The summer holidays are here which can only mean juggling work and parenting responsibilities, which never gets easier. This year both boys 16 and 17 are off to Reading Festival and Boardmasters! Lots of fun for the boys and worry for me!
Coming up this month we are going to be looking at employers’ health and safety responsibilities for remote workers and the latest HR news, focusing on the importance of grievance and disciplinary procedures.
Finally, some key dates for your diaries.
Remote / Hybrid Working – Managing your employees Health and Safety.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”.
The employer’s duty of care is not only applicable to employees that are based in the workplace, but as the prevalence of hybrid / fully remote working continues to increase, the legal health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities of an employer are the same for those working remotely as they are for office-based staff, and any other worker to that end.
Employees are equally responsible for taking reasonable care of their own (and any others who may be at risk whilst they’re working) health and safety at work.
Conducting risk assessments are one way to highlight and take steps to mitigate the risk to both parties, whether that be physical or mental health related. However, as a UK employer, you are also legally obliged with regards to home workers to:
*Daisy Moss, HR Administrator at Hayes HR Consulting has recently qualified as a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessor giving her expertise and knowledge to carry out thorough assessments of users’ DSE in both the office and home. Daisy has been trained in the legal obligations for DSE users including ergonomic set-up and helpful advice on ways to relieve strain and encourage movement. Did you know as an employer you are legally obliged to pay for an annual eyesight test.
One of Daisy’s top tips was to ensure employees working with DSE follow the 20-20-20 rule; Every 20 minutes, you should look away from your screen to something approximately 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
DSE checks should be conducted:
In addition to the above, it would be advisable to have a working from home policy that provides clear guidance on expectations and obligations of both the employee and employer, and an expenses policy so it is clear on what expenses are covered by the employer and the process involved. If you feel that your current policies are out of date or need help in developing new policies that maybe relevant, then please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Performance Management can be costly if you don’t follow the correct procedure.
You may have seen the recent tribunal whereby an employee received more than £15,000 in compensation because their employer didn’t follow the correct procedure with regards to raising concerns about their performance.
The tribunal noted that whilst the employee was dismissed for fair reason, there were failures in how the employee was warned about their performance; no discussions regarding training to improve performance and therefore the handling of his dismissal was procedurally unfair.
Handwritten notes of concern were left for the employee on their desk, there was no formal performance warning (either by letter or email). The tribunal noted that not enough was done to make the employee aware that they had been issued with warnings and based on their findings, ‘no clear warnings had been properly received or understood’.
Not only that, but the employee also received no notice prior to a meeting whereby he was dismissed and was not made aware that he could attend with a representative or given evidence of his poor performance during the meeting. He was also not given any right of appeal. Subsequently, the tribunal found the way in which the company handled the employee’s dismissal as a breach of the Acas Code of Conduct, making the dismissal unfair.
It is important to know that employment tribunals can adjust compensation awards by up to 25% for ‘unreasonable failure to comply with any prevision of the Acas Code of Conduct. This means that if the tribunal feels that an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the guidance set out in the Code, they can increase any award they have made by up to 25 percent’.
Should you need support with any areas relating to developing, managing, or implementing your capability, grievance, and disciplinary procedures, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
KEY DATES FOR DIARY:
1st – 7th August: World Breastfeeding Week
Did you know that if an employee notifies you that they are breastfeeding, an employer has a duty to provide suitable facilities for a breastfeeding employee to rest, and where necessary, include the facility to lie down.
3rd August: Cycle to Work day
11th – 15th September: National Pension Awareness Week
Finally, the government has announced that possible changes are coming to certain elements of paternity leave, watch this space for more details to follow.
I recently competed in Turf Games at Ealing Rugby Club. Mixed teams of six and 4 workouts spread across the day which started at 10am and finished at 4.30 pm. The sun shone for us, despite the weather forecast and lots of fun was had by all. Onto the next challenge!
I look forward to hearing from you soon. Happy holidays!