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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - What can we do if an employee fails to turn up to a disciplinary hearing?
    If it's the first time, give them the benefit of the doubt and re-schedule the hearing. Immediately write to them with the new date and also inform them that unless there's a very good reason, they're expected to attend. However, if they're already absent from work and their absence is long term, such as stress-related sickness absence, this could be tricky as it's possible the employee will argue that they're mentally incapable of going through a disciplinary hearing. So even if you think that this is...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - When are we entitled to information on previous criminal convictions?
    Firstly, you need to ask the individual to provide information on previous criminal convictions - they don't have to volunteer it if they're not asked. Secondly, for most occupations and professions, the individual doesn't need to declare any spent convictions. A conviction is considered to be spent when a period of time has passed since the individual completed their sentence. Once a conviction is spent an individual does not have to tell an employer any details about it. There are exceptions to this, relating...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - What does individual consultation mean?
    Individual consultation is compulsory in order to make a redundancy dismissal fair. It should be initiated as soon as you become aware that redundancies are necessary, irrespective of the total numbers affected. Before going ahead with any meetings establish your redundancy selection criteria and who's likely to form the redundancy "pool". At the first meeting make staff aware of the position and what it could mean for them. Remember that this process is one of consultation, so ensure you get any ideas on possible...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - How do we select the "pool" for redundancy?
    Normally, a redundancy pool will consist of all those working in the area of the business where staffing levels need to be cut. Always start by considering what particular type of work is ceasing or diminishing and who carries out that type of work (taking into account not only employees' job descriptions but also what functions they actually perform in practice). Before finalising the pool, first consider (1) whether there are any employees who perform the same or similar work to those within your provisional...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - If an employee has elective cosmetic surgery must we pay company sick pay?
    It will depend on what your sickness absence policy says. If it doesn't specifically exclude payments for sick leave taken in connection with elective cosmetic surgery, you should pay it. If you don't your decision could be challenged. Avoid this arising by amending your policy to exclude elective cosmetic surgery procedures from your sick pay scheme and give examples of the most common operations/treatments, e.g. tummy tucks, nose reconstruction, liposuction and breast enlargement/reduction. Make it clear that...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - Can we require employees to submit to medical examinations?
    Yes, with their consent. However, do bear in mind that they cannot be used to discriminate against those with disabilities protected by the Equality Act 2010. Include a clause in your employment contracts which states that the employee: (1) may be referred for a medical examination with an independent doctor whilst in your employment should the circumstances reasonably justify it, e.g. to get a second opinion on a GP's fit note or to obtain a medical report during long-term sickness absence; and (2) is required...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - Can we require training costs to be repaid?
    Yes - most employers operate their "claw back on training costs" rule on a sliding scale for either one or two years after the training has been completed, i.e. the sooner an employee leaves, the greater the amount they are expected to pay back. So, assuming you have a two year tie-in, any sum owed will reduce by 1/24th for each complete month that they remain in your employment. Equally, if you only require an employee to stay for a year, it will be 1/12th per complete month. For short training courses, it's...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - Can we still use "last in, first out" (LiFo) as a redundancy selection criterion?
    Yes, it may be used providing that it's one of several redundancy selection criteria that you use and you place no undue emphasis on it. Whilst LiFo is age discriminatory, it can be objectively justified as being "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim', e.g. if it rewards experience or protects older workers from redundancy if finding a job may be much harder in the current economic climate. Tip. When setting your redundancy selection criteria only use LiFo in conjunction with other age-neutral...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - Does an employee have to sign a contract for it to be enforceable?
    No, they don't. But to avoid any doubt or misunderstanding, it should be signed without undue delay. Any reluctance on the employee's part should be discussed and resolved sooner rather than later. It's possible there could be a misunderstanding. The longer the employee works for you without objecting to any of the contractual terms, or without refusing to perform any of them, the easier it will be for you to argue that they've been impliedly accepted by their conduct, at least in relation to those terms that...
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  • Frequently Asked Employment Questions - How can we use appraisals to make unproductive staff redundant?
    The first trick is to weight the performance-related criteria so that it's loaded against those who are underperforming. This means that when you come to total the scores across the various different selection criteria that you have used, poor performers will be given an extra weighting. Secondly, if you have any appraisals/performance reviews due in the intervening period, instruct managers to carry them out thoroughly. This will make it harder for any disgruntled employee to succeed in an unfair dismissal...
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1 to 10 of 105 articles