November 8

Four top tips for recruiting great staff….

Recruiting the best people for your business goes hand in hand with running a successful business. There are other factors in play, but recruitment is one of the most important and also one you can control the most.

Here are four tips for successful hiring:

1. Recruit people who are motivated and driven to succeed

Motivation and a drive to succeed are often far better indicators of long-term potential success in a position than academic results and previous experience.

Good academic results are an indicator that a person is driven, but they only prove they possess the drive to achieve good academic results (for which the motivations might be parental approval or peer competition).

A common assumption is that experience is the most important factor to take into account when it comes to recruitment. Obviously, to recruit within a technical area, a minimum level of technical knowledge and skills is required by a candidate, but an alternative approach is to hire a less experienced person with a larger amount of drive and hunger for success, than a more experienced person.

2. Look for people who are willing to experiment, fail and learn from their mistakes

Regarding failure as a learning opportunity rather than an embarrassment is critical to rapid development and the likelihood of someone using their initiative.

NASA asks people in interviews to discuss in detail a time that they made a serious mistake and what they learned from it. People willing to experiment will be happy to do this, people unwilling to do so generally try to excuse the failure by blaming external factors (or won’t have a failure story at all). You can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t accept you are making them.

3. Don’t rely on interviews: introduce practical tests and competency-based hiring

Interviews are a very poor way of choosing people and companies tend to hire confident people in preference to capable ones. There is also a tendency for the hiring manager to recruit people similar to themselves.

Assessment should, therefore, be made more practical. This is easier for some jobs than others, but the very least you should be doing is a competency-based interview: very specific questions designed to work out if the candidate has the actual skills (and motivations) you need. Make sure you ask for specific examples where they demonstrated that they had the skills you want and applied them in a real-life example.

4. It’s a two-way process

Think carefully about the candidate experience – what is it like applying to you? Is it a simple and transparent process, do they get good feedback? Make sure you put as much effort into selling your company as a place to work as you do to giving people hurdles to get over and create the interest first of all.

Finally, be prepared to move fast for the right people. The best people will have many options; make sure you have your offer to them first. You will not look desperate if you have followed a rigorous selection procedure.

October 16

Common pitfalls when dealing with maternity….

According to the Office for National Statistics the autumn is the most popular season to give birth!

To ensure you are up to date with the full range of maternity rights women are entitled to and some of the pitfalls employers fall into……the following is worth a read…

Maternity leave

Recent figures show that most women on maternity leave will want to return to work after their leave – three-quarters of women with children now work, a 50% rise in more than 40 years. However, despite the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 which specifically protects pregnancy and maternity, the law is still quite complicated for both employers and new mums to navigate and frequently things go wrong.

Pay rises

Women on maternity leave should always be considered for pay rises even though they are not working. Any pay rise should be backdated to the beginning of their maternity leave, irrespective of the period the pay rise covers.

If the woman earns more than statutory maternity pay (SMP), the pay rise will not affect her salary after her first six weeks of leave, as the amount she is entitled to is capped after this point. However, any pay rise will result in an increase in pay for her first six weeks of leave, which is calculated at 90% of her earnings unless she usually earns less than SMP.

Redundancy consultation and selection

There is a myth that women on maternity leave cannot be selected for redundancy – this is not correct, although they obviously cannot be selected because they are on maternity leave. If a redundancy situation affects an employee on maternity leave they must be consulted about the proposed redundancy even though they are not at work. Although the woman may choose not to take part in discussions, she should at least be given the option.

If selection criteria are used, those on maternity leave must not be disadvantaged. For instance, if there are no recent appraisals or sales figures to consider, choose a time period when there is data available for everyone or look at alternative selection processes.

An employee on maternity leave should not be given preferential treatment which could lead to her male colleague being made redundant. For example, in a recent case an employer discriminated against a male employee when treating a woman on maternity leave more favourably.

Redundancy – alternative roles

If a woman on maternity leave is selected for redundancy then she does have enhanced rights – the employer must make positive efforts to find her similar roles elsewhere in the organisation, not just give her a link to the vacancies on the website. If there are vacancies that are suitable for her then she must be placed in this role without the need for competitive interview, ahead of other colleagues.

Bonuses

If a bonus is awarded to employees for a period where the woman has been on maternity leave for part of that period, then case law says an employer can pro-rate the bonus and pay it only for the time she was working. However, if the bonus is in respect of work done before the maternity leave, then this should be paid in full.

Reasons for dismissal

If a woman is dismissed while pregnant or on maternity leave then she is automatically entitled to written reasons for dismissal, without having to ask for them or without having to have a qualifying period of two years’ employment before she is entitled to them.

Keeping in touch days (KIT days)

An employee may work for up to 10 KIT days during her maternity leave without bringing her leave to an end or losing her SMP. The KIT days have to be agreed with the employer, the employee cannot insist upon them. Any work done on a day during maternity leave will count as a whole KIT day even if it is only for an hour or so.

Be very clear about how much an employee will be paid for working a keeping-in-touch day during her maternity leave, and whether her statutory maternity pay will be paid in addition to payment for the KIT day or offset against it.

Pay rise that coincides with pregnancy or maternity leave

Ensure that employees are not denied a pay rise that they would have received had they not been on maternity leave. Recalculate SMP entitlement by applying the increased level of pay to the whole of the SMP calculation period and bear in mind this recalculation will have to be done even when the pay review comes after the end of the paid period of maternity leave.

Be aware that a pay rise may result in an employee becoming entitled to SMP. Inform employees of the pay increase and pay any amount owing promptly. Keep records of any changes made in the payment of maternity pay.

Knowing what rights women have while on maternity leave is important to ensure the business is supporting and rewarding employees in accordance with the law. This is not only good for their people, but also for the employer’s reputation and for attracting and retaining the best talent.

If you need any help at all email me at nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk.

October 1

Employees too sick to come to the office yet well enough to work from home…..sound familiar?!

If one of your staff members phones in sick, they can self-certify for up to seven days. What this means in practice is there is no need for a doctor’s note, but you can ask them to fill out a form on their return to work explaining the reason why they were off.

If an employee is sick for longer than seven consecutive days, including non-working days, they will need a doctor’s note, also called a fit note. This will either say whether an employee is “fit to work” or “not fit to work”.

A sick employee is therefore one who is not working as a result of either self-certification or GP-certificated sickness. The starting point must be that a sick employee is someone who cannot carry out the duties of their work – if a person is too ill to attend the place of work then they are too ill to work per se.

Working from home is a privilege and not a right….

There is a tendency for employees to take the odd day or two as ‘working from home’ whilst they have a simple cold or possibly a more spurious excuse! This must be addressed within the workplace. Working from home is a privilege and not a right and it is not down to the employee to decide unilaterally that they are going to work from home for a day! An employee working from home must be for a genuine reason, must be agreed in advance and must be as productive via email and phone and as available as if they were in the office.

Genuine reasons to work from home…

However, there may be circumstances when it is appropriate to work from home when sick – for example, it may be possible to feel too ill to get into the workplace but feel fit enough to sit in front of a computer and work.

A blanket policy that states that if you are too sick to come in then you do not work may be the way forward for some employers in certain industries where home working is impossible. Some companies may be able to take a more flexible approach and judge each case individually – for example if someone has broken a limb they may be able to work from home, whereas if someone is seriously ill with a virus or off with mental illness they are likely to be advised not to work whether at home or in the office.

In the age of technology it is understandable that some people within reason will wish to keep on top of their work. In these instances, where the employer has sanctioned working from home, a note will be made that they were working from home with approval and whilst sick and thus lower productivity may be expected. It is never the employee’s sole decision that they shall work from home for health reasons!

On the basis that the employer has imposed a clear policy that working from home is not just a ‘given’ at the whim of an employee, when might you want to work from home whilst off sick?

