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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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, myself and my husband run a small electrical contracting

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hi, myself and my husband run a small electrical contracting company. we have an apprentice working for us that has broken his wrist twice playing football. Currently hes in hospital again after we suspect playing football last night and he thinks hes broken it again, This has been going on for 8-9 months he's either been on the sick or on very restricted duties. He's unable to work safely on majority of our sites. We are only small and are struggling to keep him on but we are unsure of the legal implications of terminating his position with us. He is unwilling to give up football even though its been advised by his consultant to stop. Please advise
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long does he have left from his apprenticeship?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi ben, 2 years and 10 months

Whilst apprentices are employees and can be treated in the same manner as other employees employed by you, they do have an additional level of protection against dismissal. This is due to you not being able to just top their training as otherwise that would amount to a breach of contract. You can only dismiss an apprentice for gross misconduct or if they are incapable of performing their job any longer. The misconduct has to be so extreme that it means the apprentice can no longer be taught the trade. They can only be dismissed fairly for misconduct if they are effectively unteachable. This is not a misconduct situation so you are really looking at potential performance issues to try and justify the dismissal.
In these circumstances it is unlikely that his conduct would be considered serious enough to justify a dismissal. He may be off at times but he does return and is still able to undertake his duties when he does. Instead you may have to consider applying a ‘staggered’ performance procedure where you issue him with formal warnings and eventually if things do not improve it may culminate in a dismissal. For example, you may start with a written warning and have that on file for a specified period of time, say 6 months. Identify the issues that cause this, namely playing football when it is clear this has a negative impact on is health and in turn his job. Advise him that if he continues exposing himself to such risks and that affects his performance at work you will have to issue a further warning. If that happens issue a final warning and state that one more incident can result in his dismissal. Eventually you may consider the dismissal route but hopefully the intermediate warnings will send him a formal message that he needs to reconsider his activities outside of work in order to save his job.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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