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Employment Law & HR FAQs

Tollers HR
When is it a good time to invest in HR management?
It is advisable for businesses to invest in HR management as early as employing their first member of staff, as there are employment contracts and company policies to consider.

It’s important that those contracts and policies are updated in accordance with the relevant laws and to ensure that any issues that arise are dealt with in accordance with the correct procedures.
Tollers HR
Does HR management improve business efficiency and processes?
Human Resource is an important part of any business. Staff are just that, a resource and probably the biggest resource to help a business run efficiently and successfully.

Tollers HR, provides a business with expert employment law solicitors to assist with indemnified HR support, giving you peace of mind.
Tollers HR
What is included in the Tollers HR package?
Tollers HR package provides access to a team of specialised employment solicitors for a 12-month period and a Tribunal Indemnity Insurance Policy.
Tollers HR
How will I be charged for HR management services?
The Tollers HR package would be charged as a fixed annual figure for both the employment/HR advice and includes the Tribunal Indemnity Insurance Policy.
Tollers HR
What are the benefits of outsourcing HR?
There are many benefits a business may experience when it comes to outsourcing HR and utilising the Tollers HR package, including reduced costs, increased efficiency, greater flexibility, improved compliance and access to the right expertise.

To find out more contact our employment team today.
Absence Management
What does the law say about sickness absence and sick pay?
The law provides for statutory sick pay (SSP) if an employee is absent due to sickness. An employer may pay contractual sick pay if they wish.

SSP lasts for 28 weeks and is payable from day four of the absence. Any ongoing sickness after that is unpaid.

Managing sickness absence should be done fairly and consistently and take into account any issues under the Equality Act 2010 where applicable. Any decision to dismiss must be fair under the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Absence Management
What issues could I face when managing sickness absence?
It is important to understand the reason for sickness absences and to ensure that adjustments are made to the process, where appropriate, to enable an employee to engage with the process.

You may also need to seek advice from the employee’s doctor or from Occupational Health.
Absence Management
What is the importance of managing sickness absence properly?
Managing sickness absences properly should mean that claims for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination are not brought.

Effectively temporarily covering the workload of someone who is off sick to lessen the impact on other colleagues where possible can help with the running of your business and team morale.
Absence Management
Is Absence a misconduct?
If the absence is for a genuine reason and has been authorised in advance where possible, then no. If it is an unauthorised absence or is not genuine, then it could be a misconduct offence.
Absence Management
How can I manage employee absences, so it does not affect my business?
It is important to ensure employees are aware of the company policies in relation to absences. Analyse the absences and focus on the reasons for absence.
Unfair Dismissal
How much can I recover in an unfair dismissal claim?
If a claim for unfair dismissal is successful then it will comprise of two parts: the basic award and the compensatory award.

The basic award is calculated following a set formula relating to age, length of service (currently up to a maximum of 20 years service and 60 years of age) and weekly pay (subject to a cap, which is updated every April) in the same way a statutory redundancy payment.

The compensatory award is at the discretion of the employment tribunal and will be awarded based on the facts of each claim, however, there is a cap on the compensatory award, which would be the lower amount out of the gross annual pay or the statutory cap, in force from time to time.

The cap is updated every April and details can be found on the government website.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Can I have a solicitor at a disciplinary hearing?
As an employee, your statutory right to be accompanied to a disciplinary meeting is in respect of a colleague or a Union Rep. It is a right to be accompanied and not represented.

However, where a career is at stake, such as with a doctor or a solicitor who faces being struck off, then the right to be represented by a solicitor may be appropriate.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Can you be dismissed at a disciplinary hearing?
Yes. However, it will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Is it a legal requirement to have a disciplinary procedure?
It is best practice to conduct a disciplinary process, especially where an employee has two or more years continuous service.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
What if you are unable to attend a disciplinary meeting due to sickness and wish to postpone the disciplinary meeting?
Employers are required to be fair and reasonable throughout a disciplinary process.

Where an employee is unwell and cannot attend a disciplinary meeting, the employer can request advice from occupational health or a medical professional to advise on whether the employee is able to attend the meeting and if the employer should make any adjustments to help with their attendance or cooperation if required.

In any case, it will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
What if there are delays by your employer in dealing with the disciplinary process?
It will depend on the circumstances of the case however usually the process should be conducted in an effective way, even if this means using other forms of communication i.e. telephone or video call, or written correspondence.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Can you insist on recording the disciplinary hearing?
This will depend on the terms of the company disciplinary process.

As an employer, it is important to take advice in respect of any disciplinary process or dismissal you are contemplating, in order to minimise the risk of a tribunal claim against you or the company, such as unfair dismissal and/ or discrimination etc.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
What if you don’t agree to the written notes of the meeting supplied by your employer?
You can state that you don’t agree with them and why. You could also take your own notes and provide those to your employer.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Can I appeal my employer’s decision about my disciplinary dismissal?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a disciplinary decision can be appealed.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
How does the disciplinary process work?
Depending on the seriousness of the allegation(s) or the circumstances of the case, the process may usually begin with a verbal warning regarding the issues (if they are not serious and can be easily remedied).

A formal process usually involves issuing two written warnings, the second warning, being a final warning. In more serious cases, an employer may be able to issue a final written warning (without a previous warning being in place) or even dismiss the employee.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
Can we dismiss an employee if they have been convicted of a crime?
This will depend on the employment contract and the nature and/or seriousness of the crime.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
If an employer suspends an employee following an allegation of misconduct, do we still have to pay their wages?
An employee should receive full pay during any period of suspension, unless otherwise stated in the employment contract, for example during a “lay-off” situation.

Suspension should only be for a reasonable period of time.

As an employer, it is important to take advice in respect of any disciplinary process or dismissal you are contemplating, in order to minimise the risk of a tribunal claim against you or the company, such as unfair dismissal and/ or discrimination etc.
Disciplinary Processes and Dismissal
How many stages are in a disciplinary procedure?
Depending on the circumstances, there are usually four distinct parts; investigation; meeting; outcome; and appeal.
Employee Handbook
The dos and don’ts of creating an employee handbook
There are many “dos and dont’s” when creating an employee/staff handbook:

“Dos” include:
  1. The main policies, which are: Disciplinary procedures and rules; Grievance procedures; Information about pensions; Health and safety (if 5 or more employees); and Whistleblowing (in some cases). Other policies that are strongly recommended are: bribery; anti-facilitation of tax evasion; equal opportunities; data protection; and whistleblowing; and
  2. Keep it simple by making it easy to read and understand.
“Dont’s” include:
  1. Ensure the employee/staff handbook is not a binding contract;
  2. Do not include restrictive covenants in the handbook; and
  3. Do not include policies that simply do not apply.
Employee Handbook
Are employers required to provide an employee handbook?
Employers are not legally required to provide an employee/staff handbook, but it is recommended as employers should inform employees of any company policies.

The higher the number of employees, the more convenient it is to refer to a handbook.
Employee Handbook
Why do I need an employee handbook?
An employee/staff handbook can be an effective and convenient way of informing all employees of the company policies.
Settlement Agreements
What does a solicitor do with a settlement agreement?
A specialist solicitor will need to be instructed to advise on any settlement agreements. The solicitor will review the agreement and advise the employee as to its terms and effect. When the advice is given, the solicitor will need to sign off on the agreement before it can be entered into by the employee.
Settlement Agreements
Who can write a settlement agreement?
It is usually an employer that drafts the settlement agreement before it is given to the employee. When the employee seeks legal advice on the agreement, there may be negotiations on the terms of the agreement before it is finalised.
Settlement Agreements
Can I write my own settlement agreement?
It is important for employers to seek legal advice when drafting settlement agreements, this is to ensure that the agreement is valid agreement and adequately covers the intended remit.
Settlement Agreements
Why have I been asked to sign a settlement agreement?
If you have been offered a settlement agreement, your employer is offering you the option to terminate your employment and essentially leave on a 'clean break'. It is necessary that employees seek legal advice when they have been offered a settlement agreement to ensure that the employee understands and is comfortable with it. When the agreement is finalised, an employee will be signing away most legal rights to bring any claims against their employer, so seeking legal advice is a must. A settlement agreement won't be binding unless it has been signed by an appropriate legal adviser.
Settlement Agreements
Do I have to agree to a settlement agreement?
No, it is your choice. A settlement agreement should be offered on a "without prejudice" basis, so if it is not accepted, both the employer and employee should not be prejudiced and should be able to continue as if the agreement was never offered.
Settlement Agreements
Is a settlement agreement the same as redundancy?
No, a settlement agreement can be offered at any stage during employment. Redundancy is potentially fair reason for termination of employment, which can be effected without a settlement agreement (unless it is for an enhanced voluntary redundancy package), whereas a settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement to terminate employment that is entered into by both parties. Employment may continue after a settlement agreement, whereas it cannot continue after a confirmed redundancy.
Settlement Agreements
What happens if you breach a settlement agreement?
It is likely that the settlement agreement contains specific terms regarding the consequences of a breach. It is a contract, so a breach of contract claim can be brought. Usually this is to repay the sums under it and cover any associated legal costs etc. The amount is often repayable as a debt, so interest would accrue. It is important to review the agreement to identify the consequences prior to signing it and prior to any action that could constitute a breach.
Settlement Agreements
Can I tell anyone about a settlement agreement?
The terms of a settlement agreement are confidential and cannot be discussed with anyone except the legal advisor that you are seeking advice from and any other individuals (if any) explicitly listed within the agreement.
Settlement Agreements
Will my employer give me a reference after I've signed a settlement agreement?
Whether a reference is given or not, is a term that will usually be contained in the agreement itself. In most cases, the format and content of the reference will be contained within the agreement. It is important not to rely on anything that is not expressly covered in the agreement, as once accepted, these will be the final terms you have come to with your employer.
Settlement Agreements
Is a settlement agreement the same as a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
A non-disclosure term is usually included within a settlement agreement. The term prevents the parties from discussing the agreement and the circumstances surrounding the termination of employment with anyone, with the exception of seeking legal advice on the agreement. If not included within a settlement agreement, a non-disclosure agreement would need to be enacted as a separate contract and would be used in different situations.
Settlement Agreements
When is it best to offer settlement agreements?
There is no rule on when a settlement agreement should be offered. It is usually a tool available to employers if they want to terminate an employee's employment without delay and to achieve a clean break.
Settlement Agreements
What does "without prejudice & subject to contract mean"?
"Without prejudice and subject to contract" usually means that a party does not wish to enter into a binding relationship until the terms of the agreement are agreed, at which point they become "subject to contract". Prior to that the employer and employee should not be prejudiced by the discussions, which fall under the without prejudice category.
Settlement Agreements
What are the advantages/disadvantages of a settlement agreement?
The advantages of a settlement agreement are that they provide a clean break for both the employer and employee. In difficult situations, it can often be a time and cost saving measure to avoid legal costs pursuing an employment tribunal claim. While it can be cost saving in some cases, in others it may be more expensive, especially when paying out lump sum figures. If the agreement is not agreed then this may cause a breakdown in working relationships. Entering into a settlement agreement can protect the employee from going through a process that could detriment future employment prospects, such as summary dismissal or other reasons for termination.
Settlement Agreements
What is included in a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement contains terms that effect the termination of employment of an employee, including for e.g. confidentiality, returning property and an employment law claim waiver. An employer will generally offer a lump sum payment, which typically comprises of the notice payment/accrued holiday and payments due under the employment contract. In addition, the employer will normally pay a compensatory amount for the loss of employment and consideration for the employee's waiver of claims. An employer will usually pay a contribution towards the employee's legal fees in taking advice on the terms of the agreement.
Settlement Agreements
What types of employment claims can be settled by a settlement agreement?
Settlement agreements can generally settle any claims, with certain limited exceptions, such as personal injury claims that were not known to the employee at the time of entering into the agreement, accrued pension rights, or rights to enforce the agreement. In some situations this may also include the right to be informed and consulted under TUPE.
Settlement Agreements
Can I ask my employer for a settlement agreement?
Yes, employees can request a settlement agreement, however employers are not obliged to agree to any such request.
Settlement Agreements
What are the risks of signing a Settlement Agreement?
Signing a settlement agreement means that an employee will be giving up their legal rights to pursue a claim against their current or former employer for issues arising out of their employment. Settlement agreements can have consequences if they are breached. It is therefore a fundamental element of any settlement agreement that a legal professional advises and signs off on it before it is finalised.
Settlement Agreements
What are the Settlement Agreement Solicitor fees?
The solicitor's fees for advising an employee on a settlement agreement will range depending on the professional/firm they choose to instruct. Employers who wish to successfully conclude a settlement agreement should be mindful that if they are not willing to provide a reasonable contribution, then this may put the employee off considering the settlement agreement much further.
Employment Contracts
Does an employment contact have to be in writing?
Yes. Any employee should be given a written contract no later than on the day they start a job with a new employer.
Employment Contracts
Can your employer change the terms of your employment contract?
An employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of an employment contract unless there are provisions within the contract allowing them to do so. If they do change the terms without an employee’s consent or reasonable contractual right, they may be in breach of the contract. An employee could reject the change and make it clear that they are working under protest and/or resign and may be able to make a claim for constructive dismissal.
Employment Contracts
Are you entitled to be paid for overtime?
This will depend on the terms of your employment contract.
Employment Contracts
What are examples of breaches of contract by employer?
This is not an exhaustive list, but a few examples could be: reducing staff pay with consent or right, unilateral changes to the terms of employment contract without consent or right, not paying monies owed under a contract, breaching their duty of care to staff health and safety, or breaching trust and confidence.
Employment Contracts
What are my remedies for a breach of contract claim?
The most common remedy for breach of contract under employment law is for financial loss, such as a loss of earnings and/or a basic award if an employee is found to be constructively, wrongly or unfairly dismissed. It may also include compensatory damages for injury to feelings if the breach of contract is found to be discriminatory.
Employment Contracts
Can I still be paid if my employer sends me home because there is not enough work?
If an employer cannot provide enough work to an employee and sends them home, they can only withhold payment if it is permitted in the employment contract. Usually this takes the form of a "lay off" or "short term working" clause. If an employer withholds payment without a contractual right to do so, or prolongs the time off work, this could give rise to a constructive dismissal and/or a redundancy pay claim.
Employment Contracts
Can my employer force me to work from home indefinitely?
This will depend on the content of the employment contract.
Employment Contracts
What is the difference between an employee and self-employed status?
An employee is protected by the Employment Rights Act 1996 and is entitled to statutory employment rights, such as sick pay, holiday pay and entitlement, parental leave, notice pay, working time limits, minimum wage requirements etc. Someone who is self-employed is not protected by employment law legislation. To determine the employment status of an individual, it will be necessary to look at the way in which they are expected to perform their services.
Employment Contracts
What is the national minimum wage in UK?
The National Minimum Wage is usually updated in April every year, and differs based on an individual’s age. The different tiers can be found on the official government website at www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
Employment Contracts
Am I entitled to be paid for my travel time to work?
Unless there is an agreement regarding travel time, it is generally not common for travel time to be included in working time/for employers to pay for time to travel to their usual place of work. Paid travel time is most common where employees are required to travel from a usual place of work in order to fulfill their work duties.
Employment Contracts
What are my rights if my job offer has been withdrawn?
It will depend on whether it is an unconditional or conditional job offer and whether the offer has been accepted. If you have accepted an unconditional job offer, a withdrawal by the employer could be seen as a breach of contract, and you may be entitled to sue for breach of contract, but any damages would be for financial loss. If the offer is conditional and you have not met some or any of the conditions, then the employer can withdraw the offer without penalty.
Employment Contracts
My new contract includes a 'non-compete' clause. Should I sign it?
It is important to seek legal advice from a solicitor when signing a contract with a non-compete clause or any other restrictive covenants. If the non-compete is an enforceable clause, you will need to determine the extent of the restrictions on you prior to signing a contract.
Employment Contracts
Is it illegal for an employment contract not to include maternity/paternity leave?
It is a legal requirement for employment contracts to include a term stating that employees may be entitled to maternity or other types of paid leave.
Employment Contracts
What types of break between contracts would not constitute a break in continuous employment?
Situations which do not constitute a break are:- 1) If an employee resigns or is dismissed due to sickness and then re-employed within 26 weeks; 2) Where an employee is off work due to a temporary cessation of work; 3) An arrangement or custom whereby an employee is off work for a period of time agreed in advance or at the start of the gap; 4) Statutory continuity involving a transfer of business or trade; 5) Re-employment after redundancy, as long as the re-employment begins before the end of employment under the previous contract; 6) If a dismissed employee is re-engaged following their dismissal either within 4 weeks of the dismissal or as a result of an ACAS conciliation agreement, settlement agreement or at the direction by an Employment Tribunal; or 7) Full or part of the work (not in redundancy) is completed outside of Great Britain will be treated as the same as working within Great Britain.
Employment Discrimination
Can I sue my employer for discrimination in the UK?
If you believe you have grounds for a discrimination claim, provided you are within the relevant time frames then yes, you can make a claim at the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of discrimination.
Employment Discrimination
Is it hard to prove discrimination at work?
Proving a discrimination claim can be difficult, as the burden of proof is usually on the employee to prove discrimination in the first instance. It is important to identify a protected characteristic, the less favourable treatment connected to it and the evidence supporting the claim.
Employment Discrimination
What are the grounds for discrimination at work?
There are 9 protected characteristics on which you could be discriminated, these are: age, gender assignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Employment Discrimination
How much compensation do you get for discrimination UK?
There are three bands that the Employment Tribunal can make an award under and the amount of compensation depends on which bracket the successful claim falls under. These are called Vento guidelines.
Employment Discrimination
Is it worth it to sue for discrimination?
In an employment tribunal, apart from in certain situations, each party usually pays their own fees win or lose. An employee can represent themselves if they don't want to incur legal fees, or have no other method of funding. Tribunals can be stressful and time consuming. Ultimately it is a decision for the individual as to whether or not they feel it is worth bringing a claim.
Employment Discrimination
How much should I ask for in a discrimination case?
It will depend on your case and which band you feel your claim falls under. There are three bands of compensation and the amount of compensation under each varies. These are called Vento guidelines.
Employment Discrimination
What is the process for making a discrimination claim?
The Employee/Claimant must make contact with ACAS in the first instance within 3 months (less one day) of the last alleged discriminatory act complained of, as ACAS are required to provide a certificate to confirm that early-conciliation has been attempted. Once you have that certificate from ACAS, you will need to fill out and submit an ET1 (claim form) to the Central Office for the Employment Tribunals. There is a deadline for this, which will depend on the dates of conciliation and the last discriminatory act complained of, so this must be checked to ensure that the claim is lodged in time. Following receipt of the ET1, the Employer/Respondent will submit an ET3 to outline its response.
Employment Discrimination
What redress can you seek from an employer if they have discriminated against you?
Raising a grievance is the first point of call to discuss any issues or complaint. If you wish to take further action, you would need to contact ACASl, and as a last resort, file a claim at the Employment Tribunal. However, it is important to note that there are strict time limits for bringing claims at the Employment Tribunal, and legal advice should be sought to avoid missing the deadline.
Employment Discrimination