There are three main reasons why you might work from home whilst off sick:

• The fit note provides options for you to continue working in a different capacity (ie. from home) instead of going off sick entirely.
• Working from home may be used as part of a rehabilitation programme and as a preliminary step towards you returning to work after an accident or illness.
• As part of a ‘reasonable adjustment’ under the Equality Act 2010 when it has been agreed that working from home is necessary.

What are the responsibilities of employer and employee when working from home whilst off sick?

The employer’s and employee’s obligations under health and safety legislation continue to apply even if you are working from home. Both employer and employee should ensure that working from home meets the law with regard to the workstation and its positioning in the home.

The employer also needs to consider whether the employee shall be sufficiently productive to attract full pay or whether working from home will be on a part time basis and salary is made up using SSP or any company sick pay scheme. All these aspects should be discussed before commencing home working.

If you are working from home during a period of illness, you should be monitored and supervised and a plan should be drawn up aimed at increasing your attendance at work (if this forms part of the rehabilitation programme). Your employer will need to cover the cost of supplies such as printing, broadband, paper, telephone charges.

Presenteeism…..how to deal with employees who insist on working when signed off sick?

Employees may still be signed off sick by their GP but want to return to work whether for financial reasons (if there is no company sick pay) or simply because they are conscientious and keen to keep on top of their workload.

Office workers are easy to regulate. However, regular home workers may be more difficult to monitor. If you find they are working while they are signed off, either through their own volition or through the tacit consent of a manager, you may want to ensure this stops until they are fully recovered and speak to both employee and manager to make it clear they should not be working.

For both office and home workers you may wish to specify that, if they are signed off by a doctor they are off sick and should not work under any circumstances – whether from home or from the office. From an insurance perspective if you continue to allow an employee to work while signed off it could represent a breach of your duty of care as an employer and could make you liable for further damage an employee suffers if they continue to work whilst sick.

If you want any advice at all please email me at nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk.

September 16

Making mental health a priority in the workplace…..

Stress is frequently identified as one of the biggest causes of long-term sickness absence in our workplace. It is defined as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. It is not an illness but can result in a detrimental effect upon a person’s physical or mental health including anxiety and depression.

There is an added problem in that many employees who have been absent from work due to high levels of stress find the thought of returning to the same place of work stressful in itself. The longer someone is absent from work, the harder it can be for them to return without occupational health or medical intervention, particularly if there is no likelihood of a change in working practices when they go back.

What can cause stress at work?

Stress can be caused where an employee is unable, whether through a lack of skill, training or confidence to fulfil the requirements of a job. The inability to complete a job could be the result of inadequate working practices, poor communication or insufficient support to perform their role. Generally, stress cannot be avoided completely, and it may be caused by external factors. However, it is an employer’s duty to provide a system of work that manages levels of stress in the workplace.

How to tackle stress in the workplace?

1. Recognise the potential legal consequences for employers of failing to protect employees from workplace stress (constructive dismissal, personal injury, unfair dismissal, breach of the Working Time Regulations).

2. Remember that all employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees and that “health” in this context includes mental health.

3. Focus on measures that will prevent workplace stress:

* Stress is not a taboo subject, but one discussed openly;
* Awareness of presenteeism….send employees home who are clearly struggling but insist on turning up to work;
* Ensure managers are properly trained as promotion beyond capability is a common cause of stress;
* Good communication is paramount to ensure your workforce are up to date and not feeling anxious about significant forthcoming changes.

4. Ensure that workloads, targets and deadlines are realistic and strive to give individuals more control over their work.

5. Talk to employees regularly to monitor if the demands being made on them are within their individual coping resources.

6. Tackle practices that place pressure on employees to work consistently long hours and take positive steps to ensure that every employee takes regular breaks and holidays.

7. Offer flexible working hours and patterns whenever possible and encourage employees to achieve a work-life balance.

8. Offer sufficient coaching and training to enable employees to perform their job effectively and confidently.

9. Implement an anti-bullying and harassment policy and complaints procedure, making sure that everyone knows that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated.

