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3 tips to managing difficult employees without it affecting your own mental health

As mental health awareness week draws to an end for another year, I thought I would put thoughts to paper in respect of something, I personally feel, gets left out of this important discussion – the mental health of managers. So here at my thoughts.

For business continuity and success, managers need to manage its people to ensure compliance of process and policy as well as overall profitability. This can come into jeopardy when mangers are unable to manage an employee due to being afraid of the words “stress”, “depression” and “anxiety”. Over time, with a difficult employee, it can lead to the manager suffering from poor mental health themselves and an inability to effectively manage people.

So here are my 3 tips to avoid this:

  1. Identify the medical impairment. This morning I was listening to a doctor on radio 5 and she highlighted that when discussing mental health, we should not forget to distinguish between temporary episodes of poor mental health such as anxiety and clinical conditions such as bi-polar and schizophrenia because the coping mechanisms are very different. So, it is essential, at the earliest opportunity, you sit down with the staff member in question and discuss their medical issue, asking then to explain how it impacts on their role and how you can help them.
  • Obtain medical evidence. Often, it is very difficult for people to identify the reasonable adjustments required to deal with a medical impairment so again, at the earliest opportunity, either request medical evidence from their GP and/or make a referral to Occupational Health (OH). This will allow reasonable adjustments to be identified at the outset.
  • Assess whether the ‘reasonable adjustments’ identified are viable by obtaining legal advice. This is crucial, the medical professionals/OH may have identified adjustments which would not alleviate the disadvantage caused to the employee (an obligation under the Equality Act 2010). If that is the case the business has a legal obligation to communicate with the employee as well as review whether there are other more suitable roles available within the business. Knowing that you are complying with the law will reduce the risk or threat of a grievance thus reducing the stress on you.

If you need help and advice on dealing with this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to be kept updated on HR and Employment Law issues please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation 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

Steps Businesses should take during Covid-19, and how to get their staff back into work after returning from Furlough Leave

As businesses look at re-opening after lockdown and returning to some form of “new normal” we thought it would be a good idea to provide employers with guidance to returning to a safe environment as we continue to battle Covid-19.

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COVID-19 furlough scheme update and other key updates for employers

As the lockdown continues, the Government has extended access to its coronavirus job retention scheme and employers are settling in to a new way of working. Business life may have drastically changed, but employment law still applies.

You should check the Government website for the latest guidance in conjunction with this article, as the guidelines on the coronavirus (COVID-19) are changing daily. The guidance and the Treasury direction are inconsistent in places. You should speak to your solicitor for specific advice for your business.

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Ramadan – Fasting, and Employment Law during Covid-19

What is Ramadan?

The month of Ramadan is the holiest month of the Islamic year. It is when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims around the world fast during daylight hours, meaning they do not eat, drink or engage in sexual relations for the duration of their fast. Muslims observing Ramadan also increase in spiritual devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity and strengthening family ties.  Muslims are encouraged to share their food with friends, family and neighbours and to reach out to those who may be fasting alone, to share their Ramadan experiences.

Fasting is one of the ‘five pillars’ of Islam. A key objective of fasting is to increase in taqwa (closeness to God), and to become more aware of yourself and have a sense of gratitude, self-discipline and self- improvement, at both an individual and community level 

In 2020, Ramadan begins on the 23 April. However, Ramadan this year is very different due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Everyone is having to adapt to changing circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What are the statutory rates and compensation limits for 2020?

National Minimum Wage
Age Former Rate (£) Current Rate (£)
Workers aged 25 and over (National Living Wage) 8.21 8.72
Workers aged 21 – 24 7.70 8.20
Development rates for workers aged 18 – 20 6.15 6.45
Young workers rate for workers aged 16 – 17 4.35 4.55
Apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship 3.90 4.15
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Furlough – what is it?

A furlough is “a temporary layoff from work.” People who get furloughed usually get to return to their job after a furlough.

Who is eligible?

All UK businesses regardless of industry or size.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE scheme in place on 28 February 2020.

Any organisation with employees can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities; however, the government does not expect public sector employers to use it as long as central government continues funding wage costs in the normal way.  With agency employees, the scheme is only available for agency employees who are not working.

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Changes to Employment Law from April 2020

April brings with it the usual annual increases to the national minimum wage and statutory pay for family-friendly leave and sickness absence. But the effects of Good Work: the Taylor review of modern working practices, published in 2017, are still being felt and changes are being introduced to protect vulnerable workers in increasingly flexible business models.

Changes to IR35 tax rules are also expected along with the introduction of the right to parental bereavement leave. A raft of measures designed to protect vulnerable workers also come into force.

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