Questions we have been asked this month

Article

29 November, 2016

Q: Is it necessary to inform a member of staff if they are subject to an investigation into safeguarding allegations?

A: According to DfE guidance, it is necessary to inform the member of staff. In any event, in order to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, the member of staff would in more cases than not be a key witness and therefore would be subject to interview.

Q: When managing sickness absence, what is the appropriate course of action when unable to contact a member of staff?

A: If the member of staff cannot be contacted by telephone and/or email then it is necessary to write to them explaining their obligations under their contract of employment. Just as any employer owes a duty of care to its employees whilst they are absent due to illness, said employee will owe a duty to the employer to keep in touch.

If an employee persistently fails to do so it may be necessary to inform the employee that further failures may result in disciplinary action being taken against them for a breach of the sickness absence reporting policy.

Q: Is it possible to pay in lieu of any notice owed?

A: Unlike in the commercial world, payment in lieu of notice is rare in Education. This is arguably due to the notice provisions that the majority of teachers' contracts contain lengthier notice periods (two months ending on a term, except for the summer term which will be 3 months) which protect educational establishments in terms of cover and minimises disruption.

Whilst it is possible to pay in lieu of notice, practically speaking it may not be a viable option due to budgeting implications.

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

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