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What do we mean by HR policies and practices?
One way of ensuring a high quality workplace is by having good HR policies and practices.These are the policies and practices developed by your employer in partnership with local trade union representatives, which have an effect on your employment. Although developed locally, they are often based on national initiatives and guidance. Areas covered by such policies include equality and diversity, health, well-being and safety, work-life balance and flexible working, discipline and grievance, and recruitment and promotion.
In the NHS there are a number of good employer initiatives that have been developed nationally in partnership with NHS Employers, the government and with trade unions. Such initiatives include Improving Working Lives in the NHS – a framework (2009), the NHS Staff Council Occupational Health and Safety Standards (2008), the Healthy Workplaces Handbook (2007) and Part 5 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook – Equal Opportunities.
The good practice guidance contained within these key national documents is accessible to both NHS and non-NHS employers as reference documents to help develop local policies and practices in partnership with staff and trade union representatives.
How will my transfer affect me?
If you leave direct NHS employment to join another organisation providing health care services to the NHS you will not necessarily continue with exactly the same HR policies and practices you had with your former employer, unless they form part of your existing contractual terms and conditions of employment.
Your new employer may take some or all of your former employer’s policies and practices and amend these to reflect the structure and size of the new organisation or, it may decide to develop a new set of policies and practices or, it may already have a set of existing policies and practices.
Contractual terms and conditions of employment (other than pensions which are handled differently) are protected in a TUPE transfer except in very exceptional circumstances.They may also be protected in a transfer where TUPE does not apply but some, or all, of the principles of TUPE are followed in accordance with the Cabinet Office Staff Transfers in the Public Sector Statement of Practice. If you are unsure what is included as part of your contract of employment you should speak to your HR Department and/or trade union representative.
Your new employer is also expected to have regard to the, ‘Joint Statement on Access to Skills, Trade Unions and Advice in Government Contracting’. This means that if you want to speak to someone about your job, or any aspect of your working life, you can seek advice and support from someone who is informed such as your line manager or a member of staff from the HR department.
Regardless of who your new employer is following transfer, you can expect the HR policies and practices of your new employing organisation to not only meet the requirements of employment and discrimination law but also, to reflect a commitment to the provision of a high quality workplace and to being a good employer, as stated in the NHS Constitution and Handbook (2009). Your existing employer should work closely with you, your trade union representatives and your new employer to achieve this.
Visit our useful resources page for more advice on legislation, policies, practices and supporting documents that may apply to you when you transfer.
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