Prioritising and Planning Next Steps

With the phased opening of schools beginning from 1st June and lockdown restrictions being gradually lifted, there will be HR issues that schools have either put “on hold” or were unable to proceed with when lockdown was originally enforced.

Not all of these will proceed immediately, or even this term, but this checklist is intended as an overview to help with prioritising and planning next steps. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but to assist with ensuring key HR processes are followed/resumed where possible.

HR Checklist

IssueAction
Recruitment/ new starters.
Complete outstanding checks including request for original documents to be produced, copied and retained on personal file for ID and right to work checks which were carried out remotely during lockdown.
Annual leave for staff working 52.14 weeks.Discuss expectations in terms of using leave before the end of the leave year (usually 31st March) to ensure entitlement can be taken during closures.
Holidays during the summer closure.As things stand, individuals may be required to go into quarantine on their return from foreign channel. Ensure staff are aware that is expected that they are able to attend the workplace at the start of the Autumn Term.
Staff on fixed term contracts.Review any fixed term contracts in place and due to expire this academic year and take appropriate action to end or renew.
Resume performance management process.Ensure line managers arrange meetings with all staff, including virtual meetings for those not attending school. Include opportunity to ask staff about wellbeing and any specific issues they are concerned about. Remind staff of resources/ support available.
Resume probation process.Inform relevant staff where they are in the process and how this will be managed going forward. Organise and notify staff of new dates for probation review meetings. Ensure staff are clear on expectations for probationary period.
Sickness absence meetings e.g. return to work meetings.Undertake return to work meetings and consider review meetings with staff who returned from long term sick during lockdown. Review those on long term sick. Include the opportunity to ask staff about wellbeing and any specific issues they are concerned about. Remind staff of resources/ support available.
Employee relations issues e.g. ongoing disciplinary and capability issues.Depending on the individual circumstances, review whether these can proceed – seek HR advice as necessary. If resuming procedures, consult with staff member about how the procedure will continue. Seek HR advice.
Redundancy/ restructuring process.Depending on the individual circumstances, review whether these can proceed. If the need for the redundancy/restructure has changed since the process was commenced new information/consultation may be required. Seek HR advice.

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Nicki Harris

Nicki Harris

Nicki joined the Education HR Team in 1989, following completion of her psychology degrees and has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Employment Law. Nicki co-manages the HR team with Colin Hooker and her main responsibilities are leadership of the support, business and development functions services. She manages the provision of model policies, procedures and guidance to customers, pay and conditions issues and the training offer. Nicki has worked with the Local Government Association over the years on various projects around pay, terms and conditions and is an Advisor to the National Employers Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST).