In 2011 the UK Government implemented laws to make bribery in any business operation illegal. This policy is designed so you can understand the implications of the law and to assist you with any decisions with which you may be faced. It provides guidance but is not a comprehensive statement of legal requirements. It is intended to clarify most situations and to flag up ones that may require more senior intervention or further legal guidance.
Principally, we require you to act honestly and with integrity at all times and in doing so you will be complying with this policy and with the law.
What is bribery?
If someone seeks to influence you to act so that you breach trust, lack impartiality or perform in bad faith (ie act improperly) then you need to be on your guard. If they seek to do so by offering, promising or giving an advantage to you (such as cash or items of significant value) then that is bribery. Bribery also occurs if you request, agree to receive or actually receive such an advantage. Such exchanges are illegal.
Reasonable and proportionate gifts as a token of appreciation or as part of facilitating normal business relationships are acceptable; the key is that they must not be an inducement to act improperly.
Employees who influence or make decisions on our behalf are more vulnerable and if you are uncomfortable with any form of influence you should report it to the Managing Director.
Gifts and hospitality
Typical examples of gifts of proportionate value as appreciation would be a bottle of wine, flowers, or chocolates either at Christmas or as a genuine “thank you”. These are entirely acceptable. If you are in doubt about the proportionality of any gift you should discuss the matter with the Managing Director.
Hospitality is defined as where the company providing the hospitality is present (say a buffet lunch at an exhibition) and, where this level of hospitality falls within our normal business relationship, it would be acceptable. Hospitality which is disproportionate may be seen to be influencing impartiality and is prohibited under this policy. Please refer any such offers to the Managing Director.
Where the company providing the hospitality is not present, for example if a restaurant voucher is given, then this is a gift, not hospitality. If you are in doubt about the proportionality of any gift, you should discuss the matter with the Managing Director.
If you are involved in deciding on a supplier or in any form of tendering process then gifts and hospitality (even if proportionate) must not be accepted and, if offered, should be politely declined and referred to the Managing Director.
Where a service is being carried out by a third party, for example distributors, a term requiring them to comply with all anti-bribery and corruption legislation should be included in the contract.
Conflicts of interest
You should avoid any situation where you might benefit personally from decisions you take or influence on behalf of Lara Nichols. Where a conflict of interest could arise the relevant decision must be referred to the Managing Director.
Breaches of this policy
Failure to comply with this policy may result in investigations, disciplinary action and potentially dismissal. You could also be subject to other civil or criminal sanction.
Anti-slavery and human trafficking
Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person's liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain. Lara Nichols has a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and we are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery is not taking place anywhere in our own business or in any of our supply chains.
Lara Nichols is also committed to ensuring there is transparency in our own business and in our approach to tackling modern slavery throughout our supply chains, consistent with our disclosure obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. We expect the same high standards from all of our contractors, suppliers and other business partners, and as part of our contracting processes, we include specific prohibitions against the use of forced, compulsory or trafficked labour, or anyone held in slavery or servitude, whether adults or children, and we expect that our suppliers will hold their own suppliers to the same high standards.
This policy applies to all persons working for us or on our behalf in any capacity, including employees at all levels, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners.
Responsibility for the policy
Overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it, rests with the Managing Director.
Compliance with the policy
You must notify the Finance Manager as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that any conflict with this policy or its principles has occurred, or may occur in the future.
No employee or worker will suffer detriment as a result of any matter raised, in good faith, under this policy.
This policy and procedure covers all staff and should be read in conjunction with the Sickness policy and procedures.
Lara Nichols wishes to support all employees to achieve standards of attendance and to address any associated issues. Non-attendance has a high cost in terms of efficiency and additional pressure placed upon other team members and direct costs. You have a responsibility to keep absence to a minimum.
Medical Practitioners and health experts offer medical guidance and provide objective support to staff with health problems. Failure to resolve an attendance issue may result in the termination of your employment.
Overall responsibility for attendance and resource management rests with your line manager who is the key contact on attendance issues, providing procedural guidance, support, monitoring and recording your attendance.
Unacceptable levels of attendance
Due to the nature of many of the jobs and staffing levels, high levels of absenteeism or repeated spells of sickness/absence cause considerable disruption. Both short term/spasmodic and long term sickness absence cause disruption to operations and incur additional costs. They also place an undue burden upon other team members. Therefore, in order to ensure consistency your line manager will investigate and arrange a meeting to discuss the situation further with you in any of the following cases:
- Any unauthorised absence
- Two days late in one month
- 14 days sickness in a twelve month period
- 4 spells of sickness in a twelve month period
- A regular pattern of absence, e.g. before/after a bank holiday or annual leave.
Dependent upon the outcome of this meeting counselling may be appropriate or disciplinary action taken, or indeed no action taken if none is appropriate.
Issues of capability arising from poor levels and/or patterns of absence are distinct from capability issues involving long term health problems or disability.
Long term absence
Should you unfortunately become disabled or suffer from a long term health problem during employment it is the policy of Lara Nichols to make every effort to help you retain your original position. It is your line manager who will try and balance the needs of the business with their support for you in the event of long term sickness. In the event that the length of your absence causes operational problems, which requires either your return or replacement, your line manager will determine what action is to be taken.
Action may include a personal interview with you or a request to provide a medical report from your GP or a request to undergo a medical examination by a practitioner appointed by Lara Nichols who is more knowledgeable about the working environment. The examination will determine your fitness to resume your normal role. Once sufficient medical advice is available, a further meeting with you will be arranged to discuss it.
All alternative employment options including transfers, part-time working, reasonable adjustments to work premises, practices or equipment will be fully examined by Lara Nichols and discussed with you.
Absence due to pregnancy will be dealt with due regard to your statutory maternity rights. In these circumstances you may be suspended from work on full pay, remain on sick pay or, if the sickness occurs within the four weeks prior to the expected date of birth, be transferred on to maternity leave.
If it is advised by the doctor that you are fit to return to work, Lara Nichols will cease to pay sick pay and you will be expected to be at work the following morning.
You will accrue holiday entitlement during long term sickness absence, and you are permitted to take all or some of your accrued holiday during this period of absence.
Short term spasmodic absence is particularly disruptive, as it cannot be planned for and puts more pressure on managers and colleagues.
Intermittent non-attendance will be dealt with in accordance with the stages of the disciplinary procedure, as appropriate. Where the absences are unexplained or may have an underlying sickness reason a medical examination will normally be requested. The examination may be carried out by your own GP and/or a Doctor appointed by Lara Nichols. Their objective is to provide Lara Nichols with sufficient information to more effectively balance your needs with that of the organisation, or to make a decision regarding your continued employment.
Irrespective of the cause of the intermittent absences, you will be warned of the consequences of further failure to meet attendance targets at each stage of the disciplinary procedure. If the disciplinary procedure is exhausted without sufficient improvement in the level of attendance, you may have your employment terminated with due notice on capability grounds.
It is our intention to respect the sensitive circumstances that arise if you suffer bereavement whilst in our employment and to make adjustments where appropriate.
You will be entitled to 2 days paid bereavement leave where a member of your immediate family dies, is seriously ill or is in severe distress. (Immediate family is regarded as husband, wife, partner, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, father-in-law or mother-in-law, or any person where you are acting as the nearest living relative. Half-brothers and sisters, adopted parents step-parents or children are included.) A one-day paid bereavement leave will be granted on the death of a grandparent.
Depending on your relationship with the person who has died and the circumstances of the death we recognise that you may need extended leave. You may take this from holiday entitlement or take unpaid time.
If your religion or culture requires you to observe any particular practices or make special arrangements that may affect your employment please let us know.
In any event, you should speak to your line manager as soon as possible to let him or her know your situation.
If you have any concerns about the grieving process impacting on your work performance or ability to carry out your duties safely you should discuss this in confidence with your line manager. We will do our best to make appropriate adjustments to hours or duties to assist your return to the work environment.
Equally if we have concerns we reserve the right to request a doctor’s report before you resume full duties.
Bring your own device (BYOD)
Lara Nichols recognises the advantages gained to the business and the efficiency of its employees through arranging flexible working arrangements as allowing employees to bring their own device into the business and permitting them to use their property to undertake their day to day working activities.
- To protect the data that is downloaded onto an individual’s equipment
- To specify what devices the company will support
- To provide protection to the clients customers and employees of Lara Nichols
- To prevent sensitive data being stolen or misused in the event of theft or accidental loss of the portable equipment
- To establish a Service Policy for employees should problems occur.
Policy and Procedure
- Devices that are permitted are personal mobile phones, personal tablets and laptops.
- All data that is processed on an individual's device will be in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998
- The Director (Data Controller) will remain in control of all personal data regardless of the ownership of the device used to carry out the processing
- The Data Protection Act 1998 requires the data controller to take appropriate technical and organisational measures against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of personal data of, or damage to, personal data
- Lara Nichols recognises that these devices will be used during the individual's working day as part of their day to day duties.
- Employees must ensure that they password protect all devices on all occasions
- All passwords should contain a capital letter and a number to ensure the strength of the password is strong
- Where available Touch ID should be used as a security measure
- Login names and passwords must not be disclosed to anyone other than the Managing Director or Managing Director
- Devices can be used for personal use as well as for business use
- Personal use of the device should be restricted to lunch and break times
- Employees should know where their personal devices are on all occasions, equipment should not be left unattended
- In the event that an employee loses their device or the device is stolen this must be reported to the Managing Director and Managing Director as a matter of urgency.
- All information will be stored on the company drives. We understand that some data may be stored on individual devices whilst work is being completed (only).
- The employee understands and accepts that should the employee leave our employment it is essential that the device is returned to the offices so that all company information can be removed from the device.
- Applications (Apps) that are bought will be the property of the owner of the device not Lara Nichols.
- Access to business data on Apps is to be removed on leaving the company.
- You must have administrator rights on your device and not provide those rights to other parties
- Other users of the device must not have access to the VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- Be aware of the possibility of spoof emails or calls purporting to be from IT staff or companies.
This policy will be subject to regular review to ensure that it provides security to Lara Nichols and its clients as well as following best practise in relation to such matters.
Code of conduct
You must act, at all times, in such a manner so as to safeguard and promote the interests of Lara Nichols and its customers and other relevant parties.
You are personally accountable for your practices and in the exercise of your duties you must:
- always act in such a manner as to promote and safeguard the interest of Lara Nichols, its customers and other relevant parties.
- ensure that no act or omission on your part, or within your sphere of responsibility, is detrimental to the interests, condition or safety of customers and other relevant parties.
- maintain and improve your professional knowledge and competence.
- acknowledge any limitations in your knowledge and competence and decline any duties and responsibilities unless able to perform them in a safe and skilled manner
- work in an open and co-operative manner with customers and other relevant parties.
- report to the Managing Director any circumstances in which your duties cannot be carried out safely or where it appears that the health or safety of colleagues or other parties is a risk.
“At all times” means you must not indulge in activities outside of work that could attract adverse publicity for the organisation, bring us into disrepute, or result in loss of faith in Lara Nichols.
Company vehicle policy
Entitlement to drive
If you are provided with a vehicle to use on behalf of Lara Nichols this is conditional on you holding a full UK driving licence. [OCCUSE]
This policy applies whether the vehicle is leased by us or owned outright.
You must provide us with evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), at the commencement of employment or before permission to use a vehicle is first given. Thereafter, you will be asked to produce this information at regular intervals as notified by us. You can do this online for free by accessing our Share Driving Licence service. To access this information you will need your:
You can generate a ‘check code’ to pass to us which will allow us to view your driving licence details.
If you cannot generate a code online then you can call 0300 083 0013 and DVLA will provide you with a code.
Alternatively you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by us.
You must declare, for secure recording by the Finance Manager, any medication or medical condition that may affect motor insurance. This is so that our insurers can be informed.
Driving is an essential part of your job requirements therefore if you lose your licence you will be liable to be dismissed. In the event that your licence is rescinded you must notify Lara Nichols immediately and cease driving forthwith.
