Recently in the US, the boss of a mortgage firm terminated the employment of 900 members of staff over a video call, with little consideration for their wellbeing.Continue reading
In light of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, from 30 March 2020 as an employer you can adopt a revised process for checking right to work.
Government guidance confirms that a scanned copy or photograph of documents necessary to prove a right to work should be sent to you via an email or mobile app. A video call should then be arranged with the worker, where they should be asked to present their original documents to the camera. These documents should then be compared with the digital versions previously sent. The date of this check should be recorded and noted as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.
If a prospective employee cannot produce any of the prescribed documents, you should consult the Home Office Employer Checking Service.
When the coronavirus crisis ends, the date of which is currently unknown, a retrospective check should be carried out on employees who started working for your company, or required a follow-up check, during these measures. This check will need to be carried out within eight weeks of the crisis ending and be marked “the individual’s contract commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.”
If during the retrospective check you find that the employee does not have the right to work in the UK, they should be dismissed immediately.
For organisations that have been deemed an essential business, a usual check can still be conducted, however the validity of documents check can be done via video link provided you have the original documents.
If an employee has a Biometric Residence Permit or has been granted ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme, they can give you permission to check their details online.
If there are any other particular questions you have about these changes that you would like to discuss, please call me on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email me.
What would you do if you discovered an employee had been convicted of a criminal offence? Often, the first instinct is to dismiss them immediately. However, this could actually get you into more trouble than your employee!
Even if the employee is sent to jail, you can’t necessarily mean you can dismiss him or her without a full investigation. A court of Law may deem it reasonable that you hold the job open for their return, if they are only on a short-term sentence, and the offence is nothing to do with work.
Discovering that one of your employees is a convicted criminal is a big concern. In these circumstances, I am often asked if they should be dismissed.
As an employer, despite the circumstances, you still need to take care not to dismiss immediately. Additionally, if a convicted employee has over two years’ service, they still have the right to claim unfair dismissal.
What about when an employee is charged with, or convicted of, a work-relatedcrime?
Along with the judiciary process being carried out, you also need to conduct your own investigation as an employer, before taking disciplinary action. You need to establish the facts of the case. The Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance proceduresmakes it clear that despite the fact that an employee has been charged with, or convicted of, a criminal offence, that in itself is not enough reason for disciplinary action.
Carefully consider what effect the criminal charge or conviction has on your employee’s ability to do the job, as well as their relationship with you, managers, colleagues or customers. Disciplinary action is more likely to be appropriate if the offence is work related.
Case law tells us that even though an employee is charged with an offence, this on its own does not give reasonable grounds for dismissal. You, as the employer, are under a duty to obtain sufficient information through your own investigations to form a genuine and reasonable belief that the employee is guilty of the offence before deciding to dismiss.
Can I dismiss an employee on misconduct that occurred outside the workplace?
You could dismiss an employee on the grounds of misconduct that occurred outside the workplace provided that the conduct complained of is thought likely to affect the continued employment relationship. The Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures states that where an employee is charged with, or convicted of, a criminal offence not related to work, this is not in itself a reason for disciplinary action.
Again, you will need to carefully consider what effect the charge or conviction has on the employee’s suitability to do the job, as well as their relationship with managers, work colleagues and customers. The types of criminal offence that are most likely to affect the employment relationship are those involving dishonesty, violence and sexual offences.
As the employer, you must establish the facts of the case and decide whether it is appropriate to commence the disciplinary procedure. The fairness of a dismissal in each case will depend on the nature of the individual’s job in relation to the type of offence.
Can I dismiss an employee because he or she is in prison?
If an employee is in prison, it may be fair for you to dismiss them because of his or her conduct, or because he or she is unable to perform the job. You will need to consider factors such as the nature of the offence, the length of the sentence, the nature of the employee’s job, the effect of the employee’s absence on the business, and the damage (if any) to your reputation.
Your employee’s conduct could potentially be a fair reason for dismissal if the offence he or she is convicted of relates to his or her job, or if your reputation is likely to be damaged by their conviction. In those cases (or anything similar), you should carry out an investigation and conduct a fair disciplinary procedure as far as possible in the employee’s absence. Once the findings are available, then you can give careful consideration and decide whether it would be reasonable to dismiss him or her.
If your employee is likely to be in prison for a long time, it may be fair to dismiss him or her on the grounds that he or she will be unable to perform the contract of employment. But you must carry out a fair procedure and act reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason.
However, if your employee is imprisoned for a short time for an offence unrelated to work, it is likely to be reasonable that you should hold the employee’s job open until he or she returns.
Post-Brexit Immigration Rule Changes
Regardless of whether a deal on the UK’s exit from the EU is agreed, the rules around the employment of EU nationals will change sooner or later. Once the UK leaves the EU, free movement will end, although in practice this is likely to be delayed pending legislation to repeal the current arrangements. Also, it will take time to put in place the practical arrangements necessary to make this possible. The government has introduced a scheme under which EU workers already in the UK will be able to apply for “settled status”, to be able to live and work in the UK indefinitely.
However, as an employer you need to be aware that, going forward, the employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of other foreign nationals, so will need to adjust their recruitment processes accordingly. Recruitment and retention policies will need to be reviewed for effective workforce planning.
Extend Itemised Pay Statements to Workers
From 6 April 2019, the right to an itemised pay statement will extend to workers, not just employees. Further, where a member of staff’s pay varies according to time worked, the employer will have to include on the itemised pay statement the total number of hours worked for which variable pay is received. This can be done either as an aggregate figure or as separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay.
Be Aware of National Minimum Wage Rate Increases
The national living wage is due to increase to £8.21 per hour from 1 April 2019. Other national minimum wage rates are also due to increase, with hourly rates rising to £7.70 for workers aged at least 21 but under 25, to £6.15 for workers aged at least 18 but under 21 and to £4.35 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age. The hourly apprentice rate will increase to £3.90 and the daily accommodation offset will increase to £7.55.
Meet Increased Statutory Family and Sick Pay Rates
The weekly amount for statutory family pay rates is expected to increase to £148.68 for 2019/20. This rate will apply to maternity pay, adoption pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay and maternity allowance. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which in 2019 is 7 April. The weekly rate for statutory sick pay is expected to increase to £94.25 from 6 April 2019.
Start Preparing For Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
The government has confirmed that it intends to introduce a right for bereaved parents to take paid time off work. Under the current proposals, bereaved parents will be able to take leave as a single two-week period, as two separate periods of one week each, or as a single week. They will have 56 weeks from their child’s death to take leave. The new right is expected to come into force in April 2020, but employers should start preparing for it during 2019, and could decide to introduce their own bereavement leave policy if they don’t already have one.
We will look at these issues and others relevant to your business at our next Employment Law Update workshop in April 2019. Click here for more details and to book online.
In a previous blog, which you can read here, we looked at how best to handle suspending an employee. There are certain principles that you need to consider, before you can move on to other considerations. We’ll cover these in this blog.
The Length of Suspension
In line with the Acas code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, the period of suspension should be kept as brief as possible, and its continuance kept under review. Where possible, you should tell your employee how long the suspension is expected to last, and update them as to the progress of the investigation and any delays. The suspension should be lifted immediately if the circumstances of the case no longer justify it.
Pay and Benefits
Your employee should be fully paid during a period of suspension, unless there is a clear contractual right to the contrary. All other benefits should also continue unless the contract states otherwise.
The Risk of Constructive Dismissal
If you impose an unjustified period of suspension, this may amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, entitling your employee to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal. Whether or not you are in breach of this implied term will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. Suspension of an employee may put you at risk of such a claim if, for example:
- the suspension is imposed without reasonable and proper cause
- it is imposed in an unreasonable way
- the suspension is unpaid, in the absence of a contractual right for it to be without pay
- there is an unnecessarily protracted period of suspension
- the employee who is suspended is permanently replaced.
The Conclusion of the Investigation
On completion of the investigation, you must decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action. If there is, you should follow your disciplinary procedure and the Acas code of Practice as soon as you can. It may be appropriate for you to keep your employee suspended until the disciplinary procedure is complete if the circumstances still justify it.
If no disciplinary action is needed, you should lift the suspension and ask your employee to return to work without delay. It may be that they feel aggrieved by the period of suspension, so it is advisable for you to have a return-to-work meeting to enable your employee to discuss any concerns that they may have and allow you to address these concerns. You should assure your employee that the period of suspension has not affected their position, or continued employment, and that they will not suffer any future detriment as a result of the suspension.
As with any tricky situation with a member of staff, if you have any concerns about the best course of action to take, please get in touch with me for some confidential advice, before taking any action. It is vital that you follow correct procedures. Call me on 0118 940 3032 or email email@example.com.
By setting a probationary period, as an employer, you can let newly recruited employees know that their performance will be under continuous review during the first weeks and months of employment. It also lets them know that their continued employment is subject to them completing the probationary period. This can help you to manage the employee’s expectations and their relationship with you, as their employer.
