I have an employee who failed to advise the company that his gas certification for gas catering qualification expired at the end of May 2014 and his commercial core gas safety expires at the end of June.
All notifications are sent directly to the employee and not us and he failed to inform the gas training company of his new address and therefore did not receive the letter advising him of such.
He requires both qualifications to carry out the works legally for which he is employed.
The company is not in a financial position to pay out over about £1500 plus his salary while off for training for a period of 8 working days which will equate to approximately another £1,000.
We have a meeting with him on Friday of this week and would appreciate any feedback / advise you can offer on how to deal with the situation.
Before finding out the above we had already booked and paid for another employee to obtain the gas catering qualification and we have no further monies available to do this for him as well as the additional money for the salary with no revenue coming in during this period.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long has he worked there for? Is it usually you that pays for the re-certification of employees?
He has been employed with us for almost 5 years. Most employees come to us with the qualifications and are given the opportunity of attending additional training based on the requirements of our clients. At that point, cost permitting, we would book and pay for the course upfront and the employee pays the company back over 1-year as it is his qualification and not the companies. The cost of the training is reimbursed over the following 3-years or as long as he remains in our employ. But we don't have the additional funds to pay for two employees at the same time nor can we afford for two employees to be off the road and not earning any monies. We currently have 4 gas service engineers only. We have already accommodated him when he moved further away from his original home base to a sea side town which is an additional 70 miles per day and we are trying to absorb costs for fuel, wear and tear on the vehicle and at no cost to him.
Does his contract say anything about the requirement to remain current and to inform you of an upcoming expiry?
Other than he is employed as a Plumber and Commercial Gas Technician, no, its always been a verbal discussion a few months prior to expiry. This allows the company to forward plan and budget and ensure that all engineers can carry out the duties they were employed for. Each engineer carries his own personalised gas safe registered card detailing on the reverse when each qualification is due to expire.
SO until he gets this qualification renewed he cannot legally perform his job? When is it likely that he will be able to start working again?
That is correct. Next catering course is 28th July and next commercial course if 4th August.
Most of our main contract works for gas tests on commercial premises (public houses) are from May to August, which in effect means he cannot assist in carrying out any of this work.
Is there nothing else he can do? Also does the other employee need to go on this course to stay current or can you potentially swap him and get the expired one recertified and then send the other employee on a later course?
We can offer him the opportunity to pay the course up front, which he won't be in a position to do, as he "never has any money". But yes this is an option we can offer him. As for the other employee, it was included as part of his contract that he would be attending this course, as he has been employed as supervisor and requires the relevant qualification to ensure all other employees are carrying out the works correctly and are up to date with currently legislation. He has been head hunted from another company and if we renege on our promise to him (especially as it is in writing in his contract of employment) this could possibly put us in a worse position than now.
The reason the other employee was so keen to come here was because we had confirmed all of the above information prior to his start date and his previous bosses had always reneged on promises made. Actions in his book speak louder than words. He has already advised he had been offered another position but had turned it down due to our attitude towards him and the direction he wants to take his career. This could potentially lead to him resigning from the post.
Ok it is a bit of a complex situation due to the lack of anything in his contract to specifically deal with his requirements to hold a specific certification or to renew it, or your liabilities to assist with that. Nevertheless if it is a matter of not legally being able to carry out the work, and this being a certification which he is personally responsible for getting, then if he has failed to do so and has let it expire, meaning he is not legally able to undertake the work he is employed to do, then it means you can consider placing him on some kind of unpaid leave until this is resolved. Eventually you can also look towards dismissal but not yet – this is only if it becomes obvious that he will not be getting recertified or that it is taking unreasonably long to do so.
But in the meantime you need to do your best to try and mitigate any negative effects this may have on the employee, for example trying to keep them in a job and getting paid of possible – so any other jobs he could do, even if just office duties or anything else even if it is not to do with his normal job.
But if it comes to it you have to make it clear that he is in breach of the employment agreement as he is not up to date with his certification and it means that legally he cannot undertake his job. He is therefore not able to receive any pay because he is not able to undertake his duties – try to keep the period to a minimum and to get him back to work ASAP.
Thank you Ben. Given we are a small family firm the last thing we want to do is see anyone out of work, It has been a struggle to keep them in employment over the last 5 years but have successfully managed so far to do so. We will certainly given him those options and see where we go from there. Sorry just one further question. If he has been given pay rises prorate in accordance to his qualifications where do we stand there?
Also can I print off our discussion or does a written statement to that effect get issued?
you should not remove pay rises unless it becomes clear that his qualifications are permanently removed. You are free to print this if you need to
Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks