Workplace Absence

Staff absences have a significant impact on businesses, in terms of cost, the negative impact on productivity, quality of customer service and staff morale. To tackle this the government have introduced a new Health and Work Service, which started to be phased in when an online and telephone advice line was launched in December 2014 (http://fitforwork.org). This service can be used by employees, employers and GPs. The service aims to help those employees who are or are expected to be on sick leave for four weeks or more to return to work by providing them with an occupational health assessment. Employees will be referred by their GPs and a return to work plan will be shared with the employer and the GP. Einon HR encourages its clients to be proactive in their approach to absence and other difficult issues. Very often by taking positive action and dealing with the issue the employee will often improve their attendance record or conduct. If the problem is not resolved then, by following a structured and fair process there may be the option to bring the employment to an end fairly.
For help and support in handling workplace absence please contact Einon HR

Recruitment -The importance of a good process

Whether you are replacing an employee who is leaving or increasing your headcount. The basic principles for recruitment are the same. Before you start your search you need to identify the tasks which will make up the job role. You need to have a clear idea of the skills, experience and personal attributes that will be required to carry out the job role effectively. From this information a job description and person specification can be drawn up.
You may have staff working within the company who could do the job and may welcome the opportunity, depending on the role you may therefore wish to advertise the role internally before going external.
If you decide on advertising externally you have a choice of sources, social media, on your own web site, the web on job boards, employment agencies, local/national newspapers, specialists publications, and word of mouth.
Once you start to receive applications and once screened for suitability interviews will need to be planned and booked in advance giving applicants as much notice as possible.
Prepare interview questions in advance and ensure that questioning is not discriminatory in any way.
Shortlist the applicants using the person specification to ensure choices have been made objectively.
Hold interviews – ensure you take notes during the interview which will enable questions to be answered and decisions justified if required.
Hold second interviews if required.
Once you have identified your ideal person check rights to work in the UK, take copies of documentation and retain, follow up on references.
Einon HR have undertaken various recruitment assignments for their clients and are happy to help you. If you wish to discuss any or part the recruitment process please contact us either via our contact page or on 0776 494 8898

Investigations

A recent case CRO Ports London Ltd v Wiltshire

Mr Wiltshire  was employed by CRO Ports as a Supervisor with a long and unblemished record.  Whilst working for CRO Ports he was involved in an accident where a shipping container fell 20 foot whilst being lifted by a crane. Mr Wiltshire had authorised the crane to lift the shipping container despite it having been fastened in a way that was not in accordance with CRO Ports health and safety procedures but was in accordance with usual custom and practice.

During a subsequent disciplinary hearing Mr Wiltshire admitted having authorised the lifting of the crane in breach of CRO Ports health and safety procedures.  He stated that such action had in effect been authorised by CRO Ports as it was custom and practice.  He was also under time pressures to get the shipping container lifted when the accident occurred.

Mr Wiltshire was dismissed and brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The ET upheld his claim finding, amongst other things, that CRO Ports had failed to undertake a reasonable investigation.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had fallen into the trap of considering what CRO Ports decision would have been if it had investigated Mr Wiltshire’s assertion about custom and practice.  The correct question was whether limiting the investigation was within the range of reasonable responses.  This needed to be considered and the case was therefore remitted.

This case is useful for employers when considering how to deal with an employee’s admissions of misconduct.  The question will be whether the admission of misconduct means that further investigation is necessary.  As the EAT noted in this case, an admission may still leave relevant issues unresolved which reasonably require investigation. Each case needs to be assessed on its facts.