No Image Available

HR Zone Any Answers Digest #11 – organising admin support, working on maternity leave, rewarding volunteers…


HR ZONE Any Answers Digest – Issue 11
Tuesday 9 June 2002

********** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS **********
Organisation of admin support…working while on maternity
leave…rewarding volunteers….casual vs temporary – what’s the
difference?…beginning a career in HR… Fixed Term workers…
********** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS **********

Do we have the potential clients you need? Who are you
trying to target? To find out whether HR Zone can help
develop your business, call Richard Sergeant on 0117 915 8652.

What you asked this fortnight

New questions posted include:

– We are a large county charity with in excess of 250
volunteers. We wish to reward them in a suitable way for the work
they do for us. Has anyone any experience of running a reward day
or conference?, asks Nicole Dickins

– Do ‘casual’ and ‘temporary’ workers mean the same thing? If
not, what ARE the differences …and are each entitled to
different legislative benefits (i.e., holiday entitlement,
sickness pay)?, asks Wendy Hines

– My company is sponsoring one of our people to attend
University so he can gain an IT Business qualification. What do
we do about holidays and accrued benefits?, asks Pam Lloyd

Do you have a question, a problem, or just want to compare notes?
Post your questions now, free of charge at

Get a snapshot – get the bigger picture for less!
Special offer for anyone who purchases the Keynote snapshot
report on the training industry this week – get the full,
comprehensive report for just 300 GBP, a saving of 40 GBP off the
normal price. Keynote reports are invaluable for anyone wishing
to track developments in their own industry or others – and this
is no exception. To access a free full two-page summary of the
report before you buy, see

Featured question: Organisation of admin support

We have a limited number of administrative people and I have been
asked to propose a way of utilising the resource better.
Currently there are 6 people, 5 of whom are PA’s to someone. Has
anybody come up against this and if so any ideas for how I could
get more out of this resource?

Christine Hurst

Edited responses appear, to read responses in full, go to


Past experience suggests that the following points are worth

1.What is the background to the change? Is this about effect use
of PA resources or an organisational issue
2. What are the views of the various managers who use the PA
resources? do they see the need to change working arrangements?
3. what are the views of the admin team? do they have ideas on
more effective use of their time?
4. what are the current skills/competencies of the admin team? –
is this an opportunity for them to develop new skills while
taking on new/additional responsibilities

Using a non-threatening open questioning approach often gets most
of the answers you need

John Clough


My experience is the first thing before rationalising is to
describe the processes these assistants are supporting. Depending
on similar or very different processes (organisation and
infrastructure) you will then be able to see if resources can be
shared (1 support per process). This process description will be
a good base for you to also streamline your activities.

Berryl Babus


In my experience, where it has worked best is when there is a
head secretary/admin manager/admin leader. Each PA works for her
own team or department but is assigned responsibility for certain
extra tasks which are overseen by the admin leader. Also, if one
department is very busy, the PA of that department can speak to
the admin leader who can distribute some of the load to the other
departments according to their workloads. Creating a team
environment will help minimise the ‘this is not my job’ attitude.

Jenni Lawrence


As I understand it YOU are not one of the admin team but the team
contains some folk who are pretty intelligent (PA’s as a race are
pretty bright!.) My advice would be to get them to get together
and come up with their own solution/improvement ideas. This will
give you kudos for trusting them and recognising their ability,
it will give them a boost for knowing they are recognised, it
will give them the opportunity to ask for what THEY know they
need and it will give them ownership and responsibility for the

Russell Slater

to read responses in full, go to

Kick-start your LRC!
Give your Learning Resource Centre a boost with a selection of
self-support materials from the TrainingZone Library. From
background reading for mentors, to NVQ support packs, to self-
study to develop personal skills, the Library brings you the best
from TrainingZONE’s own team of experienced authors. What’s
more, if there’s a specific need you want to address, you can
have materials tailor-made to your organisation. To find out
more, e-mail
mailto:[email protected]?subject=LRCenquiry or see to download free samples before
you buy.

Any Answers Answered:
This fortnight, new responses have been added to the following

Q – A member of our staff is on maternity leave and is due to
return to us in January next year. She had her baby 3 weeks ago
and has asked if she can do some work from home, part time.
How does this affect maternity pay and maternity leave?
At this stage, I am not sure whether she expects this to be paid
work or not. Any advice or pointers would be appreciated!
Jenni Lawrence

(Shortened responses appear – see site for responses in full)

A – We’ve had exactly the same situation. The advice we were
given was that SMP is not payable in any week in which a woman
works for her employer.

Jayne Burke

A – Jayne is correct in what she is saying i.e.: you cannot
receive SMP and be paid for working at the same time, so if your
employee does work in any week of her ‘Paid’ maternity period she
cannot get SMP for that week.

Mandy Putman

To see all the responses to this question in full, go to:


Q – I really want to move my career into Human Resources work. I
have no direct experience of this, although I do have the
transferable skills that will make me an effective HR Advisor.
I am soon to start a CIPD Certificate in Personnel Practice but
in the meantime I am finding it difficult to enter into the
industry. Any practical advice on contacts would be appreciated
to help me achieve this ambition.

Angie Furnell

A – Angie, to increase the chances of moving into an area like HR
you need to think about all the opportunities around to increase
your knowledge and contacts. Get to know other people on your CPP
Course, go along to CIPD branch meetings – as you will be a
student member. Tell everyone you are looking to work in HR, be
prepared to do anything vaguely HR, just to get closer to the

Rick Martin

To see all the responses to this question in full, go to:


Q – We employ IT Trainers and are always looking for new staff to
cover particular contracts. In the current climate we feel it
would be more sensible to take new employees on with a 6 month
renewable contract. Can anyone give me an idea of special rules
that would apply to these contracts?

Sharon Davies

A – You need to be aware of the Fixed Term Workers Regulations
which are due to come into force on 1 October 2002. In a nutshell
this will make it unlawful to treat those on fixed term contracts
less favourably than those on permanent contracts in terms of pay
benefits and access to training and development, amongst other
things. Unfortunately the Regs are still only in draft form but
you can find a fair bit of information on in the
employment section

Neil Morrison

To see the responses to this question in full, go to:

Do you have anything to add? Or do you have a problem or a query
on any HR-related subject? Join in now, at

How to subscribe or unsubscribe to this digest

To subscribe to this newswire, e-mail
mailto:[email protected]
with the message SUBSCRIBE HRZAA in the body text.

To unsubscribe, e-mail mailto:[email protected]
with the message UNSUBSCRIBE HRZAA in the body text.

Copyright (c) 2002 Sift Group Ltd. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.
HR Zone, 100 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6HZ
Tel:+44 (0)117 915 9600 Fax:+44 (0)117 915 9630 ISSN 1474-2225

No Image Available

Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.