety and welfare of their colleagues or the public. “We know that many people, especially the young, want to

experiment, and that some think that if a substance isn’t actually banned by law, then it must be all right. But sadly, some learn the hard way that, in reality, all substances that affect sober choices, have their consequences.” In line with the Health and Safety at Work Act, as an employer, you have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for all employees and to ensure that they are protected. At Sound Advice, we advocate the use of drug and alcohol testing within the working environment and have created our own comprehensive substance misuse package. This outstanding service incorporates Substance & Misuse policies, training and testing programmes that benefit your staff and your business. For convenience and efficiency, we offer four different screenings: pre-placement, random, compliance and 24 hour (with cause) testing. This ensures that there is definitely an option to suit your business requirements. How clean are your personnel? With our professional programme, we will deliver the peace of mind that they are as clean as the law requires.

For more information on our drug and alcohol packages and testing call us today on 01925 838 350 or click here

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S TEVE PARR I SH M . A . D TOUR Steve ‘Stavros’ Parrish is a former motorcycle and truck racer who has now successfully made a name as a motorsport television commentator and speaker / entertainer. Always one to pull practical jokes and pranks wherever he may be; there is definitely not a dull moment with Steve. After seeing the show ourselves, we decided we had to sponsor his M.A.D tour!

You may have noticed whilst looking on our Twitter that here at ELAS, we love a motorbike or two. Whether it is road racing, track racing or off- road racing – we are keen fans of it all! We sponsor many well known teams and riders with our logo appearing on team bikes, rider leathers and thier helmets.

So take a look below there may be some well known faces you recognise, and you never know, you may spot our logo on your TV in the upcoming months…

M I CHAE L RUTTER Michael has amassed well over 400 BSB starts, achieving that phenomenal milestone back in 2013. Recognised as one of Britain’s premier professional riders, ELAS are proud to sponsor and be associated with a winner. MANCHE S TER M . C RAC I NG Our newest addition to our sponsorship wall of fame, we wanted to keep it local with up and coming Manchester M.C Racing. Competing in off-road races, be sure to expect big things with these guys.

GUY MART I N We are pretty sure that everyone has heard of the lovable daredevil Guy Martin by now. Lorry mechanic turned motorbike racer turned TV star, our Guy seems to becoming more and more popular whilst still remaining his down to earth self. We personally sponsor Guy so you will often see our ELAS logo on his leathers and helmet whilst on his Channel 4 programmes and when racing.

TYCO BMW For the past five years we have sponsored Tyco BMW – a British motorbike team. Tyco BMW compete in both the British Championship and Road Racing events such as the famous Isle of Man TT. Their team consists of Michael Laverty, Guy Martin, Christian Iddon, Josh Elliot and Ian Hutchinson. PAUL B I RD MOTORS PORT Paul Bird Motorsport combines motorsport on both two wheels and four, and of course, we sponsor the two wheels. The PBM team includes Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Glenn Irwin, who alongside their past team mates have collectively won over 160 races!

ELAS are proud to support these men who are great in their professional discipline. W ith the BSB season starting on April 8th, we are giving our clients the chance to win hospitality tickets to attend a BSB race. What’s more, we are also offering you the chance to attend the Steve Parrish M.A.D Tour. To be in with a chance of winning, click here and enter your details.

GOOD LUCK ! !

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From a s l i t t l e to a s much suppor t a s you need . . .

Ca l l or ema i l us to d i s cus s your opt i ons

T: 0161 785 2000 E: info@elas.uk.com or visit www.elas.uk.com

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