Lincolnshire firms given vital advice on employee wellbeing at free law seminar

28 September 2017
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Employers have been advised to deal with long-term sickness effectively and encourage wellbeing at our latest employment law seminar.

Firms should prepare to manage long-term sickness absence appropriately, business leaders were advised at an employment law breakfast seminar.

Lincolnshire’s largest law firm, Wilkin Chapman solicitors, joined forces with the University of Lincoln’s International Business School to present ‘Workforce Engagement and Employee Welfare’ to an audience of more than 40 delegates.

Held at the University’s Junxion conference centre, vital advice was presented on how to further engage a workforce in changing times, and the correct action to take to address issues of long-term sickness absence.

The audience was told how, in 2016, the UK lost 137-million working days to staff sickness costing £18-billion in lost productivity. This showed the importance of both encouraging wellbeing and dealing with sickness effectively, they heard.

Laura Clark, solicitor in Wilkin Chapman’s employment team briefed delegates on the legal framework governing the relationship between employer and employee.

She stressed how important it was to handle capability procedures and issues surrounding long-term sickness absence properly.

“Failing to follow the appropriate procedure puts the business at risk of tribunal claims from disgruntled employees,” said Ms Clark.

“Communication is key. Consultation will need to take place with both the employee and medical professionals to establish whether there are any steps that the company can take to get the employee back to work,” she added.

Dismissal in this scenario should be a last resort, and should only be done after the proper procedures have been followed, she advised.

Senior solicitor Oliver Tasker used cases studies to show how vital it was for employers to use clear reasoning and evidence to support any action taken due to long-term sickness absence.

“It is important to fully explain the rationale behind the Company’s decision, particularly with any dismissal for long term sickness and advice should be sought at an early stage to avoid any unnecessary risks of a Tribunal claim,” he advised.

Earlier Dr Deirdre Anderson, Head of Department for People and Organisations at the Lincoln International Business School, talked about wellbeing and job satisfaction as a way of improving productivity in changing times.

She emphasised how pressures today included the ‘electronic leash’ – people feeling tied to work due to the digital age, working in isolation and the gig economy where short-term contracts or freelance work were common.

“Wellbeing is linked to employers creating a culture where individuals feel valued, especially in changing times. The nature of the business will dictate the different types of workers you have, but it is vital that any wellbeing strategies are available to all and communication and sharing is critical,” added Dr Anderson.

For more details of all aspects of employment law and Wilkin Chapman’s HR and employment law advice line, contact Oliver Tasker on 01522 515987 or go to www.wilkinchapman.co.uk/busine...


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