Case study – Holiday Entitlement

It is important for staff to take their holiday entitlement and at a recent review meeting it was picked up that there were three employees, within a clients company, who didn’t take much of their holiday entitlement for 2017, this impacts on the statutory provisions.

There is a requirement of annual leave of 5.6 weeks – 28 days, which includes public holidays.  There is also a requirement for employees to take this leave, and for the employer to ensure that they do.  The provisions are established from a Health & Safety prospective, ensuring rest and relaxation for the individual away from the working environment.

With a review of untaken leave, focus was placed on any leave that was less than 20 days, three cases had been highlighted

– 16 days undertaken, 9 of which is below statutory

– 17.5 days untaken, 12.5 of which is below statutory

– 7 days untaken, 3 of which is below statutory

The main concern would be for the employee who has only taken  7.5 days off in the year.  It is appreciated that it is often difficult to have this discussion, however, there are risks for both the employees health, and for the business.

In this particular case, the employee, when he takes leave, will adjust his days of working, and therefore may have the weeks off, however, this is compounded with additional working time either side.  This continues the risk of his allocation of leave

The recommendation is that when you have any of your normal manager/employee meetings, that there is a discussion relating to the plans for leave during this year.  We can then plan for the cover of the work to enable the leave to be taken without fear of work not being covered, or teams being left during the absence.

 

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Case study – Absence Management

Case study to improve absence in employee.
Employee had 50 days absence, over four separate periods, in six months, a mixture of short term and long term absence.
A welfare meeting was held to review and set a target to improve attendance.
The employee had more absences.
They were then invited to a disciplinary as the levels of attendance was unacceptable. They were issued a verbal warning and again set a target to improve.
The employee had more absences.
They were invited to a disciplinary for their unacceptable levels of attendance and issued a first written warning.
They have had no further absences ………
By dealing with absences and starting the disciplinary route, the employee has made significant improvements in their attendance levels, and the company has benefited from less disruption that the regular absences was having to the business, which costs money and effects the morale of other employees.

Case study – Staff absence

Employee had 50 days absence in 4 separate periods over 6 months, a mixture of short term and long term absence.
A welfare meeting was held to review and set a target to improve attendance.
The employee had more absences.
Employee was then invited to a disciplinary as the levels of attendance was unacceptable. They were issued a verbal warning and again set a target to improve
The employee had more absences.
The employee was invited to a disciplinary meeting for their unacceptable levels of attendance and issued a first written warning.
They have had no further absences ………
By dealing with absences and starting the disciplinary route, the employee has made significant improvements in their attendance levels, and the company has benefited from less disruption that the regular absences was having to the business.
If you require support in managing absence or disciplinary meeting, please contact us.
mail@acornsupport.co.uk
01562 881019

When is resignation not simple?

When is a resignation not so simple?

We supported a client recently when an employee resigned, but later wanted to withdraw the resignation and remain with the employee.

The manager allowed the employee several days to be sure they were making the right decision, they still wanted to resign.  They acknowledged the resignation and confirmed the termination date.  Then 2 weeks before the leaving date they informed the manager that they were withdrawing the resignation and would be staying. Plans were in place to recruit a replacement, the team had been informed, the leaving card had been circulated.

What to do…?

The decision was taken that in the grand scheme of things it was in the best interests of the company and the individual to continue with the resignation.  Once one has been submitted and accepted by the Company it is only by mutual agreement that this may be reversed.

If you need support in handling staff resignations, then please get in touch.

What’s an anti-bribery policy?

It is illegal to offer, promise, give, request, agree, receive or accept bribes – an anti-bribery policy can help protect your business.

You should have an anti-bribery policy if there is a risk that someone who works for you or on your behalf might be exposed to bribery.

Your anti-bribery policy should be appropriate to the level of risk your business faces. Your policy should include:

  • your approach to reducing and controlling the risks of bribery
  • rules about accepting gifts, hospitality or donations
  • guidance on how to conduct your business, eg negotiating contracts
  • rules on avoiding or stopping conflicts of interest

Once you have an anti-bribery policy you should:

  • tell your staff and make sure they understand the policy
  • monitor and review your policy regularly

For more information visit www.gov.uk and download the Bribery Act 2010 Guidance

Tips for an adverse weather policy

Adverse weather in the form of gale force winds, heavy rain and icy conditions may cause disruption to employees, over the next few weeks.

What is the legal position when bad weather prevents an employee from getting to work?

  • No legal right to paid time off

In most situations, there is no legal right for an employee to have paid time off if they are unable to get to work or are late for work due to travel disruptions and / or bad weather.

Limited exceptions to this rule exist, e.g. where travel time is classed as “working time” (which will not be discussed here).

  • Good employer – employee communications will help

What happens in practice during periods of adverse weather is therefore down to each employer to decide and communicate to their staff.

Rather than await the chaos (warranted or otherwise) that bad weather brings, we would recommend that employers act now and consider implementing an Adverse Weather Policy.

  • What should an adverse weather policy contain?

The policy should strike a balance between protecting the health and safety of the staff and ensuring the business continues to run as effectively as it can.

The policy could provide for the following types of problems:

Travel disruptions

Where employees’ journeys to work are delayed or have to be cancelled, weather may or may not be a factor.

Alternative working arrangements

It may be an option for employees to work from another, more easily-accessible, location or perhaps working from home is feasible.