Does my employer have a duty to protect me from discrimination?
An employer has a duty to implement policies in order to take reasonable steps to provide a safe working space for its employees. It is important to notify your employer of any issues and raise them as a grievance so they can deal with the matter as soon as possible.
Employment Discrimination
When do I need a solicitor for a discrimination case?
Pursuing a claim at the Employment Tribunal does not require you to instruct a legal advisor, whilst it may be advisable. The Employment Tribunal allows for Claimants to act as litigants in person.
Employment Discrimination
What are the different types of discrimination?
There are 9 protected characteristics on which you could be discriminated, these are: age, gender assignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Employment Discrimination
What if my discrimination issue can’t be resolved through the complaints procedure?
You may wish to contact an employment solicitor to get legal advice on what your options are. Alternatively, you may wish to contact ACAS to discuss any other avenues that may be available to you. However, it is important to note that there are strict time limits for bringing claims at the Employment Tribunal, and legal advice should be sought to avoid missing the deadline.
Employment Tribunals
Do I need a solicitor for employment tribunal?
Pursuing a claim at the Employment Tribunal does not require you to instruct a legal advisor, whilst it may be advisable. The Employment Tribunal allows for Claimants to act as litigants in person.
Employment Tribunals
Who pays legal costs in employment tribunal?
All parties are responsible for bearing their own legal costs throughout the proceedings at an Employment Tribunal. However, in rare circumstances, the Employment Tribunal may order that the Claimant/Respondent pays some, or all of the legal costs of the other party.
Employment Tribunals
What are the chances of winning an employment tribunal?
The chances of success will depend on the law, the facts and evidence of each matter.
Employment Tribunals
How do you assess whether my claim is eligible?
It is important to assess the facts and evidence against the applicable law, before advising on whether or not a case has chances of success at an Employment Tribunal.
Employment Tribunals
What claims do Employment Tribunals cover?
Employment Tribunals deal with disputes relating to employment relationships between an employer and employee or worker.
Employment Tribunals
How long does an Employment Tribunal take?
It is difficult to put a time frame on how long an Employment Tribunal claim may take as it depends on the volume of claims being received and judge availability. It is possible to take up to, or over a year.
Employment Tribunals
What is an Employment Tribunal?
An Employment Tribunal is a public body in England and Wales that have Jurisdiction in dealing with disputes relating to employment relationships between an employer and employee or worker.
Employment Tribunals
How long do I have to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal?
It depends on the claim. Usually, it's 3 months less one day from the date of the last act complained of, such as dismissal date, last discriminatory act, detriment, or non-payment of monies owed. It is advisable to check the time limit in your case, as these are strict, and so legal advice should be sought to avoid missing the deadline.
Whistleblowing
My employer is breaking the law. What should I do?
An employee should refer to the company's whistleblowing policy. If the company does not have a policy in place, then the employee should refer to the legislative process for effective whistleblowing.
Whistleblowing
What protection(s) do I have as a whistle-blower?
Whistle-blowers making a protected disclosure are protected from unfair dismissal and unlawful detriment. This means that it is unlawful to subject a worker to a detriment on the grounds that they have made a protected disclosure.
Whistleblowing
What is a protected disclosure?
Examples of protected disclosures include:
  1. Criminal offences
  2. Endangering the health & safety of any individual
  3. Damage to the environment
  4. Breaching any legal obligation
  5. Deliberately concealing information
A disclosure of the above non-exhaustive list may only be protected if the worker reasonably believed it to have occurred or to be likely to occur, and that the disclosure is in the public interest.
Whistleblowing
Do I need to show that the disclosure was made in good faith?
No, it is no longer a requirement to show that disclosures were made in good faith.
Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
What are Restrictive Covenants?
Restrictive covenants in an employment relationship are usually in place to limit former employees from competing with their former employers for a certain amount of time following the end of their employment. These restrictive covenants can be in relation non-competition, non-solicitation, non-dealings and non-poaching.
Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
How are restrictive covenants enforced?
Restrictive covenants are usually terms in either an employment contract or for example in a settlement agreement. If the covenants are breached, then they can be enforced by the courts on the basis that it is breach of contract.
Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
When is a restrictive covenant enforceable?
Employment related restrictive covenants often times have a time limit in place, such as 6 or 12 months, and will only be enforceable during this time.
Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
What are the consequences for breaching a restrictive covenant?
Breaching a restrictive covenant allows an employer to enforce the covenant. If successful, an employee may be issued with an injunction and an employer may also claim for a financial remedy or damages. The former employee may be ordered to pay a substantial amount, depending on the breach, losses and associated legal costs.
Flexible Working
I have been turned down for flexible working. Is this fair?
An employer can turn down a flexible working request, provided there is a valid business need for doing so. There are 8 specific grounds for rejecting a request, providing the rejection outlines one of the grounds as a reason, then it is likely to be classed as fair.
Flexible Working
An employee has asked to work from home – what do you need to consider?
The employee making the request needs to have at least 26 weeks service and put the request in writing. The employer should arrange a meeting to discuss the request with the employee as soon as possible, unless they have decided to approve the request. Only one request can be made within any 12-month rolling period. An employee has the right to appeal the refusal of a flexible working request.
TUPE Transfer
How does a TUPE transfer work?
TUPE can apply when an employer is selling/transferring part or all of a business, or where there is a service provision change, which involves also transferring the employees to a new employer. TUPE essentially provides protection to employees when there is a change in business ownership.
TUPE Transfer
How long are you protected after TUPE?
There is no time limit on the protection provided under TUPE, it will depend entirely on the terms and conditions of each employment relationship. Generally speaking, the closer in time to the transfer, the more protected the employee's terms will be.
TUPE Transfer
What are my rights under TUPE?
Employees retain their usual employment rights under their contracts including length of service, seniority and pay. Employees should not be dismissed for a reason connected to the transfer, unless in certain situations, known as Economic, Technical, or Organisational (ETO) reasons.
TUPE Transfer
Can my new employer change my contract after TUPE?
Employers cannot change the existing terms of your contract after TUPE, unless they are improving the terms and conditions e.g., providing you with more annual leave, if there is an economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reason for doing so, the contact allows it, or the changes are not connected to the transfer.
TUPE Transfer
Can I be made redundant after TUPE?
If the need for redundancy is not connected to the transfer then redundancies can be made after a TUPE process, as it could fall within an Economic, Technical, or Organisational (ETO) reason.
TUPE Transfer
What do you need to know about TUPE?
