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Tyre Smoke

Original Poster:

9,591 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
I run a relatively small taxi company and employ my drivers on an hourly rate. Some of you might remember some time back that I had an employee that took a day's unauthorised leave at the start of the year. They booked a holiday and the day they were due back were still on the beach in Cyprus. Anyway, long one short they received a final written warning for that.

Fast forward a couple of months and this employee is suffering from severe depression and is getting signed off for weeks at a time. This is damned inconvenient as I don't have a surplus of drivers and have commitments to school runs, etc. Whilst I am not unsympathetic to people being signed off, the level of absence is directly affecting the operation of the business now. They have just come back from a two week holiday (authorised this time) and today they text to say they have been signed off for two weeks again. This after being off for four consecutive weeks at the end of July into August.

This employee is good at their job - when they are doing it properly. However, the cost in stress to me and the detrimental effect it is having on the business is now making me think I have given them enough time now. I don't want to come across as the nasty boss, because I'm not, but my first loyalty has to be to the company and the other employees.

Obviously a return to work interview when (if) they come back - but is there any real teeth in this? I want them to understand that I cannot accept this level of absence. They are still under the final written warning, but don't want to end up in front of a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Any advice much appreciated.

Soovy

32,921 posts

154 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Tyre Smoke said:
I run a relatively small taxi company and employ my drivers on an hourly rate. Some of you might remember some time back that I had an employee that took a day's unauthorised leave at the start of the year. They booked a holiday and the day they were due back were still on the beach in Cyprus. Anyway, long one short they received a final written warning for that.

Fast forward a couple of months and this employee is suffering from severe depression and is getting signed off for weeks at a time. This is damned inconvenient as I don't have a surplus of drivers and have commitments to school runs, etc. Whilst I am not unsympathetic to people being signed off, the level of absence is directly affecting the operation of the business now. They have just come back from a two week holiday (authorised this time) and today they text to say they have been signed off for two weeks again. This after being off for four consecutive weeks at the end of July into August.

This employee is good at their job - when they are doing it properly. However, the cost in stress to me and the detrimental effect it is having on the business is now making me think I have given them enough time now. I don't want to come across as the nasty boss, because I'm not, but my first loyalty has to be to the company and the other employees.

Obviously a return to work interview when (if) they come back - but is there any real teeth in this? I want them to understand that I cannot accept this level of absence. They are still under the final written warning, but don't want to end up in front of a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Any advice much appreciated.
Severely medically depressed people don't go on sunshine breaks.

I'd see a solicitor for an hour, to check you've followed the procedures, but it does sound to me like they're taking the proverbial, mate.


Gargamel

6,965 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
If you pay an hourly rate - would I be right in thinking this person isn't currently costing you anything ? Or are they on Statutory Sick Pay or are you paying them ?

Might make a difference in the process you can follow

Davel

7,543 posts

141 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
I had this with an employee who had had a nervous breakdown due to severe stress at home and not related to work at all.

She was on sick leave for seven months before finally resigning.

Have you Legal Expenses cover - if so speak to them.

It is a legal minefield and you have to be very careful, so do it by the book or else it could cost you dearly.

p.s She still managed to go on several holidays during the sick leave!

Edited by Davel on Thursday 4th October 13:04

Soovy

32,921 posts

154 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all

Is the persn involved either

(a) a woman
(b) not white
(c) not straight
(d) disabled

If so, tread carefully!!


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southendpier

3,453 posts

112 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
If they are employed by you then considier reduncies as partof cost savings. They are likely to be in a pool of employees carrying out a simailar role - so you will have to carry out a selection procedure.

Sickness record can be used as a selection criteria for redundancy.

All legal.

Get GOOD HR advice.


Soovy

32,921 posts

154 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
southendpier said:
If they are employed by you then considier reduncies as partof cost savings. They are likely to be in a pool of employees carrying out a simailar role - so you will have to carry out a selection procedure.

Sickness record can be used as a selection criteria for redundancy.

All legal.

Get GOOD HR advice.
Problem is that you can't make a riole redundant and then employ someone else to do it!!!

Davel

7,543 posts

141 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
You have to be very careful if you want to make someone who is on sick leave redundant.

Take proper advice...

southendpier

3,453 posts

112 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Soovy said:
southendpier said:
If they are employed by you then considier reduncies as partof cost savings. They are likely to be in a pool of employees carrying out a simailar role - so you will have to carry out a selection procedure.

Sickness record can be used as a selection criteria for redundancy.

All legal.

Get GOOD HR advice.
Problem is that you can't make a riole redundant and then employ someone else to do it!!!
You are reducing workforce to increase profit due to market conditions. He has shown that by not working the other drivers can cover his work therfore a role is not needed.

