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As an employer, you have to have three policies in place by law:
- Health and safety policy ( if you have more than five employees)
- Disciplinary and dismissal policies
- Grievance policy
Guidance is available below. Other policies are not legally required but are recommended.
Health & safety policy
The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety. A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.
If you have five or more employees, you must write your policy down. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so.
You must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.
The HSE provide further guidance on health and safety policy
As an employer, the PCC needs to ensure that it has its own local management structure to provide day-to-day management. A suitable structure can include a sub-committee of the PCC comprising, for example of, one churchwarden and a couple of others including the Vicar/Rector who can make any routine decisions, so that if anything crops up which needs to be considered through appeal etc, an independent person can take the lead.
Appraisals (also known as Performance and Development Reviews) are formal reviews that take place on an annual or biannual basis and is a method by which the job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. An appraisal is normally part of the formal performance management process. It requires both parties to prepare well, in advance of the meeting. Appraisal forms must be completed and logged on the employee’s personnel file.
The aim of the appraisal is to align the priorities of the appraisee with the goals and objectives of the parish (Mission Action Plan). By providing clearly defined individual objectives, the manager enables the employee to see how their achievements contribute to the parish’s success.
Many employees report that their appraisal, when done well is highly motivating. Appraisals are good for ongoing performance management and maintaining performance standards, reviewing longer-term performance achievements and correcting performance issues that are significant but do not present a major problem. It is also an opportunity for the employee to let you know of any larger issues that need to be addressed, for example, a problem with another department that is affecting the employee’s performance.
ACAS provide further guidance on capability procedures.
The capability procedure mirrors the disciplinary procedure. This is because, even though the procedure aims to rectify the problem, there is a possibility that the employee may be dismissed.
The capability procedure focuses on the individual’s capability to do the job. Incapability may be caused by illness, disability, inability to meet the requirements of the role even though others can.
The capability procedure should be used for handling issues related to long-term illness, disability, or just long-term absence from work. It is also helpful where an employee cannot meet the demands of the job – and can be used to send a clear message about performance levels required and the consequences of continued incapability to meet standards.
You should redeploy the person to a more suitable job where possible. Where an employee has failed to meet the required standards of performance, you may have no choice but to commence dismissal proceedings, once a capability procedure has been followed.
ACAS has published a guide to discipline and grievances at work. You should use this procedure in cases of incapability where previous warnings have been given and there is no suitable alternative. This procedure should not be used for low-level performance issues.
Attendance management is what organisations use to monitor attendance, including absence and timekeeping. The Acas guide to managing attendance and absence can be found here.
Disagreements at work are inevitable. Sometimes they become intractable and need to be addressed. Having a set grievance procedure can depersonalise the process so that a resolution can be achieved.
A PCC will typically be too small to involve an independent person for the employee to raise a grievance with. If this is the case, it is in your interests to make it clear that all grievances will be treated fairly and objectively even if the grievance is about something you have said or done.
Sometimes, in smaller firms, grievances can sometimes be taken as personal criticism. Following your grievance procedure can make it easier to hear any grievances in a calm and objective manner, being as fair to the employee as possible in the resolution of the problem.
All discussions, whether informal or formal, should give the employee sufficient time to state their case. In some circumstances, simply giving the employee the opportunity to air the grievance will take most of the heat out of it. Wherever possible grievances should be dealt with informally first. This can often be achieved by mediation however, this can only be achieved providing you have consent from everyone involved.
Acas have some useful resources for managing grievances. They have also produced the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. This guide is the minimum an employer should follow when handling such issues within the workplace. Together these resources will help you to identify a grievance and deal with it in a fair and consistent manner.
Employees have the right to various family-friendly measures. The ACAS advice is here.
Acas have some useful resources on developing staff in their archive.
Whistleblowing is the term used when an employee passes on information concerning wrongdoing. This can also be referred to as “making a disclosure” or “blowing the whistle”. The wrongdoing will typically (although not necessarily) be something they have witnessed at work. Further information on whistleblowing can be found here.
The Acas guide to workplace discipline can be found here. Where performance or conduct issues are of a minor nature it is best to first seek an informal resolution to any difficulty. Often a prompt and informal one-to-one discussion is all that is needed to improve an employee's conduct or performance or to get it back on track. In such circumstances:
- Talk with the individual in private;
- Remain positive and constructive and encourage two-way discussion;
- Explain the shortcomings in conduct or performance to the employee and reaffirm the expected standard;
- Listen to the employee's explanation and, if there is still a problem, give an informal warning;
- Agree on any improvement needed and focus the discussion on finding ways to achieve the necessary improvement;
- Agree any actions to be taken to achieve improvement and by when;
- Agree on a date for a follow-up meeting.
Following this meeting, make a record of:
- The date the meeting took place;
- What was discussed at the meeting?;
- The outcome of the meeting;
- Any review date set.
This should be shared with the employee. Where an employee has still failed to meet the required standards of performance or conduct, you may have no choice but to commence dismissal proceedings, once a disciplinary procedure has been followed.
Acas has also published a discipline and grievances at work guide. You should use this procedure in cases of gross misconduct and consider it in cases of continued misconduct where previous warnings have been given. This procedure should not be used for the first stage in any situation or for minor breaches of conduct.