If you have employees and will be selling part or all of your business, or are looking to carry out a service provision change, then you should seek legal advice from an employment solicitor in respect of whether TUPE applies, and the processes that must be adhered to. Failing to do this could result in employment tribunal claims.
TUPE Transfer
What do you need to do to comply with TUPE?
In brief, employers must elect representatives (if suitable ones are not in place already), inform and, in some cases, consult with all staff representatives, in good time prior to the transfer. Not less than 28 days before the transfer, employers must also provide employee liability information to the new employer. Failing to do this can provide the new employer with grounds to claim compensation.
Reference
Does a former employee have the right to see a reference we have provided?
Yes, a former employee can request to see this. They can also submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) - under the General Data Protection Regulations, as this is classed as personal data and would need to be disclosed. Although, it is important to be mindful of any third party information that may be contained in the reference and may not therefore be disclosable under an SAR.
Reference
What can I do if I think my employer has issued an unfair/incorrect reference?
You may be able to claim damages in court. However, you would need to evidence that the reference was misleading or inaccurate and that you suffered a loss as a result. Losses may include but are not limited to reputational damage, withdrawal of a job offer and/or financial losses.
Reference
What type of reference should I expect?
It is increasingly common for employers to only issue factual references that state your job title and dates of employment. References can sometimes be agreed during settlement agreement negotiations, and may tend to include more than a simply factual reference.
Reference
What should I do if asked to provide a reference for someone who was dismissed?
You should still provide a reference on factual terms, setting out their job title and dates of employment. You should not state the reason for termination of employment (e.g., dismissal), unless required to do so by law or for regulated firms. An example of a required disclosure is a financial trader dismissed for theft.
Reference
Does my employer have to provide a reference for me?
Whilst it is good practice, in most cases an employer is not obliged to provide a reference to a new employer, however there are exceptions to this. Exceptions include where agreement or requirement to provide a reference is stated within your contract of employment and where a regulatory reference is required.
Reference
Can an employer provide a bad reference?
It is possible to do so, as long as it is factual. However, it is strongly recommended that you obtain legal advice before doing so, as it could give rise to a defamation issue.
Redundancy
What are you entitled to if you are made redundant?
Employees who have at least two years' continuous service and have been made redundant, laid off or kept on short-time working may be eligible for a redundancy payment. This includes statutory and contractual redundancy payments, notice pay and any outstanding wages and holiday pay.
Redundancy
How much is a redundancy pay-out?
Redundancy payments will differ based on age, years of service and salary. Although, you may be entitled to more than statutory redundancy pay, if provided for in your contract.
Redundancy
What is considered redundancy?
Redundancy can occur under three circumstances: business closure; workplace closure; and diminished requirements of the business for employees to do work of a particular kind.
Redundancy
What is the maximum statutory redundancy payment?
The maximum statutory redundancy payment figure changes every year in April. Please check www.gov.uk for the correct current amount.
Redundancy
How do I calculate my redundancy payment?
You'll need to know your weekly pay (before tax and other deductions) to use the calculator. The calculation used for calculating redundancy pay is: 0.5 week’s pay (subject to the statutory cap) for each year of continuous employment with the same employer whilst under the age of 22, 1 week’s pay (subject to the statutory cap) for each year of continuous employment with the same employer between the ages of 22 to 40, and 1.5 week’s pay (subject to the statutory cap) for each year of continuous employment with the same employer aged 41 and over. This is capped at 60 years of age and 20 years' service. There is a redundancy pay calculator on the Government website.
Redundancy
How easy is it to challenge a redundancy selection pool?
It can be challenged during the redundancy process and/ or at appeal and when challenged, should be responded to by the employer. However, if an employer has genuinely, fairly and objectively selected a pool of employees for the purpose of redundancy (which may include a pool of one), then it may be difficult for an employee to successfully challenge a redundancy pool.
Redundancy
Who should be in a redundancy selection pool?
Generally, people carrying out the same or similar roles should be included within the selection pool.
Redundancy
What is the time limit for making a redundancy payment claim?
A redundancy payment claim must be made within six-months of the date of dismissal, unless within those 6 months:
  1. payment is agreed and paid by the employer;
  2. the employee makes a written claim for payment to the employer;
  3. the employee's right to a redundancy payment (or the amount of the redundancy payment to which they are entitled) is referred to an employment tribunal; or
  4. the employee presents a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.
Redundancy
When does redundancy occur?
See ‘what is considered redundancy’ above.
Redundancy
Can you still be made redundant if you are pregnant or on maternity leave?
Yes, it is possible that employees can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave. However, these cannot be the reason for the redundancy as this would automatically count as a potential reason for unfair dismissal, and sex and/or maternity discrimination. There are strict rules in place to ensure that the redundancy process does not discriminate against employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave.
Redundancy
What should I do if I face redundancy?
You can seek advice from an employment lawyer, a Trade Union, the Citizens Advice Bureau, or a law clinic, or ACAS to better understand your rights.
Redundancy
What is collective redundancy?
Redundancy is classed as collective redundancy when an employer seeks to make 20 or more employees redundant within a 90-day period, at a single establishment.
Redundancy
Can an employer make permanent staff redundant instead of agency staff?
Yes, an employer can, in some situations, make permanent staff redundant if it is necessary and for a genuine reason. By retaining agency staff, it does raise the question as to whether the redundancies were necessary and genuine and so they should not be retained long-term.
Redundancy
How is my statutory redundancy pay affected if I am paid in lieu of notice?
Statutory redundancy pay is calculated based on length of service, age and weekly pay (all subject to a cap). The right to make a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) will be set out in the employment contract and will not impact the way in which statutory redundancy payment is calculated. PILON will be paid on the pay date closest to (and usually following) your termination date, rather than at the end of what your notice period would be if worked. The termination date is relevant to calculate your statutory redundancy payment, as your age and length of service at the date of termination are taken into account.
Redundancy
Can an employer change a job role?
An employer cannot change your job role unilaterally without your consent, unless the changes are within the reasonable parameters of your job description. During a redundancy situation, an employer may look to restructure your role and should offer suitable alternative roles where possible, as an alternative to redundancy.
Redundancy
Can you demote someone due to restructure?
A restructure may create or free up roles, which could be on less, the same or on more favourable terms to the at-risk employee. If the process of restructuring is going to result in redundancies, then an employer is required to offer alternative suitable roles to avoid redundancy wherever possible. An employee may wish to take an alternative role on less favourable terms to avoid redundancy. Outside of a redundancy situation, if an employer unilaterally demotes an employee, without a contractual right to do so, this could be a breach of the employment contract and the employee could reject this demotion, resign and may be able to claim constructive dismissal.