However, having said that and been on the end of a few claims, GET HR ADVICE! And having said that even if you get HR advice - be prepared for a claim when the st heads at the tribunal decide you have a case to answer. If a claim comes in you will ned to show you followed the guidance for redundancy to the letter.

Who know's; with the threat of redundancy boyo might pick up his game.







Tyre Smoke

Original Poster:

9,591 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Redundancies not an option, I need every employee at the moment and am actively seeking more.

Currently this employee is on SSP. They have exhausted their holiday allowance for the year to date. In fact from the two weeks they've just had, only four days were paid leave.

I am very conscious of doing this properly, but am terrified of being hauled in front of a tribunal. Think a meeting with a solicitor might be in order early next week.

She has just brought me her sick note, and said "sorry, I didn't want to be signed off". Personally, had it been me in front of the GP and he/she was going to sign me off, I would have protested that actually going to work and having something to do, needing to use my brain and think would be a useful distraction to the bleakness of sitting at home with nothing to do. But then, I'm not depressed and do not pretend to understand it.

Soovy

32,921 posts

154 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Tyre Smoke said:
She
yikes

You're fked. Get some serious advice right now, from an employment solicitor.

You're being set up.


Do NOTHING until you've had PROPER advice.



She is waiting for you to get rid, then she will issue a tribunal claim, knowing that you either compromise her out, or go through months and months of aggro. AS you will also know, in the interests of "equality" women are able to claim unlimited damages for unfair dismissal (unlike men, who are apparently less equal).

I am afraid that you're inevitably going to have to pay her off, or fight her.

southendpier

3,453 posts

112 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
hmm. Can you have depressive driving kids in taxis on school runs? Is she on medication? Does that affect driving? What does your insurance say?

edc

4,791 posts

134 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
If you follow a basic capability procedure which could mirror your disciplinary procedure then you are perfectly entitled to manage such a person out. Set them improvement targets, measure, then apply warnings as appropriate. Having done this several times, I would say that in around 50% of cases the person bucks their ideas up and begins to see that absence is not an 'entitlement'.

pherlopolus

690 posts

41 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Soovy said:
Severely medically depressed people don't go on sunshine breaks.
Why on earth not? I would have thought it a good thing, try and break a cycle etc

(speaking as someone who has suffered with depression)

Muzzer79

1,068 posts

70 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
Soovy said:
Tyre Smoke said:
She
yikes

You're fked. Get some serious advice right now, from an employment solicitor.

You're being set up.

Do NOTHING until you've had PROPER advice.

She is waiting for you to get rid, then she will issue a tribunal claim, knowing that you either compromise her out, or go through months and months of aggro. AS you will also know, in the interests of "equality" women are able to claim unlimited damages for unfair dismissal (unlike men, who are apparently less equal).

I am afraid that you're inevitably going to have to pay her off, or fight her.
This is probably a little over-dramatic. I would suspect that she's just something of a work-shy hypochondriac who does not need encouragement to not be going to work.

Making someone redundant who is on sick leave is very hard and you will have the issue of not being able to employ anyone else.

You need to look into some for of Occupational Health assessment and go from there.

At the end of the day SSP is, what, £85 per week? That's not the end of the world financially so play the long game and phase her out properly.

Gargamel

6,965 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all

1. The advice to play a long game is correct
2. A bit of compassion now might be a useful thing if it does go to a tribunal later.
3. Send some flowers and a get well soon card, tell her you are looking forward to her returning.
4. When she does, hold a return to workmeeting, and ask her to go for an Occupational Health Assessment to enable you to determine her capability and capacity at work. You dress this up that you don’t want to place her under undue pressure or stress that might be causing her illness.
5. Based on the results of the assessment and determining what medication she is on – you can make a judgement call about her role.
6. Could you offer her less hours ? or ask her if she would like to go part time or act as cover ? This will enable you to amend her role and contract without actually going to formal dismissal.

I doubt any employment lawyer is going to give you good news here.

People do get ill, she may be genuinely sick, I wouldn’t want to be fired if I did have a genuine condition.






Tyre Smoke

Original Poster:

9,591 posts

144 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
I can change her hours, as she has no fixed hours, just 30 per week. I need her to cover when I need her - if you see what I mean.

The odd thing is, she is always after working more hours. That's why I find it odd that she meekly accepted being signed off. If it was me, I'd be looking to work as much as I could to take my mind off my depression.

I do feel like I'm having the piss ripped out of me, but will play the long game and see how I get on. Performance based targets might be the way forward.
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