IGA News

Human Resources Q&A – October 2018

Human Resources Q&A – October 2018

28 September 2018

HR support is included as part of your IGA membership. As well as guidance from the member helpline team, and legal team if needed, a full HR toolkit can be found in the IGA Members Area. This includes example contracts, work policies, disciplinary procedures and letters, terms and conditions, job specifications and more.

If you would like your question to be featured, you can call us via the direct member helpline number or on 0845 305 4230.

Q: A member of my staff has recently disclosed that they have a disability. I have heard “DDA” being spoken about but I have no idea what this means or what my responsibilities are as an employer, can you help?

A: DDA is the initialism for “The Disability Discrimination Act”. The act protects people with disabilities from unfair discrimination in all aspects of the employment lifecycle including recruitment, induction, training, career development, promotion and staff retention.

As an employer you have a duty to make “reasonable” adjustments to ensure that no provision, criterion, or practices you apply, or any physical elements of the workplace, place an employee with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with an able-bodied employee.

Examples of reasonable adjustments you may need to make are physical changes to the workplace; flexible working hours; training; or providing specialist equipment to name but a few. The adjustments you make will all depend on the specific disability of the individual, so you will need to talk to your employee to understand what their needs are.

The individual may also be eligible for funding from Access to Work to make any changes required; more information can be found at: www.gov.uk/access-to-work.

Q: there is a rumour that a manager has started a relationship with a colleague and this is causing a lot of unrest amongst other employees. Can we fire them?

A: Relationships in the workplace will always have the potential to have negative effects, including actual or perceived favouritism, conflicts of interest and confidentiality issues.

The first thing however is to make sure they really are having a relationship and that it isn’t just a rumour, I would recommend speaking to them informally, explaining your concerns, and if the rumour is true talk to them about the importance of keeping their personal lives separate and that a “business as usual” approach should be adopted at work.

If there is a serious conflict of interest (e.g. one of the pair Line Manages the other) you may consider discussing ways to avoid possible future problems, for example transferring teams if their contract allows this. If not, you will need their agreement, and in all cases act reasonably to avoid any breach of your duty of trust and confidence. For example, it would most likely be considered unreasonable if the transfer was a demotion.

Dismissing an employee just for having a relationship at work is likely to be considered unfair dismissal and should therefore only be considered if there is deemed to be a serious impact on the business. Tread very carefully with this option and only after exploring all other alternatives should it be considered in consultation with the employee.

Q: What is the current National Minimum Wage and is it likely to change soon?

A: The current National Minimum Wage as of April 2018 is as follows:

Apprentice: £3.70 per hour

Under 18: £4.20 per hour

18 – 20: £5.90 per hour

21 – 24: £7.38 per hour

25 and over: £7.83

The NMW applies to individuals who are at least school leaving age (last Friday in June of the school year they turn 16). Workers are also entitled to the correct minimum wage if they’re part-time, casual labourers, agency workers, workers and homeworkers paid by the number of items they make, apprentices, trainees, workers on probation, disabled workers and foreign workers. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates.

Contracts for payments below the minimum wage are not legally binding. The rates for the national minimum wage and the national living wage change every April.

For further resources, have a look at the HR toolkit, located in the Members Area of the IGA website.