Redundancy
Can an employer engage in ‘bumping’ during a redundancy process?
Bumping can be acceptable as long in certain situations.
Redundancy
What does restructure at work mean?
When an organisation is changing the way in which it runs, this can lead to a restructure of jobs. A job restructure may mean that a role has changed, for e.g. it may be necessary to carry out additional or even fewer duties. Alternatively, a restructure may refer to a change in the scope and/or structure of a whole organisation or department, or a part of either.
Redundancy
Why have I been selected for redundancy?
If you have been selected for redundancy, it may be due to one of the following reasons: business closure, workplace closure or diminished requirement (your role may no longer be necessary and ceases to exist).
Redundancy
Can I be made redundant while I am pregnant?
See ‘Can you still be made redundant if you are pregnant or on maternity leave‘ above.
Redundancy
How long can consultation last?
The length of consultation is specific to the situation and circumstances at the time; however consultation should be held for an objectively reasonable period of time.
Performance Management
How do I address the issue of performance with my employee?
Depending on the severity of the issue, an employer should have an informal private conversation with the employee, raising the performance issue(s), what the expectations are, and if there is anything that can be offered to help the employee get to that position. If the issue is more serious, then a formal performance management process should be followed.
Performance Management
What should I do if my employee's performance does not improve?
If the employee's performance does not improve following an informal meeting, then it may be necessary to start a formal performance management process. Formal performance management is especially important where an employee has more than two years service, or has a protected characteristic as set out under the Equality Act 2010.
Performance Management
What does an Employer have to consider in relation to performance matters?
Employers should give warnings to employees in respect of their performance and give them a proper chance to improve through a performance management process. As part of that process reasons for the performance issues need to be taken into account, for example, an employee may have a disability and therefore adjustments may be required to help avoid any discrimination.
Performance Management
What happens if an Employer fails to follow a fair performance management procedure?
Failing to follow a fair procedure may ultimately open the door to employment claims such as unfair dismissal and/ or discrimination.
Performance Management
What is performance management with example?
Performance management is the process where an employee is required to meet certain objectives within their role, and they are not achieving those objectives or reasonable expectations, and it therefore needs to be addressed to help improve their performance at work.
Performance Management
Should I deal with my employee’s poor performance through a disciplinary or a capability procedure?
This will depend on the seriousness of the performance issues and the reasons for them i.e. is it a capability or a conduct issue, as well as the company policies. The process that is chosen will need to be applied fairly and consistently across all employees.
Statutory Leave
What is statutory leave in the UK?
For a full time worker, the statutory holiday entitlement is 20 days per year (4 weeks) plus the bank holiday entitlement of 8 days (1.6 weeks). This is pro-rated for employees who do not work full time hours.
Statutory Leave
How do you work out statutory leave?
The statutory entitlement is either 28 days (5.6 weeks) for full time workers or 5.6 x number of days worked per week, where the days are less than 5 days a week.
Statutory Leave
Do employees have to take statutory leave?
Employees do not have to take their statutory leave but may not be able to carry some holiday into the next holiday year. The arrangement will depend on the terms of your employment and company policies.
Statutory Leave
What is a non-statutory leave?
Non-statutory leave is leave that is additional to the amount required by law, and should be set out in the employment contract.
Statutory Leave
Is statutory leave paid?
Yes, statutory pay for holidays are calculated using your contractual pay rate and your usual working hours This will depend on whether you work fixed or variable hours.
Statutory Leave
What if I don’t use all my annual leave?
See ‘do employees have to take statutory leave’.
Statutory Leave
How many unpaid days off can I take?
This will depend on the type of unpaid leave you are requesting. For example, parental leave is capped at 18 weeks (over the lifetime of a child up to their 18th birthday) and this must be taken in full weeks at no more than 4 weeks in a year.
Statutory Leave
Can an employer require 30 days’ notice for terminating a job?
This will depend on the notice period you have agreed to in your employment contract, or the statutory minimum, whichever is longer.
Statutory Leave
What if I quit with less notice than required?
Giving less notice than required under your employment contract would be a breach of contract. An employer can sue for breach of contract, however they would have to demonstrate damages caused directly by the lack of notice.
Statutory Leave
Is my employer able to deduct overpaid holiday pay from my final salary payment?
Yes. Employers can deduct for an overpayment of wages and that includes where more holiday has been taken than accrued at the date of termination of employment.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
Am I entitled to be paid for holiday that I haven't taken?
You wouldn't be entitled to be paid for holiday you haven't taken, unless your employment is terminated. You should however be able to carry over unused holiday from one holiday year to the next. This is capped at the year following return from maternity leave, depending on when you returned.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
What is the difference between ordinary maternity leave and statutory maternity leave?
Statutory maternity leave refers to the total period of leave an employee is entitled to take whilst on maternity leave. Ordinary maternity leave is the first 26 weeks of statutory maternity leave.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
Who pays for statutory maternity leave?
Employers are responsible for paying statutory maternity leave depending on the employee’s length of service.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
How is statutory maternity leave calculated?
Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks in total. The first 26 weeks are known as ordinary maternity leave (and include 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave) and the last 26 weeks are known as additional maternity leave.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
Do I still get Statutory Maternity Pay if my job ends after the 15th week before my baby is due?
Yes, you should still be entitled to statutory maternity pay in these circumstances, providing you meet the eligibility requirements.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
What pay am I entitled to when on maternity leave?
During the first 39 weeks, you will be entitled to pay based on your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, and at a rate set by the government for the remaining 33 weeks. This rate is reviewed annually and any adjustments to the statutory rate are applied each April.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
What happens to my holiday entitlement when I'm on maternity leave?
Your holiday entitlement continues to accrue during a period of maternity leave. Also see ‘am I entitled to be paid for holiday that I haven’t taken’.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
What maternity pay will I get?
Your entitlement to maternity pay will depend on your earnings prior to your period of maternity leave.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
What paternity leave and paternity pay is my partner entitled to?