Absences and pay

It is at the discretion of the employer whether or not employees are paid, if they are absent or late due to adverse weather conditions.

Employers can decide to treat absences in a number of different ways. For example –

  • As annual leave (noting that a limited number of days’ leave could be used from the next leave year, if there is not enough annual leave remaining);
  • As time off in lieu;
  • Employees to make up the lost hours within a reasonable period;
  • Unpaid leave (this should be referenced in the employee’s contract to avoid any claim that the deduction is unlawful).

If the employer decides to close the office due to severe weather, employees should be paid as normal. Whatever approach employers want to adopt, it should be made clear in the Adverse Weather Policy.

School closures / childcare issues

Those with dependants can take unpaid time off if there is a childcare emergency.

If a school closure is announced in advance – and no other childcare arrangements can be made in time – employees should be reminded that they can take unpaid time off to care for their child.

Training and disciplinary aspects

As with any policy, it should be communicated to the workforce and, if necessary, training should be provided to those who will be handling the day-to-day aspects of weather disruption.

If an employer has reason to believe that an employee is using the weather as a convenient excuse not to come in to work, the employer can choose to investigate the issue in the same way as any other potential disciplinary matter – and take disciplinary action if necessary.

 

Information via United Employment Lawyers

 

Break entitlement at work

Workers over 18 are usually entitled to 3 types of break – rest breaks at work, daily rest
and weekly rest.

Rest breaks at work

Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.

The break doesn’t have to be paid – it depends on their employment contract.

Daily rest

Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, eg if they finish work at 8pm, they shouldn’t start work again until 7am the next day.

Weekly rest

Workers have the right to either:

  • an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week
  • an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight

A worker’s employment contract may say they’re entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work.

Exceptions to this are

  • the armed forces, emergency services or police and they’re dealing with an exceptional catastrophe or disaster
  • a job where they freely choose what hours they work (like a managing director) or where the work is not measured (ie no set hours)
  • sea transport
  • air or road transport (known as ‘mobile’ workers)

Air, sea or road transport workers may be covered by special rules that give them different rest rights.

Mobile workers not covered by any special rules usually have the right to regular rest so that their health and safety (or anyone else’s) isn’t put at risk.

There are also special rules for young workers and for lorry and coach drivers.

Work Christmas Party Tips

With Christmas just around the corner this can be a tricky time in the working environment. Most people are beginning to get in the festive mood, and this can sometimes impact on the work environment. From inappropriate actions in the office, to arriving late or hung over.

Here are five tips to ensure your Christmas Party is remembered for all the right reasons.

1 – Make sure it’s fun
Christmas parties should be fun and not forced. If people do not want to attend don’t make them.  Give a couple of options and if any member of staff does not want to come, accept that. You cannot insist people enjoy themselves and you do not want your party to cause any resentment.

2 – Avoid Alcohol and Mistletoe
On their own they can be bad but when mixed you are just asking for trouble.  What can start as light-hearted fun can quickly escalate to harassment and a lawsuit.  Your party should be inclusive and relaxed, avoid any activity that encourages certain types of behaviour.

3 – Think Differently
This year why not involve the family, or partners? This can ensure a different slant is taken perhaps it could be a bowling party or a day out to Safari Park, something that will encourage a different atmosphere.

4 – Take in a show
Why not show your staff a good time with a comedy or magic/illusionist show or a musical.  A Christmas celebration does not have to be a party.
5 – Keep it in the day
A lunch time meal can be a lot more civilized, as well as giving everyone a break from work.

Taking your team out for a meal during office hours is always a good way of maintaining a level of control over the party after all, most people tend to behave better in the daytime.

A thought to remember, if you supply alcohol to your staff at a Christmas Party you, as the employer, becomes responsible for their actions when they are under the influence.  You could be held accountable for any damage or trouble caused. Just think about what the ramifications could mean if they got behind the wheel of a car.

And please remember that the staff party is not for everyone, no one should be made to feel pressured in to attending.
You should celebrate Christmas. Your staff have worked hard, but make sure you know what you are signing up for.

Why take your annual leave?

Holidays are good for your health

So what are the effects of working long hours without taking sufficient holiday breaks? It is important for employers to insist on a healthy work/life balance for their employees:

Excessive hours can have a negative effect on job performance and cause costly or reputation-damaging mistakes.

Fatigue-related accidents are potentially life-threatening.

Employers need to ensure that they do everything in their power to improve productivity through efficiency improvements rather than by overloading their staff.

Working long hours doesn’t necessarily lead to marriage breakdown, it can put a strain on relationships with partners, children and friends

Simon Briault of the Federation of Small Businesses told the BBC: “It is important for employees to take the time off they are entitled to. Everybody needs a break to relax and unwind.”

“In the long run, it will be beneficial for the employee and the employer alike,” continues Simon, “because it helps to reduce ill-health and absenteeism.”

5 tips for the holiday-shy

If you’re married to your job, here are five top tips on how to make sure you take valuable time away from work:

  • Always give your employer plenty of notice of time you’d like to take off
  • Commit yourself to a break by booking flights and hotels in advance
  • Plan a holiday with friends and family so you can’t let them down by backing out
  • Delegate work to colleagues before you leave so you know you won’t return to chaos
  • When you do get away leave the laptop at home, turn off the phone.. and relax!