You are required, if requested by the the Managing Director, to make your vehicle available for use by other employees. In such circumstances notice will be given to you and Lara Nichols will ensure that you are still able to effectively carry out your duties and be able to get to and from your place of work without unnecessary inconvenience.
Insurance of vehicles
Lara Nichols insures all vehicles belonging to the company. You, and anyone given permission by us to use the vehicle, must be eligible for comprehensive insurance cover under our insurance policy. [SDPUK]
You, and anyone given permission by us to use the vehicle, must notify the Finance Manager, in writing, of any motoring offences with which you have been charged or convicted (including previous convictions) so that our insurers can be informed. Any employee who commits a road traffic offence may be subject to disciplinary action and in serious matters may face termination of employment.
Our vehicles must normally not be used by any individual who is in poor health. Therefore if you, or anyone given permission by us to use the vehicle, suffers from ill health of a nature which could affect driving capabilities then you must provide relevant details to the Finance Manager in order that appropriate information can be given to the company's insurers.
You are required to notify the Finance Manager of any changes in circumstances relevant to your driving including speeding penalties, disqualification or medical restrictions placed on your licence. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, which could include dismissal.
Use of vehicle
You must not permit any relative, friend or any other third party, to drive any vehicle belonging to Lara Nichols without prior written permission being granted by the Managing Director.
Where written permission is given for additional drivers, any additional costs incurred by Lara Nichols associated with adding or maintaining additional drivers will be at the expense of the employee. Any third party permitted to drive will be responsible for any costs incurred by Lara Nichols as a result of any accident or damage to the vehicle. All third party drivers must also follow the rules set out in this vehicle policy and will be required to provide us with evidence of their driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), and to declare any motoring offences with which they have been charged or convicted (including previous convictions) before permission to use a vehicle is given. Thereafter, they will be asked to produce this information at regular intervals as notified to you by us.
All the company vehicles shall remain the property of Lara Nichols. No one is permitted to sell, hire, assign, loan or pledge a vehicle owned by the company at any time.
Vehicles owned by the company must not be used for rallies, treasure hunts, racing competitions and similar activities or for carriage of passengers for hire or reward.
Vehicles owned by the company must not carry non-employees (eg children) while on our business unless it is a business-related person (eg a customer).
You must not modify any vehicle allocated to you in any way, either by adding any extras to the vehicle or by removing any constituent parts.
A vehicle provided to you by the company must be available to you and Lara Nichols at all times during working hours. If permission is obtained for another driver, such as a relative, they may not use the vehicle during working hours when the vehicle should be for your sole use, Lara Nichols or another employee of the company.
The vehicle is provided to discharge your employment responsibilities. Where you are on sick leave in excess of a month Lara Nichols reserves the right to reclaim the car for use by other employees.
Fuel costs, where a vehicle is provided for full time use.
Unless otherwise agreed, drivers of vehicles provided by the company are obliged to cover the cost of the fuel for the vehicle. All mileage on behalf of the company will be reimbursed to the driver in full as long as a mileage claim has been submitted and approved by Lara Nichols.
Where agreed and Lara Nichols provides a fuel card or a credit card, you must submit monthly a detailed breakdown of business and personal mileage on which each must be identified clearly. The fuel cost of business mileage will be calculated at HMRC rates for the vehicle and the difference in fuel costs (approximating to that for private mileage) will deducted from your salary.
Mobile phones and electronic equipment
Lara Nichols will provide hands-free facilities for use while driving.
Calls on hands-free must be restricted to minor, stress-free conversations during easy driving conditions. Calls must be placed by voice recognition and not by use of the keypad.
Under no circumstances must you text, take photographs, send or read e-mail or use the internet on your phone whilst driving.
Lara Nichols may place, at any time, a vehicle tracking device on its vehicles. This is done for security purposes however, Lara Nichols reserves the right to check logs to ensure that employees are using the vehicle appropriately and are providing an accurate log of visits made including distances travelled, driving times and speeds. This information may be used in any subsequent disciplinary action.
You must drive the vehicle lawfully, responsibly and safely at all times. In particular, do not drive while tired, drive according to the road/weather conditions and do not drink alcohol before driving. Do not be distracted whilst driving, do not eat or drink as this may place you at enhanced risk of an accident. It is better for your health and safety to take a break. Texting, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the handed use of mobile phones while driving will be regarded as disciplinary matters.
Your vision may change over time. It is your responsibility to have your eye sight checked on a regular basis.
Before setting out on any journey employees should ensure the vehicle is fitted with an emergency first aid kit. Lara Nichols will provide a kit if one is not present and requests for supplies to top up the kit should be made to your line manager.
It is your responsibility to ensure you drive at all times with your seat belt securely fastened. The safety of your passengers is also your responsibility and you must ensure that seat belts are worn by all passengers.
Maintenance and repairs
It is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is maintained in accordance with manufacture recommendations and that the vehicle is roadworthy at all times. Requests for maintenance or repairs to a vehicle must be made to [ACCPOSN].
It is your responsibility to check the water, oil, lights and wiper blades on a regular basis and keep them at the recommended levels and in good working order. Any defect that may affect road safety should be attended to at the earliest opportunity. Lara Nichols will reimburse necessary costs. It is also your responsibility to check the tyres on a regular basis for air pressure and wear and tear.
The vehicle must be driven strictly in accordance with all current legislation in force. You are expected to treat the vehicle as if it were your own. In particular, the vehicle is to be cleaned inside and out on a regular basis and as often as necessary particularly after driving in bad weather. If a vehicle is left damaged or not maintained/cleaned to a high standard, this will be treated as a disciplinary offence.
It is your responsibility to ensure the correct fuel (ie petrol or diesel) is used and not to drive the vehicle away from the filling station pump if a mistake is made. You are responsible for all costs incurred by fuel choice mistakes. If invoiced to Lara Nichols then the costs may be deducted from your salary.
Smoking is not permitted in a vehicle belonging to the company at any time.
Lara Nichols will not be responsible for settling any driver’s parking or other motoring fines/penalties incurred whether these be levied on the driver or on Lara Nichols directly. This includes speed camera or similar fines.
Vehicle and machinery documentation
Lara Nichols will be responsible for maintaining/retaining all relevant vehicle documentation.
Accidents, loss or damage to vehicles, property, etc
You must notify [ACCPOSN] promptly of the loss of a vehicle or of any accident involving one of our vehicles, irrespective of whether or not damage or injury has occurred. A vehicle user who is involved in a road traffic collision where injury is sustained must also notify the Police.
When accidental damage or injury does occur the vehicle user must obtain particulars of any persons involved as well as the names and addresses of any witnesses. An accident report form must be completed fully and honestly within 24 hours and forwarded to [ACCPOSN]. Any subsequent correspondence must be passed on to Lara Nichols, unanswered, immediately it is received.
Damage to our vehicles or property must be notified to [ACCPOSN] immediately.
If damage is caused to any vehicle as a result of improper use, neglect or recklessness, Lara Nichols reserve the right to require that you reimburse Lara Nichols for all appropriate repair costs. Such costs maybe deducted from your salary if invoiced to Lara Nichols.
Where a claim is made through the Insurers and Lara Nichols considers that you have significantly contributed to the damage caused, or where there have been repeated claims, Lara Nichols reserves the right to deduct any excess element from your salary.
Lara Nichols will not accept responsibility for personal possessions stolen from one of our vehicles.
Lara Nichols reserves the right to investigate the cause of accidents and to take disciplinary action in cases where you are deemed to have significantly contributed to the accident.
Lara Nichols has a policy of zero tolerance on alcohol, non-prescribed drugs, or any illegal substances either during working time or within such time periods as your ability to carry out your work responsibilities could be affected.
Leaving Lara Nichols
You are required to return the vehicle to our premises, unless otherwise agreed, immediately upon leaving employment with Lara Nichols. The vehicle should be returned in good condition. Lara Nichols reserves the right to recover any charges incurred as a result of failure to return the vehicle in accordance with their requirements.
Lara Nichols reserves the right to substitute an alternative vehicle, or make a compensatory arrangement with you, during any period of notice.
The ultimate responsibility for determining the policy of the company, and any disputes arising from any matter concerning vehicle usage, rests with the Managing Director.
Employees who are provided with a vehicle from the company are required to sign the following statement:
I have read and understood the above Vehicle Policy and agree that any costs, fuel cost or other charges specified above, that are incurred by Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols and not otherwise reimbursed, may be deducted from my salary.
Sometimes family must take priority over work and the company recognises this. Wherever possible the company would like to ensure that employees are supported though difficult and unforeseen times.
Compassionate leave may apply where there is a serious illness that requires you to devote some time to the care of a critically ill dependant. All compassionate leave requests will be managed sensitively. If you request time off as compassionate leave, you should deal with your line manager in the first instance who will seek approval for the time. Any payment for compassionate leave will be at the absolute discretion of the Managing Director.
The following points will be considered by the company when deciding whether compassionate leave may be approved
- if there could be a temporary change in working pattern with colleagues in the first instance
- the use of annual leave, to book holidays at short notice
- allowing you to take a period of unpaid leave
- requesting you to use any time owing that you may have previously accrued.
In all circumstances your line manager should inform you and the Payroll of any agreements for approved compassionate leave so that adjustments can be made to your salary.
Where compassionate leave is permitted, we will maintain contact with you on a regular basis so as to make the transition back to work smoother.
If you need an extended period of time to care for a dependent, then you might make a flexible working request for a change in your pattern of work and we would consider the request carefully under that policy. However you would need to bear in mind that any changes agreed under the Flexible Working policy would be a permanent variation in your contract of employment.
You will not, either during or after the termination of your employment, use or disclose to any person, company or other organisation any information relating to Lara Nichols, any settlement between us, our business, customers, or any information relating to third parties that comes into your possession in the course of your employment.
This being except where it is:
- in the course of your duties under your contract of employment with us
- with our prior written permission or that of other parties concerned
- where required to do so by a court
- or protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 you having first followed our procedure.
You are to exercise reasonable care to keep safe all documentary or other material containing confidential information, and shall at the time of termination of your employment with us, or at any other time upon demand, return to us any such material in your possession.
All written material, whether held on paper, electronically or magnetically which was made or acquired by you during the course of your employment with us, is our property and our copyright. At the time of termination of your employment with us, or at any other time upon demand, you shall return to us any such material in your possession.
Any statements to reporters from newspapers, radio, television, etc. in relation to our business will only be given by the Managing Director.
An invention or discovery made by you will normally belong to you. However, an invention or discovery made by you will become our property, including any patent rights, if it was made:
- in the course of your normal duties under such circumstances that an invention might reasonably be expected to result from those duties
- outside the course of your normal duties, but during duties specifically assigned to you, when an invention might reasonably be expected to result from these
- during the course of any of your duties, and at the time you had a special obligation to further our interests arising from the nature of those duties, and your particular responsibilities.
This list is not exhaustive.
This clause shall not apply to information which might come into the public domain other than in consequence of your or any other person’s fault.
Data protection policy and guide
All personal data has to be managed in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. It is the policy of Lara Nichols to comply with the Act and this policy is a guide for all employees.
This policy and guide must be read in conjunction with any Confidentiality Policy contained within this handbook.
What is personal data?
Personal data is information that relates to an identifiable living person. It does not need to be ‘confidential’ or ‘private’ to be deemed personal data. A note describing when access can be gained to a named individual’s premises is ‘personal data’ as is an ex-directory telephone number. In practice, most information held about an individual with the person as the focus (past or present), and which is biographical, is ‘personal data’. This applies to information on fellow workers and individual customers.
Sensitive personal data
Some data is especially sensitive and this includes physical and mental health, disabilities, racial or ethnic origin and religious belief. Where you are aware of such information it must not be disclosed, or even recorded, without the explicit permission of the person concerned (there are a few very specific exceptions).
What are my responsibilities?
