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HR ADVICE AND GUIDANCE

Access to HR advice and guidance is essential for businesses.  Whether the HR advice is around employee relations issues, policies, organisational restructure including redundancy or individual or collective employee issues, including absence and stress.

Human Resources Consultants are experts in managing and advising on the whole range of employment contractual and transactional processes.  They aim to minimise risk and help support and advise businesses through difficult times.

Performance/Capability

Q. Do you have some employees that are not performing to the standards your business requires?

Q. Are you bogged down in talking about staff performance and nothing is being done?

If you answered yes to the above then you are not alone. Most businesses have these issues on a weekly basis, at Westcountry HR we advise you through the performance/capability management process, clearly and precisely saving you the worry.

Staff Conduct

Q. Do you have a toxic employee or culture that you just don’t know how to manage?

Many businesses will come about a group of employees that are just not engaged in their work, they may be disrupting others, spreading gossip, moaning about the company and their lack of pay.   Dealing with this can again be very time consuming and this is where a HR Consultant can help.

Grievance & Disciplinary Hearings

Grievances
Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer. A grievance might be around an employee’s work, physical working environment, pay and benefits, working hours, health and safety, working relationships or general treatment at work.

Q. Do you have grievances and don’t know what to do?
Q. Would you recognise what a grievance is?
Q. Do you follow the law with procedure for grievances raised?

The purpose of a grievance procedure is to allow employees to raise genuine workplace grievances and have them dealt with fairly and objectively without fear of recrimination. The grievance procedure should be in writing, as this helps to clarify the process.   The grievance procedure requires managers to deal with employee grievances promptly and fairly.

Disciplinary Hearings
Whether it’s minor misconduct such as lateness, not turning up for work, not calling in sick, negligence, sub-standard work or even gross misconduct, bringing the company into disrepute, theft, bullying, harassment, alcohol or drug issues, you should always act promptly to deal with any misconduct on the part of your employees.

Failure to communicate to an employee that something that he or she has done is unacceptable may lead the employee to assume that his or her conduct is satisfactory. This will make it much more difficult for the manager to deal effectively with the problem behaviour, which may get worse, at a later time.

Q. Did you know that you have to carry out a full investigation before you invite anyone to a disciplinary hearing?
Q. Did you know failure to follow disciplinary procedures could result in your employee claiming for unfair or constructive dismissal? Both of which can be costly if the employee takes their case to an employment tribunal.

What is gross misconduct?
Gross misconduct is behaviour, on the part of an employee, which is so bad that it destroys the employer/employee relationship, and merits instant dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice.
What counts as gross misconduct?
You should advise your employees clearly on what type of behaviour your business considers to be gross misconduct. You can do so in your Employee Handbook.

Identifying such behaviour in advance will help to demonstrate later on that you regard it as significant. Most employers would identify under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fighting or other physical contact, indecent behaviour, theft, dishonesty, sabotage, serious breaches of health and safety rules, offensive behaviour (such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, abuse and violence) and gross insubordination are examples of gross misconduct.

Having an Employee Handbook with all your HR policies is imperative to any growing business, this document clearly explains all the Policies and Procedures from and employment law prospective ensuring that both the Employee and the Employer know what standards are expected of them and how each item is dealt with.

To arrange for one of our Employee Handbooks please contact us.

Long & Short Term Absence

Sickness Absence

One of the most costly parts of the employee relationship is time off for sickness. Whether you pay Company sick pay or the statutory SSP you will know that not having staff in the workplace reduces productivity and in turn reduces revenue. We all get the odd tummy bug, or cold, but what happens when you have staff that are frequently off or are off long term.

Q. Do you ensure all staff complete a Sick Form on return to work?
Q. Do you carry out Return to Work meetings with the employee?
Q. Do you have a sickness policy in place to control and manage company sickness?
Q. Do you have staff off with mental health problems and you don’t know what to do?
Q. Are you using the Fit for Work service when your staff have been off for 4 weeks or more?

Managing Sickness

Almost all employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are unable to work for more than 4 sick days in a row because of illness. SSP is payable at a flat rate for up to 28 weeks in any period of sickness. Your employees’ employment contracts can offer a more generous level of contractual sick pay.

Where an employee has been, or expects to be, off work for 4 weeks or more, you can refer them to the Government’s Fit for Work scheme.

Did you know sickness absence policies help reduce employee absence and discourages employees from taking sick days as a form of `holiday`?

I always advise my clients to ensure all staff phone in their own sickness and not send texts or emails and upon returning to work carry out a return to work interview and ensure they complete a self-certification sick note explaining the reason for their absence.

Monitoring patterns of sickness absence can help you detect problems. For example, high levels of sick leave on a Friday or Monday or after a bank holiday.

At Westcountry HR, our HR consultants in Exeter, Devon can help you manage these situations so you have a handle on it right from the beginning and if you have an Employee Handbook, it will contain your Sickness Absence Policy.