Deepawali or Diwali 2017 starts on 19 October and continues for five days. It is the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals and is also known as The Festival of Lights. 'Deep' meaning 'light' and avali meaning 'a row' - a row of lights. Diwali for Hindus is a sacred and joyous time of the year, marked by five days of celebration illuminating the country with its brilliance and dazzling all with its joy. 
 
Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama from his fourteen-year-long exile and the vanquishing of the demon-king Ravana. In celebration of the return of their king, the people illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers. Diwali signifies the conquest of evil by good and is all about giving, forgiving, bringing light to darkness and unifying us with our fellow beings. 
 
For most Hindus in the UK, it is still THE festival. As important as Christmas is for Christians. Diwali is a time to be with family and friends, have good food, wear new clothes, exchange presents and cards, say prayers and most of all enjoy being with your loved ones. 
 
Here at Plain Talking HR we celebrated Diwali with some delicious Nankathai baked especially for us by Zaibun from Creative Bakes in Luton. For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
10 October 2017 was World Mental Health Day. We learned that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. As employers, it is vital we understand what mental health is, how to promote positive mental health in the workplace and how to support an employee experiencing mental ill health.  
 
The World Health Organisation define mental health as "... a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community." When we have positive mental health we can normally handle the ups and downs of everyday life, interact positively with others, feel confident about ourselves and engage productively with the world. 
 
Mental ill health can affect our thoughts and feelings and change how we see the world. Symptoms range from feeling a bit down, thoughts or feelings that are difficult to deal with, through more common issues like anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, to more serious illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. 
 
In many cases, people's mental health problems are only temporary. However, some people suffer severe and eduring mental ill health that requires long term treatment. Either way, it's important that employers understand mental health, what it is and what it is not, how to spot mental ill health and how to manage someone experiencing it. 
 
ACAS have recently published comprehensive and pratical guidance on mental health for employers, which can be found on their website (directs you to an external site). 
 
If you would like to find out more on promoting positive mental health in the workplace, training managers and staff about mental health or making changes in the workplace to avoid causing mental ill health, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
 
 
The chances of one of your employees taking you to an Employment Tribunal just got significantly higher. The Supreme Court recently ruled that tribunal fees are a barrier to justice and has abolished them with immediate effect. This means that if an employee feels you've treated them badly - even if you don't believe you have - there's nothing to stop them making a claim against you. 
 
It's more important now than ever to make sure that robust employee policies and company procedures are in place, leaving no room for employees to raise a complaint. 
 
If you've dismissed somebody or are currently dealing with disciplinaries or grievances, you could be at risk if your documentation is not up to date. You should also be aware that all employment tribunal judgements will now be posted on the internet for everybody to read. 
 
We are here to help ensure you are protected. We can update your employee contracts and employment documentation, or support you if you're already facing a claim. Feel free to give me a call on 01582 488410 or email me bina@plaintalkinghr.com. For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
 
Annual Employment Tribunal Statistics published (Link to external site 'Employment Essentials')