10. Ensure effective two-way communication between management and staff at all times.

11. Be vigilant to the possibility of employee stress and do not assume that an absence of complaints means that no stress problems exist. An awareness of stress or potential stress requires the employer to address the situation.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, it is imperative to recognise that workplace stress is a serious issue and must be addressed in a positive and constructive manner with a view to prevention or reduction wherever possible. A stress at work policy in your handbook is a MUST!

If you need an up to date stress at work policy or any help at all with a stress at work case, email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk.

July 17

Apprentices….all you need to know about engaging one in your business….

It’s not just traditional industries or large organisations that are choosing the apprenticeship route nowadays. All sorts of businesses are finding it a useful way to recruit and train staff. Apprenticeships now cover more than 170 industries and 1,500 job roles from entry to degree level

How do I hire an apprentice?

• Check their age…apprentices must be aged 16 or over by the end of the next summer holidays.
• Check where they are living….the apprentice will need to be living in England if that’s where the apprenticeship is based.
• Check whether they are in full time education or not….only people who are out of full-time education can start one.

Apart from that, it’s up to you to review any applications and decide who would make the best apprentice for your business. Apprentices can be new to your business, or they might already be an employee.

What’s the cost of hiring an apprentice?

You’ll need to pay at least the minimum wage for apprentices which is currently £3.70/hour. All apprentices are entitled to this rate if they’re aged under 19, or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.

If your apprentice is aged 19 or over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, you’ll need to pay the correct minimum wage for their age group.

Do I need to pay my apprentice sick pay?

Here’s what you can expect to be paying and providing:
• Pay for training and/or studying time while at work or college (or at their training organisation)
• Any benefits and pay that other employees at a similar level/role are getting (this could include paid holiday, sick pay, and other benefits such as childcare voucher schemes)

Apprenticeship funding options

As an employer in England, the amount of funding you can get will depend on whether or not you pay the apprenticeship levy. You’ll be paying this if you have a wage bill of over £3 million each year.

If you don’t pay the apprenticeship levy

You’ll pay 10 per cent towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. Once you’ve agreed a payment schedule with the training provider or organisation, you’ll pay this directly to them.

The government will pay the remaining 90 per cent (or up to the funding band maximum) directly to the training organisation.

If you do pay the apprenticeship levy

For businesses paying the levy, funds are available for training and apprenticeship assessment. On top of these, the government will add 10 per cent.

Choose your apprenticeship framework

To obtain funding and manage your apprenticeship from start to finish, you need to find and use a framework (or ‘standard’) that’s right for your business and the type of apprentice you’d like to bring on board. Some are longer than others, and each carries its own funding band. Use https://findapprenticeshiptraining.sfa.bis.gov.uk/ to find the right framework for you.

Find a training organisation or provider

Once you’ve chosen your framework or standard, the next step is to make contact with an organisation or provider that offers the right kind of training. Use https://findapprenticeshiptraining.sfa.bis.gov.uk/ to find one.

Advertising an apprenticeship

Once you are all set with your training organisation you then need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy. Your training organisation can get the ball rolling through https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch. If you know someone who would like to apply for the role directly, talk this through with your training provider.

Apprenticeship agreements

Next step is to enter into an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice.The agreement should give details of what you’re agreeing to do for your apprentice, including the length of their employment with you, the training you’re going to give, their working conditions, and the qualifications they’ll be working towards.

Sign your commitment statement

Finally, you, your apprentice, and the training organisation will need to sign a commitment statement. This should include the content and schedule you plan for the training, what’s expected and offered by you (as the employer), the training organisation, and your apprentice.

Do I need to insure my apprentice?

Yes, your apprentice will be classed as an employee so you’ll need to have employer’s liability insurance in place. You’re legally required to have a cover level of least £5 million, and while there are some exceptions, this ruling applies to most employers.

How long does an apprenticeship last?

Apprenticeships in England must last for at least a year. They can go on for up to five years though, depending on the framework you’ve chosen.

Any assistance with drawing up an apprenticeship agreement, please get in touch with nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk.

June 29

Worker status or self-employed…….employers need to take care after this ruling from the UK Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a plumber classed as self-employed was in fact a worker, in a landmark case for the gig economy.

