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As the season of good will approaches, many of you will be organising your annual staff parties.  Christmas parties are a great way of motivating and thanking staff for all of their hard work over the year. Staff parties should be happy, positive events which staff look forward to and enjoy. Rachel Smith-Twigger, employment law specialist at Stephen Rimmer LLP shares her top tips on how to ensure your Christmas party is the friendly affair it should be:

Be inclusive


Christmas parties are not normally associated with celebrating the Christian faith. But if the reverse is true, beware! You could discriminate against non Christian workers unless you also celebrate their religious holidays. Be considerate and try to adopt an embrace all approach.Ensure there is a wide variety of drinks and food to cater for all requirements. Consider whether the entertainment could offend and whether you also need to offer a celebratory focus for your non Christian members of staff.

Risk Assess

Risk assess your party ahead of time. An event closely linked to the business is likely to fall within the remit of health and safety so make sure you notify workers of potential hazards in advance and consider issues such as transport and accessibility for your less able staff.

Make sure staff behave

Claims for harassment against employers extend to complaints by employees that they have been harassed by their colleagues. Lewd comments, over familiarity or forcing colleagues to dance are all acts capable of amounting to harassment so do provide training and policies on equal opportunities which specifically encompass the subject of staff parties. Issue a ‘work related event’ policy setting out the standards of conduct expected and reminding employees that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation. Ensure that senior personnel maintain the same standards and ‘lead by example.’

Unauthorised Absences

Ensure that equal opportunity policies are distributed to all employees and operate a system recording this has been done. Write to employees ahead of parties emphasising that unauthorised absence following staff events will be dealt with by way of disciplinary action. If an employee reports in sick the morning after, properly investigate first before settling on disciplinary action. Treat all employees consistently in order to reduce the risk of constructively unfair dismissal and / or discrimination claims.



Posted by: In: Business 12 Nov 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , , ,

Following a recent ruling in the Employment Appeal Tribunal a worker’s holiday pay must now include the amount that s/he would ordinarily earn from working overtime, commission or other allowances or payments. We spoke to Raquel Twigger an employment law specialist at Stephen Rimmer LLP to shed some light on this issue for employers in the area. Below is a description of what has  been decided and what you will need to do going forward.

The good news is that it has been decided that to try and stay a mass of back pay claims against British businesses, the  law courts have ruled that workers may only claim for a series of deductions (a series of holiday periods where overtime was not paid) if they are NOT separated by more than three months.

For the purposes of calculating annual leave, employers should base a weeks pay on an average of the worker’s earnings over the 12-week reference period that is already used for other workers whose normal pay varies from week to week.

A Government task force has been set up to look at how it can limit the impact of the decision on business although it is considered there is a limited amount of help it will be able to provide.

Raquel will be happy to speak to businesses owners about this and you can call her on 01323 644222 and or you can email her at rt@stephenrimmer.com we will keep you posted on any further developments and announcements from the Government task force.

Posted by: In: Education 28 May 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , , ,

Sussex Coast College Hastings have announced this week their delight at being approved by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) to deliver Human Resources qualifications.


Sussex Coast College Hastings can now offer businesses CIPD HR courses for staff.

Vice Principal for Enterprise, Employment and Skills, Dan Shelley, said ‘The college is determined to support local businesses to grow and as they do, trained human resources professionals will become key to ensuring that this growth is maintained by employing the right people and managing their progression.’

Delivery of the first CIPD approved course will start in September and the college plans to add more HR and professional courses to their offer over the months.

They aim to meet local need and ensure the college is supporting all sectors to grow and develop within Hastings and East Sussex.

To find out more about the courses available, visit the page here.