Topic: Human Resources

What must I pay my employees for a period of maternity leave?

Should an employee be eligible to payment for statutory maternity leave they will be paid statutory maternity pay for up to 39 weeks.   The first 6 weeks is payable at 90% of the employees average weekly earnings, with £139.58 or 90% of the employees average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

To qualify for SMP the employee must:

  • Earn on average £112 per week;
  • Give notice at least 15 weeks before their due date;
  • Provide proof that they are pregnant; and
  • Be an employee and have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘qualifying week’ – the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

An employee has given me a letter which says it is a formal grievance. What do I do now?

Upon receipt of the written grievance, you must invite the employee into a meeting giving the employee reasonable notice and the right to be accompanied by either a fellow employee or a trade union representative.

The grievance hearing would be start of the investigation process.  Each point raised in the grievance letter must be discussed at length whilst establishing the facts of the complaint, along with identifying any evidence that supports the complaint.  The party who conducts the meeting must not have any previous involvement within the process and must carry out reasonable investigation into the complaint raised.    You must then provide a written outcome letter and in it, offer the employee the right to appeal the outcome.  Grievances must be taken seriously and acted upon in a timely manner.   ACAS have issued an advisory Code of Practice which must be followed.  Failure to do so may result in up to a 25% compensation uplift at an Employment Tribunal should the employee prove to be successful in arguing that the procedure has not been followed fairly.

An employee that has been working for me for six months has now requested a contract of employment. I want to dismiss him. What is the procedure?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides guidance that states, where an employee begins employment with an employer, the employer will provide the employee with a written statement of employment  particulars, within eight weeks of the date of they start employment.  If the employee was dismissed for requesting his employment contract, the dismissal would be deemed unfair and the employee may decide to pursue a claim at an Employment Tribunal.  In addition to the standard compensation they would receive, an additional 4-8 weeks compensation would be granted for failure of not issuing the contract within the specified eight week timescale.  Therefore, you would not be able to fairly dismiss an employee for making this request.

I have an employee that works two days per week. What holiday entitlement do they have and do I have to pay them for bank holidays?

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, an employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave which is inclusive of bank and statutory holidays, on a pro rata basis.  Based on the employee working two days per week, their entitlement would be 11.2 days of leave each holiday year.  Payment for bank holidays will depend upon the employees normal working pattern.  Any bank holiday that falls on one of their normal working days, would therefore be paid.

An employee who has received significant training with the Company has resigned from our employment. Can I reclaim the money spent on training during their employment from their final wage?

This all depends on whether or not the employee has been issued with an employment contract that has an express deduction clause in it or has given written consent to the Company to make such deductions.  If there is no such documentation in place, you cannot make the deduction without the employees consent.  Should you make the deduction regardless, the employee will have a claim for unlawful deductions of wages, where they can take you to an Employment Tribunal.