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HR Consultant – Can I sack someone if they’re on probation?

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One of the questions we often get asked as a HR consultant is, “can I sack someone if they’re on probation” the answer is yes. We get this question and questions like this all of the time.

That’s why hiring an HR consultant is really important for your company to ensure you are compliant and understand the legal implications when it comes to managing employees.

Probation periods for employees are completely normal, but before you create any probation policy’s there are some recommendations we have. Some companies have a 3-month probation period while others have 6 months. We would recommend a 3-month probation period with a 30, 60- and 90-day review period.

As an HR consultant company, we come across issues like this every day. So, in this video below we discuss some more expert advice on probation periods and whether or not you can sack someone during their probation.

One of the biggest tips we can give you when it comes to employees and probation is to talk to them. Make sure you’re having regular reviews,  talk to them about how things are going and most importantly give feedback. This way you can gauge how your employee is feeling and most importantly, they can understand if anything more is needed of them and how they are performing. As a HR consultant company, we also offer a variety of templates you may need for all of your HR needs. If you would like a copy of our review form simply get in touch today or email people@jmassociates.org

If you think you need to hire a HR consultant company to help you deal with these common employee issues, get in touch today. Together we can come up with a plan that suits you and find the best solution for you and your employees.


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Jacqui Mann

Why your business needs HR Processes, systems, and rules?

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Why Your Business Needs HR Processes, Systems, and Rules

Many companies skirt over these essential processes and suffer as a result. You see, things such as your employment contracts, employee handbook, sickness and absence procedures, rules for taking holiday, grievance procedures etc. create the rules of the workplace. If you’re a creative, entrepreneurial business owner, then it won’t surprise me if you find these foundations a little restrictive – even frustrating.

Fit for Purpose

In any business, HR processes and procedures must be up-to-date, fit for purpose and set up to give you the business owner the flexibility to do what’s best for the company. The clue here is in the fit for purpose. Processes and rules create unified standards that ensure all employees are treated fairly more importantly everyone understands what they need to do to ensure consistency.

Many business owners wrongly believe their employees know what to do and what’s expected of them. A lack of processes, systems or procedures leads to inconsistency – in behaviour, performance, discipline, and results. When staff is seen to ‘get away with it’, resentment builds, which slowly kills morale and encourages poor performance.

I’ve worked with so many owners who complain about employees who don’t do things the way they want them done, maybe you can start to see why now.

When I go into the business to help cure their people disease I discover nothing is written down, it’s all in the owners head. I tell the owner that employees are not telepathic. How do they expect them to know what to do, they can’t read your mind.

If you mention HR to most owners they think of policies, procedures, employment law and lots of red tape. Ok, I admit there is some of that but there is so much more to HR than the majority of people realise.

Strategic Growth

HR is about developing people and working with the business from a strategic perspective to support growth. Business owners will need more HR expertise to support workplace culture in the future. Many business owners believe that by having policies in place it will stop them doing the things in their business that they want to do. That’s not true. Policies and procedures need to be designed around the company and the ‘rules’ should be in line with the company culture and values.

Download our guide ‘ Are Your Employment Contracts Legal?’

Madness

I meet many business owners who don’t have employment contracts in place for their staff and they have been in business for over ten years. This is madness. Why? Because you are not protecting your business, your employment contract can contain clauses that will give your business protection. Not only that, it makes it very clear from the beginning to both parties as to what the expectations are. The number of times I have had to resolve issues for owners when the relationship has gone wrong. It can become very costly. So much of it could have been prevented if the foundations had been right at the beginning.

I don’t want to get into too much legal stuff so let’s look at it this way. When everything is going well at the beginning of the employment relationship it’s great, but when the relationship turns sour that’s when you wish you’d paid more attention to the really boring stuff, like the employment contract.

I hear many business owners say they don’t like having rules, people can make their own decisions. Everyone knows what’s expected of them around here. It’s that telepathy thing again. I have news for you; they don’t know what’s expected. It may surprise you but the majority of people like to have rules. They like to know what they can and can’t do. It’s also good for your culture as any new employees understand very quickly ‘how things are done around here’.

Expectations and Consequences

A workplace with rules has defined boundaries, expectations, and consequences. Underpinned by the core values the HR processes and systems, help support the business and make it a great place to work. That’s why you need to get these foundations in place before you can begin to implement the P.E.O.P.L.E.™ System itself.

Does your employment contract protect your business? Find out now. Download our guide ‘ Are Your Employment Contracts Legal?’


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Constructive dismissal - Jacqui Mann

What Is Constructive Dismissal?

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Recently we have had an employer contact us for HR support to find out if an employee can make a claim for constructive dismissal.

So what is constructive dismissal?

Different from ‘wrongful dismissal’, ‘constructive dismissal’ is where an employee terminates their employment in response to their employer’s treatment of them. Although there has been no actual dismissal, the treatment is sufficiently bad that the employee is entitled to regard themselves as having been dismissed.

What does the employee have to prove?

To prove a constructive unfair dismissal, an employee must show that:

  • the employer has breached the employment contract and
  • this is a significant or fundamental breach of contract and
  • they terminated their employment in response to that breach and did not delay resigning

An example of constructive dismissal

An example of a case where the employment tribunal found that an employee’s resignation was not in response to the employer’s breach of contract is Thomas v The Arts Council of Wales (unreported, ET/1604301/08 17 June 2009, ET).

