Bina Briggs is the director of Plain Talking HR Ltd and the HR and Employment Law Resident Expert for The Outsourcing Way. Bina’s clients love her warm and human approach to HR; we love how we can ask her anything about HR and Employment Law and she will give us a thorough and truthful answer!

If like us, you need some help when it comes to HR and Employment Law, take a look at some of the questions Bina frequently gets asked, plus her answers.


1. How long for should I keep interview paperwork for those that were unsuccessful?

You’d ideally want to hold this information for maybe 6 months as unsuccessful applicants have 3 months (can be extended to 6 months) in which to bring a discrimination claim against your business should they wish – and you need to use this data to defend any potential claim.

2. What impact will Brexit have on EU nationals working in the UK?

This is a complicated process but basically the European nationals working and living in the UK will have to have a Settled Status by being a continued resident in the UK for 5 years by 31 December 2020 which will give them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely. Those with less than 5 years of residency in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to apply for a pre-settled status. EU nationals residing in the UK before 31 December 2020 will be eligible for settled status when they have been resident for five years. This will give them the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely. Those who do not have five years’ continuous residency can apply for a pre-settled status, giving them the right to remain until they reach the five-year mark, at which point they can apply for settled status.

Here are the guidelines on the government website.

In the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, the Government’s position is that the transition period would not apply, so only EU nationals who are resident by the date on which the UK leaves the EU would be eligible to apply under the scheme, for either pre-settled status or settled status. The Government has published guidance, Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families, that reflects the agreement on citizens’ rights.

The settlement scheme is now open for applications. If there is a Brexit deal, it will remain open for applications until 30 June 2021. If there is no deal, EU nationals already resident at exit day will have until 31 December 2020 to apply.

Whether or not there is a deal, individuals who have already obtained evidence of permanent residence status under the previous system will need to apply again under the new system, to obtain settled status. Citizens of the other EEA countries (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Swiss nationals can also apply under the settlement scheme.

3. When do I need to pay sick pay?

When an employee has been continuously sick for 4 days. The current Statutory Sick Pay (SSP is £94.25 per week ) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. You can check here.

4. What is garden leave?

If the employee has resigned or the employer has asked the employee not to attend work or work from home or from any other location during notice period, it is called “gardening leave”. The employee continues to receive their salary and benefits as per normal until their last day of service with the organisation.

5. Can I advertise for a job position that will be replacing a dismissed employee even though they are currently appealing against the dismissal?

Yes, the organisation can do so. However, be mindful of the result of the employee winning the appeal. If the employee wins the appeal, then what happens to the incumbent or to the ex-employee. It is advisable to complete the appeal process as soon as possible so that there is no complication when the position is recruited for.

6. What should I wear to my interview?

Always check what the dress code is of the company, what the company culture is. Most companies do state what the recruitment process is and what the dress code is, however, if it isn’t, either contact the recruitment team and ask them. Always dress smartly and keep it simple, no loud colours, no perfume as yours maybe too powerful or the recruiter may be allergic to perfumes! Feel comfortable, tidy, at ease and business-like, professional, whether it is in a formal suit or a smart casual outfit.

7. Should I use a recruitment agency?

It depends on the employer and the position you’re recruiting for. Recruitment agencies are experts in the business of sourcing candidates, there is less risk of getting it wrong, especially if you’re recruiting for a specialist role. The agencies have access to more candidates and it’s time saving. The agencies carry out a number of process that you would have to from advertising, short listing, contacting the candidates, interviewing them and getting down to top few candidates to be interviewed by you. You have to determine if it is worth it for you.

8. How long does the hiring process take?

The hiring process can take anything up from 6 weeks to 3 months or longer, depending on your company’s recruitment process from the time the vacancy is identified, how easy it is to source the candidates and the candidate’s notice period from their job. All of these factors have to be taken into account.

9. Where should I advertise my job vacancy?

It depends on the position. It can be any of the recruitment job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Reed, Totaljobs, LinkedIn, with Recruitment Agencies, Specialist Trade press websites, Social media. It really does depend on what the role is and where your candidates would look for a vacancy. It also, of course depends on your budget, timescales, whether you are carrying out the whole process or you are outsourcing it to someone else.

10. How do I make sure that my hiring process is fair?

The Equality Act 2010 is your benchmark to start with. From thereon, make sure that you ask the same questions to all candidates, give every candidate an equal opportunity to answer the questions, record everything, ensure that you create the right environment for the candidates to give you their best. It is all about relationships and partnerships. Treat your candidates fairly.


If you have a question you would like to ask Bina, head over to our Crisis Clinic.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.