You must not, except in the proper course of your duties either during your employment or thereafter, use, communicate, or disclose directly or indirectly to any person or organisation, personal data that you come into contact with during the course of your work. You must use your best endeavours to prevent any unauthorised communications or disclosures. In particular, you must:
- be sure all personal data has been fairly and lawfully obtained and is so used. Do not, for example, keep information on the political beliefs of customers
- use data only for the purposes specified by Lara Nichols
- make sure that whatever personal data you keep on behalf of Lara Nichols is adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to that purpose or purposes
- keep such data accurate and up to date
- not keep such data longer than necessary for the purpose in question
- respect the rights of individuals in using the data (the right to privacy, for example)
- keep such data secure and not remove it from the company premises without written permission. You are required to return on request any information that is held at your home, for example. Having returned such information then you must delete it from your own data store(s)
- consult the Managing Director before transferring such data outside the European Economic Area unless in line with explicit instructions authorised by the Managing Director.
In areas of uncertainty contact the Finance Manager in the first instance. Casual ‘gossip’ about customers, for example, is a breach of this policy and is a disciplinary offence. Any serious breach, such as discussing customers' health problems with other customers, may be regarded as gross misconduct.
No employee may give a reference on behalf of Lara Nichols without the explicit authority of the Managing Director. An unauthorised reference is a disciplinary offence and if it exposes Lara Nichols to a claim for damages it will be regarded as gross misconduct.
Disciplinary policy and procedures
The purpose of these procedures is to ensure the safe and effective operation of our organisation and the fair and equal treatment of all employees.
Good management will communicate its expectations effectively to employees and, in turn, listen to their needs and expectations. We seek an environment of mutual co-operation and understanding in meeting the aims and mission of Lara Nichols. Informal means of discussion, communication and counselling will be used to resolve issues wherever possible.
Where they cannot be resolved by these means then Lara Nichols, at its discretion, may involve a third party. This will be someone who can be seen as independent and may come from outside our organisation.
Where more serious conflict arises between the expectations of employer and employee these procedures are designed to resolve issues in a fair and equitable manner. Where Lara Nichols feels they have a complaint against you the disciplinary procedure will be invoked. Behaviour that could give rise to such a complaint is outlined in the section on misconduct. If you feel you have a complaint against Lara Nichols you should raise a grievance. The method of doing so is outlined in the section on grievance procedure.
These procedures apply to all employees of Lara Nichols whether they are part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary employees. However, if during the first three months of service or any probationary period (which may be extended), you fail to achieve satisfactory levels of behaviour or performance Lara Nichols may, at its discretion, omit some of the stages in this procedure, however there will always be at least one formal disciplinary meeting prior to any dismissal.
There is no requirement within our procedures for a grievance procedure to be concluded before a disciplinary procedure can be commenced.
This procedure does not form part of your contract of employment.
No disciplinary action, will be taken against you until any necessary investigations have been carried out to establish the facts. In some extreme cases, where gross misconduct is suspected for example, you might be suspended pending the outcome of investigations. Such suspension would be with pay, a neutral act and not an assumption of guilt. Where practicable, different people will carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing.
All stages of the procedure will be implemented without undue delay.
At every stage in the procedure you will be informed in writing of the nature of the complaint against you and will be given the opportunity to state your case before any decisions are made.
Following a decision, you will be informed in writing of any disciplinary action to be taken (or if not, that such action is not being taken) and the reason for action, indicating the specific areas of improvement required within, where appropriate, a specific period.
You will not be dismissed for a first breach of discipline except in the case of gross misconduct (see the relevant section) when the penalty will be dismissal without notice and without payment in lieu of notice.
A work colleague, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union Official may accompany you during any disciplinary meeting and you will probably find this helpful.
The procedure may be implemented at any stage if your alleged misconduct warrants such action. Further warnings for misconduct may be applied even if the further misconduct is of a different nature to the previous misconduct.
You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action imposed.
You will be advised of the date for any disciplinary meeting. You will be given at least 24 hours notice, unless we mutually agree that we should have an earlier meeting. We will tell you in writing what you are alleged to have done and provide you with details of the evidence available to us. We will also notify you of the possible consequences.
At such a meeting we will present the allegations against you. You will have an opportunity to set out your case and to answer any allegations. You may offer any mitigating circumstances that might be taken into account. This will be done before any decision is made.
In complex cases where it is relevant to call witnesses we will give you advance notice or, if you wish to call witnesses you should give us advance notice.
These points apply at all stages of the procedure.
Those taking the meeting will adjourn it to consider their decision. If it is decided that no action is to be taken, the matter will be closed.
Stage 1 - Written warning
If it is decided that your conduct or performance is unsatisfactory you may be given a WRITTEN WARNING. This will give the details of the complaint, the improvements required and the timescale for the improvement, depending on the nature of the offence. You will be informed that this is the 1st stage of the formal disciplinary procedure and the consequences should the required improvement not be made. You will be informed of your right to appeal. A copy of the written warning will be kept on your personnel file, but it will be spent for disciplinary purposes after 6 months subject to satisfactory conduct and performance. However, should there be any recurrence of the offence or commission of a subsequent but different offence whilst the note remains on your file, then stage 2 of the disciplinary procedure may be invoked.
Stage 2 - Final written warning
If there is still failure to improve and your conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory, or there is any other breach of discipline there will be a further meeting (if the misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant only one written warning but insufficiently serious to justify dismissal this will be a first meeting). Depending on the outcome of the meeting you may be given a FINAL WRITTEN WARNING. This will give details of the complaint, and the improvement required. It will warn you that dismissal may result if there is no satisfactory improvement (within a specified period, if appropriate). You will also be informed of your right to appeal. A copy of this final written warning will be kept on your personnel file for one year. However, should there be any recurrence of the offence or commission of a subsequent but different offence whilst the note remains on your file, then stage 3 of the disciplinary procedure may be invoked.
Stage 3 - Dismissal
If your conduct or performance is still unsatisfactory and you still fail to reach the prescribed standards, or there is any other breach of discipline, there will be a further meeting. DISMISSAL will normally result. You will be provided, as soon as reasonably practicable with the date on which your employment will terminate and informed of your right of appeal.
You have the right to appeal against any disciplinary penalty imposed. You should appeal to the Managing Director in writing, within 5 working days, stating the grounds for your appeal. You may feel that the penalty imposed is too harsh or that you were not given opportunity to explain a particular aspect of your case.
At our discretion we may involve a mediator from either within Lara Nichols or potentially from outside. Their remit will be to try to resolve the problem to your satisfaction and the satisfaction of Lara Nichols.
If mediation does not succeed then you will be invited to an appeal meeting and may be accompanied by a work colleague, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union Official. As far as is possible in a small organisation, such an appeal will be fair and impartial. Although new evidence will be considered if it is relevant, an appeal is not necessarily a re-hearing. After the appeal hearing you will be informed of the final decision.
Gross misconduct - dismissal without notice
Gross misconduct is an offence of such a serious nature that your employment contract can be regarded as breached.
If gross misconduct is alleged, you may, at the discretion of Lara Nichols be suspended on full pay for five days pending completion of an investigation.
If you cannot attend a disciplinary hearing because of some reason outside the control of Lara Nichols then continuing suspension beyond five days will be without pay, unless it is due to your sickness.
If it is established, after investigation, that there has been an act of gross misconduct, you may be dismissed summarily, with no notice or pay in lieu of notice. We will only make a decision to dismiss following an appropriate meeting with you.
Circumstances that may give rise to an allegation of gross misconduct are described in the section Gross misconduct.
In the event of summary dismissal, you will be deemed to be no longer in employment from the date of the decision.
We will set out in writing the alleged misconduct that has led to the dismissal and your right to appeal against the dismissal. We will send this to you.
If you do wish to appeal you must inform the Managing Director, in writing, within 5 working days stating the grounds for your appeal.
In such cases you will be invited to attend a meeting. You must make all reasonable attempts to attend the meeting.
Should an appeal be lodged which subsequently overturns the initial dismissal, reinstatement will occur with appropriate back-pay to the date of the initial decision. Under such circumstances continuous service will be maintained.
Every attempt is made to hear appeals within five working days from the date of the written appeal being lodged, or as soon thereafter as is practical.
We will inform you of the final decision in writing.
The following are examples of misconduct that may lead to disciplinary action. This list does not cover every possibility but is intended to indicate the type of misconduct that could lead to disciplinary action and, if persistent, dismissal.
- Using the company's telephone, e-mail or internet for personal purposes without express permission
- Unauthorised absence
- Unauthorised consumption of intoxicating liquor during working hours on the premises.
- Smoking other than outside the premises.
- Negligent work
- Lack of commitment
- Misuse of Lara Nichols facilities or property
- Inappropriate behaviour with the potential to cause offence
- Giving an unauthorised reference on behalf of Lara Nichols
- Disregard of the Data Protection policy
- Disregard of the Equal Opportunities policy
- Failure to follow absence reporting procedures
- Failure to co-operate with self-certification procedures
- Disregard of the Dress Code
- Disregard of the Code of Conduct
- Failure to notify your line manager of any gift or token from a client
- Disregard of the Health and Safety Policy
- Disregard of the internet and email or social networking policy
- Significant failure in following internal procedures
- Harassment of any description towards another person including:
- offensive or suggestive material
- offensive or suggestive comments
- unacceptable or suggestive acts
- Any act that is incompatible with the mission of Lara Nichols.
The following are examples of misconduct that may be regarded as Gross Misconduct. In this context the word “serious” implies such severity as to mean a complete breakdown of trust in the employee. This list does not cover every possibility but is intended to indicate the type of misconduct that could lead to summary dismissal.
- Theft from Lara Nichols, other employees or service users
- Fraud (such as deliberate falsification of sickness records)
- Serious breach of the internet and email or social networking policy
- Sleeping on duty
- Fighting or assault on another person
- Malicious damage to Lara Nichols property
- Incapability through alcohol or being under the influence of illegal drugs
- Wanton negligence
- Gross insubordination
- Serious abuse or misuse of Lara Nichols facilities or property
- Disruptive or abusive behaviour causing serious damage to relationships
- Giving of an unauthorised reference that has the potential of exposing Lara Nichols to a claim for damages
- Any breach of a policy that has the potential of exposing Lara Nichols to a claim for damages or breaches a fellow employee’s trust and confidence in Lara Nichols
- An unsafe act exposing self or others to severe injury
- Bringing Lara Nichols into disrepute
- Flagrant failure to follow Lara Nichols documentary procedures, policies or codes
- Acts of incitement or intentional acts of discrimination on the grounds of age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.
- Serious harassment of any description towards another person
- Any deliberate act that is entirely incompatible with the mission of Lara Nichols
You must dress in an appropriate manner having regard to the nature of your
employment. If you are provided with a polo shirt, tabard or other items of clothing then
you are required to wear it at work.
If you are provided with a high visibility vest, safety shoes and hard-hat then you are
required to wear these items whenever you could be exposed to the relevant hazards.
If our code conflicts with your established religion or belief then you should make this
known through your manager. We will discuss the matter with you individually to find a
Eligibility to be employed in the UK
Employees will be subject to appropriate checks to confirm their eligibility to be employed in the UK under the Asylum & Immigration Regulations. These may be in addition to other security and reference checks as deemed appropriate and/or contained in an employment offer.
It is a criminal offence to attempt to obtain employment by deception. Any misrepresentation, omission of a material fact or deception will be cause for immediate cancellation of consideration for employment, or for termination following disciplinary action if already employed.
It is the responsibility of the Finance Manager to ensure that all checks are complete and satisfactory. Copies must be made and kept. Copies need to be signed by the Finance Manager to verify originals have been seen.
Details of the checking process are here.
If you are offered employment then, to ensure compliance with the Asylum & Immigration Act 1996, we are required to check one of two types of document to meet legal requirements. You will need to provide originals of either one of the documents included in List 1 or two documents from List 2 below for checking and copying.
