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Julie Page HR Ltd – Newsletter December 2013

“Yes, it really is that time of year again…...”

“HO HO HO……….”

office christmas party advice

Yes, this event will normally occur outside of your office, but remember Employment Law still applies!

As the festive season begins to rapidly approach, your plans for staff Christmas Parties will be well underway. This is a great opportunity for your staff to enjoy each other’s company out of the office environment, having fun with all the Christmas Celebrations. However, there could also be potential for some undesirable behaviour, IF YOU do not plan and manage Christmas correctly…..

This newsletter will aim to ensure that you don’t suffer any ‘HR hangovers’ after your Christmas Party by answering relevant questions on this topic.

Q & A session

Is it my responsibility if a drunken employee wishes to drive home after the party?

Yes. As an employer it IS your responsibility as you have a ‘duty of care’ to all your staff. One way to avoid this happening is to arrange transport to take your employees to and from the venue.

An alternative option is to make sure there are good public transport links to the venue or to provide employees with the numbers for local registered cab companies.

If one employee is verbally or physically abusive to another member of staff before or after the party is it my concern?

Yes. Any time leading up to or after the event is still counted as an extension of work and therefore, this will still be against your company policy.

To prevent this behaviour, make sure all your staff know that the same standards of behaviour which apply in the office are expected and compulsory at the office Christmas Party.

All staff should be aware that during the Christmas Party they are still representing the company and could face disciplinary action as a result of any unsatisfactory behaviour.

discriminationHow do I avoid discriminating against those who do not celebrate Christmas?

First of all, ensure that when you plan your Christmas Party you take into account different cultures and religions. Given that Christmas is a Christian tradition be mindful that there may be some employees who do not wish to attend.

When organising drinks for the event make sure there is the option to choose non-alcoholic soft drinks. In addition, remember to cater for all attendees by providing suitable meal choices.

Should all my staff be invited even if they are not based in the office?

Yes. Make sure the invitation to your Christmas Party is extended to all members of staff including those who may be on maternity leave or long term sick. Furthermore, ensure that people who work away from the office are given an invite, OR given an alternative event at another time.

If your invitation extends to the partners of your employees, then please remember to avoid sexual orientation discrimination by extending the invite to staff with same sex partners.

What do I do if any employees call in sick the day after the party?

It is ideal to warn staff beforehand that any unauthorised absence the day after the Christmas Party could potentially result in disciplinary action.

One study has shown that employees drink an average of 5.5 units of alcohol at their office Christmas Party with morning after “sickies” costing the economy around 39 million hours.

However, IF you do have a suspicion that the real reason an employee is absent is because of too much alcohol from the night before, then please be certain you have absolute, factual proof before taking any action.

An easy solution to this problem is to plan the event for a Friday so employees can recover in their own time!

Managing HR issues with Christmas Parties

Finally…….

Perfect planning prevents poor performance…..

As long as you identify the potential hazards of holding a work Christmas Party then you can prevent any incidents from happening. By treating the party as a work activity and planning ahead, your event will be a great success and a good time will be had by all…..

NB: Christmas Parties are a great way to reward your staff for all their dedicated work throughout the year and to look onwards and upwards towards the New Year. There will therefore be no ‘HR hic cups’, as long as your staff understand that the same set of behaviours are expected at the Christmas Party as in their normal working office.

Remember ….

Should you need any further assistance or ‘hand holding’ at the eleventh hour, then Julie Page HR is available to help you deal with the situation by following correct and best practice HR procedures.

To find out more about the contents of this Newsletter or ways in which Julie can work with you for your HR and staffing requirements, please contact her on 07776 135350 or through this website for an initial discussion and free consultation.

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