Length of Probationary Period
The length of a probationary period will depend on the position and your requirements. A role requiring a high degree of skill and responsibility is likely to need a longer probationary period than one with limited skills or responsibility. Probationary periods are typically between three and six months.
You should set out in writing to your employee that the position is subject to satisfactory completion of a probationary period. You should also specify the length of the probationary period, how progress will be monitored and reviewed and that the probationary period may be extended.
It is important for you to set out employees’ roles and responsibilities at the outset and to go through a comprehensive induction process.
It is advisable for you to hold frequent review meetings or one-to-ones with your new employees to provide progress updates, encouragement and support and to identify training needs. If performance issues are identified during the probationary period, you should consider whether or not extra training or coaching would be appropriate, rather than leaving it to the end of the probationary period before addressing performance issues.
Statutory Employment Rights
Probationary periods have no legal status and an employee who is on probation has the same statutory employment rights as other employees. It is the length of continuous service that defines an employee’s statutory employment rights, including his or her rights in the event of dismissal.
Probationers are entitled to:
- the national minimum wage
- statutory sick pay
- rights under the Working Time Regulations
- annual leave entitlement
- family-related rights in the same way as other staff.
Dealing with Disciplinary Issues
Employers often don’t apply their formal disciplinary procedure to employees on probation. To avoid ambiguity, where you do not want to follow your full procedure, you should make clear, in writing, in the contract and/or disciplinary procedure, that there is no contractual obligation for you to do so.
As probationers do not normally have sufficient service to claim unfair dismissal, they cannot challenge the procedural fairness of a dismissal in the employment tribunal.
However, a probationer could claim that a dismissal was for an automatically unfair reason or for reasons that amount to unlawful discrimination. Therefore, where an employee on probation is suspected of misconduct, you should investigate further before taking action. If you prejudge the situation and dismiss the employee without going through your disciplinary process and giving the employee the opportunity to explain his or her version of events, this could increase the risk of a claim of unlawful discrimination or automatically unfair dismissal. You will be in a better position to argue that the reason for dismissal was the employee’s misconduct if you investigated the matter and can show reasons behind its decision to dismiss.
Extending the Probationary Period
Where an employee has not reached the required standard of performance by the end of the probationary period but you recognise that there is potential for improvement, you might choose to extend the probationary period. The right for an employer to extend the probationary period should be set out in the contract or offer letter, which should also make clear the terms and conditions that will apply during the extension period.
The extension should be for a reasonable period, taking into account how long it might take him or her to complete an improvement plan. You should discuss your employee’s performance and why you are extending the probationary period with him or her and allow the employee to put forward any explanation for the performance issues.
The extension should be agreed and arranged before the original probationary period ends.
Sickness absence during a probationary period will need to be monitored and managed in the usual way. Where the absence is frequent and/or long term, this may make it difficult for you to assess the employee’s performance during the course of the probationary period because of their reduced attendance.
You will need to consider whether to: terminate the contract due to the employee’s failure to complete the probationary period satisfactorily; extend the probationary period to give the employee more time to demonstrate his or her suitability for the job; or confirm the employee in post regardless of the absence.
You should investigate the sickness absence to find out if it is due to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. If it is, but you dismiss the employee for failing to complete the probationary period satisfactorily, they may have grounds to bring a disability discrimination claim. You would need to be able to justify your actions.
In part two of this series of blogs, we’ll look at what to do if all goes well through the probation period and you decide to keep your new employee on. If you need any advice now about how to handle probation periods, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me on 0118 940 3032.
Britain returns to the polls on 8 June 2017, but what do each of the main political parties propose for employment policy?