Providing your partner meets the eligibility requirements, they may be entitled to take 1 or 2 weeks of paternity leave. Paternity pay is paid at a statutory weekly rate, which is set by the government each year.
(Statutory) Maternity Leave
Am I entitled to maternity pay if I am an agency worker?
An agency worker may be entitled to maternity pay if they have worked in their role for 12 weeks or more.
(Statutory) Paternity Leave
How many days of paternity leave do parents/partners get?
Statutory paternity leave is up to 2 weeks and must be taken within 56 days (or 8 weeks) of the birth.
(Statutory) Paternity Leave
Do you get full pay on paternity leave?
This will depend on the company's policy on pay during periods of family leave.
(Statutory) Paternity Leave
Can an employer refuse a request for paternity leave?
An employer cannot refuse to allow you to take your paternity leave, provided that you have given the correct amount of notice.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Do you get leave from work if adopting a child?
Yes, you can be entitled to up to 52 weeks of statutory adoption leave.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
What makes me eligible for adoption leave?
You must be an employee and must give the required notice to your employer. You must also give proof of the adoption if requested.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Can my partner take adoption leave too?
Only one adopter can take a period of adoption leave. However, you could use Shared Parental Leave.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Am I entitled to time off to attend adoption placement meetings?
Yes. If a couple is adopting jointly, different entitlements will apply, as only one person is entitled to paid time off to attend placement meetings.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
How long do I have to work for my employer to qualify for adoption leave?
You are eligible to take adoption leave from day one of your employment.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
What are my rights during adoption leave?
Your rights as an employee are protected during a period of adoption leave, with the exception of your usual pay, as statutory adoption pay is payable, unless your contract provides for enhanced adoption pay.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
How much is statutory adoption pay?
You will be entitled to pay based on your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, and at a weekly rate set by the government for the remaining 33 weeks, totalling 39 weeks of statutory adoption pay.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
What notice do I have to give to get adoption leave and pay?
You must give your employer notice of your intention to take adoption leave within 7 days of being matched with a child. To be entitled to adoption pay, you must give 28 days' notice of when you want to stop work and adoption leave/pay to start.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Can I change the date of my adoption leave?
You can, as long as you give the right amount of notice. The amount of notice will depend upon whether you are changing the start or return to work date.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Do I have to repay my adoption pay if I decide not to return to work?
No, unless you are paid in excess of the statutory entitlement, in which case it will depend upon the terms of your contract.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
Can I get sick pay if I am not well during adoption leave?
If you are unwell during your adoption leave, you can claim statutory sick pay, however, you will not receive your statutory adoption pay for that period in those circumstances and your adoption leave may end.
(Statutory) Adoption Leave
What can I do if my employer does not pay me for my adoption leave?
If you are entitled to statutory adoption leave and your employer is withholding adoption pay, you should raise a grievance to see if the matter can be resolved internally as a starting point. If it remains unresolved, you may have to contact ACAS and/or seek legal advice.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
What are the eligibility requirements for shared parental pay?
There must be 26 weeks of continuous employment by the 15th week of pregnancy or by the date of placement and you must earn at least the average rate set by the government each year.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
How long can you claim Shared Parental Pay for?
Up to 37 weeks of pay can be shared.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
How do I claim Shared Parental Pay?
You must ensure that you have given your employer 8 weeks' notice of your leave dates, and follow any other notification requirements set out by your employer.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
How much Shared Parental leave can a parent get?
Up to 50 weeks of leave can be shared between partners.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
Do both parents get paid shared parental leave?
Yes, both parents will be paid shared parental pay, although it is only paid for up to 37 weeks. The length of time for which shared parental leave is payable varies depending on how much maternity leave has been taken prior to starting shared parental leave.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
Can mother and father take shared parental leave at the same time?
Yes, provided the correct notice is given, both parents can take leave at the same time. In this case the length of leave runs concurrently, so if both parents take 10 weeks off at the same time, this will mean that 20 weeks of shared parental leave will have been used.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
Can your employer refuse a request for shared parental leave?
This depends on whether you are booking one continuous block of leave, which cannot be refused, or discontinuous blocks of leave, which may be refused. A maximum of 3 discontinuous blocks of leave are permitted.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
What is the difference between paternity leave and shared parental leave?
Paternity leave is for a limited period of up to 2 weeks, to be taken by a father, adopter or same-sex partner of the mother. Shared parental leave allows further leave, of up to 50 weeks, for either parent to take.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
If I am self-employed, do I qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Pay?
If your partner is an employee, then you may still be entitled to shared parental leave and pay, providing that you meet the eligibility requirements.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
If I work part time do I qualify for shared parental leave?
Yes, providing that you meet the eligibility requirements.
Parental Bereavement Leave
How much is Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay?
If you are eligible, you will be entitled to 90% of your average weekly earnings or a weekly rate set by the government each year (whichever is lower).
Parental Bereavement Leave
If I have a miscarriage do I qualify for Parental Bereavement Pay?
If the miscarriage occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy, you may still qualify for parental bereavement pay.
Parental Bereavement Leave
How do I claim statutory Parental Bereavement Pay?
You will need to give your employer the requisite amount of notice, along with a declaration to confirm that you are eligible because of your relationship with the child or baby.
Parental Bereavement Leave
What are the notice requirements for taking Parental Bereavement Leave?
This will depend on when you are taking leave, in particular whether it is in the first 8 weeks after the child's death or stillbirth, or between 9 to 56 weeks after. In the first 8 weeks you are required to give notice before you would normally start work on the first day of the week(s) you want to take off, whereas between 9-56 weeks you are required to give at least 1 weeks’ notice.
Parental Bereavement Leave
Does entitlement to Parental Bereavement Pay or Leave differ if an employee loses more than 1 child?
You can take up to 2 weeks bereavement leave for each child who has died or was stillborn if you’re eligible. You can take 2 weeks together, 2 separate weeks, or one week of leave. A week is the same number of days that you normally work in a week. You’ll be able to get either a weekly rate set by the government each year (whichever is lower), or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) if you’re eligible. This is per week.

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