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Employment Update for Small Businesses
October 2022

Dear Subscriber

It is sometimes necessary and advisable to suspend an employee from their employment on a temporary basis, normally in connection with a disciplinary matter. But suspension should always be the last resort after other alternatives have been rejected. In this month’s newsletter we consider ACAS’s most recent guidance on suspension.

Also, in a shameless plug for subscribers in the locality, we have a short ad for my latest theatrical production – Dracula the Musical!

Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.

Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.

Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164

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Peter Etherington
Suspending an Employee
How to suspend and when it should apply
ACAS has recently published detailed guidance on suspension of staff during an investigation at work. We look at the key messages and add some of our own:

  • Suspension should only normally be considered when dealing with a very serious disciplinary allegation (e.g. one that is likely to be considered gross misconduct)
  • Only suspend if you need to, for instance to ensure the investigation is unhindered, to protect against any repetition (e.g. in the case of abuse or theft), to protect other staff, etc.
  • Suspension should never be used as a punishment
  • Bear in mind suspension is not a neutral act – it carries with it stigma and can be very stressful for the employee who is suspended
  • Only suspend someone if you have considered other options and found that there is no alternative
  • Consider alternatives such as temporarily changing duties, home-working, etc.
  • Consider what other staff should be told about the employee’s absence, bearing in mind the need to maintain confidentiality
  • Don’t forget that you can suspend at a later date if any temporary measures prove ineffective
  • Suspension should always be on full pay
  • Send a letter confirming the suspension (which can be sent to the employee once they have been suspended)
  • Keep the period of suspension as brief as possible, review it regularly and keep in touch with the suspended employee

Please contact us if you need any support or further advice.

National Minimum and Living Wage
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £9.50 per hour for workers aged 23 and over
  • £9.18 per hour for workers aged 21 to 22
  • £6.83 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £4.81 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £4.81 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*

*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.