The Conservative Party
Described by Theresa May as the “greatest expansion in workers’ rights by any Conservative government in history”, the Conservative party manifesto promises:
- to retain UK worker rights, post-Brexit
- to continue the Taylor review into employment status and introduce better protections for ‘gig’ economy workers
- to protect worker pensions better, by giving pension schemes and the Pension Regulator more powers, to prevent mergers or takeovers which may threaten pension scheme solvency, in extreme cases, and giving the Pensions Regulator the power to severely financially punish those who have mismanaged pension funds and left them under-resourced
- working parents 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds, and more programmes to help people return to work after a career break. The Conservative party also aims to encourage more workplaces to offer flexible working and more parents to use Shared Parental Leave
- to give workers a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative and to grant a two-week period of paid leave for parents whose child has died
- to give workers the right to request leave for training
- to provide targeted support for 18-24 year olds to get them into work
- to allow larger organisations to pass Apprenticeship Levy funds to smaller organisations in their supply chain
- to extend pay gap reporting for large employers, to cover race
- to extend the Equality Act to cover discrimination on grounds of mental health, even if this is of short term duration and would not usually qualify as disability discrimination
- to get one million more disabled people into employment in the next ten years and give employers support to increase flexible working and digital technology to enable this. Those who have specific disabilities and who are seeking work, are being promised tailored support
- to incentivise employers to take on people who may otherwise find it difficult to find paid work, e.g. those with a spent criminal conviction, by giving employers a year’s holiday from employer’s National Insurance Contributions
- to require listed companies to take into account employees’ interests at board level by allowing employees to request information about the future direction of the company they work for, within sensible limits
- to strengthen shareholders’ voting powers on executive pay and to require listed companies to publish pay ratios between executives and other staff
- to increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median wages by 2020 and “in line with average earnings by 2022”
- to double the Immigration Skills Charge to £2,000 a year, for companies employing migrant workers, to encourage businesses to train UK staff.
The Labour Party
The Labour Party’s proposals for employment policy aim to end the “rigged economy” and are largely contained in its 20 point plan. A summary of this and other employment policy pledges include:
- banning zero-hours contracts, unpaid internships and umbrella companies and give those employees contractually entitled to short hours, but who regularly work more, a right after 12 weeks to a contract reflecting the longer hours regularly worked
- abolishing the Swedish derogation loophole in respect of the Agency Worker Regulations, which currently allows an employer not to pay agency workers equally, under certain circumstances. Employment agencies and end user employers would be jointly responsible for enforcing agency worker rights
- granting equal rights to all workers (not just employees) from the first day of employment, and shifting the burden of proof for employment status, so it is assumed a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise
- raising the minimum wage to the same level as the living wage, which is expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020 and apply to all workers over 18, not just those over 25
- ending the 1% pay cap on public-sector pay and ensuring public workers receive pay rises in line with inflation
- introducing maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and for companies bidding for public contracts
- introducing an “excessive pay levy” on salaries above £330,000. The Labour Party promises it will not raise income tax for those earning less than £80,000 but they would lower the threshold for the 45p additional rate to £80,000 and reintroduce the 50p income tax rate on earnings above £123,000maintaining the apprenticeship levy, but with more flexibility for employers on how the levy is used. The Labour Party will ring-fence more than £400 million from the levy, for small businesses and will require annual reporting on apprenticeships to ensure high quality. Targets would also be set to increase apprenticeships for the disabled and other disadvantaged groups
- abolishing the 2014 amendments to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, which narrowed the protection of employees, during a takeover of a business
- extending paid paternity leave to four weeks and maternity pay would be extended to 12 months
- abolishing Employment Tribunal fees
- repealing the Trade Union Act, and introducing collective bargaining on worker rights through unions in all different sectors. The Labour Party is committed to guaranteeing unions the right to access workplaces and would only award public contracts to companies that recognise trade unions
- introducing legislation to make sure employers recruiting from abroad do not undercut UK staff
- introducing 4 new public holidays, in addition to the 8 current bank holidays, to mark all 4 national patron saints’ days
- protecting the “triple lock” on state pensions, so that they rise in line with wages, inflation, or by 2.5% – whichever is highest. The Labour Party will also amend the Takeover Code to make sure businesses have a plan to protect pensions and workers
- making redundancy more complex for employers, in line with European redundancy models, with particular focus on ensuring redundancy against women is not unfair;
- conducting a public inquiry into blacklisting
- providing equalities representatives with statutory rights
- bringing back protection against third-party harassment
- creating a civil enforcement system to make sure organisations comply with gender pay auditing, introducing ethnicity pay gap reporting and creating a Ministry of labour to ensure that all rights are enforced
- all existing EU law rights being preserved following Brexit. The Labour Party has also pledged that rights for EU nationals living in Britain and reciprocal rights for UK citizens living in the EU will be protected. The Labour Party has acknowledged though, that free movement of workers is unlikely to be possible, once the UK leaves the EU.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats’ proposed employment policies include:
- abolishing the public sector pay cap and Employment Tribunal fees
- creating a ‘good employer’ kitemark, covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships and using name-blind recruitment (the latter of which would be mandatory for public sector employers)
- running an independent review into setting a genuine living wage for all sectors
- requiring large employers to publish the number of staff earning less than a living wage and pay ratios between top and median pay
- introducing pay gap reporting in relation to gender, race and sexual orientation
- encouraging large listed employers to give employees the right to request shares and changing company law to allow German-style two-tier boards, including employees
- aiming to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices and the Liberal Democrats will support the growth of sector-led national colleges for vocational education
- making sure that apprenticeship levy monies are all spent on training
- updating employment rights to better suit modern working practices, including the gig economy
- introducing a right for those on zero-hours contracts to request a fixed contract, and possibly introducing a right to request more regular working patterns, after a qualification period
- making flexible working, paternity and shared parental leave a right from day one of employment and encouraging more employers to offer flexible working;
- introducing an additional month of shared parental leave;
- extending free childcare places to all two year olds to assist working parents
- extending the Access to Work programme aimed at getting disabled people back into work
- campaigning to keep the UK in the Single Market, preserving freedom of movement within the EU and failing that, campaigning for the UK to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and to make sure employment rights stemming from the EU are not undermined
- a 1% rise in income tax, to ring-fence an extra £6 billion of funding per year for the NHS.