The employee requested to work part-time after her maternity leave. The employer refused, saying they needed full time hours. The problem the employer had was that they didn’t deal with the flexible working request correctly. The employee claimed the way they dealt with it was a fundamental breach of contract, breaking the implied term of trust and confidence. The tribunal was not satisfied that this breach was the reason for her resignation. The employee failed to show that she had been constructively unfairly dismissed. (However, the employee won her claim of unlawful indirect sex discrimination).

Also Read: How to Manage Employees’ Probationary Period

How easy is it to show constructive dismissal?

A constructive dismissal is far more difficult to prove than an employee often thinks. First they must prove a fundamental (rather than minor) breach of contract by the employer.

The employee must also show that their decision to terminate their employment was in response to the breach. An employment tribunal will need to satisfy itself that the employee did not delay too long in resigning. A tribunal will usually expect an employee to have tried to resolve the complaint through the grievance procedure before resigning.Employment Contract

How to avoid constructive dismissal claims

Constructive dismissal claims are usually based on a grievance that the employee has. It’s therefore important to invite the employee to a grievance meeting, giving them the right to be accompanied.  Listen to what they have to say and then respond to the grievance in writing.

Getting to the bottom of the grievance is the key to reassuring the employee or, if they are determined to leave, weakening any potential tribunal claim they may bring.

So the moral of this story is always follow your procedures and whatever you do don’t ignore a grievance!


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Jacqui Mann. Employee investigation

What To Do When Carrying Out An Employee Investigation

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The first thing to do when performing an Employee Investigation

When an incident occurs in your business, sometimes it’s difficult to know if any disciplinary action is required.

The first thing you need to do is carry out an investigation to establish the facts of what happened.

Any investigation should be carried out without unreasonable delay. Once you have completed the investigation you will then know if any further disciplinary action is required.

First of all, you need to establish all the facts surrounding the incident, including any mitigating circumstances.

The course of the investigation will vary, depending on the particulars of each case. However you do need to consider the following:

  • Decide who will conduct the investigation. Whenever possible, a different manager should conduct the investigation from the manager who would conduct any disciplinary meeting. A tribunal would not look favorably on the case if the same person carried out the investigation and then conducted the disciplinary hearing.
  • Review whether the employee should be suspended while the matter is being investigated. Suspension will normally only be appropriate in cases of negligence or gross misconduct. If you do suspend an employee you should still pay them. Remember suspension does not mean they are guilty. Suspension should be for as short a time as possible.

  • Interview witnesses. This should be done as soon as possible to ensure the incident is recalled accurately. Written signed statements should be obtained from each witness.
  • Obtain any other evidence that may be available. That could be CCTV, documents, timesheets etc. Anything that is going to give you more information about the incident.
  • In most cases you would holding an investigatory meeting with the employee to establish their version of events before proceeding to any disciplinary hearing. In some cases for example possible fraud in may not be necessary to do this. You could collect all your evidence and provide it to the employee when you invite them to a disciplinary meeting.
  • There is no statutory right for an employee to be accompanied at a formal investigatory meeting.
  • When investigating take care to deal with the employee in a fair and reasonable manner. The nature and extent of the investigations will depend on the seriousness of the matter and the more serious it is then the more thorough the investigation should be.
  • It is important to keep an open mind and look for evidence which supports the employee’s case as well as evidence against.

Employment Contract

  • When holding a meeting give the employee advance warning and time to prepare. Any investigatory meeting should be confined to establishing the facts of the case. You are not interested in gossip or hearsay, just facts.
  • It is important that disciplinary action is not considered at an investigatory meeting. If it becomes apparent that formal disciplinary action may be needed then this should be dealt with at a formal meeting at which the employee will have the statutory right to be accompanied.

Remember as the employer you could be held liable if a poor investigation leads to an unfair dismissal which can prove very costly in an Employment Tribunal.

Do you need legal employment advice? Talk to us about HR Support, book a call. We can help you.


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Do I Have To Pay An Employee Who Books Doctors Appointments During Working Time?

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Today I’m going to be answering another one of your questions. And the question we’ve got today is

Do I have to pay an employee who books a doctor’s appointment during working time?”

The answer to that is “No you don’t have to.” There’s no legal requirement to pay employees when they are going to see a doctor.

You could ask employees to try to make doctor’s appointments at the beginning of the working day or at the end of the working day – so that it doesn’t disrupt the working day too much, but there is no requirement for you to pay them.

41 Things Every Employers Needs To Know

  • It’s not very easy trying to get appointments at the end of the day or the beginning of the day because doctors as we know are very very busy. But, you can make employees aware that is what you would like them to do. You can even include that in your handbook so that they will understand that.
  • You can also explain that to people during their induction – that, if they are going to see a doctor or a dentist, there is no payment for that time and they need to try and make them either outside of working hours or at the beginning or the end of the day, or potentially in their lunchtime as well – that can work too.

So the quick answer is: No. If someone is booking doctor’s appointment during working time, you don’t have pay them.

Need help with HR support or HR Consultancy? Or, do you have more questions?  Contact us!  or email people@jmassociates.org or phone 01980 622167


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