IGA News

Human Resources Q&A - February 2019

Human Resources Q&A - February 2019

31 January 2019

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 past employee has asked for a reference for their new job. Do I have to provide this?

A: You do not legally have to provide a reference unless stated in the employee’s contract. However, if you are concerned about misleading a future employer, or are unsure of what may be appropriate in a reference, a simple letter confirming their employment dates and position held will be sufficient.

Q: Do I have to pay for lunch breaks?

A: Statutory guidelines state that most employees have the right to take breaks. This usually falls into three categories:

1. Rest breaks at work (lunch and tea breaks) Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day.

2. Daily rests (breaks falling in between the end of one working day and the start of another) Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days.

3. Weekly rests (whole days when employees do not come into work) Workers have the right to either an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week, or an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight

Examples 2 and 3 are almost always not paid unless the employee is on call (and therefore available for work). Example 1 does not have to be paid unless the contract states so. For more information on the length of breaks please refer to the working tie regulations on the ACAS website: www.acas.org.uk.

Q: Can my employee work more than 48 hours in a week?

A: According to working time regulations employees should not have to work more than 48 hours per week on average unless they “opt out”. If they are over 18 and wish to work more than 48 hours per week they may do so, however this must be voluntary and confirmed in writing/ They then have the right to cancel this agreement at any time by giving notice in writing of between one week and three months dependent on the agreement. Employees that do not wish to work more than 48 hours per week must not be treated unfairly, for example dismissed or prevented from promotion. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours.

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