- a UK passport
- an EEA (European Economic Area) passport or national identity card
- a UK residence permit issued by the Home Office
- an application registration card issued by the Home Office to an asylum seeker, stating that the holder is permitted to take up employment
- a Passport or other travel document endorsed to show that you are exempt from immigration control, have indefinite leave to enter, or remain in the UK and have no time limit on your stay
A document issued by a previous employer, HMRC, The Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus, The Employment Service, The Training and Employment Agency (Northern Ireland) or the Northern Ireland Social security Agency, which contains your National Insurance number
- a birth certificate issued in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland which specifies the names of the holder’s parents; or
- a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British Citizen; or
- a letter issued to you by the Home Office, indicating that you have been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK; or
- an Immigration Status Document issued to you by the Home Office, endorse with a UK Residence Permit, indicating that you have been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK
A work permit or other approval to take employment issued by Work Permits UK
- a passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder has current leave to enter or remain in the UK and is permitted to take the work permit employment in question; or
- a letter issued to you by the Home Office confirming the same.
Emergencies involving dependants
You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of (emergency) unpaid time off during working hours to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. It is intended to cover unforeseen matters. It is not intended to deal with situations where you know in advance that you are going to need time off (though other arrangements might help you in such situations, for example, taking time from your annual leave entitlement).
In order to exercise your right to take unpaid time off to care for a dependant you must tell the Finance Manager as soon as reasonably practicable (except in circumstances where this is impossible until you return to work) of the reason for your absence and the period for which you expect to be absent.
Under this procedure there is no set limit to the amount of time off which can be taken. However, in most cases the amount of leave will be one or two days at the most. This leave is intended to enable you to cope with a crisis – that is to deal with the immediate care of a child, visiting the doctor if necessary, and to make longer term care arrangements. It is not intended to enable you, for example, to take two weeks leave to look after a sick child.
If the reason you need leave relates to your child, you may be entitled to take parental leave.
Who is a dependant?
Someone is a dependant if they are:
- your husband, wife or civil partner
- your child (that is any child for whom you have parental responsibilities)
- someone who lives with you as part of your family (though not if they are an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder)
- where a person reasonably relies on you for assistance then they count as a dependant in relation to purpose 1 below
- if a person reasonably relies on you to make arrangements for the provision of care then they count as a dependant for purposes 2 and 4 below.
For what purposes can you take time off?
You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of unpaid time off for the following purposes:
- to provide assistance on an occasion when a dependant falls ill, gives birth, or is injured or assaulted
- to make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured
- in consequence of the death of a dependant
- because of the unexpected disruption or termination of arrangements for the care of a dependant
- to deal with an incident which involves your child and which occurs unexpectedly in a period during which an educational establishment, which your child attends, is responsible for him or her.
Employment & training policy
It is our policy to have a happy, well-trained workforce where you will be required to work hard and effectively at your individual position within the company. You will achieve this through close adherence to our Employment & Training Policy. It is also our desire that you will receive above average remuneration within this industry sector for your role and as a result of their success and subsequent company growth you will be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for advancement. Where possible, appointments will be made via a "Promote from within" strategy.
Our Employment & Training Officer will manage the employment & training policy. The policy will undergo an annual review and any issues arising there from will be redressed through a consultation process involving the employment & training officer, management, supervisors and employees. You will be individually reviewed following your induction period and annually thereafter. Such reviews will evaluate performance, salary, role, work methods, training and potential future advancement or re-assignment.
Our policy is to employ individuals purely on an assessment of ability, and potential to carry out the required function. Employment will not be assessed on the basis of age, race or any other inappropriately discriminatory matter. Indeed it is our policy to be a multi racial company having a happy workforce of all ages and that all employees co-operate together. To this end open communication at all levels within the company will be encouraged.
The company policy is that you will receive training to a level higher than normally expected within the cleaning sector. Training will be mandatory for all employees on an ongoing basis in line with perceived company requirements for the position or the individual involved.
You will attend the appropriate in house training program on a permanent basis regardless of your role within the company. All cleaners and any employee with a level of supervision over cleaning staff will be required to have performed the said function of cleaning for a period as deemed appropriate by the directors and to receive NVQ cleaning training at all levels progressively.
Additional indirectly relevant training will be encouraged and supported where judged appropriate by the employment and training officer.
Independent training in association with industry bodies and or health & safety organizations will be mandatory to employees at the discretion of the employment & training officer under the direction of the company directors.
If you fail to attend or undertake training you may be subject to disciplinary action, which could include suspension of bonus.
All employees will undergo an induction process as deemed appropriate by the directors.
English language in the workplace
Use of a sole common language facilitates good communication, alleviates suspicion and assists working relationships.
It is the policy of Lara Nichols that the spoken language on the premises is English. All employees are required to use or attempt to use only English. Premises include all areas, including the toilets, communal areas and any outside areas within our ownership or tenancy.
Three groups have differing needs.
Those for whom English is their first language or who are fluent
You are expected to treat other groups with respect and recognise that broken English can seem more direct than the speaker may intend. Where you have a second language you may be expected to assist in translation or interpretation.
Those who have a good grasp of English as a second or later language
You are required to communicate in English. You may be expected to assist in translation or interpretation.
Employees learning English
All such employees are required to speak in English other than in the exceptions below.
A translator or interpreter (as appropriate) may enable an alternative language to be used in conjunction with English in the following circumstances:
- Job interviews
- Health and Safety
- Essential instructions
- Communicating expectations
- Formal discipline or grievance matters
Lara Nichols seeks to foster an environmentally responsible approach to business. This policy is to be explained to everyone who is directly involved in the business, the document is provided on our website and it is to be mentioned during any recruitment.
It is the responsibility of the Managing Director to familiarise themselves with any codes of practice relevant to the business and to regard compliance as a minimum standard only.
In addition the Managing Director seeks to improve environmental performance in main services and products (eg paperless-office products) and by processes (eg encouraging car sharing).
This is to be done on a continuous basis by, for example: invoicing by email.
Discussions on environmental issues with employees, free-lance workers, suppliers, customers and the local community will be welcomed by the Managing Director.
Complaints under this policy should be raised with the Managing Director who may take advice and, if appropriate, implement change. No person or supplier who raises a complaint is to suffer detriment as a result of raising the complaint.
This policy will be reviewed periodically to take account of growth in the business and any changes in the law.
Equal opportunity policy
We are committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment.
Accordingly, our employment policies are designed to ensure that no job applicant, employee or worker receives less favourable treatment for any of the following reasons:
- Race, including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
- Pregnancy or Maternity
- Religion or belief*,
- Trade union membership or non-membership
- Sexual orientation
- Gender re-assignment
- Married or civil partnership status
*Belief includes political and philosophical beliefs. However, adverse behaviour towards others, even when arising from beliefs, may result in disciplinary action.
The objective of the policy is to ensure that individuals are selected, allocated work and otherwise treated solely on the basis of their relevant aptitudes, skills and abilities.
Discrimination can take place in a number of ways:
- Directly eg by not appointing someone because of their skin colour
- Indirectly eg by unnecessarily specifying a height restriction for the job
- Association eg because a partner has a re-assigned gender
- Perception eg because thought to be disabled even though they are not
- Harassment eg intimidating them because of their religion
- Victimisation ie treating adversely someone who has complained in the past
We are alert to the possibility of any of these forms of discrimination.
Primary responsibility for the successful implementation of the policy rests with the Managing Director by:
- not inducing or attempting to induce others to practise unlawful discrimination
- bringing to the attention of employees and workers that they will be subject to disciplinary action, or loss of contracts, for failure to adhere to the policy
- not discriminating in the course of employment against employees, job applicants or workers.
Individual employees and workers have the responsibility to ensure that they assist the organisation in achieving these objectives by:
- not discriminating in the course of employment against employees, customers, suppliers or workers with whom they come into contact during the course of their duties
- not inducing or attempting to induce others to practise unlawful discrimination
- reporting any discriminatory action to the Finance Manager.
The successful operation of this policy necessitates a contribution from each person and you have an obligation to report any act of discrimination known to you.
If you consider that you are suffering unlawful discrimination, you should raise the issue with the Finance Manager.
You should also raise issues if you consider you are subject to harassment by a third party such as a customer or supplier.
No employee or worker will suffer detriment as a result of any matter raised, in good faith, under this policy.
If you have worked for us for 26 weeks you have a statutory right to request flexible working.
To do this you must write to the Finance Manager setting out the following:
- the change to working conditions that you are seeking and when you would like the change to come into effect
- what effect you think the requested change would have on Lara Nichols as your employer
- how, in your opinion, any such effect(s) might be dealt with
- that this is a statutory request and, if you have made a previous application for flexible working, the date of that application (You may make only one request in a twelve month period).
- the date of the request.
We will consider your request in a reasonable manner and within a reasonable timeframe. If we decide to meet your request we will meet only to clarify the detail of how the change may work in practice.
We will not refuse your request without first having a meeting with you. We will allow you to be accompanied, at such a meeting, by a work colleague or Trade Union representative if you request this.
We will only refuse your request if we have sound business reasons for doing so. You can find a list of the reasons for which we are entitled to refuse your request in the ACAS Code of Practice.
You should request this right using the guidance or form at:
The direct.gov.uk site
where your rights are set out in more detail
This procedure does not apply where you are appealing against disciplinary action that has been taken against you. In those circumstances, you must appeal to the Managing Director, in writing and within 5 working days, stating your reasons for the appeal.
If you consider that you are not being treated fairly as an employee then you should raise a grievance. A work colleague, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union Official may usually accompany you during a grievance meeting and you will probably find this helpful.
The right of accompaniment applies where the complaint is regarding a legal duty owed by the employer to the employee. It would not cover, for example, a request for a pay rise.
You are first encouraged to raise the grievance informally with your line manager. Feelings of unfair treatment often result from misunderstandings and careful communication and discussion can usually resolve these. If the grievance is with your line manager you may raise it to the next most senior person.
Where they cannot be resolved by these means then Lara Nichols, at its discretion, may engage a mediator.
If you are not satisfied that your grievance has been resolved, then you must put the details of your complaint in writing. You will be expected to explain the grievance and how you think it should be resolved. We will then arrange a grievance meeting with you to give further consideration to your grievance and may discuss it with others inside Lara Nichols and, potentially, advisers from outside.
The Manager will normally reach a decision within 5 working days and will communicate this to you in writing as well as verbally and of your right to appeal against the decision if you are not satisfied.
If you wish to appeal you must inform the Managing Director within 5 working days.
We will invite you to attend a further meeting at which we will hear a formal appeal. Ideally that will be held by someone not involved at the initial meeting. After that meeting you will be informed of the final decision in writing.
Grievances raised by past employees
In circumstances where an employee has already left employment, the procedure above has not been commenced or completed and both parties agree in writing then the following procedure will apply:
The former employee must set out the grievance in writing within 5 working days of leaving employment and send a copy of the grievance to the Finance Manager.
The response will be set out in writing and a copy sent to the former employee. There is no right of appeal for past employees.
Harassment and bullying
What is it?
Harassment is behaviour that offends the dignity of another person, for example by offensive remarks. It may relate to race, sex, disability or other protected characteristic (see Equal Opportunity policy) of an individual. Bullying is harassment in situations where we influence others. Inappropriate language in giving an instruction or making a criticism would be an example. Swearing in such circumstances is not acceptable. You can also complain of harassment if you are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic and even if the harassment is not directed at you.
We recognise that complaints of personal harassment, and particularly of sexual harassment, can sometimes be of a sensitive or intimate nature and that it may not be appropriate for you to raise the issue through our normal grievance procedure. In these circumstances you are encouraged to raise such issues with a senior person of your choice (whether or not that person has a direct supervisory responsibility for you) as a confidential helper and your confidential helper can assist you in this.
If you are the victim of minor harassment or bullying you should make it clear to the harasser or bully on an informal basis that their behaviour is unwelcome and ask them to stop. If you feel unable to do this verbally then you should hand a written request to the harasser or bully. If you feel uncomfortable with this please discuss the matter with your line manager.
Where the informal approach fails or if the harassment or bullying is more serious, you should bring the matter to the attention of the Managing Director as a formal written complaint and a confidential helper can assist you in this. If possible, you should keep notes of the harassment so that the written complaint can include:
- the name of the alleged harasser/bully
- the nature of the alleged harassment/bullying
- the dates and times when the alleged harassment/bullying occurred
- the names of any witnesses.
