6 tips for employers for a Merry Christmas19 Dec 2014
With the festive season upon us, Kuits’ Employment team are here to provide you with 6 top tips for a merry Christmas.
1. Office Secret Santa – To avoid Secret Santa delivering any unwelcome gifts this year (such as an Employment Tribunal claim!) we advise reminding employees that Secret Santa (or his elves) should not deliver gifts which may cause offence (such as sexually suggestive items).
2. Social Media – Christmas is a time to be jolly. That usually means lots of (often inebriated) photos and social media posts which may not reflect well on your business. Having in place a clear social media policy and bringing this to the attention of your employees can help avoid reputational damage to your business and will also help prevent claims of harassment, bullying and discrimination.
3. Christmas Bonuses – Christmas is a time for giving…..but only Christmas bonuses which are stated to be discretionary. Employers often give Christmas bonuses to reward employees and ease the financial burden during the festive season. If giving a Christmas bonus this year, we would advise you to make it clear that it is given on a discretionary basis. If this is not stated, regularly paying a bonus at Christmas could become a contractual right for your employees, leading to problems if you decide to withdraw the bonus in the future or when employees leave employment.
4. Information Technology – Christmas is a time for shopping and with “Cyber Monday” and other online shopping campaigns ever present, employees may be tempted to spend excessive working time browsing the sales, rather than working. Employees spending too much time on the internet and not enough time on work can cause productivity issues for your business, as well as presenting an increased risk of IT problems. Having a clear IT and communications policy in place can help ensure your employees know what internet usage is acceptable and may help avoid unwanted confrontation.
5. Corporate Hospitality – Be wary of accepting those five gold rings! Accepting and giving expensive gifts which are intended to influence decisions could fall foul of anti-bribery legislation. Having a clear Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy in place and bringing this to the attention of your employees could provide an employer with a defence to claims of bribery committed by an employee.
6. Christmas Party – The Christmas party may not only be the most exciting event of your business’ social calendar, it is also the most likely event to cause employment issues. The ingredients of excess alcohol, a merry spirit and employees’ perceptions of being outside the workplace often result in inappropriate behaviour which can lead to unwanted issues. As well as having fun, employees should be reminded not to act inappropriately and to remain a sense of professionalism. Where appropriate, don’t forget to invite those temporarily absent from the office (such as those on parental or other types of leave).
If you have any further questions on our 6 tips, or any other employment issues, then please contact the Kuits Employment Team on 0161 838 8706 or contact us.