Q&A

Your latest employment law questions answered.

Q. As an employer, can I automatically deduct money from my employee’s wages if I have overpaid them?

A. Yes, if it is overpaid wages or expenses. There are certain deductions allowed by statute but these are limited to overpaid wages, expenses and holiday pay, or deductions as a result of strike action. For anything else you need a clause in the contract of employment. The best option is to have the appropriate clause included in your contract of employment.

Q. My employee returning from maternity leave has asked to work part time when she was full time before. Do I have to agree to that?

A. Not necessarily. Every employee with at least 26 weeks continuous service can put in a flexible working request to change hours, and that will include someone returning from maternity leave. As an employer you must consider that reasonably and accommodate if you can do so without a significant impact on your business. You can refuse as long as you have a good financial, technical or organisational reason to do so. The best option is to have a clear policy that treats all staff the same to minimise the risk of your decision being considered discriminatory. See our latest blog for much more information.

Q. An employee has gone off sick in the middle of a disciplinary process, do I have to wait for them to return from sick leave before carrying on?

A. No, as long as you take reasonable steps to allow them an opportunity to be involved. This could be by written submissions or attendance at an alternative place more convenient for them depending on the nature of the illness. You would always be advised to consult with the employee’s doctor. You can still dismiss someone who is off sick, but any tribunal looking at it as a claim would want to see a fair and robust process that have afforded the employee as much opportunity as reasonably possible to be involved.