The UK’s highest court upheld the decision that a plumber who worked for Pimlico Plumbers for six years was a worker, not self-employed. Despite paying self-employed tax and being VAT registered, Mr Smith was a worker, the Supreme Court said.

Worker status means entitlement to a national minimum wage, holiday pay and protection from discrimination.

The decision has the potential to impact the rights of many people classified as independent contractors across the UK. The company argued that Mr Smith had freedoms, such as the option to substitute someone else to carry out his work, if he wished.

But the Supreme Court held the following factors pointed to Mr Smith being a worker rather than self-employed:
• The dominant feature of Mr Smith’s contract was that he must do the work himself.
• The company exercised tight administrative control over Mr Smith and he undertook to do the work personally.
• The company required Mr Smith to wear a company branded uniform.
• The company required Mr Smith to also lease one of its vans, which displayed the company’s logo and was equipped with a GPS tracker.
• Mr Smith also had to work a minimum number of hours per week.
• Mr Smith’s services to the company’s customers were marketed through the company.
• Mr Smith’s ability to compete with the company for plumbing work following any termination of their relationship was restricted.
• The company controlled when and how much Mr Smith was paid.

The Supreme Court held that the company could not be regarded as a client or customer of Mr Smith. It was clearly his employer.

This decision will set a powerful precedent for organisations in determining how they construct and operate their contracts. The court did make it clear that this decision turned on the unique facts of this case, but employers need to take note that tribunals will be willing to look behind what on the surface appears to be a self-employed relationship in order to uphold worker rights where the circumstances dictate such status.

June 15

Employers should embrace the 2018 World Cup…..!

Employers should embrace the 2018 World Cup…….!

The 2018 World Cup gets underway this week and should be an opportunity to generate a good feeling in the workplace and boost staff morale, wellbeing and productivity rather than focussing on how to prevent ‘sickies!’

There are 63 matches across the tournament, and whilst the first of the England games take place outside of the ‘traditional’ working day of nine-to-five and at weekends, fans that support different teams may of course be keen to see their own matches which may take place during work time.

In addition, England fans may want to watch other big games which may also be played during the working day.

Equally, as the games take place in different Russian time zones, there is a mixture of starting times. Weekend and shift workers may also be on the roster when their team’s game is being shown.

England’s games in the first stage of 2018 World Cup are as follows:

Monday 18th June England v Tunisia
Thursday 28th June England v Belgium
Sunday 24th June England v Panama

Kick-off time for both weekday games is 7pm.

The concern is that staff sick days and unscheduled absences are likely to rise on or around these days, as staff take their seats in front of the TV to watch England play live.

The best employers will be those that take a proactive approach to these events as follows:

· Create temporary flexible working for the duration of the tournament
· Allow late starting or early finishing on match days
· Stage World Cup events in the office by setting up screens to show the matches
· Run a sweepstake to ensure all staff feel involved
· Plan in advance how to respond to multiple and last minute holiday requests!
· Allow employees to watch lunch time matches and then stay late to make up time
· Allow employees to listen or watch games online on work devices
· Permit the streaming of games on employees’ own mobile devices

If you have a diverse workforce, make sure any temporary flexible arrangements are also available to them to watch their own national team play in the World Cup.

Taking positive steps to manage the workplace impact of the World Cup can have a beneficial effect on employee relations. As well as allowing staff to watch matches, employers could:

· put up special decorations in the office, such as flags of the countries involved;
· relax dress codes, including allowing football shirts to be worn; and
· provide refreshments during games.

Giving staff the opportunity to watch or celebrate major events is a really great way of engaging and motivating the whole team!!

June 5

Annual appraisals – positive or pointless….?

The appraisal system is frequently a source of frustration for all concerned, be that HR professionals, managers or employees, many of whom view it as a box ticking exercise with no meaningful or positive outcome. In many organisations, this is not far from the truth.

However, an appraisal system, with careful planning, conduct and follow-up, can lead to positive results: an employee’s performance, efficiency and motivation can increase, and inevitably their employer will feel the benefit in terms of improved output. The key aim is to ensure that appraisals support performance rather than focus on the negative.