On receipt of a formal complaint we will take action to separate you from the alleged harasser or bully to enable an uninterrupted investigation to take place. This may involve a temporary transfer of the alleged harasser or bully to another work area or suspension with pay until the matter has been resolved.
It must be appreciated that such issues often give rise to conflicting evidence, meaning that it can be difficult to get to the truth of the matter. Though complaints will be treated in good faith there is nevertheless risk in bringing a complaint of harassment or bullying.
You must understand that the person against whom you are raising a complaint has rights also. They have a right to know about the allegations against them and the right to offer explanations. In practice, this will not be possible without revealing who has made the allegations.
The person dealing with the complaint will carry out a thorough investigation. Those involved in the investigation will be required to act in confidence and any breach of confidence will be a disciplinary matter.
When the investigation has been concluded, a draft report of the findings and of the proposed decision will be sent, in writing, to you and to the alleged harasser or bully.
If you or the alleged harasser or bully is dissatisfied with the draft report or with the proposed decision this should be raised with the investigator within five working days of receiving the draft. The investigator will consider any points of concern before a final report is sent, in writing, to you and to the alleged harasser or bully.
If the report concludes that the allegation is well founded, the harasser or bully will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with our disciplinary procedure. An employee who receives a formal warning or who is dismissed for harassment may appeal against the disciplinary action by using our disciplinary appeal procedure.
Similarly, if the report concludes that the complaint was unfounded and the complainant disagrees they may appeal by using the grievance procedure, commencing at the stage of a “Grievance meeting” where the complaint has to be put in writing.
If you bring a complaint of harassment you will not be victimised for having brought the complaint. However if the report concludes that the complaint is both untrue and has been brought with malicious and/or vexatious intent, disciplinary action may be taken against you.
Health and safety policy statement
It is the policy of Lara Nichols, so far as is reasonably practicable to conduct its operations in such a manner as to avoid risks to the health and safety of its employees, or any other person who might be affected by its operations.
The promotion of health and safety measures at all levels as a mutual objective for management and employees is recognised as a priority for the Managing Director of the company.
Lara Nichols undertakes to make every reasonable effort to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all its employees, contractors, members of the general public and other individuals who visit its premises.
Lara Nichols will provide such instructions, information, training, supervision, safe devices and protective clothing as are necessary and practicable to ensure that within scope of its business activities that employees and contractors are safe and without risks to their health.
Lara Nichols will:
- assess, in joint consultation with employees, risks to health and safety arising from working conditions, equipment or systems of work
- undertake risk assessments for all materials, substances and activities and implement appropriate preventative and corrective measures following the identification of any hazards
- review risk assessments and systems of work on a periodic basis to ensure that they reflect current practices and that the safest possible methods are adopted to reduce the occurrence of accidents and cases of work-related ill health
- All employees have individual responsibility to participate fully in implementation of the policy and to take every care for their own safety and that of other employees or persons who may be affected by their activities at work.
Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee, regardless of status, who wilfully or deliberately disregards or who is consistently negligent in conforming to Lara Nichols policy on health, safety and welfare.
The health and safety policy is regarded by the Managing Director as being in accordance with and of equal importance to, the main aims of Lara Nichols. The implementation of the health and safety policy will be constantly monitored to ensure its effectiveness and the policy will be reviewed at regular intervals.
NOTE: This policy statement must be read in conjunction with the Lara Nichols health and safety policy, and local safety arrangements, advice and information.
The ultimate authority and responsibility in relation to health and safety topics rests with the Managing Director. Together with the management team he/she will ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety at work of all his/her employees, and in particular:
- the provision of systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health
- arrangements for arranging so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and freedom from risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
- the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his/her employees
- to maintain any place of work under his/her control, so far as is reasonably practicable, in a condition that is safe and without risks to health, and to provide and maintain in similar condition means of access and egress from that place
- the provision and maintenance of a working environment for employees that is, as far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health and adequately provided with facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.
Each employee is expected to confirm to the company policy and regulation on health and safety topics and to recognise their responsibility in law for their own safety and that of colleagues as well as those persons with whom they come into contact during the course of their work. Further, employees are expected to help and co-operate in achieving safe and hazard-free working areas and operations.
Specifically, you must comply with the following:
- all precautions, protective clothing and equipment prescribed in an approved method of work must be applied as directed
- only personnel who are trained and authorised to use equipment, machinery or vehicles may do so, provided always that there are safe and proper working conditions, and that all guarding and other precautions are operating
- all equipment, work and storage areas, gangways and staff facilities should be maintained in a clean and tidy condition
- all machinery, power supplies and materials must be left in a safe condition when unattended or when work ceases
- repairs and adjustments to equipment or machinery may only be carried out by those who are authorised to do so
- any dangerous or injurious incident or ‘near miss’ must be reported at the earliest opportunity to a Manager and appropriate details recorded in the accident book
- you must properly use, and not interfere with the working of, any item provided in the interests of safe and healthy working conditions
- you must expressly not engage in practical joking, horseplay or reckless behaviour whether or not risk or danger to others is intended
- while working away on customers’ premises, you must obtain and comply with all local safety policies, procedures, rules or precautions.
Failure to comply will render you liable to appropriate disciplinary action.
Holiday request form
Please download, complete and forward the form to your line manager.
Holiday request form
Your entitlement is set out in your own conditions of employment.
The holiday year runs from 1 January to 31 December. No carry over to a following year will be allowed, nor is pay in lieu available except on termination. You must therefore take your entitlement in good time.
If you work part-time, your holiday entitlement and pay will be calculated on a pro rata basis according to the contracted number of hours worked each week.
Your entitlement will accrue at the rate of 1/12th of your annual entitlement (including 1/12th of the Bank/Public holiday entitlement) for each completed month of service. For part years of service your entitlement will be calculated as 1/12th of the annual entitlement for each completed month of service during that holiday year.
Pay during holidays will be based on your normal weekly hours and normal overtime at the appropriate rates of pay.
You may not take any holiday without prior permission. The request for permission must be made on a holiday request form. All holiday must be formally approved before booking flights, accommodation, etc.
Conflicts will be resolved on a first come, first served, basis subject to discretion. If you are required to work a Bank or Public holiday then you will be paid 1.5 times your normal rate and you may take your holiday on another day. If you are not required to work then you may request to take a Bank or Public holiday as part of your holiday entitlement, by submitting a holiday form, and will be paid at your normal rate. You may need to reserve some of your holiday days for Christmas
On termination of your employment your holiday entitlement will be calculated pro-rata to your days of employment in the holiday year of your departure. You will receive payment at the rate of one week’s pay for each untaken week of that holiday entitlement. Part-weeks will be calculated pro-rata.
If you have taken more holiday than your entitlement (pro-rata to your days of employment in the holiday year of your departure), we may deduct a payment from any monies owed to you. This will be calculated at the same rate of one week’s pay for each excess week of your annual entitlement taken in the year of your departure. Part-weeks will be calculated pro-rata.
Hours of work
Your normal hours of work are shown in your own conditions of employment.
Lara Nichols reserves the right to make reasonable changes to any work patterns either on a temporary or a permanent basis, according to the needs of the business.
If you are employed on a nil hours contract then Lara Nichols does not guarantee to provide you with work but will pay for the work that is done. You agree to be available for work. Your employment contract continues even when there is no work and terminates only on written notice from either you or Lara Nichols.
Owing to the nature of our operation, a reasonable amount of overtime may be required.
Salaried employees are expected to work such hours as are reasonably necessary for the job.
You may agree to work hours in addition to the current working time limit of 48 hours per week (averaged over 17 weeks). If you wish to do this, then this is a voluntary choice. Please sign and return a separate opt-out agreement that can be downloaded from the Internet version of this handbook.
Internet and e-mail policy
Lara Nichols information systems are all the hardware, software, applications and data/communications networks that together provide the capability to generate, process, transmit, receive and store information electronically. These include, for example, the use of communication systems such as social networks, email and Internet. This policy should be read in conjunction with the social networking policy and, if relevant, our bring your own device to work policy.
The information systems and IT facilities are provided for business purposes. Where you are given access to computer information systems and services, it is on the basis that these are essential tools for the job. In using these facilities you must follow such authorisation processes as may be provided elsewhere.
Misuse of our Information Systems or IT facilities, or unauthorised access may lead to disciplinary action which, in serious cases, could result in your dismissal.
We may allow occasional and reasonable use of our information systems and IT facilities for non-business (personal) purposes (including social networking). Such is subject to the usage guidance given below and in the separate Social Networking Guidance and Policy.
All information generated, processed, transmitted, received and stored on the company Information Systems may be audited at any time.
Any information held on these systems may be subject to audit and removal without notice. You are therefore advised not to regard any information that you create on information systems, including email, as private.
Monitoring, recording and disclosure
Access to our Information Systems will be monitored as and when required. Monitoring processes generate audit logs that may be used to detect misuse of systems, as defined by the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and other criminal acts or breach of requirements established in this policy.
We may monitor and record communications made using our information systems and IT facilities where they are relevant to the business, for quality control or employee training purposes, for ascertaining compliance with our regulatory practices or procedures, for preventing or detecting crime, for investigating or detecting any unauthorised use of, or ensuring the effective operation of, our data/communications systems (eg monitoring for viruses), and monitoring or determining whether or not such communications comply with this policy.
Confidentiality and security
We recognise that there are risks associated with the use of information systems and technology and will seek to minimise these risks and their impact. Where appropriate, you are required to play your part in protecting the information and information technology assets of the business. Information is an important asset that may be sensitive or commercially valuable.
You must take reasonable precautions to protect the security and confidentiality of information (see also the Data Protection Policy). Failure to protect the integrity of our systems and information may lead to disciplinary action.
- Don’t open email attachments from unknown sources
- Do not use WiFi outside our premises unless you are certain the connection is safe (passwords pass through routers and can be intercepted)
- Be vigilant; hackers can use plausible information that puts you off you guard
- Follow the password policy below
To ensure that our information is protected, you are held responsible for safeguarding passwords and access identities. Personal passwords and identities must not be shared. You are responsible for all use of information systems and technology, and for any information stored or communicated, using your identity or password.
Unauthorised third party software or hardware
Software or hardware must not be connected copied or downloaded, modified, adapted or loaded by users onto any of our technology or system without prior, written approval from Managing Director.
Email is Business Correspondence
Email should be regarded in the same way as any other type of correspondence or communication and treated as a record of the business.
The content of an email or of any electronically stored or transmitted information can be legally binding; therefore you must avoid making commitments via email or the internet on behalf of our organisation unless you have full authority to do so in any particular instance.
Email and internet usage guidance
Internet access is a standard tool available for anyone provided with a computer that is connected to our network. If email is made available to you it is to enable you to do your job. Access to either is granted subject to compliance with normal standards of behaviour in the office environment, particularly in terms of material viewed or circulated.
Limited personal use
Our information systems and IT facilities are provided for business purposes. Occasional and reasonable personal use is permitted provided that it is outside of working time. Misuse or excessive personal use of our information systems will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action.
Examples of reasonable personal use of information systems and technology are:
- exchanging email, including social networking, with relatives or personal contacts
- personal financial services
- internet shopping for personal consumer items
- making personal travel arrangements
- reading news
- taking part in discussion groups associated with personal interests
- carrying out research for personal interest
As examples, our information systems and technology must not be used:
- to undertake activities (including social networking) detrimental to our reputation or business interests or are libellous of any other person’s or company’s reputation, products or services
- in a way which adversely affects the performance of your job
- to further the interests of any other business enterprise
- to undertake activities of an offensive, sexual or discriminatory nature based on the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. Details of protected characteristics are outlined in the Equal Opportunity Policy.