The Green Party
- The Green Party believes that “the introduction of a minimum wage of £10 by 2020 is a necessary step towards tackling inequality and poverty”
- the Green Party would also abolish zero hours contracts and would work towards a four day working week (maximum of 35 hours)
- the Green Party proposes that 40% of all company boards should be women, to assist in ending the gender pay gap
- the Green Party would introduce a ‘wealth tax’ for the highest 1% of earners and introduce a higher rate of corporation tax for large business. The cap on employee national insurance contributions would also be removed by a Green Party government.
The UK Independence Party
- UKIP has said it will cut net migration to zero within 5 years by implementing a visa system for skilled workers and students and banning migration for unskilled and low-skilled workers.
The Scottish National Party
- The SNP have said that it will expand free childcare to cover 1,140 hours per year by 2022, (around 25 hours per working week) and make sure all those staff helping to deliver this target are paid at least the living wage
- The SNP would not allow public procurement contracts to be awarded to companies engaging in blacklisting or exploitative zero-hours contracts.
Plaid Cymru’s policies relating to workers include:
- training and recruiting 1,000 more doctors and 5,000 more nurses for the Welsh NHS, over the next decade
- Welsh-specific visas
- free full-time nursery places for all 3 year olds, to help working parents;
- introducing a “real, independently verified living wage”
- protecting up to 200,000 jobs by maintaining trade with Europe, and guaranteeing the rights of Europeans currently living and working in Wales, post Brexit.
There are clearly a lot of differences between the employment policies of the main political parties and the way in which your business will operate may well be very different depending on the result of the General Election. We will update you with the actual policies being introduced by the next government after the General Election, as and when they are officially announced. In the meantime, if you have any questions about employment law or policy, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Although much UK employment law is derived from EU law, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is unlikely in itself to have an immediate impact on employment law as most EU Directives are implemented in the UK by regulations or Acts of Parliament. It will be for Parliament to decide whether to retain, amend or repeal domestic legislation.
It is possible that the UK will be required to continue to implement elements of EU legislation as a condition of a negotiated trade deal between the UK and EU.
Many areas of domestic law that are derived from EU law have been heavily influenced by decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), for example working time, TUPE and discrimination law. ECJ decisions will continue to apply in the UK until the Government or the UK courts determine otherwise.
What impact will Brexit have on EU nationals currently working in the UK?
It is not yet known what rules on immigration and free movement of people will be in place following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. However, employers can reassure employees who are EU nationals that there will be no immediate change in their right to live and work in the UK. The same is true of nationals of the other countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and of Switzerland.
EEA and Swiss nationals who have lived in the UK for five years or more as a “qualified person” have acquired the right to permanent residence. A qualified person is someone who is working, studying, self-employed, self-sufficient or looking for work. A person who has qualified for permanent residence can apply for a document certifying this.
The UK will have a period of up to two years within which to negotiate the terms of its withdrawal. The rights of EU nationals to come to the UK to live and work in the future will be a key element of the negotiations. It is likely that EU nationals who are already living in the UK will be afforded special status, with reciprocal arrangements for UK nationals living in EU countries.
One option for an immigration framework, in the absence of a negotiated deal allowing freedom of movement between the UK and the EU, is that the current points-based system that applies to workers from countries outside of the EEA could be extended to EEA nationals. For most employers, the main route for employing foreign workers under this system is by sponsoring skilled workers, where they can show that there is a shortage of suitably qualified applicants within the resident labour market. There is scope for a points-based system to be extended to allow the employment of non-skilled workers as well as skilled workers.
