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April, 2019

Spotlight on suspensions

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Suspension is a serious step – it needs careful thought, legal advice and proactive management. Make the wrong decision and as well as irreparably damaging your reputation and employee relations, you could face a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.

Before every suspension remember:

  1. It’s a last resort – suspension shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction. Only suspend where there’s a risk the employee could destroy or falsify evidence, influence witnesses or is a threat to your business.
  2. Think creatively – try and find workable alternatives such as homeworking, supervision or transfers to a different area/site or role (of similar status). If temporary tweaks can avoid suspension you’re expected to take them.
  3. Don’t ‘leave in limbo’ – proactively manage suspensions. Agree what should be communicated to the employee’s colleagues, clients and customers. Keep the employee updated on the progress of the investigation and provide a key contact.
  4. Pay and perks – continue with usual payments and benefits during the suspension period.
  5. Accurate records – keep notes of all conversations (verbal or written) on file.

See this recent case for more guidance.

Talk to us if you’re in any doubt on whether to suspend or how to handle a suspension lawfully.

Non-disclosure agreements

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Until the Government decide the fate of non-disclosure agreements you’ll want to be sure the confidentiality provisions you’re drafting are enforceable and won’t damage your reputation.

Here are our thoughts:

• Avoid confidentially provisions tainting the rest of an agreement (and potentially making it all disclosable) – put them in a separate document;

• Don’t stop disclosures to the police and other regulated authorities;

• Make clear that although you’re asking for certain information to be kept confidential the employee can still ‘blow the whistle’ (it’s their legal right and any suggestion otherwise is likely to make the agreement unenforceable);

• Recognise that confidential information sometimes doesn’t need to be kept secret forever – set a confidentiality time limit if possible;

• Suggest the employee takes legal advice on the provisions – they’re likely to be more enforceable.

To have your say on the Government’s consultation click here – the deadline to respond is 29 April.

Let us know if you’d like a hand with your confidentiality agreements.

Executive People Update

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our exec people update ensures you’re on top of the latest people opportunities, challenges and legislative changes so you are ready to update the Board. If you want more insight, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re fully up to speed with all the detail.

Apprenticeship levy – use it or start losing it…

All funds within your Apprenticeship Service Account must be spent within 24 months – unused April 2017 levy payments will be lost this month unless spent. Don’t forget, you don’t just have to take on an apprentice to utilise the levy – use funds to upskill your team with some of the training opportunities available.

Government consultations

The Government considers NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) may inappropriately stop harassment victims from speaking out. Following a number of high profile cases, the Government have opened a consultation – you can submit your views until 29th April 2019.

Research says 77% of mothers have a negative or potentially discriminatory experience during pregnancy or maternity leave. To address the temptation of making redundant new mothers and those returning from adoptive or shared parental leave soon after their return, the Government is consulting on extending by another six months protection from dismissal for those individuals. The consultation closes on 5th April 2019. Make sure to have your say here.

Gender pay gap – get your skates on!

If you haven’t already published your report you have until 4th April! Early figures suggested a widening pay gap compared to last year. Make sure you explain any pay gap differences in your narrative!

Increase in possible tribunal awards

From the 6th April 2019, the following will be increasing:

• Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – £83,682 to £86,444
• Maximum statutory redundancy payment – £15,240 to £15,750
• Statutory cap on a week’s pay – £508 to £525 (used for calculating redundancy payments etc)

We’d be delighted to chat through any of the above with you in more detail, just give us a shout.