- to express unauthorised views or make commitments that could appear to be on our behalf
- to copy, distribute or receive copyrighted or confidential materials without the authority of the owner
- to deliberately visit web sites or contribute to News Groups that advocate illegal activity
- to initiate or participate in the sending of chain letters, ‘junk mail’(unsolicited commercial electronic mail), ‘spamming’ (sending unsolicited messages indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups) or other similar mailings
- to transmit messages or material that solicit or promote a religious, charitable, political or other non-business related cause, unless authorised by the Managing Director
- to obtain or disseminate unauthorised software that could put our security network at risk
- to undertake illegal trading
- for job searching
If you are called for jury service, you will be granted leave of absence without pay. You should, therefore, claim for loss of earnings from the court.
Maternity and Paternity policies, rights and procedures
Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on maternity leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees.
This policy also covers related paternity, adoption and parental leave (post-maternity) rights. Shared parental leave is addressed in a separate policy.
If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with the Finance Manager. Notification requirements covered in these procedures should be addressed to the Finance Manager.
If you are pregnant then, irrespective of service, you are entitled to take 26 weeks' ordinary statutory maternity leave (two weeks of which must be taken immediately after the birth of your child), followed by an entitlement to 26 weeks additional statutory maternity leave.
Ordinary maternity leave
On or before the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth you must notify the Finance Manager of:
- The fact of your pregnancy
- The expected week of childbirth (EWC), supported by a medical certificate
- Written notice of the date on which you wish to start your leave. This date cannot be earlier than the start of the eleventh week before the EWC. If you subsequently wish to change this date, you must notify the Finance Manager, in writing, at least 28 days before the date you are changing or the new date (whichever is earlier).
It is particularly important that you comply with the notification requirements because if you fail to do so you can lose your rights.
In deciding on a date, you may also wish to consider your holiday entitlement in the holiday year in which you commence your maternity leave. You may wish to take any remaining holiday before commencing your maternity leave.
Your maternity leave will start on:
- the written date you have notified us; or
- the first day when you are absent from work wholly or partly due to pregnancy after the beginning of the fourth week before the EWC; or
- the day of childbirth (even if this is before the eleventh week before the EWC)
If you wish to return before the end of your 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave you must give 8 weeks’ written notice of your intention.
Additional maternity leave
The additional maternity leave follows on immediately after the 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave period and lasts for 26 weeks. We will assume that you are taking this leave unless you notify us to the contrary.
We will notify you of your expected return date. If you intend to return on that date, you need give us no further notice.
If you wish to return to work before the end of your additional maternity leave period you must give 8 weeks’ written notice of your intention.
To be entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP):
You must have been employed by Lara Nichols for at least 26 weeks, ending with the fifteenth week (the qualifying week) before the expected EWC;
Your earnings must be more than the lower earnings limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions;
You must notify the Finance Manager of when you expect our liability to pay you SMP will commence. This notice must be given at least 28 days before that date or, if this is not reasonably practicable then as soon as it is reasonably practicable.
SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks.
The first six weeks will be paid at the higher rate, which is 90% of your weekly earnings (calculated at an average of the eight weeks before the qualifying week).
The remaining 33 weeks will be paid at the lower rate of SMP (a rate determined by the Department of Work and Pensions) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
If you have less than 26 weeks' service at the qualifying week or if your earnings are at or less than the lower earnings limit for the payment of National Insurance contributions, you will be issued with a form SMP1, which you should forward to the local Social Security/Jobcentre Plus Office who will pay Maternity Allowance.
An antenatal appointment is an appointment you make on the advice of your doctor, midwife or health visitor.
You have the right to reasonable paid time off for antenatal appointments, and this includes the time spent travelling to an appointment and waiting. It does not include entitlement to pay for time where you could reasonably attend work beforehand or return to work afterwards.
You cannot be refused time off for the first appointment, but for subsequent appointments we can ask you for written proof of the appointment and a certificate or note from your doctor or midwife, stating that you are pregnant.
‘Antenatal care’ isn’t just for medical appointments - it can also include antenatal or parenting classes if they’ve been recommended by your doctor or midwife.
Keeping in touch
We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on maternity leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.
During maternity leave you can do up to 10 days’ work under your contract of employment, as long as we both agree for this to happen, and agree on what work is to be done and how much you will be paid for it.
Rights on return
You are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions. If, exceptionally, this is not possible (for example if the job no longer exists) you are entitled to suitable alternative employment on terms that are not substantially less favourable.
You may want to consider any holiday accrued but not taken in the holiday year you return. If you wish to use it directly after your maternity leave then the usual notification conditions still apply.
If you do not wish to return to work we are entitled to the notice period specified in your contract. You will be entitled to holiday pay, accrued in the holiday year of your resignation, paid in lieu.
Further information can be found at:
Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on paternity leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees. If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with the Finance Manager or go to the website at the foot of this policy.
Paternity leave can be taken for either one week or two consecutive weeks after the child is born or placed for adoption (starting any day) and has to finish within 56 days of the baby's birth.
You are eligible for paternity leave if you:
- have or expect to have responsibility for the baby's upbringing and are either the
- biological father of the baby
- mother's husband or partner (including same-sex relationships)
- child’s adopter
- husband or partner (including same-sex relationships) of the child’s adopter
- must be taking the time off to care for the child
- make a declaration that you are taking leave for the statutory purpose and that you meet these qualifying conditions
- have 26 weeks continuous service ending with the 15th week before the baby is due (the qualifying week) and are employed from the 15th week before the baby is due up to the date of birth or have 26 weeks continuous service by the end of the week you are notified you are matched with your child
If you are the husband or partner to the mother, but are not in an enduring family relationship with the mother and baby then you are not entitled to paternity leave.
You must notify us by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC), or within 7 days of being told by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child, or as soon as reasonably practicable, of the following:
- your intention to take paternity leave
- the expected week of the baby's birth
- whether you wish to take one week or two consecutive weeks' leave
- when you want to start your leave (if subsequently, you wish to change this date you must give 28 days notice in writing of the date you intend to start, where reasonably practicable)
It is particularly important that you comply with the notification requirements because if you fail to do so you can lose your rights.
Fathers and partners can take unpaid time off work to accompany a pregnant woman to see a midwife or obstetrician.
The right is to time off on up to two occasions for a maximum of 6.5 hours each.
You must notify the Finance Manager if you are an expectant father or the partner of the expectant mother and plan to accompany the mother to an ante-natal appointment. Time off to attend an ante-natal appointments is time off without pay.
Ordinary Paternity pay
To be entitled to statutory paternity pay (SPP) you must satisfy the qualifying conditions and the notification requirements.
Ordinary Paternity Pay is payable at the SPP rate OR 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
Ordinary Paternity pay will be for the length of leave that you have decided to take and is subject to the maximum of 2 weeks. The rate of SPP is determined by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Additional Paternity Leave
Additional paternity leave and pay is no longer available for babies due after 5 April 2015. This has been replaced by shared parental leave. See the section on shared parental leave for details.
Keeping in touch days
We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on paternity leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.
Terms and conditions during leave
During paternity leave your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions continue with the exception of wages, salary and other remuneration.
Rights on return
Your employment terms and conditions, except for remuneration, continue during paternity leave and you are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions.
This is not an exhaustive statement of paternity rights. For more information go to:
Adoption leave policy
Our policy is to fully comply with legislation on adoption leave, pay and rights and to ensure these rights are known and understood by employees. If you have queries about your rights or the operation of these procedures you should raise your queries with your manager. Notification requirements covered in these procedures should be addressed to the Finance Manager.
This policy applies to employees of both sexes when a child has been placed for adoption.
Entitlement to adoption leave can apply to partners of the same sex subject to qualifying conditions.
Ordinary adoption leave
You will qualify for ordinary adoption leave if you:
- are the child's adopter. Where a couple adopt, only one (the main adopter) can elect to take adoption leave, but your partner may be entitled to take paternity leave.
- have notified the adoption agency that you agree to the child being placed with you and have agreed the date of the placement
- have complied with the notification requirements, below.
You must give us notice, in writing, of your intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified of being matched with a child.
Because you only have seven days to give notice, it would be helpful if you notified the Finance Manager that you were trying to adopt a child early in the adoption process.
In some cases it will not be possible for you to give notice within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency of being matched with the child, in which case you must give notice as soon as reasonably practicable.
You must provide a letter from the adoption agency giving their name and address, the name and date of birth of the child, the date on which you were notified that you were matched with a child, and the date on which the child is expected to be placed with you for adoption.
Starting adoption leave
You can choose to start your adoption leave and your adoption pay period on the day the child is placed with you, or up to 14 days before the expected date of placement but no earlier than that date.
If you choose to start your leave on the day the child is placed with you and you are at work that day, your adoption leave and statutory adoption pay start the following day.
You are entitled to change the date you want to start your adoption leave and your adoption pay period provided you give notice of the new date in writing. If the reason for the change of date is because you want to start your leave and adoption pay period on the day the child is placed with you, you must give at least 28 days’ notice before the expected date of placement. If you are choosing a predetermined date, notice must be given at least 28 days before that date. In both cases, if it’s not reasonably practicable to give that much notice, you must do so as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Additional adoption leave
This is an additional 26 weeks of adoption leave which starts immediately after the end of ordinary adoption leave. If you qualify for ordinary adoption leave, you are also entitled to additional adoption leave.
Statutory adoption pay
You qualify for statutory adoption pay if:
- You are still employed by Lara Nichols in the matching week; and
- Your normal weekly earnings in the eight weeks before the end of the matching week are not less than the lower earnings limit for the payment of national insurance contributions.
Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks.
The first six weeks will be paid at the higher rate, which is 90% of your weekly earnings.
The remaining 33 weeks will be paid at the lower rate of SAP (a rate determined by the Department of Work and Pensions) or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). This right has been brought in line with current Statutory Maternity Pay.
You will be paid statutory adoption pay on your normal payday.
If you are notified the placement will not go ahead after you have started your adoption leave, or the placement is disrupted during your leave, your entitlement to adoption leave and statutory adoption pay ends eight weeks after the end of the week in which the disruption occurred. You must notify the Finance Manager as soon as reasonably practicable if the placement is disrupted during your adoption leave.
Once we have your notice to start adoption leave Lara Nichols will write to you within 28 days to notify you of the last day of your adoption leave, which will be the last day of your additional adoption leave. If you vary the day you want to start your adoption leave, the last day of your adoption leave will change. In this case, Lara Nichols will write to you again with the new end date.
If you wish to return to work before the end of your adoption leave period you must give eight weeks’ written notice of your intention.
Ordinary paternity leave
Your partner may be entitled to paternity leave and pay. See the Paternity policy (above) to assess qualifying conditions, notification requirements, pay and other conditions.
Additional paternity leave
Additional paternity leave and pay is no longer available for babies due after 5 April 2015. This has been replaced by shared parental leave. See the section on shared parental leave for details.
Termination of employment
If your employment ends for any reason during or after the qualifying week (provided you are employed for at least one day of the qualifying week) you retain your entitlement to statutory adoption pay. If you do want to resign, you must give the proper amount of notice due under your contract of employment. Should, however, you start working for another employer, you will lose your entitlement to statutory adoption pay from that date.
Terms and conditions during leave
During ordinary adoption leave your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions continue with the exception of wages, salary and other remuneration.
Keeping in touch days
We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on adoption leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.
During adoption leave you can do up to 10 days’ work under your contract of employment, as long as we both agree for this to happen, and agree on what work is to be done and how much you will be paid for it.
Return to work
If you only take ordinary adoption leave you are entitled to return to the same job. If you take additional adoption leave, or ordinary adoption leave with a period of parental leave of more than four weeks, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to return to the same job, you will be offered an alternative position on no less favourable terms and conditions.
You don’t qualify for statutory adoption leave or pay if you:
- arrange a private adoption
- become a special guardian or kinship carer
- adopt a stepchild
- adopt a family member or stepchild
This is not an exhaustive statement of adoption leave rights. For more information go to:
You are entitled to take unpaid parental leave if you
- have completed one year’s continuous employment with Lara Nichols, and
- are the parent (named on the birth certificate) of a child who is under eighteen years old or
- have acquired formal parental responsibility, under appropriate legislation, for a child who is under eighteen years old.
