Welcome to the SMB HR management blog! Check out our latest posts below.


Are you ready to give employees unlimited holiday?


Innovative HR practice or sick note heaven?

What! An unlimited holiday entitlement policy? That sounds like sick note heaven! The idea of giving employees unlimited holiday leave entitlement is certainly innovative HR practice. The scheme is used by some businesses, most notably Netflix. After reading about it in The Telegraph, Richard Branson’s daughter, Holly, took the idea to her father who went on to adopt it among his personal staff of 170.

An unlimited holiday entitlement policy

The key points to note in an unlimited holiday entitlement policy include:

  • All salaried staff take time off whenever they want and for as long as they want
  • There is no need to ask for prior approval
  • Employees and managers do not need to keep track of days away from the office
  • Each employee decides if and when to take a few hours, a day, a week or month off

So what’s the rationale?

The assumption is employees are only going to take time off when they feel 100 per cent comfortable they are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way impact the current workflow, deadlines and targets of their team or have any detrimental effect on the business as whole.

Is an unlimited holiday entitlement right for your business?

Unlimited holiday entitlement policy at Netflix grew out of the culture of flexible working which many businesses have adopted. Businesses which have some degree of decentralisation, where employees operate remotely at times convenient to them have been widely adopted.

In its ‘Reference Guide on our Freedom and Responsibility Culture’, Netflix sets out the case: ‘We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.’

The choice of introducing an unlimited holiday entitlement policy would certainly be a radical step for many businesses and it most certainly won’t suit all. Some that have introduced it though report big boosts to morale, creativity and productivity.

Save time whatever your holiday policy with SMB

Technology is the key to enabling flexible working practices and supporting a culture where an unlimited holiday entitlement policy would work. Technology is also the key to enabling a smarter approach to HR process management. SMB lets you streamline and eliminate much of the time soaked up by processing absence requests, whatever your holiday entitlement policy.

Take our free 14 day trial or simply get in touch to find out more.

Click here to see the original telegraph article ‘Netflix lets its staff take as much holiday as they want, whenever they want – and it works’ at

Image thanks to Pixabay


Is your cloud HR solution UK-ready?


Be wary of non-UK native HR software

It’s a globalised market in a shrinking world. We move physical products from one side of the world to the other within a day. We buy digital content, media and entertainment as downloads on demand from servers in data centres anywhere in the world across the internet.

So why should UK based companies be wary of subscribing to online HR management software that is designed to be native for other countries?

Think local not global

Large online HR software vendors selling their products to the global market provide localisation to customise software to the specific requirements of different regions, territories and countries.

While software localisation is an established practice, the fact the software is not developed specifically for the UK can create immediate problems or be indicative of issues further down the line. These include:

  • Delays to rollout – while the software is customised for UK businesses
  • Functionality gaps – may not be able to deal with UK specific employment requirements
  • Compliance gaps – may not be meet compliance under the UK’s employment laws
  • Support gaps – UK customers may experience support of questionable capability and quality delivered from offshore
  • Data sovereignty – privacy issues may arise if personal data is held offshore

HR software for the UK market with UK data from SMB

SMB HR software is UK native. The software is specifically developed and supported to meet the needs of UK companies:

  • UK company – SMB is a UK company providing HR software in our home market
  • UK HR software – designed, engineered, hosted and supported in the UK
  • UK stored data – UK data sovereignty assures privacy and security under UK laws

To experience first-hand how SMB streamlines and prevents routine HR admin soaking up management time in UK businesses take our free 14 day trial or simply get in touch to find out more.

Click here to see the article ‘Building Data Centres in Europe ‘Won’t Solve The Data Sovereignty Problem’ at techweekeurope.

Image thanks to Pixabay


Are your staff getting their legal holiday entitlement?


We’ve had a couple of interesting support questions this month at SMB Towers regarding calculation of employee holiday allowances. In both cases, customers were taking on new employees part way through the holiday year and did not agree with our calculations regarding the amount of paid time off a new employee should be able to take outside of public holidays.

This got us thinking and, after a little digging around through our small business network, we found a number of businesses weren’t meeting their legal obligations regarding the amount of paid holiday being offered to new starters and part time staff. Their thought processes went something like this:

If an employee is starting three months into the year, and I usually give 20 days’ holiday plus public holidays, then that new employee should get 15 days (three quarters of the year) plus whatever holidays are left. Right?

At first glance, this is a simple and easy way to calculate holiday allowances for the year.

At second glance, this is actually incorrect, and could leave you open to a nasty legal situation. Here’s why.

In the UK, employees are covered by Statutory Leave Entitlement, which entitles them to 5.6 weeks, or 28 days, paid leave for a full time employee working a full year. Employers can, and mostly do, include the 8 public and bank holidays as part of that leave, leaving 20 days of “bookable” holiday time.

