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Kerry Nelson

HR Advisor - Uckfield

21st June 2022

GatekeeperHR: ‘The Essentials’ Top 10 Employment & HR FAQs

GatekeeperHR: ‘The Essentials’ Top 10 Employment & HR FAQs

Here is a handy guide to the top 10 Employment & HR questions asked of our GatekeeperHR team:

1 “We’re coming to a busy time of the year; can I refuse an employee’s request for annual leave?”

GatekeeperHR says: Yes, you can refuse an employee’s holiday request. Your refusal will only be valid if you give proper notice of refusing it, to the employee. This means, the notice you give must be equal in length to the length of the holiday requested holiday. For example, if an employee requests one week’s holiday, you must refuse their request by giving at least one week’s notice before their holiday was due to commence. You should also give the employee a justified reason for refusing their holiday request and it may be good practice to suggest alternative dates.

2 “Do I still need to carry out right to work checks following Brexit?”

GatekeeperHR says: Yes. Employers must continue to carry out right to work checks on all workers before employing them in the same way as before Brexit. The latest Home Office guidance provides three ways in which an employer can conduct right to work checks and establish a statutory excuse. Our employment blog sets out further guidance on this topic. Please give us a call if you require specific advice.

3 “How much holiday is an employee legally entitled to?”

GatekeeperHR says: Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday in each full holiday year, inclusive of the normal public and/or bank holidays. This is the equivalent of 28 days’ holiday per year for a person working a full, five day week. Part-time employees are entitled to holidays calculated on a pro-rata basis. To calculate holiday entitlement on a pro-rata basis, click here (note: this Government calculator is only for the statutory minimum holiday. Please contact us for pro-rating holiday allowance in excess of the statutory minimum).

4 “I’ve paid for an employee to undertake training and they’ve resigned from their position after completing the training. Can I deduct their training costs?”

GatekeeperHR says: Employers can only recover training costs from an employee if there is an express agreement to that effect. This will generally be set out in the Contract of Employment or via a separate training agreement. If you are unsure as to whether you have this in place, we advise that you contact a member of the team before making such a deduction.

 5 “An employee’s daycare centre has been closed due to flooding, do I have to allow them time off for emergency childcare?”

GatekeeperHR says: Yes. Employees are entitled to unpaid time off to deal with short term emergencies involving their dependants (ie: children, parents, partner, etc). Speak to the team about a Time off for Dependants Policy.

6 “I have an employee who is under-performing during their probationary period. Can I dismiss them without following a process?”

GatekeeperHR says: We would strongly advise that employers follow a procedure when dismissing an employee irrespective of their length of service or whether they are still within a probationary period. Not only does doing so protect against potential Employment Tribunal claims, including those relating to discrimination (which don’t require two years’ service), it also helps foster positive employee relations and preserve an employer’s reputation. If you are considering what we call ‘short service dismissals’, please give us a call so we can provide specific advice.

7 “Where can I find all of the updated Statutory Payment Rates?”

GatekeeperHR says: In the first quarter of each year, a member of the team will circulate an article outlining the changes to Statutory Payment Rates which take effect in April. These are also available on the Government website and are updated each year/as and when required.

8 “We’ve recruited a part-time employee – what rest breaks are they entitled to?”

GatekeeperHR says: There are three types of rest breaks available to employees by law. These are:

  • Rest breaks at work: employees are entitled to a 20 minute rest break if they work for more than six hours on a given day.
  • Daily rest: employees have the right to 11 hours’ rest between working days. For example, if they finish work at 8.00 pm, they should not start work again until 7.00 am the following day.
  • Weekly rest: employees have the right to either: an uninterrupted 24 hour period without any work each week; or an uninterrupted 48 hour period without any work each fortnight.

Please note that rest breaks differ for those employees aged under 18. Please contact a member of the team if you are employing a young worker.

9 “We need to change our pay date, can we do this without speaking to employees?”

GatekeeperHR says: Employers cannot, generally, impose a change of terms on an employee without their consent. This includes changing key terms such as hours, pay, pay date, holiday entitlement, place of work and job role. It’s vital to consult with staff about proposed changes to their contractual terms such as these and to seek their agreement to such changes before implementing them. Please contact a member of the team for tailored advice.

10 “We need to carry out an investigation and then hold a disciplinary meeting, what’s the difference between the two?”

GatekeeperHR says: An investigatory meeting is an informal fact finding exercise designed to elicit an initial account from an employee in connection with a disciplinary allegation or allegations and to determine whether there is a case to answer that warrants holding a disciplinary hearing. The investigator can often need to interview other employees to get a full picture. A disciplinary hearing is a formal meeting at which the employee and sometimes ‘witnesses’ are questioned. It allows an employer to decide whether an allegation is upheld against an employee and, if so, what sanction, if any, should be imposed. Where possible, an investigatory meeting should be carried out by a manager and a disciplinary hearing should be carried out by a different, more senior manager.

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What can the GatekeeperHR team offer for your business? Contact us today to find out more. You can also request a free trial to our portal which includes a library of documentation, guidance notes, checklists and FAQs.

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