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Friday, November 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Despite the frequency of errors in following disciplinary rules, applying these shouldn't be difficult, or particularly time-consuming... and there's plenty of support available from Employment Law Clinic, including a convenient flowchart that reminds you of each step, with a summary guide of the points you'll need to consider as you go through the disciplinary process.
Grievance procedures are similar to disciplinary procedures, and are often included in the same company policy. The main difference is that for disciplinary matters, the employer is not happy about the conduct of an employee and will be contemplating action against them; for grievances, the employee is not happy about something related to their employment, and will be looking for something to be done by the employer.
Disciplinary & Grievance Policies in Your Business
Most (but despite the legal requirement for these, not all) employers do have Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures in place. The problems for small businesses often arise from the infrequency with which these need to be considered, and then ensuring the documents are relevant & compliant with the current standards - the ACAS Code of Practice.
Even assuming all points are satisfied, employers will often try to issue a disciplinary penalty in haste, and then think about the need to comply with their own rules & attempt to make the disciplinary process fit their decisions.
In other instances, employers will be thinking about dismissing an employee, and then both try to ensure the disciplinary process leads to this preconceived outcome & the result is achieved as quickly as possible.
Both of these approaches, as well as the various other practices employers adopt, invariably only ever cause unnecessary complications and serve no interest to the business. If the desired result (dismissal or otherwise) is the appropriate action, following the right steps will lead to this, with the decisions reached at the right stage in the disciplinary process, and so protecting the interests of the business at the same time.
With grievances, employers often see an employee as simply being disgruntled, making a fuss about nothing, perhaps assuming the employee does not even understanding what it is they are complaining about. However, for the employee the matter is obviously important, and therefore there's a responsibility on the employer to consider the grievance and treat it seriously.
For clients of Employment Law Clinic, we can be on-hand to discuss the various stages with you, ensuring these are done as promptly & efficiently as possible. If you want to discuss the option of a telephone advice service, please call us on 020 3239 0569 or consider any convenient option to contact us.
About Disciplinary Procedures
Disciplinary rules & procedures are there to ensure the effective operation of your business, setting standards for performance and conduct, and how you will address the matter when the need arises.
Disciplinary procedures should always be designed to encourage & promote improvement where necessary, and not be weighted towards sanctions - sanctions, including dismissal, will be a possibility in the most serious cases, but these would normally be the exception, and certainly not relevant in every case; the procedures should be a key management tool, there to promote good management & good standards among your staff.
The disciplinary rules & procedures will often be unique to your company, reflecting what is necessary in your business. However, common points to include will be:
* when & how the disciplinary procedures will be applied;
* who will be involved in disciplinary action, and the possible outcomes;
* the appeals procedure.
The rules will also cover the type of areas for which the disciplinary procedure might be applied, which could include:
* general conduct;
* personal use of business equipment (including use of telephones, internet, stationery).
This list will not normally include every possible point for which disciplinary action could be necessary, but it should give a clear indication to employees on the types of areas for which the disciplinary procedures might be used.
About Grievance Procedures
A grievance can be a complaint, a concern, or a problem an employee has about their employment. As it can be in no-one's interest for something of this nature to be ignored, it is appropriate that all employers have a formal grievance procedure in place.
Dealing with most grievances can be quick & easy, and should not require much in the way formality – a private chat will often suffice to identify the problem, from which point the employer will often be able to provide reassurances, or address the matter of concern to the employee. Nonetheless, an option should exist for more formal steps for those occasions the matter is not resolved so easily.
Employers are expected to treat all grievances seriously, and take what action may be appropriate to resolve the matter. This does not mean that all employees' grievances must be upheld or settled in the manner favoured by the employee, but the employer should at least to consider the grievance and decide if anything practical can be done to appease the employee.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Ministry of Labour & Employment
AMENDMENT TO MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2008 to provide for (i)
enhancing Medical Bonus from Rs. 250/- to Rs. 1,000/- if no pre-
natal confinement and post-natal care is provided by the employer
free of charge; and (ii) Granting powers to the Central Government
to revise Medical Bonus before three years subject to a maximum of
Rs. 20,000/- has been passed by the Parliament. The Bill has also
received the assent of the President on 1st April, 2008 and has
been published in the Gazette of India on 2nd April, 2008.
This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent
Charge) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Shri Oscar
Fernandes in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
Friday, October 30, 2009
If only you had listened more carefully during the induction! Don't sweat... here is a quick look at the Maternity Act and the benefits it has to offer.
The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 states:
A pregnant working woman is entitled to six weeks of paid leave. An employer cannot knowingly employ her in any work during the six weeks that starts from the day of delivery. However, if she herself were to request the permission to work before or after delivery, then she should not be assigned any arduous jobs or made to stand long hours.
When you take your six weeks of leave is really up to you. For example: you could take three weeks before your due date and the rest after delivery.
The six weeks are compulsory. However, the maximum number of days may vary according to the policy of an organisation. Some companies offer anywhere between three to six months leave.
"If you have any casual leave or compensatory offs pending, you can use them during this period,"
According to the Act, six weeks of paid leave is mandatory. However, if your organisation allows more than six weeks,whether you will be paid for the days beyond six weeks depends on company policy.
If you earn less than Rs.10,000, your company may offer you the State Employees Insurance scheme (ESIC). It is a government scheme, wherein a small amount will be cut from your salary every month.
If you are eligible for ESIC, then the maternity leave provided by your company will be unpaid. Instead, you will have to claim the amount from the ESIC office in your city. However, all the legwork will have to be done by you.
The ESIC cannot be exchanged for the monetary benefits provided by the company.
The Act is applicable to all women working in any establishment.
However, to be eligible, you need to have worked in an organisation for at least 80 days before your due date.
To avail the leave and benefits, you need to submit a written notice to your employer. The notice date should start from when you are going on leave.
You may give the notice before or soon after delivery.
It also depends upon the company policy. Some organisations ask for a notice before you take leave.
Even if you forget to submit the notice, you can still claim the maternity benefit. "It is advisable to have it in writing. It can be used as proof in court in case of any discrepancy,"
Dismissal on Account of Pregnancy
When you are on maternity leave, your employer may not discharge or dismiss you from work. It is equally wrong if your employer were to change any of the conditions or terms of your service to your disadvantage without your knowledge during the leave period.
Even if you were to be dismissed, you are still entitled to receive the maternity benefit or bonus.
The employer has the right to terminate your services if you indulge in any gross misconduct such as disclosing confidential company information for personal gains or stealing company documents. In this case, you may have to forfeit the Act benefits as well.
However, if you are fired during the leave period on unjust reasons (such as absence from work due to pregnancy or for requesting a flexible working time), then you can take legal action against your employer.
In any such event, file a case in the Industrial and Labour court. The court will then issue a notice to the employer.
"Depending upon the case, the court will decide on a suitable monetary compensation," explains Madon. Apart from the pay, the employer can also be imprisoned for up to three months.
The Maternity Benefits Act is a beneficial tool for all pregnant working women. However, it is up to you to take advantage of it.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
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