You may be weakening in your resolve to visit the gym every morning, walk past the bun shop and abstain from alcohol this month, but here are four New Year resolutions that as an HR professional you really ought to keep.

  1. Check that your Disciplinary policies and practices are in line with the new ACAS Code of Practice.

The new ACAS Code of Practice and Guidance have now been issued and will come into effect on 6 April 2009. The Code replaces the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures. This is the most significant change to the statutory disciplinary framework for many years.

Are your policies and procedures in line with the new Code?

Mediation is being promoted as a tool to resolve workplace disputes. Do your policies address this?

Verbal warnings are no longer part of the recommended process. Do you still retain them in your disciplinary procedure?

Here is a link to our e-bulletin on the new ACAS Code: http://www.shepwedd.co.uk/knowledge/article/923-2194/final-version-of-new-acas-code-of-practice-on-disciplinary-and-grievances-approved/archive

  1. Check that your Equal Opportunities policies are up to date

There has been a large rise in the number of age discrimination claims over the past year. Religious discrimination claims have also increased.

Are your policies up to date with these fast developing areas of employment law?

  1. Check that your holiday policies are in line with the increase in the statutory holiday entitlement.

On 1 April 2009, the statutory entitlement to holidays increases from 24 to 28 days. This includes bank holidays.

Do your policies comply with the increased statutory entitlement?

Does your current holiday entitlement for part-time and fixed-term employees also comply with the increase?

  1. Check that you are prepared for the consequences of the credit crunch.

Many organisations will need to reduce payroll costs over the next year. They may lay-off staff or commence short-time working. Redundancies may be necessary. Encouraging employees to reduce hours by flexible working may also be a positive option.

Are your redundancy policies up to date?

Do your contracts of employment allow your organisation to impose short-time working or lay-off staff?

Can you offer flexible working to employees?

Here is the link to our e-bulletin on individual redundancy: http://www.shepwedd.co.uk/knowledge/article/879-2053/individual-redundancy-golden-rules/archive