5 Secrets To Getting The Most From New Employees


I’ve lost count of the amount of times that an employer calls the office to say they have an issue with a new member of staff.

The issues tend to be the same:Read More


How To Make Sure The Christmas Party Doesn’t Land You In A Tribunal!


The invite

Do not insist that all staff attend the Christmas party. Christmas is a Christian holiday – so do not pressure someone to attend if they don’t want to on the grounds of religion. If the event is out of hours, also remember that some people have family responsibilities that may prevent attendance.Read More


Unpaid time off to accompany an expectant mother to ante-natal appointments


You may have seen in the news that on 1 October 2014, expectant fathers or the partner (including same sex) of a pregnant woman are now entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments.

Read More


Acas Early Conciliation. What It Means To Employers


The Government has now published Regulations and Rules setting out the new Acas Early Conciliation Rules of Procedure.

The Rules set out the process to be used by potential claimants before bringing a Tribunal claim. The Regulations and Rules came into force on 6 April 2014. The Acas Early Conciliation process is mandatory for claims presented to a Tribunal on or after 6 May 2014.

What is Early Conciliation?
• Help from ACAS to settle the dispute without going to court
• From 6th May it is a legal requirement to make an Early Conciliation notification
• Tribunal claims will not be accepted unless the employee has been referred to ACAS and has a conciliation certificate
• It’s a free, impartial, independent and confidential service

What does it mean to you as an employer?
• The first you may know about any potential issue is when you get contacted by ACAS
• The conciliator will talk through the issues with you and the employee/ex-employee
• The purpose is to explore how the potential claim might be resolved
• They will discuss issues and possible resolutions
• Help both sides to understand how the other side views the issues
• Conciliation may last up to one month – it can be extend once for 14 days
• If the issue is not resolved the case will be closed and the employee can then make a tribunal claim

Acas Early Conciliation

How this affects the usual three-month time limit to bring claims is not straight forward
• The time limit for bringing a Tribunal claim will be put on hold while Early Conciliation is in process – effectively “stopping the clock”
• If Early Conciliation starts within a month of the expiry of the time limit, a further month is added after the end of Early Conciliation for the employee to bring a claim.
• This means, for example, that if Early Conciliation is initiated on the day before the time limit expires, an employee could potentially have up to 5 or 5 and a half months within which to bring a claim.

If Early Conciliation is successful and a resolution is reached both parties will sign a formal record of agreement. This is a legally binding document and will mean the employee can no longer bring a claim regarding this matter.

If Early Conciliation is not successful then the employee will be able to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal. If a tribunal claim is made the Conciliator will again offer to help resolve the issue before it goes to a tribunal.

But don’t forget since July 2013 employees now have to pay to bring a tribunal claim. The cost of this varies depending on the type of claim.

As the employer you don’t have to deal with ACAS if you don’t want to, you have a choice.

If you have any employee issues you wish to discuss, then give us a call on 01980 622167

Also Read: An Employers Guide to Adverse Weather 


Abolition of Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS)


From 6 April 2014 any employer who pays Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will not be able to claim under the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) for any SSP due after 6 April 2014. As an employer you will still be required to pay SSP.


The Government will be introducing later in the year, no date yet, a new service which will provide free occupational health advice and support for employees, employers and GPs to help people with a health condition to stay in or return to work. The Government expects that any financial losses experienced by businesses as a result of the end of the PTS will more than likely be offset by the reduction in lost working days that the new Health and Work Service will bring.

The new Health and Work Service will be funded through the abolition of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS).

The new scheme will be made available to companies in England, Scotland and Wales with workers who have been absent due to illness, or are expected to be absent, for longer than four weeks.

The new Health & Work Service:

  • Referrals can be made either by the employer or by the employee’s GP. The service will not be compulsory, so employees will be able to refuse to be assessed or to follow any recommended treatment or course of action.
  • Employers, employees and GPs will be able to access advice through a phone line and a website.
  • Following an assessment, employees will receive a return to work plan with recommendations to help them to return to work more quickly and will provide information on how to get appropriate help and advice.

Sickness absence has a major impact on your business particularly because it is normally unforeseen and therefore cannot be planned for in advance. If your business is going to be affected by the abolition of the PTS then you need to really tighten up on absence in your business. Often sickness absence is allowed to continue because the manager does not deal with the problem as soon as it occurs. There may be various reasons for this but often it’s because they are unsure of how to deal with situation.

What you need to do:

  • Have a clear policy in place
  • Deal with all absences as soon as they occur.
  • Ensure staff understand the absence reporting procedures and the potential consequences for failing to report absence correctly.
  • Carry out return to work interviews
  • Train managers on how to deal with absence

Don’t leave it too late before you deal with the situation and if you’re unsure then seek help from people who can guide you through the process.