The purpose of parental leave is to enable employees with parental responsibility time off to spend time with and to look after a child or to make arrangements for the child's welfare.
Parental leave is unpaid, and is for a maximum of 18 weeks for each child and can be taken by both mothers and fathers. Leave taken with a previous employer counts towards the maximum entitlement.
When can you take parental leave?
You are entitled to take parental leave in respect of a child up to and including the child's eighteenth birthday. The only exceptions to this are:
- if the child was placed with you for adoption, you may exercise your entitlement to parental leave in respect of that child up to and including the eighteenth anniversary of the date on which the placement began, or the date of the child's eighteenth birthday, whichever is the earlier
- if Lara Nichols has postponed your request for parental leave
How much parental leave can I take?
You can take up to eighteen weeks unpaid parental leave per qualifying child. In the case of multiple births (i.e. twins, triplets etc) you can take up to eighteen weeks unpaid parental leave in respect of each child.
Parental leave cannot be taken in periods other than a week or a multiple of a week at any one time (except where the child is entitled to a disability living allowance), and is limited to a maximum of four weeks leave in respect of any individual child in any one year.
A year is the period of twelve months beginning on the date on which you first became entitled to take parental leave in respect of the child in question.
Requesting parental leave
At least 21 days before the start of your proposed period of parental leave you must notify the Finance Manager in writing that you wish take parental leave via your line manager. We may require seeing documentary evidence, to our reasonable satisfaction, of your right to take parental leave.
If you are an expectant father and the period of leave is to begin on the date on which the child is born, you must confirm in writing, to the Finance Manager, the expected week of child birth and the amount of leave required at least twenty one days before the beginning of the expected week of child birth.
If the leave is in respect of an adopted child and is to begin on the date of the placement for adoption you must confirm in writing to us in writing, to the Finance Manager, the week in which the placement is expected to occur and the duration of the period of leave at least twenty one days before the beginning of the week of adoption or if that is not reasonably practicable then as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Postponement of leave
We can postpone the period of parental leave requested by you if Lara Nichols considers that the operation of its business would be unduly disrupted by you taking leave during the period identified in your notice.
However we cannot postpone your parental leave if the period of leave is to begin on the date on which the child is born or on the date on which the child is placed with you for adoption.
We will give you written notice not more than seven days after your notice was given to the Finance Manager, if we wish to postpone your request for parental leave. This notice will specify reasons for the postponement and the start and end date to which the leave has been postponed. In all cases you may take a period of leave of the same duration as that specified in your notice and beginning on a day determined by us in consultation with you. We will not postpone parental leave for longer than six months after the date on which it was originally due to commence.
Protection of employment
Whilst on parental leave, you will continue to benefit from our implied obligation to you of trust and confidence and to the conditions of your employment relating to notice of the termination of employment, compensation in the event of redundancy and the disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Whilst on parental leave, you will continue to be bound by your implied obligation of good faith to us as your employers and the conditions of your employment relating to notice of termination of employment, disclosure of confidential information and participation in any other business.
If you exercise your right to parental leave, you will be afforded the right to return to work to the same job or to an equivalent or similar job, on the same terms and conditions as would have applied to you had you not been absent from work during the period of parental leave. You will not suffer detriment for taking or seeking to take parental leave or for any other reason connected with parental leave.
All medical appointments should wherever possible be made outside of work time, however we recognise that this is not always possible. If you need to take work time then you must inform your line manager in good time. Medical appointments will normally be unpaid or, if paid, we will look to you to make up the time.
If you are suffering from a serious on-going medical condition we will meet with you to discuss the best approach in your individual case and we will make reasonable adjustments as appropriate. In the first instance please advise your line manager or, if you prefer, the Managing Director.
We may ask you for a confirmation of appointment letter at our discretion.
Mobile phone use
This policy applies to mobile phones, smartphones, ipads and all other devices capable of sending and receiving calls, messages or other communications.
Company mobile phones are provided at the discretion of the Managing Director on the basis of business need and may be used for a reasonable amount of private calls.
Your company mobile phone and sim must be pass code protected. If not and it is lost we may seek to recover incurred costs due to misuse.
You must advise the Finance Manager if you intend to use your phone for personal use outside the UK when all calls will be at your expense. You will be required to pay this direct to Lara Nichols
Lara Nichols reserves the right to monitor the use of its mobile phones. Personal information recorded on a company mobile will not necessarily be private.
Company mobile phones must be returned to the Finance Manager on the last day of your employment. If you wish to remove private information it is your responsibility to do so prior to return.
Use of company and personal mobile phones during working hours
Mobile phones may be used only for business purposes during working hours.
To minimise the risk of viruses and to protect the phone’s security the Bluetooth facility must not be enabled at any time (both during and outside working hours) other than at times when you are specifically using that facility. This is because the Bluetooth facility makes your phone accessible to other users and access to your data can be obtained anonymously and without your knowledge.
The camera facility must be used only for business purposes during working hours.
Be considerate in your use of your mobile. Turn it off when its use could be distracting, for example during meetings or when attending to clients.
Personal mobile or smartphones must be switched off during working hours. If you wish to check receipt of messages or make a call from your mobile phone during your lunch break this must be done away from client facing areas or offices where other people are working.
Use of company mobile phones whilst driving
The use of a mobile telephone while driving is permitted only if:
- as the driver, your conversation is carried out hands-free
- you judge it safe to do so in the light of the prevailing traffic conditions
- the conversation does not become stressful.
If you call someone on a mobile phone and it is apparent that they are driving, ask if they are hands-free and if it is safe to talk, if not, then finish the conversation quickly and courteously. Even if safe to talk, do not start a conversation that may become stressful or continue one that appears to be becoming so.
Please remember that it is illegal to drive while using hand-held phones or similar devices.
Loss and repair of company phones
The safeguarding of your Company mobile phone is your responsibility. Do not leave it in a visible place such as in an unattended car.
Any loss or damage to a Company mobile phone should be reported to the Finance Manager as soon as possible. Loss of a company phone must in any event be notified to Managing Director immediately it is suspected. so that its data and access to our servers can be locked or deleted.
Breach of this policy
Breach of this policy will be treated as misconduct and may lead to disciplinary action.
If you have been issued with a Company mobile phone then breach of the policy could result in it being withdrawn. You might not be offered the opportunity to remove private information first.
Payment of earnings
Payment of earnings
Details of your rate of pay and method of payment are to be found in your own conditions of employment.
In the event of over-payment of earnings you will be advised and the excess payment will be deducted from your next payment, in normal circumstances. If over-payment has persisted for some time, repayment over an appropriate period of time will be allowed.
All queries regarding payment of your earnings should, in the first instance be referred to your line manager.
Your employment is subject to a probationary period of three months. Your probationary period may be extended. During this period Lara Nichols reserves the right to terminate your employment at any time and for any reason by giving you one week’s written notice or payment in lieu thereof.
Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols will assess and review your work performance during this probationary period. During the period you may be dismissed on grounds of capability or conduct on the basis of one meeting as outlined in the disciplinary procedure. The full procedure will not necessarily apply.
To ensure long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing service of the highest quality. This will be achieved by a continuous process of quality improvement which delivers:
- Commitment to listen and respond to customer needs and expectations
- Commitment to building a team approach which maximizes the individual's contribution to enhance the overall team performance, bringing together personal, functional and geographical aspects through development of all employees to meet the business needs
- An assurance that all personnel are appropriately trained in all relevant procedures, processes and documentation appropriate to their level of authority to facilitate the highest levels of efficiency
- Commitment to fulfil the needs of our market and to enhance our competitive advantage through superior cleaning services, new opportunities and our customers' changing requirements
- Commitment to research and development to ensure advanced working practices in creating an adaptive product
- An assurance of the continual update of procedures, processes and documentation in recording revisions and reissue and the removal of obsolete versions from use
- An assurance that no changes to documentation, process or procedure will be implemented without the signed authorization of the Quality Manager, so that all changes are fully recorded and approved and so that training can be delivered to the appropriate personnel
- A quarterly review of all documents, procedures and practices to ensure that all system are up to date and are functioning in the best interests of the customer and the company
- Commitment to investment in resources including logistics, customer support and service in order to anticipate and satisfy our customers' expectations of quality and value
- Commitment to comply with the requirements of the quality management system
Mike Nichols 26 January 2015
Selection for redundancy will, in the first instance, be based on the particular work for which you are employed. Where the work has ceased, and involves more than one employee, selection will be based on objective skills-criteria, any current disciplinary warnings and finally, and if need be, length of service. Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols will not impose a “bumping” policy where a person in one job is made redundant to provide work for a person in another job who would otherwise be redundant because their work had ceased.
Individual consultation will take place, for which you will have advance notice. We will discuss with you:
- the reasons for the redundancy
- how you have been selected
- how and when it will take effect
- whether there will be a statutory redundancy payment and, if so, how it is calculated.
A work colleague may accompany you, if you wish, at any such discussion.
Wherever possible, the following will be considered in order to minimise or avoid the redundancy:
- inviting volunteers
- alternative work, including re-training if appropriate
- continuing work but on reduced hours or other forms of flexible working
- re-arrangement of the work within Lara Nichols
- voluntary “bumping” where another employee volunteers in your place
- any ideas that you may have.
At this point you will be allowed a reasonable time for reflection and have the opportunity to bring forward any matter arising from the consultation meeting.
Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols reserves the right to not take up any particular option, at its discretion.
Prior to any dismissal you will be invited to a further meeting. You will be advised of the date for the meeting. You will be given at least 24 hours notice, unless we mutually agree that we should have an earlier meeting, or unless it is reasonable to allow more time. We will give you details of the reason for your selection. You will receive copies of any documents that are to be presented at the meeting. We will remind you of your right to be accompanied by a fellow employee. These matters will be set out in writing.
You must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. Those taking the meeting will adjourn it to consider their final decision. You will be informed of the decision and of your right of appeal.
If you wish to appeal you must inform us reasonably promptly, setting out the ground for the appeal. We will invite you to a further meeting. We will remind you of your right to be accompanied by a fellow employee, certified Trade Union Representative or employed Trade Union official. You must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. We will inform you of the final decision of the appeal.
Within the limited resources available to Lara Nichols we will seek to find another possible employer for you if you are facing redundancy.
Self certification form
Please download, complete, sign, date and forward to the Finance Manager.
Self Certification Form
Sickness policy and procedures
If you are absent from work on account of sickness or injury you must inform your line manager of the reason for your absence and its expected duration one hour before your start time by telephone call from you personally not using social media.
If your absence extends longer than originally anticipated you must contact your line manager to advise him/her of the situation unless your absence is covered by a medical certificate. If your absence becomes prolonged you must keep in regular contact with your line manager, advising on your progress and when you are likely to return to work.
In the event of an absence of one to seven days, including weekends, you must complete a self certification of sickness absence on return to work.
If the absence lasts for eight calendar days or more you will be required to produce a medical certificate stating the reason for the absence. The first such certificate should be sent to the company no later than the eighth day of absence, and medical certificates will be required from that date throughout the remainder of your period of absence.
You will receive sick pay if eligible under current legislation.
If you are ill while on holiday to the extent that you would be unable to come to work (were you at work) then you must comply with reporting requirements as if you were at work. You will be entitled to any SSP due (not holiday pay) in relation to any days of sickness. In certain circumstances then we may allow you to take the lost holiday at another time.
If you fail to comply with the reporting procedures you may be subject to disciplinary action and you may lose your right to SSP.
In the case of prolonged or persistent absence totalling 14 work days or more you must discuss the nature of the absence with us if we request it. We may require you to undergo a medical examination by a practitioner of our choice. Lara Nichols will meet the cost of such an examination. In this latter context you have rights under the Medical Reports Act 1988 and these will be explained to you if the occasion arises.
We will consult with you in order to examine any options, including any appropriate and reasonable adjustments that might facilitate a return to work.
