Problem Solving

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Problem Solving

  • Absence Management & long term sickness
  • Grievances. 
  • Disciplinaries.
  • Mediation.
  • GDPR & Subject Access Data Requests
  • ACAS negotiation & Tribunal support 

Absence Management & long-term sickness

From experience and the type of issues we deal with on a daily basis, the team at Absolute Works know that a major concern for employers is how to handle absence. Short term and long-term absence (sick leave) and lateness can be costly and disruptive for a business. All three issues can  cause a significant strain on colleagues and management. Our HR Portal has a clocking in and out facility which can assist businesses in managing attendance. It is straight forward and simple to use.

If you are keen to understand how to tackle absence issues, our team of HR experts can devise and help implement a reporting and return to work process. How we suggest this is done very much depends on the culture within the business, the size of the business and the attitude the workforce have to change. You may be surprised at the effectiveness of formally recording and monitoring lateness, short term sickness and return to work conversations!

Mental Wellbeing

Did you know that?

  • 1 in 6 workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time (1)
  • There were 602,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19 in Great Britain (2)

In 2018/19, stress, depression or anxiety were responsible for 44% of all cases of work-related ill health and 54% of all working days lost due to health issues in GB (2)

More information

Theses stats are all reported pre-Covid and it goes without saying that these numbers will undoubtedly and sadly increase.

Within our team we have Mental Health First Aiders and access to many resources and initiatives that we are also available to support you with advice and input on employee mental wellbeing.

  1. McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 [Internet]. Leeds; 2016. Available from:
  2. Health and Safety Executive. Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain 2019 [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 6]. Available from:

So far as long-term absence is concerned, this can be very tricky to deal with however, it should always be the case that the management of long-term absence should have already started at the short-term absence stage. Short term absence management can sometimes prevent long term absence.

Long term absence may be due to an underlying issue caused by a disability and such individuals will have protection is the workplace afforded to them by the Equality Act 2010. In order to minimise risk, we would always recommend speaking to an HR expert when it comes to managing a long term sickness absence. It may also be appropriate to work closely with Vocational Rehabilitation or Occupational Health Professionals to agree phased return to work plans and reasonable adjustments or, alternatively exit the employee on grounds of capability.

Onboarding & Inductions

Getting your onboarding process right is essential for making sure that your new recruits are welcomed into your business, feel supported during their first few weeks and become productive members of your team  quickly.

More information

Inductions play a key part in that onboarding process. Inductions are an opportunity for businesses to welcome their new recruit, help them settle in and ensure they have the knowledge and support they need to perform their role. Inductions may well involve an office manager or line manager, a colleague or all three, even other employees.

  • Do your new recruits know what their responsibilities are?
  • Do they know what a typical day will look like?
  • Do they know what to do if the fire bell rings or who to report absence to?

An effective induction is sure to have a positive impact on engagement, motivation and performance as well as reduce absenteeism and presenteeism. Good onboarding contributes to improved staff retention which reinforces the importance of getting this right.

Remember, it doesn’t stop there…..probation reviews followed by regular performance reviews are also key to and engaged, motivated and committed workforce.

No two businesses are the same which is why our team of HR experts can guide you through and assist in developing an onboarding process that fits in with the values and culture of your business.

Grievances, Disciplinaries and Mediation.

It can be stressful, upsetting and time-consuming dealing with disciplinaries and grievances. We can support you from start to finish and all the bits in the middle!

As an employer, unless you are extremely lucky, you will at some stage experience poor performing employees, misbehaving employees, those that like to push the boundaries and those that blatantly and deliberately break the rules.

All these people problems need timely and correct handling. We can be on hand to carry out investigations, coach you through the process and prepare documentation. We can even lead the process in person or remotely where appropriate. We can help to relieve the stress and emotion involved in these types of events and can provide impartiality for employers who do not have sufficient resources in-house.

GDPR & Subject Access Data Requests

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) strengthens and ultimately replaces the existing Data Protection Act (1998). It is designed to protect the personal data and privacy of citizens across Europe. GDPR will not be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.

GDPR creates significant rights for employees in relation to their personal data and substantial penalties for an employer who breaks the law. Businesses hold and process a significant amount of employees’ personal data: contracts of employment, disciplinary proceedings, grievance proceedings, reviews, payroll information, performance monitoring, files notes, minutes of meetings, emails referring to employees (even indirectly).

