Coming up to a crossroad

Firstly a big thank you to all those that have already returned feedback to us from our recent email, hearing your thoughts hugely helps us carve out the future of P&M. 

Reflection and understanding are such powerful allies and we never want to shy away from what you love and what you feel we could do better. Knowledge is power and we appreciate everyone’s input. If you didn’t catch the feedback form or it has become loss in the abyss of the inbox then by all means click here to let us know how Peony & Magnolia helped you.

We seem to be at somewhat of a crossroads in the world of work and debates for challenging the norm of current practices are ever increasing. Let’s get straight to it this week and see what’s been happening in the world of HR…

It pays to invest in your people

We want to dive right in this week with a discussion on The Real Living Wage rate, which is calculated to reflect a ‘true’ income to pay employees. An increase was announced this month which will positively impact many people. 

To clarify, at this time, there are three UK wage rates that employers can pay their staff. 

💷 The minimum wage, which is statutory for those under 23 years on a sliding scale from Apprentices upwards. 

💷 National Living wage, statutory for those 23 years of age and older. 

💷 Then there’s the Real Living wage – this is voluntary and it applies to everyone 18 years and older.

Over 14,000 employers currently pay The Real Living Wage voluntarily in the UK and it is paid by accredited employers who are dedicated to ensuring that no one in their staff is financially left behind. It is a movement that has doubled in popularity in the past three years with more employers wanting to do the right thing by their staff and team.

NMW currently £10.42 V’s Living Wage £12.00

Small adjustments to salaries can have a huge impact on your employees, we understand the rising costs impact businesses, but small adjustments to base salaries, can retain and motivate,  as well as attract people who understand the importance of putting people before profit. 

We discuss financial wellbeing and the impact managing this well, can have on your people in Issue #6 of Espresso.

Is the time of the probation period coming to an end?

Did you know that there is no legal requirement to have probation periods in your employment contract? Your statutory rights during employment start from day one and the minimum requirement is for your employer to provide written particulars.

So why do we still have them?

Often probationary periods define a different set of terms, such as minimum of 1 week notice, limited access to benefits, which can include statutory rights to sickness, deferred pensions contributions and even restrictions on holiday.

They do provide a period of time for both parties to get to know each other, to assess suitability and to allow a ‘settling in period’. Those who manage this period effectively will have thoughtfully planned the new employees journey over the period, setting them up to achieve and embed into the company culture. For some this time feels a bit like being on hold and can bring uncertainty and stress.

In terms of motivating and onboarding new people into your business, investing and nurturing them from day one, it feels a bit at odds to then ‘withhold’ certain benefits, the carrot and stick style of management to many feels outdated.

Perhaps it is time to wave goodbye to probation periods in the future. What do you think?

The zero hours contract debate

The Trades Union Congress is currently pushing for the government to ban zero hours contract, and for those that are unsure as to what this entails – a zero hours contract is an agreement between an employee and employer by which the company or business is not obliged to give any hours to an employee if the work is not available. On the other hand, this also means that the employee is allowed to work for other businesses and not be obliged to accept work once it is available. It is a dicey area to navigate.

As with all debates, arguments can be made for both sides.

And this isn’t a new conversation, CIPD last year revisited research they conducted 10 years ago and found the following:

ZHC make up 3% of employment in the UK
Less then a fifth of employers use ZHC, most often in hospitality, entertainment, care and voluntary roles.
45% of people felt that ZHC benefitted them and their needs and had a positive impact on their wellbeing
In contrast, they found that there were employers who did not allow the right to turn work down (57%) and 48% of people were not compensated for cancelled work
Hourly pay was 6% less and access to benefits were restricted.
If a ban on zero hours contracts comes into action, what is the plan for your business? Re-evaluating and assessing will be key here to understand what the expectation of how many staff members are needed and what skill requirement is essential from the team at any given time. Also, to look ahead and consider any factors that may effect this in future such as seasonal, financial or otherwise.

What are your thoughts on zero hours contracts?


We have picked apart some of the everyday and typical conversations we are experiencing.

These are all themes which we have discussed with our clients at P&M, it is so important to get the foundational elements of contracts of employment right from the start.

If you have any thoughts or contributions to open up these debates in more detail then please do not hesitate to contact. We love to hear from you and get all sides and perspectives.

It feels very much like winter is setting in, for those who know me, I don’t bode well in the colder months, so you will find me drinking warm drinks and gravitating towards warm working spots!

Many Thanks



Peony & Magnolia