HR simplified: handling the Christmas party, flexible work arrangements and PAYE modernisation

How do I handle the Christmas party?

Make attendance optional

For some of your staff, staying in is more fun than going out. Let’s face it, no one likes mandatory fun so don’t put too much pressure on people to attend.

Remind staff about sanctions for bad behaviour

Remind staff that any inappropriate behaviour such as excessive drunkenness, drug use, harassment or violence will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal and investigation by the Gardaí if the circumstances demand it.

Avoid social media gaffes

Remind your staff not to post material on social media sites which might damage the reputation of your business. Ideally, you should have a written policy dealing with the use of social media. At minimum, a reminder about the appropriate use of social media should be circulated before the Christmas party.

Err on the side of caution with ‘Secret Santa’

Remind your employees that ‘Secret Santa’ gifts must be chosen with dignity at work principles in mind. What is funny to one person may be offensive to another. Remind staff to remember that their choice of gift might cause offence and result in disciplinary action.

Do I need to provide flexible work arrangements to employees who ask for them?

Irish law does not currently provide employees with a general right to seek flexible work arrangements from their employers. Whether or not you decide to provide an employee with flexible work is at your discretion. Only employees who are returning from a period of parental leave enjoy the right to request a change in their working pattern. You are not obliged to accept a request for flexible working from an employee returning from parental leave either, but any such refusal must be supported by justifiable business reasons.

What is PAYE modernisation?

From January 1st, 2019 employers will have to engage in real-time reporting of PAYE which means employee pay and deductions need to be calculated and reported as they are paid. PAYE modernisation may represent a particular challenge for rural employers with limited broadband. If you have not already enquired about updating your payroll software, you should visit the Revenue website by clicking here.