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An employer should carry out an investigation to establish whether or not the absence was for genuine reasons.
If, however, there is no credible explanation from the worker, it may become a disciplinary issue and the employer’s disciplinary process will need to be followed.
Supporting evidence, for example a medical certificate in the case of ill health, may be sought.
However, if the explanation does not appear genuine, the employer will need to consider following its disciplinary policy.
In the case of customer-facing roles, certain standards of presentation may need to be maintained. Equally, for health and safety reasons, it may be necessary for employees to continue to wear protective clothing irrespective of summer heat.
One way or the other, organisations should ensure that the dress code is reasonable, appropriate to the needs of the particular business and does not discriminate between groups of employees.
Stop Press: National Minimum Wage
We are now seeing a greater emphasis on enforcing the National Minimum Wage. There has been an increase in penalties for failure to pay National Minimum Wage:
The maximum financial penalty for a failure to pay the National Minimum Wage has been increased. Previously, the maximum penalty was £20,000 per notice of underpayment, irrespective of the number of employees who have been underpaid by the employer. From 26 May 2015, the maximum penalty of £20,000 can now be calculated on a per worker basis rather than on a per employer notice basis.
Andrew Macmillan, Solicitor, Motor Industry Legal Services