On 18 October 2016 we’ll be running our next Employment Law Update workshop, to bring you right up to speed on any changes that might affect your business. You can book your place online here.
Information Source: XpertHR
Two surveys published to mark the anniversary of the introduction of shared parental leave suggest that its take-up could be around 30%, although more in-depth research is needed.
Widespread reporting that the take-up of shared parental leave was just 1% has demonstrated much of the media’s appetite for an extreme headline, but may also have hidden much higher take-up than anticipated.
Shared parental leave became available for parents of babies born on or after 5 April 2015. It allows working parents to share leave and pay, provided they qualify.
Research from My Family Care and the Women’s Business council suggested that 1% of men in the organisations surveyed – not 1% of fathers as was widely reported – had taken up the opportunity of shared parental leave.
The combined survey of more than 1,000 individuals and 200 HR directors found that opting to take shared parental leave was deeply dependant on individual circumstances, particularly on their financial situations and levels of pay on offer from employers.
The 1% figure was based on data from 200 HR directors about their organisations’ employees and was given as a proportion of all men employed, not a percentage of fathers eligible to take shared parental leave.
Of the 1,000 employees surveyed, 10% had had a baby or adopted a child in the past 12 months. Of this group, 24% of women and 30% of men said they had taken shared parental leave.
While the subset is small, another piece of research by Totaljobs among 628 respondents revealed similar findings.
Out of its 86 respondents that had a child in the past year, 31% said they are using or had used their right to shared parental leave; 48% did not use their right; and 21% said they were not eligible.
With sample sizes of new parents so low though, experts warned that it is difficult to place too much confidence in the data, although the fact the two surveys had similar figures for take-up among fathers was encouraging.
Mark Crail, content director at XpertHR, said: “If the 30% figures are correct then take-up has been higher than expected – it’s good news, not the shock-horror story that much of the media has been running about these research findings.
“The problem is, many employers simply will not know whether or not men are eligible for shared parental leave unless and until they apply. If someone’s partner has a baby and they choose not to tell their employer, they won’t show up in the records. That makes it extremely difficult to get a good overview of what’s really happening. The research should be taken with a pinch of salt.”
The two surveys also appeared to tally when respondents answered questions around what might stop parents taking advantage of shared parental leave.
In the Totaljobs research, most (85%) of those surveyed said families could not afford to take advantage of shared parental leave; 81% feared there would be an impact on their career; and 78% said that lack of awareness was a factor.
Nearly three-fifths of women (58%) and slightly fewer men (53%) said mothers preferring to be the main carer was a factor in not taking advantage of shared parental leave.
In My Family Care’s research, a factor why respondents – both mothers and fathers – had chosen not to take up shared parental leave was financial affordability, with 55% citing this as the main reason. Nearly half (47%) said it was because their partners did not want to share the leave, while a lack of awareness about the options was cited by 46% of respondents.
Of the 200 employers questioned, the majority said they enhanced maternity pay (77%) and paternity pay (65%), but just under half (47%) enhanced shared parental pay. The same number offered statutory benefits only.
An impact assessment by the Government on the introduction of shared parental leave also assumed that take up would be low (between 2% and 8%) reflecting the minimal take-up of additional paternity leave, which was introduced in 2011.
If you’ve had to make a decision about one of your employees and an issue such as their flexible working request or a disciplinary situation, your employee has the right to appeal against your decision.
What do you do next? How should you handle their appeal?
Your employee can appeal against a disciplinary decision on both conduct and performance matters, or any other employment decision, but they must do so in writing. They need to set out the grounds for their appeal within the number of days set out in your own policy, of you giving them your decision.
You should then hear their appeal without delay. Where possible this should be done by a manager, preferably more senior and not previously involved in the case. This is not always possible in a smaller business, so the same manager or owner may have to hear the appeal, and they must be objective. At this meeting you need to hear what your employee has to say, and consider it against all the facts. You may need to carry out further investigations in order to reach your conclusion, before making your final decision.
Following the meeting, you should write to your employee to tell them the outcome of the appeal, and how the decision was reached. Examples of all the letters for all stages of the formal disciplinary process are available from the Disciplining staff section of the Acas website.
Whatever decision is made regarding the appeal, you must keep a confidential written record of the case.
If you run a small business and need someone impartial to handle appeals, or initial disciplinary meetings for you, do get in touch to talk about how we can do this for you. Call us on 0118 940 3032 or email email@example.com.