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Coronavirus: new ACAS guidance on disciplinary and grievance procedures

Howes Percival comments on latest Coronavirus impacts

ACAS has now published guidance on conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employers are still able to carry out these procedures, as long it would be fair and reasonable to do so while employees are furloughed or working from home, or while following public health guidelines and social distancing if employees are still in the workplace.

The guidance highlights that employees may currently be facing stressful circumstances and encourages employers to talk through the options with everyone involved before deciding whether or not to proceed. It may be appropriate to postpone if the matter is not urgent, would be dealt with more fairly when staff have returned to the workplace, or if anyone involved reasonably objects to going ahead at this time.

Where employers decide that it is fair and reasonable to proceed, they have to consider the practical aspects of dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues remotely (for example, via video conferencing). They need to ensure that a fair procedure can still be followed, and must comply with employment law and the existing ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

Partner and employment law expert, Simon deMaid comments, “Allowing worker’s unused holiday to be carried over into the next two leave years will allow businesses already under pressure from the impacts of coronavirus the flexibility to better manage their workforce, whilst still protecting workers’ right to paid holiday.

“The biggest difficulty for employers will be determining how to designate what is statutory leave and what can be carried over from one leave year to the next. Designating any leave already taken as ‘statutory leave’ instead of ‘additional leave’ could result in workers losing that leave. Where leave is taken into another leave year, employers may wish to give clear guidance or in some cases instruction in respect of when that leave can be taken. More importantly for employers is the need for clarification of whether leave can be taken or be required to be taken by employees during a period of furlough and the appropriate pay for that holiday.”

For more information on Howes Percival’s employment law team visit: https://www.howespercival.com/services/employment-and-hr/

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For further information please contact:

Gordon or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Notes to editors:

Howes Percival has offices in Cambridge, Leicester, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Norwich.  It has 50 partners and 169 lawyers in total.

The firm is recommended in The Legal 500 – the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms.  In the 2020 guide, no fewer than 12 different departments achieved the guide’s highest possible ranking (Tier 1): Corporate and Commercial; Dispute Resolution – Commercial Litigation; Dispute Resolution – Debt Recovery; Finance – Insolvency and Corporate Recovery; Human Resources – Employment Law; Human Resources – Health and Safety; Private Client – Agriculture and Estates; Private Client – Tax, Trusts and Probate; Real Estate – Commercial Property; Real Estate – Property litigation; Real Estate – Environment & Planning; Technology, Media & Telecoms – Intellectual Property.