31 January 2011

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have published an Employer’s Charter. It lists what an employer can do in managing their staff reasonably, fairly and lawfully.

Although the following information may seem obvious, it is a useful guide that provides clarity for employers on what steps they can take when handling workplace issues with staff. This is intended to help employers understand what they can do in general. Of course, individual circumstances may vary and employers should act in accordance with their legal obligations.

As an employer – as long as you act fairly and reasonably – you are entitled to…

  • ask an employee to take their annual leave at a time that suits your business
  • contact a woman on maternity leave and ask when she plans to return
  • make an employee redundant if your business takes a downward turn
  • ask an employee to take a pay cut
  • withhold pay from an employee when they are on strike
  • ask an employee whether they would be willing to opt-out from the 48 hour limit in the Working Time Regulations
  • reject an employee’s request to work flexibly if you have a legitimate business reason
  • talk to your employees about their performance and how they can improve
  • dismiss an employee for poor performance
  • stop providing work to an agency worker (as long as they are not employed by you)
  • ask an employee about their future career plans, including retirement.