Questions we have been asked over the past month and our top tips

Article

24 June, 2016

Employment and HR queries we have received this month:

Q: Can I insist that employees undertake training? If they refuse, what are our options?

Generally speaking attending training sessions are a requirement in any professional job to ensure continued professional development. Certainly under the Standard Teachers Terms and Conditions, teachers are obliged to participate in arrangements for their own training and development.

Requiring attendance at training may be regarded as a reasonable management instruction, therefore, depending on a number of factors including when and where that training is taking place and whether staff members are still being paid their normal salary whilst attending. Where an employee's performance is in question and a capability process has been commenced, attendance at training may be an integral part of that procedure and required in the interests of advancing an improvement in that staff member's performance.

If employees raise concerns with regards attendance at training it will be sensible to discuss with them how their time can be managed to ensure that they are able to fulfil their responsibilities and consider whether any support can be put in place.



Q: We would like one of our employees to undertake further duties. How can we go about this even though those duties are not specifically referred to in their job description?

An individual's employment contract and/or job description may already be drafted to include their undertaking 'any other duties commensurate with their position,' or similar, in which case the additional duties may already be encapsulated.

If not, another common clause to look out for in an individual's employment contract is a 'variation' clause which can be activated to vary the employee's contract of employment to extend to the further duties.

The safest 'belt and braces' approach, however, is to issue an amendment to the employee's contract. This involves notifying the employee of the proposed changes, meeting with them to discuss and properly consider those changes, inviting representations on the same and providing reasonable notice of when those changes will take effect. It is not possible to unilaterally vary an employee's contract - their informed consent must be sought.

This may be a straightforward process if the changes are not significant or to an employee's detriment - it may be that the employee(s) simply agrees. It is very important to show that you have, as the employer, properly consulted and considered employee views on the changes, including being wary of anything which might place particular employees at a significant disadvantage (i.e. potential discrimination.)

If, however, an employee still does not agree with the changes you may have to dismiss that employee with notice, in accordance with their existing contract and re-engage them immediately under the new contractual terms. It is very important that proper and focused legal advice is sought in this scenario as it is vital that the correct process is followed to ensure the School / College is protected against any liability for that dismissal.

If you require any further advice then please contact a member of the Education & HR team on 01772 2200022.

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