Why Acorn Support?

There are many options for companies to choose from for their HR support, so why choose us?

We seek to create partnerships with our clients to ensure that the services provided are flexible and tailored to meet the specific needs of the organisation.

We focus on the style and structure of each client’s business on a one to one basis to ensure a personalised service is provided. We want to see a business achieve it’s potential and are passionate about supporting and guiding our clients through the complexities of employment law and employment relationships.

We will be happy to discuss all manner and size of assignment, from the provision of policies, to handling difficult conversations and TUPE transfers.

We offer our services to work alongside your internal departments or we can work independently, meeting away from your premises if that is required or appropriate.

We ensure the utmost level of discretion, confidentiality and professionalism with all of our work. Located in Stourbridge, West Midlands, we are ideally placed to support our clients throughout the United Kingdom.

So get in touch and let us help with your HR issues.

Please contact us


01562 881019



Changes in pay per hour

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers are entitled to by law. The rate will depend on a worker’s age and if they are an apprentice.

The National Living Wage

The Government’s National Living Wage was introduced on 1 April 2016 for all working people aged 25 and over, and is currently set at £7.20 per hour. In April 2017 it will go up to £7.50. The current National Minimum Wage for those under the age of 25 still applies.

Key points

  • Most workers over school leaving age will be entitled to receive the NMW.
  • The NMW /NLW rate is reviewed annually by the Low Pay Commission.
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HRMC) can take employers to court for not paying the NMW/NLW.
  • There are a number of exemptions to those who receive the NMW/NLW. These do not relate to the size of the business, sector, job or region.
  • The compulsory National Living Wage is the national rate set for people aged 25 and over.

Rates of pay

It is important to note that these rates, which came into force 1 October 2016, apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after that date.

The rates from 1 October 2016 are:

  • £7.20 per hour – 25 yrs old and over
  • £6.95 per hour – 21-24 yrs old
  • £5.55 per hour 18-20 yrs old
  • £4 per hour – 16-17 yrs old
  • £3.40 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

The rate will then change every April starting April 2017. The rates from 1 April 2017 will be:

  • £7.50 per hour – 25 yrs old and over
  • £7.05 per hour – 21-24 yrs old
  • £5.60 per hour – 18-20 yrs old
  • £4.05 per hour – 16-17 yrs old
  • £3.50 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

If you need any advice, or support, please contact us


01562 881019


Does HR do anything useful?


The answer, obviously, is yes.

HR teams perform many valuable functions without which organisations, particularly larger ones, would be constantly struggling with unresolved people problems.

Some say that the traditional HR department, which claims dominion over everything from hiring and firing to maintaining workplace diversity, stifles innovation and bogs down businesses with inefficient policies and time-consuming processes.

Some companies have done away with HR departments, relying on managers to do everything that has to be done in respect of those within their teams, or have merged them with other functions such as marketing or finance.

This can be an added pressure to the managers in these areas, who can cope with the everyday running of the department, but will struggle, and possibly put their business in line for a claim, when serious difficulties with staff arise.

Many companies are now insuring against tribunal claims, but hiring in a HR company and having them support the employers and staff, will ensure that cases don’t reach the need for a tribunal.

Acorn Support Limited, support micro and small businesses with their HR needs, with a bespoke service tailored to each client. We can offer support on disciplinary and grievance issues, sickness and absence management, policies and procedures, performance management process, workforce planning, job descriptions, interview support and exercises and difficult conversations – to name a few.

We are here to support you and your business, and we definitely do something useful!

If we can help please contact us


01562 881019




Reducing sickness absence

Definition of absence



  • the state of being away
  • the time during which a person or thing is away
  • the fact of being without something; lack

Word Origin

C14: via Old French from Latin absentia, from absēns a being away

Sickness absence costs businesses an average of £561 per employee each year, but how do organisations reduce this?

Managers need help with reducing absence.

Three-quarters (76%) of the organisations surveyed* have recently taken steps to manage the absence levels of their workforce.

The top reason for introducing an absence management initiative is to support line managers, cited by 69% of respondent organisations.

Other outcomes that employers hope to achieve from introducing absence management initiatives include:

  • Managing the impact on the wider organisation
  • Reducing costs
  • Better management of absence data

Actions taken to manage absence centre on line managers and absence statistics – the latter reflects the growth in gathering and using HR metrics and analytics.

The most common absence management initiatives undertaken are

  • Improving existing record-keeping of absences
  • Improving line managers buy-in to taking an active role in absence
  • Providing absence statistics to line managers
  • Improving return to work interviews

More than seven employers in 10 have also provided line managers with training in absence management

The focus on managers in tackling absence is for good reason.

When employers were asked, which initiative had been the most successful in managing absence, we find that line managers feature in four of the top of the four out of five responses. The findings suggest that ensuring that line managers take an active role in the absence management of their direct reports is key to effectively managing absence.

  • Improve how return to work interviews are conducted and what they discuss
  • Provide absence statistics to line managers
  • Provide line managers with training in absence management
  • Introduce a new or revised absence policy
  • Improve line managers buy in to taking an active role in absence management

Here at, Acorn Support Limited, we offer a range of advice, support and training on absence issues, to ensure you run a successful and profitable business

If we can help please contact us


01562 881019


*Statistics provided from Xpert Hr recent survey