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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49866
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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there, I really need some help with a current in our hair

Customer Question

hi there,
I really need some help with a current in our hair salon in the UK. We have an employee who started with us last august 1st 2014. She has recently fallen pregnant. she has pgp which is a pelvic girdle disorder and impedes her physical abillity to work a great deal. I do want to reduce her hours. She currently works three days and I want her to go down to one day as I dont think she would be able to do two days in a row. she currently works wednesday friday and saturday. She already last week was signed off for a week with no driving therefore wednesday to wednesday. She then came in and returned to work on the friday, then again phoned in sick on the saturday morning, stating she was not physically able to move. I have not issued her with a contract as yet and am drawing one up as we speak.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are there any other jobs she can do?
JACUSTOMER-idvol252- :

not really, she is a hairstylist whom has to stand up a higher percentage of the time to apply colour, blowdry, cut and so on. She brought in a SSP form last friday and I am not sure what I have to pay her. She was off from her first day of work being wednesday, then thursday she is off anyway, Friday and Saturday she was not in. She said she would possibly be okay for the wednesday following but I advised her to stay off and rest up for the weekend days she was due in ie Friday and Saturday. And she did say she had been signed off and not allowed to drive for a week, this being from wednesday to wednesday

Ben Jones :

Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. Whilst the employee would not have any protection against unfair dismissal, having worked there for less than 2 years, she will have automatic protection against discrimination, both on grounds of her pregnancy and her disability. It means that you should not treat her detrimentally because of these two factors and in addition you would also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help her with her disability. The lack of contract makes no difference to her rights.

In terms of reducing her hours, if she was employed to do 3 days a week and has done so since the start then these are likely to be an implied contractual term, even if no written contract was in place. Therefore, reducing her days will amount to a change to her contract. You cannot just go ahead and do that unless she consents to it and certainly can’t just go and do it without consultation or considering her position in relation to potential discrimination.

First of all you have to consider whether you can make any reasonable adjustments. This is a very strict duty on you and if you cannot show you have seriously considered these and can back up your decision not to implement them, it can make you guilty of discrimination.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances of the employer, their business, the potential impact on other employees, the available resources, etc. Whilst legislation does not currently provide specific examples of what adjustments can be made, the following are examples that have been considered reasonable in case law over time:

  • making adjustments to work premises;

  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;

  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;

  • altering the employee’s hours of work;

  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;

  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;

  • providing supervision or other support.

These need to be discussed with her and the best possible solution found that does not disadvantage her. If it is clear that no adjustments would work then you can consider a reduction in her hours and try to argue it as being a reasonable adjustment in itself but it will not be without its risks because if she challenges it and takes it to a tribunal and they found that other adjustments would have been possible and better for her then they should have been implemented, so consider your options carefully.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. 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? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you

JACUSTOMER-idvol252- : I can not really make adjustments to her job role as as a hair stylist you do have to work standing up practically the whole time
Ben Jones :

I cannot say what adjustments you can or can't make and it would depend on the specific job so you need to consider everything that is possible or available. But you should not just reduce her hours instead - try and do that with her consent or f that does not work and she cannot actually conduct her job as a result, you could eventually consider dismissal on grounds of capability

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies things for you?

JACUSTOMER-idvol252- : She is currently on SSP and I don't see her coming back anytime soon, she is in a lot of physical pain. With AML it says you might be eligible for whole salary/wage, can you clarify that?!
JACUSTOMER-idvol252- : Also can she go straight from being off sick and receiving SSP straight to maternity leave without coming back to work in between?
Ben Jones :

the maternity pay will depend on various factors and you can use this calculator to see what she is entitled to:

She is indeed entitled to go from sick leave to maternity leave - there is no requirement for her to be back in work at any time in between

Ben Jones :

Does this answer your query?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. 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? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you