Employees have the right to request sight of certain data by submitting a Subject Access (Data) Request (SAR). We have seen a substantial increase in requests from employees and ex-employees or our clients. Would you know how to respond to or deal with a SAR?

Our team of experts can guide you to ensure your working practices are in line with GDPR and also ensure you are confident in handling any Subject Access Requests (SAR).

ACAS negotiation & Tribunal support

You may or may not have expected it but, you have received a call or an email from ACAS regarding an employee dispute. You feel angry, frustrated, stressed? What should you do? Don’t panic, give us a call.

More information

We understand the pain and effort of dealing with an Employment Tribunal claim and will work with you to minimise the impact on you and your business. We will support you with the paperwork and negotiations at ACAS Early Conciliation and support you in a commercial and objective way. With your permission, we will happily communicate and subject to your instructions, where possible negotiate a settlement with the ACAS Conciliator to prevent the case proceeding to the Employment Tribunal. Alternatively, we will assist you in appointing legal representation and support you with adhering to deadlines, preparing documentation and bundles for the Employment Tribunal.

(We will always ask you what your insurance position is and whether you have any cover in place for legal representation in such circumstances. We will happily contact your insurer on your behalf and work with the legal representation appointed by ten insurer or, we will help you find suitable legal representation.)

Call us now if you would like to discuss a tribunal claim

employment law + hr

Our qualified and experienced team of Employment Law and HR experts have been helping SMEs for over three decades, providing exceptional customer service and commercial advice that you can rely on. 


We deliver apprenticeships across non levy and levy paying businesses throughout the UK. We can help you with funding and finding or identifying the right apprentice for you. 


We offer a fully managed payroll service which allows our experts to organise and manage your payroll for you. 


Our IOSH (or equivalent) trained experts will work with you, freeing up your workforce and relieving the pressures of complying with demanding health and safety regulations.


Developed by our internal team of HR experts with HR administration in mind, our portal safely stores employee data and eases the administrative burden of all that paperwork! 


Absolute Works offer in person training and E-Learning packages for all levels of your workforce from the ‘shop floor’ to the board room. 

Disciplinary procedures and employment contracts.

An employer can also put their disciplinary procedures in the employment contract. If they do so and then do not follow the procedure, the employee could bring a claim for breach of contract.


Disciplinary appeals

If an employee thinks that the disciplinary action is unfair they can appeal to their employer setting out their grounds for appeal.

The employee should be offered the option to attend a further meeting to discuss the appeal which should be heard as soon as possible and in accordance with any timescales as set out in the Disciplinary Procedure. This meeting should be chaired by someone with sufficient seniority who was not involved in the initial disciplinary meeting/ process wherever possible.

As per the disciplinary meeting, the employee should be given reasonable notice and should be offered the right to be accompanied by a companion in accordance with the criteria above.

Final decision

Following the appeal meeting, the employer should write to the employee setting out their final decision. There is no further right of appeal.



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    Sometimes it is necessary to suspend an employee whilst a potential disciplinary issue is investigated, this is normally where the allegations are very serious or, if the employee being in the workplace or continuing to work may have an effect on the investigation or potentially put the safety of co-workers, visitors, themselves, property or data at risk. This means that suspension doesn’t happen very often. If, however it is necessary to suspend an employee, this will usually be with pay and the employer should (in most cases) be told why they are being suspended.

    The Employment Contract will dictate whether an employer can suspend without pay. If this is permitted, the employer must act reasonably in doing so.

    If the Employment Contract does not say that the employer can suspend the employee, the employer may still be able to suspend the employee, but this should be with pay.

    All employment rights remain in place during any suspension and if the employer does not have a contractual right to withhold pay, or even if the employer does, the employee may seek to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal for ‘unlawful deduction from wage.

    An employer should confirm the terms of suspension in writing. An employer may advise the employee that they are not permitted to talk to or make contact with other employees, customers and / or suppliers and should the employee do so, the employer may be able to bring further disciplinary action. Employers need to be aware however that the employee must be able to make any necessary contact to defend their actions and therefore some contact may be necessary so some leniency may be required. This may be the case where the employee considers they need to obtain evidence to support their case from a work IT system or speak to a co-worker who was witness to an incident. Of course, if an employee wants to request a co-worker accompany them to the disciplinary hearing, they will need authority from the employer to make appropriate contact.

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