As we are approaching the Christmas season, minds will be turning to office parties, after-work drinks and other opportunities to have fun. And rightly so.
However, as an employer there are a few things that you need to be thinking about to ensure that your employees – and business – stay safe and litigation free. The law makes no allowances for festive high spirits. Here are just some thoughts to be going on with:
Health and Safety – everyone’s favourite topic (not!). You obviously have a responsibility for the health and safety of your workers, so have you made it clear that drinking at work during working hours is a no-no and that Christmas is no exception? And what about drivers who set out early in the morning after a heavy night? People tend to do foolhardy things after a few drinks, but if they lead to injury you could have some explaining to do.
Punch-ups and harassment – parties and alcohol can result in things getting out of hand. Things get said, and done, that might have serious consequences. Even if it’s after work, and not on your premises, you could still be held responsible and therefore find yourself in Court or before an Employment Tribunal. And even if that doesn’t happen, are you ready for the morning after recriminations?
Time off – is everyone clear about what time off they can have? Do you give people a bit of Christmas Shopping time? Not just to female employees, though, eh? And what about the employee who for religious reasons doesn’t want time off – are you treating them fairly? Can they have time off to celebrate their religious festivals?
Sickness absences – are you going to take a more lenient view of the morning after the night before than you would normally?
So start planning now – you don’t have to be Scrooge to take some basic steps to protect yourself and your workers.