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June 2017 Newsletter – Manufacturing & Engineering Sector

It’s June and the month of warm (some of them too warm!), long, sunny days or, failing that, at least there’s been the Election and the wacky hats of Royal Ascot for a bit of light entertainment! However, we’ll try to compete for your attention with our update on HR/Employment law news. This month we keep you informed with a ‘back to basics’ FAQ session on Apprenticeships and also the Levy and a reminder and update on the General Data Protection Regulations due to come into force this time next year.

Our case update this month focuses on the rights of workers mistakenly labelled as self-employed to carry over of statutory annual leave entitlement, making an employee redundant following a period of long term sickness absence and whether it is discriminatory to pay at different rates for a man taking shared parental leave than a woman taking maternity leave.

What we’ve been doing in the Manufacturing & Engineering sector recently…

We have recently been assisting a number of our manufacturing clients who are managing employees who are absent due to sickness following an accident at work. This throws up a couple of issues on which we have developed experience over the years. The first is whether to discipline the employee for having caused the accident in the first place. Whilst it may seem harsh, if the employee was not, for example, following the Health and Safety rules and that led to the accident then disciplining is the correct thing to do. This is obviously only once you have established that there is a case to answer following a thorough investigation. Did we mention that we have recently done some very well received, modestly priced investigation training sessions for a number of manufacturing clients? Strongly recommended!

The other common issue is that if the employee threatens to bring, or actually starts a personal injury claim against you for the injury. This will mean that you really ought to involve your Employer’s Liability insurer before you take any steps that could affect the value of your employee’s claim. The main things that can affect the value of the claim are reducing the employee’s sick pay or dismissing them due to the length of their absence. Our experience is that insurers take a variety of approaches in such cases and it’s much better to have them on board in these situations. Although it may seem fair and obvious to you that when an employee’s entitlement to (full) sick pay runs out, you just apply your normal rule. However, if you are facing a PI claim then your insurer may take a different view and get upset if you just proceed as normal in reducing sick pay. Worth checking. We are of course very happy to support you with any such issues – just call us on 0117 325 0526.

Simon Martin
Partner, Solicitor
email Simon or call 0117 325 0929


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