Legally speaking

Unfortunately, many managers shy away from difficult conversations, leading to little or no discussion of any problems with employees. Appraisal scores are then awarded in a similar, noncommittal basis making the whole process meaningless.

There’s no legal requirement for employees to be appraised. However, fairly dismissing an employee for poor performance without formal appraisals will be difficult, as the issues are unlikely to have been documented. Indeed, the employee may be oblivious of their shortcomings (and therefore not have been given an opportunity to address them). Similarly, appraisal scores can be useful tools in redundancy selection processes, but if everyone has similar scores then their value is minimal.

Annual or ongoing appraisals?

An annual appraisal has been likened to throwing darts at a dartboard blindfolded, and only being shown your score 12 months later. Both positive and negative experiences will have faded, and the opportunity to learn from mistakes or to capitalise on successes may have been lost.

In recent years there has been an increasing trend for businesses to move away from the traditional annual appraisal to a process of ongoing performance review or “mini” appraisals throughout the course of the year. An ongoing process can be more manageable and meaningful for all concerned.

Training

To maximise the benefits of the appraisal process, it’s vital that both employees and managers participate fully (many employees view it as one sided), and that they understand what they are doing, why and how. Often there is an incorrect assumption that a manager – simply because they are a manager – will know how to conduct an appraisal. Training can help them to understand their role and how to get the best from the process.

Preparation

Appraisals often focus on the negatives. If employees and managers prepare beforehand (with the employee completing a self-assessment and the manager completing a pre-appraisal form) this can provide a structure, allowing the highs – as well as the lows – of the employee’s performance to be discussed.

Conducting an appraisal

During appraisals it’s important to consider whether the employee has met their targets, but it’s equally key to explore how the employee has met those targets – what skills have they used and how can they be improved?
Remembering that the appraisal is a two-way process, and allowing the employee a full opportunity to have their say is vital.

After the Appraisal

Too often, everyone breathes a sigh of relief after the appraisal, and the forms get filed neatly away. Yet the real value in appraisals is setting a path for the future and helping the employee to progress. This is where the “mini” or ongoing appraisal system can be particularly helpful.

Ideally, the employee and manager should agree on a small number of specific, unambiguous, action points (three to five objectives is ideal), which are followed up periodically throughout the year.

For help devising your appraisal form or process, or if you are considering using an external person to conduct your appraisals, please get in touch with Nicola on 07917 878384 or nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk

May 11

Employers…how to stay in line with GDPR when recruiting…..

During your recruitment process it is essential that you handle job applicant data in accordance with the strict new rules under the GDPR. The GDPR demands certain requirements as to the transparency about the processing and the communication with the job applicant.

This can be communicated in a privacy statement tailored specifically for job applicants.

Which requirements need to be met by a privacy statement?

A privacy statement must have the following characteristics:
• concise
• transparent
• easy to understand
• easy to access

These requirements should ensure that the candidate knows exactly where (s)he stands according to the protection of his or her data.

Additional and more specific requirements may apply, depending on the way data is being collected:

• Direct data collection is when the candidate inserts his data himself, for example via an application form.
• Indirect data collection is when a recruiter takes data, for example, from a candidate’s LinkedIn profile.

Direct processing of personal data

When data is being collected directly from the candidate, the privacy statement needs to be provided before or at the moment the data is being transferred. You can manage this by inserting a link to the privacy statement in the application form.

The privacy statement should at least contain the following information:

• the data processor’s identity and contact information
• the goal and legal foundation for the processing
• the data processor’s legitimate interest
• the possible recipients (or categories of recipients) of the personal data
• information regarding the forwarding of personal data to a third country (outside the EU), if that’s the case
• the storage period or the criteria that are being used to determine the storage period
• the person concerned needs to be informed about his/her rights
• the person concerned needs to be informed about his/her right to withdraw his/her approval for the processing of data
• the person concerned needs to be informed that he/she has the right to file a complaint
• it needs to be declared if automated decisions will be made

Indirect processing of personalised data

If data is collected indirectly, for example via LinkedIn, the same requirements as illustrated above apply. Additionally, it needs to be indicated which type of data (category) were processed and which source has been used.

