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Issues Arising For Employers As Winter Draws Near

This week we are considering some of the things often forgotten by employers which come along when the mercury drops. So then, some stark reminders of these aspects of being a good employer in the winter months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Summer is most definitely over, the days are getting shorter and employee’s faces possibly somewhat longer as a result. This means for some employees that ‘SAD’ is back. SAD as many will be aware is a form of depression that arises during the winter months when people are exposed to low levels of sunlight throughout the working day. The condition manifests via depression, fatigue, low motivation and possibly reduced self-esteem.

So what can a concerned employer do to tackle this problem in the workplace? Simple really, let as much natural light into the workplace as is possible or practical. This will increase the solar exposure of staff and make them more productive in the afternoon, or at the least no less productive than usual because of SAD.

Risk Assessments

Now is a good time to undertake risk assessments. In particular, for staff who work alone or outside. Working alone is common, especially in the SME community. Lone workers are those that operate without supervision, for example cleaners, maintenance or security staff. These workers should not be exposed to higher risks than other supervised workers. An employer’s duty to reduce risks and create a safe working environment remains. To maintain a safe environment for a lone worker, employers must first detect the risks in order to reduce or eliminate them altogether. Ensuring that staff generally have adequate health and safety training is complimentary to getting any assessments done.

If you are wondering how such assessments might be carried out, feel free to get in touch with us to speak with our Health and Safety Consultant.

Sickness Absence Policies

Now is a good time to remind staff about the Company sickness absence policy and how staff should report absence in the event they are unwell. With the school holidays over it is that time of year when it will not be too long before children kindly bring home the coughs, sneezes and sore throats gained in the classroom, passed to parents who in turn bring it into the workplace. The practical end of reminding the workforce about this is that it ensures that needless disciplinary sanctions are avoided as all know where they stand regarding the policy. Obviously imposing such sanctions decreases morale and takes up valuable time that could be used more profitably.  

Car Winter Checks

Many employers provide a company car and so it is important to have them serviced on a regular basis, in particular before the winter months. For staff who have their own vehicle, encourage them to undertake a winter check for their own safety and reduce the likelihood of the seemingly obligatory late arrivals due to car trouble.

Where possible, employers should encourage all the above points as part of their duty of care towards their employees.

If you need any help and advice in relation to Commercial Disputes or Employment Law, please do not hesitate to contact me or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.  

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment and litigation law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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