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Absence

Absence is an important factor affecting relationships at work. High levels of absence can cause serious problems for both large and small organisations.

Dealing effectively with absence calls for a continuous and coordinated effort by HR managers, line managers, including first-line supervisors, and worker representatives.

High absence can often be a symptom of workers' dissatisfaction with their jobs. Sound, fair and consistent policies and procedures can provide a framework within which absence problems can be better handled.

See:
  • Advice on Managing Sickness Absence
  • ACAS

    ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. ACAS provides up-to-date information, independent advice, training and works with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance.  It has approximately 730 staff based in 11 main regional centres throughout England, Scotland and Wales with a head office in London.

    Other Links:

    Access to Medical Report

    An employer who wants an opinion from the employee's GP about the health of the employee must first ask for the employee's permission. A request by an employer for a report from a medical practitioner who is or has been responsible for the clinical care of the employee must be in line with the Access to Personal Files and Medical Reports (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

    See:
  • Advice on Managing Sickness Absence
  • Access to Work (NI)

    Access to Work (NI) can help by providing advice and an assessment of your employee's disability needs in the workplace and, if appropriate, a financial grant towards the cost of necessary support.

    For further information see below

    Employees - nidirect

    Employers - nibusinessinfo.co.uk

    Accompaniment at Disciplinary and Grievance Hearings

    All workers have a legal right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official when they are required to attend certain disciplinary or grievance hearings.  The workers companion is allowed to address the hearing in order to put the workers case; sum up the workers case and respond on the workers behalf to any view that is expressed at the hearing.

    See:
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures - 3rd April 2011
  • Action Short of Dismissal

    Action short of dismissal is used in an disciplinary context to describe a penalty which is imposed on an employee arising out a disciplinary hearing and is implemented as an alternative to dismissal, for example, suspension without pay or demotion. An employer must have the contractual right to impose such a penalty; otherwise it could be viewed as a Breach of Contract.  Action short of dismissal is also used to describe an unlawful detriment which is imposed on an employee (or worker) by an employer arising out of, for example, issues relating to trade union membership or activities.   

    Adoption Leave

    Who is entitled to adoption leave?

    • an adoptive parent of a child newly placed for adoption.
    • foster parents who are prospective adopters if they have been notified that a child is to be placed with them as part of a ‘fostering for adoption’ arrangement. (Spouses, civil partners and partners and prospective adopters in this situation may be entitled to paternity leave)
    • employees who are notified of being matched with a child for adoption. Adoption leave is a ‘day 1 right’ (i.e. employees will not need to have a qualifying service)
    • an employee who adopts a child from overseas.

    The duration of the leave is 26 weeks' ordinary adoption leave followed by 26 weeks' additional adoption leave. (Note: Only one parent is entitled to the adoption leave).

    From 5 April 2015, the entitlement to adoption leave and pay changed. If you qualified for 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave you will also be:

    • able to take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments if you are the main adopter (the second adopter will be entitled to take unpaid time for two appointments)
    • entitled to 90 per cent of your normal earnings for the first six weeks of your Statutory Adoption Leave
    Other Links:

    Agency Worker

    An Agency Worker is a worker who is supplied by either an Employment Business/Employment Agency to do work for another (the hirer) either under a contract of employment or other such contract as agreed between the Agency/Business and the Hirer.  

    The Agency Workers Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 (S.R. 2011 No. 350) were made by the Department for Employment and Learning on 5 October 2011 and will came into operation on 5 December 2011. The Regulations can be downloaded via the following link – www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/2011/350/contents/made

    The Department for the Economy NI has also produced guidance designed to help agency workers, hirers of agency workers, and the recruitment sector to understand the Regulations. The guidance can be downloaded from the Department’s website via the following link –

    See:
  • Employment Agency/Business
  • Worker – Meaning Of
  • Other Links:

    Alcohol and Substance Abuse

    Health at work is no longer just about the traditional workplace hazards. There is also growing concern about the impact of alcohol, drugs and passive smoking on workers health.

    Other Links:

    Annualised Hours

    Annualised Hours is a type of working pattern in which an employee is contracted to work a set number of hours over, for example, a year and the actual number of hours worked from week to week varies to meet organisational demands.  However, the employee will normally be paid the same weekly or monthly salary regardless of the hours worked in the previous pay period.

    Antenatal Care

    All pregnant employees are entitled to time off to keep appointments for antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.

    Antenatal care is not restricted to medical examinations. It could, for example, include relaxation classes and parentcraft classes as long as these are advised by a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.

    The employer is entitled to ask for evidence of antenatal appointments, except in the case of the very first appointment. With the exception of this  first antenatal appointment, the employee must show her employer on request:

    • a certificate confirming that she is pregnant. This can be provided by a registered medical practitioner (e.g. a doctor), a registered midwife or a registered health visitor;
    • an appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made.

    The employee should be paid at her normal hourly rate of pay by her employer during the period of time off for antenatal care. This rate is calculated by dividing the amount of a week’s pay by the number of the employee’s normal working hours in a week. The normal working hours will usually be clear from the agreed terms and conditions of employment, or from the employee’s written statement of main employment particulars.

    Other Links:
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    Telephone Enquiry Point

    The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

    The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

    While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

    028 9032 1442
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