Getting to Grips with Grievance

I’ve been working with one of my clients to look at how their employees feel they’re being treated by their managers. Unfortunately, in one case, it has resulted in a member of staff being signed off sick due to stress. They have been asked to come back to work, but they don’t want to return and have to work for the same manager. In this particular small business, there is no one else for whom they could work.

It is a sad story and it is one that can be avoided.

If you think that one of your employees is unhappy, it really is best to deal with it early. Find out as soon as you can what the problem is. Look at using regular appraisals or ‘job chats’ to keep in touch with your employees, so that no small issues are ignored. The small ones can be the ones that escalate into much larger, more complex issues, if they’re not dealt with while they’re still small.

If you find out that someone is unhappy about working under you, find someone else to deal with the situation. An employee with a problem is more likely to speak to someone more impartial than the person with whom they have the actual grievance.

To find out more about how to prevent problems occurring, have a look at this blog about how to make appraisals really easy; for tips on improving performance, watch some of our videos here.

For more advice on how to deal with grievances and discipline at work, have a look at this Acas guide.

(HR) Human Resources for Small Businesses

When you run a small business, taking on and managing staff can be one of the hardest things to get your head around. Here are a few of the basics that you need to get right.

Employment contracts – This is the most important HR document you’ll have in your business. You’re legally obliged to provide every employee with a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment within two months of them starting with you.

National Minimum Wage – Almost all workers in the UK aged 16 or over are legally entitled to be paid a minimum hourly amount. The rate is reviewed every year and usually increases in October. Click here for the current rates.

Holidays – All employees are entitled to a minimum amount of time off per year. For full time employees the maximum is 28 days. You can work out your employee’s holiday entitlement by clicking here. Some companies like to give their staff an extra day off on their birthday, if it falls on a working day.

Pensions – Since July 2012 changes have been brought in. Every business will have to provide eligible employees with a qualifying pension scheme and make minimum levels of contributions into it. Talk to pension providers to find out when you need to set up your scheme.

Statutory Sick Pay – When an employee is absent from work due to sickness for more than three continuous working days, they become entitled by law to receive Statutory Sick Pay.

Discipline and Grievance Process – When dealing with disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace, you should follow the Acas Code of Practice.

Dismissal Procedure and Tribunals – Dismissing an employee is fraught with risk for employers, so you should make sure that you follow the correct procedure and take advice.

These are just a few of the things you need to know. It’s best to deal with issues before they become big problems, so if you need any more advice, please do get in touch.

Unfair Dismissal ? the latest legal developments

On 6th April a simple but highly controversial change in unfair dismissal law came into force.  From this date, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal went up from one year to two years, meaning that until an employee has completed a continuous period of two years in their employment they will not be able to bring a case of unfair dismissal.

However, it is important also to note that this only applies to employees whose contracts commenced on or after 6 April 2012.  Anyone employed before that date will qualify for unfair dismissal after a single year of continuous service.

Please update your disciplinary and grievance procedures to reflect these changes.