When calculating how much holiday a full time employee should get if they start their employment part-way through the year, you first need to calculate the pro-rata amount of total holiday days. In the example above, the new employee is working for three quarters of the holiday year, so is entitled to 28 days * 75% = 21 days of paid leave.

Now you need to look at how many public holidays actually fall in the working period. If the employee started on the 1st April 2014 and your holiday year ran from January 1st to December 31st, this employee would actually be working during 7 of the 8 public holidays. Subtract that from the 21 days of leave, they are left with 14 days of “bookable” holiday, not 15.

Now let’s assume your holiday year runs from April 1st to March 31st, and the employee starts three months into the year on 1st July. How does it look for this employee?

Again, they’re working three-quarters of the year, so get 21 days of total leave entitlement. However, only 4 public holidays fall in this period (Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day), so this employee would have 17 days of “bookable” holiday. Yes, it may seem they get to book more time off, but actually they have exactly the same amount of paid holiday as the first employee.

Most importantly, both employees are getting their full statutory entitlement and you, the employer, are meeting your legal obligations.

The government have a great calculator on their website to work this out for you – – or better still you can let do the heavy lifting and handle all of the calculations for you. Our platform calculates the exact amount of holiday any employee should receive, whether they are full time or part time, including how much of that time is “bookable” for each employee.

Are you managing absence entitlement correctly?  See what we can do to make things easier for you – register for a free 14-day trial of today.

Image thanks to Pixabay


The future of HR is mobile


We all know that technology has dramatically changed how people work; but for a growing number of employees worldwide, it’s also changing where they work. The International Data Corporation (IDC) says 1.3 billion people will work remotely using mobile technology by 2015. At 37.2% of the entire workforce, that number represents one in three workers taking the ‘office’ out of ‘office job’. Easy mobile working enables employees to be productive on the move and makes it easier for companies to provide better flexible working benefits.

This is an increasingly important factor for employers to consider, and a recent study found that, for Generation Y workers, benefits such as workplace flexibility, work-life balance and the opportunity for overseas assignments are more of a draw than financial rewards. If companies don’t embrace this flexibility, they may find their employees getting a little too mobile and leaving altogether!

With warmer weather (hopefully) just around the corner, at we’re looking ahead to the summer months and anticipating a further rise in demand for flexible working by employees across the country. To accommodate a mobile workforce, employers need an HR management system that enables employees to stay productive – even in the park. Here’s what a great mobile HR solution looks like:

  • It lives in the cloud, so you can access the system anywhere with an internet connect at any time of day
  • It’s secure so your sensitive employee data is stored safely
  • It operates on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices
  • The interface is clean and intuitive for easy browsing on the move
  • Employees have unique self-service accounts on which they can monitor their details and submit holiday and sick leave requests
  • The dashboard provides a clear and coherent picture of employee holiday time available and company absence schedule so you don’t need an HR manager to tell you when someone is away.

Is your HR mobile-ready? Future-proof your HR with a mobile employee management system – register for a free 14-day trial of today.



Where were you on Monday?


If you were in the office on Monday there is a good chance you felt a bit lonely. It is estimated that a record number of office workers phoned in sick on the day that is now commonly known as “National Sickie Day”. The mass workplace absence that occurs each year on the first Monday of February has been correlated with a combination of depressing February factors, including bad weather, the short days and the financial hangover from Christmas.

While most bosses give their employees the benefit of the doubt when it comes to short-term illness absence, unforeseen employee absence, especially when on a large scale, does come at a huge cost. On National Sickie Day, businesses across the UK are estimated to have lost £34million. In addition to lost productivity, there are less financially obvious repercussions of staff shortages, such as how it can considerably sap workplace energy and the number of admin hours some companies spend tracking employee absence.

For small to medium-sized companies, employee management tasks can be time-consuming and administration-heavy, with absence management being one of the most complicated. Evidence of this can be seen in a recent CIPD report, which found that employee absence costs businesses an estimated £595 per employee every year.

We all get the occasional cold or flu and need to take a day away from the office to get better (and to not infect the rest of the team!). However, to ensure your business runs as smoothly as possible, it is advisable as an employer or HR manager to regularly review short-term absences, to see whether there are any patterns to any employee’s absences (e.g. a collection of Fridays or absences grouped around bank holidays) so that these patterns can be addressed if necessary. It is also helpful to review absence histories as an indicator of whether absence patterns are improving or getting worse. This may enable further discussions with employees around possible underlying causes when patterns are unusual or the number of days taken is higher than average.

To reduce the cost of short-term absence, it is essential to have an efficient, reliable and inexpensive system in place to manage it. To help guide you in developing and managing an employee absence policy, we have created a free eBook that will get you on your way to better absence management.

In addition to information on how to handle sick days, the eBook covers the following topics:

  • Absence levels on the rise
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Short-term illness absence
  • Long-term illness or injury absence
  • Return-to-work plans
  • Bereavement absence
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Designing your absence management policy

Download your free copy of our best practice guide to absence management here.

Image thanks to Pixabay