Smoke and vapour free policy
It is our policy to provide a smoke-free workplace and to protect all employees, customers' staff and visitors from exposure to second-hand smoke and the vapours from e-cigarettes..
The policy applies to all employees, contractors, customers, or visitors. All employees are obliged to adhere to and facilitate the implementation of this policy.
Disregard of this policy will be a disciplinary offence and persistent offences may lead to dismissal.
There are several sources of support for smokers who want to stop:
Smokeline 0800 848484
Your local GP Surgery
Social networking guidance and policy
Facebook, Twitter and personal blogging is now widely used and there are many reasons to welcome it. If you follow reasonable standards of behaviour the impact on the workplace may only be positive. The guidance here is to help achieve that. If you can be identified as an employee of the company in any postings or profile then you must be careful that your behaviour does not bring us into disrepute or impact negatively on us.
Material placed on social networking sites is invariably public and complete privacy is not achievable as information may be passed on. Furthermore, if you choose to use our systems for social networking then such communications should not be regarded as private and may be accessed. Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols reserves the right to monitor the use of social media on organisation property. This may be done as part of a routine check of the IT systems or where a problem relating to unauthorised use is suspected.
Do show respect to colleagues, and the organisation as a whole. Our expectations of your behaviour as a blogger or tweeter are much the same as our expectations of you in the workplace. Cyber-bullying or online harassment will be taken as seriously as any other form of bullying or harassment. Please see the Harassment and Bullying Policy. Offensive, discriminatory or derogatory remarks made towards employees, customers' staff, or towards us as your employer, or a sustained campaign of critical comment towards any could lead to disciplinary action.
Social networking may foster good team work but you must not share photographs, videos or images on the internet unless you have explicit permission from any employees, customers' staff who may be visible.
Similarly, if you want to share photographs, videos or images depicting employees in connection with work (such as a work organised social event) or the work environment on the internet then you must also request and be granted permission from your line manager first. Photographs that include documents or computer screens may contravene our policies on confidentiality.
If you want to publish commentary on events or other matters appertaining to the company we ask that you check facts first and that if you are asked to correct or amend details we require that you make those changes transparent.
You should not engage in social networking during work time unless it is directly related to your work. Any engagement with social networking must not be excessive. As applies to phone calls and text, social activities outside work must not intrude into work time other than for emergencies. You must also be open and transparent with us about any networking activity undertaken during the course of your work.
If you are given specific permission to Tweet or Blog or otherwise post material on our behalf, or if material can be traced to us, then you must respect copyright legislation and not engage in any form of defamation. As an employee you represent the company in these circumstances. But inclusion of this matter in our policy is not in itself permission to post on our behalf and doing so without permission could lead to disciplinary action.
Never disclose personal information that could put yourself, or the company at risk.
You should not publish material that may bring the organisation into disrepute or which may reduce respect for you in the consideration of employees, customers' staff or the public at large. If you’ve had “a good night out” then pictures of the event might not enhance your personal standing.
Irrespective of your obligations as an employee you should keep in mind that you are legally responsible for commentary that you personally place online. The internet is the ultimate public place. Actions that we may take notwithstanding, other parties such as colleagues can take legal action against you for derogatory comments, breaches of data protection or failure to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.
There may be additional clauses in your contract covering confidentiality, intellectual property, trade secrets and other relevant restrictive covenants. Divulging confidential, protected or restricted information on the internet may be regarded as a disciplinary offence; breaching a covenant may make you liable at law to injunctions or claims for damages.
If your social networking attracts media attention where you are identified as an employee then you must refer enquiries immediately to the Managing Director.
Should we ask you use social media for the purpose of recruitment this should be clearly communicated to all applicants.
Breaches of this policy
There are many positive benefits of using social networking, and these can enhance work relationships as well as social relationships. However, if any of your profile information or postings on social network sites identify you as our employee then any breach of this policy (including but not limited to bringing the company into disrepute, cyber-bullying, breaches of confidentiality, personal social networking during work time) may result in disciplinary action being taken against you.
Substance abuse and fair use
Introduction and purpose
Dealing with substance abuse and its effects in the workplace is a complex matter involving legal, social, safety and health considerations, potentially. This policy is intended to communicate our expectations of employees and to provide a framework for a consistent and fair approach where matters need to be addressed. The policy applies to all employees. However, this policy is not an addition to, nor part of, your contract of employment. It provides guidance, but each case is individual and the procedures may be varied where issues or implications arise that are not covered here.
Where circumstances do give rise to variation, the policy will be reviewed subsequently.
This policy is intended to cover prescribed and legitimate medication, alcohol, classified drugs, psychoactive substances (“legal highs”) and substances that may be mis-used, such as solvents. It is not intended to cover smoking.
If you take any prescribed or other legitimate medication (e.g. “over the counter”) you have a personal obligation to us as your employer. You must enquire of your G.P. or pharmacist whether the medication may affect your ability to carry out your duties safely or effectively. If that is the case it must be declared to the Managing Director. You have a joint responsibility with the Managing Director to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out. Reasonable adjustments will be made for anyone who has a disability that is controlled by medication. This applies where the disability is declared, or where we might reasonably be aware of it.
There is to be no consumption of alcohol on the premises other than at events authorised by the company.
If you are representing the company you must use discretion and limit consumption of alcohol. If driving, you must ensure you are within legal limits. If you believe you have exceeded the limits you must make alternative arrangements for which Lara Nichols will reimburse reasonable costs. You may, however, be subject to disciplinary action.
Illegal drug activities or the possession of illegal drugs during the course of employment will be reported to the police. It is also gross misconduct and is likely to result in summary dismissal.
If you are driving or operating machinery you must be capable of doing so safely. If you feel you are affected by alcohol or drugs (including prescribed or legitimate medication) you must cease to drive or operate machinery. Repeated incidents may be subject to disciplinary action, as appropriate. If you continue to drive or operate machinery while affected then you will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which may include dismissal.
These rules are not exhaustive but are intended to indicate what the company regards as most important.
Where relevant, these rules apply to workers, contractors and visitors to the premises of the company. Contracts may be terminated, with or without notice.
Using your private vehicle for business purposes
As an employer, Lara Nichols has a duty of care to ensure that should you use your private vehicle for the business of the company this is done so safely and in accordance with the law. This policy is for all employees who are willing to use their private vehicle for a business journey (drivers). You are not obliged to use your private vehicle for business purposes. The policy applies to all the business trips of the company regardless of the length of the journey or miles driven. All drivers are required to follow the current Highway Code.
The policy does not cover ordinary commuting journeys to and from work.
It is essential that the following documents are provided to the Finance Manager prior to any use of a private vehicle on our business. No employee will be authorised to drive on our business unless this information has been provided and photocopies taken.
You must provide us with evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), at the commencement of employment or before permission to use a vehicle is first given. Thereafter, you will be asked to produce this information at regular intervals as notified by us. You can do this online for free by accessing our Share Driving Licence service. To access this information you will need:
You can generate a ‘check code’ to pass to us which will allow us to view your driving licence details.
If you cannot generate a code online then you can call 0300 083 0013 and DVLA will provide you with a code.
Alternatively you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by us.
As a driver, you must ensure that your insurance covers you specifically for business travel and that your vehicle has a valid MOT Certificate, where needed. You must check that your insurance policy allows you to carry passengers for the business of Lara Nichols. You must produce the relevant documents for copying to the Finance Manager confirming that you have the correct business travel cover and MOT. All new employees to the company will be asked to supply this on commencing employment, if they are to be drivers. This will be requested from all drivers on an annual basis. Should this cover increase the cost of your insurance Lara Nichols will meet the reasonable cost of any increase on production of appropriate evidence. You should also inform the Finance Manager in the event of any change of your insurance provider.
It is essential that your vehicle has an up to date road tax if used or kept on a public road.
It is illegal to drive whist using a hand held mobile phone. Hands free phones also increase risk, which is unacceptable when carrying passengers. You should make use of an answerphone or call divert facility whilst driving if available. If you need to use a mobile device you should find a safe place to stop your vehicle and turn off the engine before using the device.
Fines and Penalties
Should you receive any parking tickets, fines or charges incurred whilst driving on our business then you are responsible for the payment of these charges.
Road Traffic Accidents
Should you be involved in a road traffic accident whilst driving on the the company’s business you must inform the Finance Manager immediately providing personal details of the other drivers involved and their car details.
If you are required to use your private vehicle for business use we will pay you a mileage amount which will be notified to you by the Finance Manager. Claims must be signed by your line manager.
You are responsible for the upkeep of your vehicle when using your car for business travel. Your vehicle must not be used for business travel if you know or believe it might not be roadworthy.
You must advise the Finance Manager if you have a medical condition that may affect your driving ability.
Your vision may change over time. It is your responsibility to have your eye sight checked on a regular basis.
All employees will be asked to sign a copy of this statement to state that they have read, understood and agree with the instructions in this policy. A signed copy will be held on your individual personnel file.
Whistle-blowing policy (making a protected disclosure)
All employees have an obligation to work in the interests of the organisation. However in pursuing these interests it is our intention that they, and the organisation, respect the public interest as interpreted by the various regulatory bodies in the UK.
The policy covers only the public interest. Complaints about your own employment contract must be raised under the Grievance Procedure.
If you have reason to believe that the organisation is not respecting the public interest then you should use the procedure set out here. So long as you follow both parts precisely, you will not suffer any detriment as a result and your employment will be protected. We encourage you to use the procedure if you are concerned about any wrong doing at work.
However, if you fail to follow the procedure (by taking your concerns to the press for example) you may be committing an act of Gross Misconduct and be liable to summary dismissal.
Also, if the procedure has not been invoked in the reasonable belief that the disclosure is in the public interest (eg for malicious reasons or in pursuit of a personal grudge), then you may be committing an act of Gross Misconduct or misconduct and be liable to summary dismissal, or such lesser disciplinary sanction as may be appropriate in the circumstances.
You will appreciate that this is a complex area of legislation and you may wish to seek legal advice before making a disclosure. Disclosure of a relevant failure (see below) qualifies for protection if it is made in the course of obtaining legal advice.
Part 1 - Qualifying disclosures and relevant failures
Only certain disclosures are prescribed by law as 'qualifying disclosures'. These disclosures are protected if in your reasonable belief such disclosures are in the public interest. While a wide range of public interests are covered you are only protected where the act, about which you are concerned, falls within the range of qualifying disclosures summarised here. Disclosures are qualifying disclosures when made to an appropriate person and where it can be shown that the the company commits a 'relevant failure' by:
- committing a criminal offence
- failing to comply with a legal obligation
- a miscarriage of justice
- endangering the health and safety of an individual
- environmental damage
- concealing any information relating to the above.
These acts can be in the past, present or future, so that, for example, a disclosure qualifies if it relates to environmental damage that has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen.
Part 2 – Steps you should take
If you so wish you should in the first instance report any concerns you may have to your line manager in writing who will treat the matter with complete confidence. You will receive a response in writing. If you are not satisfied with the explanation or reason given to you, you should raise the matter with the appropriate organisation or body. The bodies (“prescribed persons”) are set out in legislation.
If you have good reason to believe that you would suffer detriment by reporting your concerns to your line manager then you should report them to the Managing Director.
If you have good reason to believe that you would suffer detriment by reporting your concerns to the Managing Director then you may take them direct to the appropriate organisation or body.
Part 3 – Protection from harassment
We will not tolerate harassment or bullying of “whistle-blowers” by their colleagues or others in the organisation. Such behaviour will be subject to action under the disciplinary procedure.
Working Time Regulations - voluntary opt out
If you wish to work in excess of 48 hours then you need to printout and sign this page. The signed document should be sent to the Finance Manager.
The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide that the average Working Time including
overtime does not exceed an average of forty-eight hours for each week over a 17
week period. Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols and the employee, as signed below,
agree that this limit shall not apply to the employee. This Agreement will remain in
force indefinitely. The employee or Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols may terminate
this Agreement at any time, by the employee giving not less than three months' written
notice to Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols, or by Piggy Holdings Ltd t/a Lara Nichols giving not less than three months' notice to the employee.