Can You Serve an Unfair Dismissal Claim While on ‘Garden Leave’?

‘Garden leave’ is a period of time after you’ve been asked to leave your job or you’ve been made redundant, when your employer carries on paying you, but when they don’t want you to continue coming to work. During this time, you’re still employed so you can’t take another job with a different employer.

So can you serve an unfair dismissal claim while on garden leave? Can you appeal against being asked to leave your job?

To serve an unfair dismissal claim, you need to complete the form ET1 to send to the employment tribunal. You can only submit this form after you have been dismissed and worked your notice. ‘Garden leave’ is notice without having to do the work you’re being paid for. If you’re thinking about a tribunal application then you must do this within three months of your termination date. If you’re on ‘garden leave’ then you are still employed, even though you’re not working. This means that if you want to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you can’t do it during a period of garden leave – you have to wait until you actually finish working for that employer and they are no longer paying you.

Your contract of employment will tell you what else you can and can’t do while on garden leave and what your employer will expect from you during that time.

In addition, if you were employed after 6 April 2012, you need to have worked for the company for two years, to be able to claim unfair dismissal. If you started work before 6 April 2012 you have to have completed one year’s service to be able to claim unfair dismissal. (This means that at the time of writing this blog in March 2013, no one will actually be able to claim that they have been unfairly dismissed until 6 April 2014.)

There is more information on all this, including a short video that explains it all, on my website. Click here to watch the video.

Employee Engagement – How Do You Get the Best from Your Staff?

Employee engagement is about making sure your employees are happy at work, so that you can get the most out of them, while they’re at work.

Managers and employers need to remember that not everyone goes to work just to earn money. They go for lots of other reasons. It may be that they have to work and they just need a job, but you should also look to see if your people want more from their employment than that. If employees are engaged in their jobs we know that they’re much more productive, that they’ll do much more for your business, and they’re much more likely to stay with your company and help to develop your business – including your profitability. Studies have shown this!

What do people value at work? They’re the same things that we value in everyday life, such as:
–    Being treated fairly and with respect
–    Being told when we’ve done well and if necessary, when we’ve done badly
–    Wanting to work with people who are good managers and who are successful.

These are key parts to feeling part of an organisation and are what make people willing and able to go the extra mile. If you’re a business owner, you want your staff to think about your business in the same way that you do. This doesn’t just happen – it needs work.

How do you do it? You need to look hard at what you offer your employees so that you can get the best out of them. They need to understand clearly what part their role plays within the organisation – how they fit in and why they’re important to the success of the business.

Good leadership and guidance will motivate your staff to go the extra mile for you. Give them opportunities to improve and develop. Don’t think that training in too expensive or that someone will leave once they’ve had some training and developed new skills. Look for ways of developing your staff with on the job training to give them as sense of achievement.

How else can you motivate your employees to be better? Find out more at the workshop I’m running on 17 April 2013 in Reading. The half day session costs just £10 +VAT (or £15 +VAT if you’re not an FSB member) and you can book online by clicking here. Buffet lunch included!

Can My Employer Insist I Use My Holiday to do Jury Service?

As an employer, can you insist that your employees use their holiday allowance if they’re asked to do jury service? This was a question I was asked recently, so here is the answer.

An employer can’t insist that holiday is used for jury service, but they must give members of staff time off to complete the jury service. They are not allowed to refuse to give employees time off when summoned.

The employer may think that it is not a good time for that member of staff to be away from the business and on jury service – if there’s a heavy workload in the business, or if a number of other people are on holiday or off sick, leaving the company short staffed. In these cases, the employee can ask for a deferment of the jury service, but their employee will be called again, normally with 12 months. This may allow time to plan their time away from the business and make other arrangements for cover.

How are employees paid while on jury service? The employer does not have to pay their staff while away from the business. While employees will not be paid for jury service, they will be reimbursed subject to a maximum daily amount if absence from work causes them to lose earnings, have to pay a substitute to do their job or incur any other necessary expense, such as a childminder. People called for jury service can also claim travelling expenses, a subsistence allowance for food and drink and for any loss of National Insurance contributions they may have incurred.

As an employee, if you’re called for jury service, you could decide to use your holiday entitlement for the time that you’re away, so that you are paid for the time by your employer, rather than relying on the court subsidy. However, that is a choice you have to make, about whether or not you want to use your holiday entitlement.

I’ve made a short video about this topic ? click here to watch it and learn more about jury service.