If the personal data are being processed with the goal to communicate with the person concerned, this information needs to be provided at the moment of the first contact.
Also, if the personal data is being forwarded to third parties, the person concerned needs to be informed, at the latest when the data is being shared with third parties.

Identity and contact information

Both the identity and the contact information of the person who is in charge of the data processing need to be stated in the privacy statement.

Legal basis of the processing

In order to process personal data, there needs to be a legal basis for the processing. The following mentioned requirements need to be fulfilled:

• the person concerned has given their approval for the data processing
• the processing is necessary for the execution of a contract
• the processing is necessary for the data processor’s compliance with legal obligations
• the processing is needed for the protection of the parties’ vital interests
• the processing is necessary for the execution of a task
• the processing is necessary to comply with the legitimate interests of the person in charge of the processing

Storage period

Personal data may not be stored any longer than for the sole purpose of the collection. In general, data collected during the recruitment process should be deleted as soon as it becomes clear that the candidate won’t be hired.

If you want to store the candidate’s data for future offers, you need to inform them beforehand and be ready to delete it if they change their mind.

If you would like a privacy statement for the purposes of recruitment, please email me nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call me on 07917 878384.

May 2

Can an employer dismiss an employee due to long term sickness?

It’s a common thought that employers are expected to keep a sick employee’s job open indefinitely. However this is not the case – although it is necessary to follow a fair procedure to manage a long term absence situation. If you proceed towards a dismissal you will potentially have to show that the dismissal was justified and fair after properly exploring all the options open to you.

What to consider when terminating employment on the grounds of ill health

An employment tribunal will consider if you have followed an appropriate procedure and would suggest you do the following before considering dismissal on grounds of ill health:
• Ensure the absence has been dealt with in accordance with your absence and capability policy
• Keep in touch with the employee regarding their condition and their prospects of a return to work.
• With the staff member’s permission, commission a report from an occupational health practitioner.
• In conjunction with occupational health guidance, formally review the role and the individual’s capability and decide whether adjustments can be made.
• Consider whether there is another job available in the company which the employee could do.
• Consider whether the job can be done part-time with recruitment if necessary.
• Assess the information available and determine whether the employee’s return to work can be facilitated.
• If a partial return to work can be considered, develop an “induction” or phased–in process.
• Keep in contact after a return.

Alternatively, after following the guidance above, in the event that no return to work date is foreseeable or suitable alternative employment cannot be found or reasonable adjustments or modifications to the workplace are not practical or possible, termination on grounds of ill health may result.

An important case in 2017 helpfully made the following points for employers to use when deciding whether to, and how to, fairly dismiss on the grounds of ill health:

• It is not necessarily unfair for an employer to decide that the time has come to dismiss an employee who has been absent for over 12 months with no certainty as to when the employee will be able to return. While an employee can easily advance the argument “give me a little more time and I am sure I will recover”, there comes a time when an employer is entitled to some finality.

• The severity of the impact on the employer of an employee’s continued absence must be a significant element when determining the point at which dismissal becomes justified. A tribunal considering a long-term sickness absence dismissal will expect some evidence of the disruption to the business, although in some cases the impact will be so obviously severe that a general statement from the employer to that effect will suffice.

• It is important that the medical evidence upon which a decision is being made is up to date. Repeated reports may have to be gained through the period of the illness or injury to ensure that changes in the prognosis are taken into account.

Importantly, the Court made it clear that employers are not expected to wait forever for an employee to recover from illness.

However, the court warned employers that, when balancing whether the time has come to dismiss, the employer needs to have considered the disruption to the business that the absence is causing. It is therefore a good idea for the employer to have a written record of the issues that are being caused, for example who has been brought in to cover the work, or what extra work colleagues are doing because of the absence.

Always seek advice before terminating on grounds of ill health as each case will turn on its facts.

Please call me on 07917 878384 or email me nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk if you need advice.

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