Of course, we also offer more detailed employment law advice when needed too.
We work with Primary Schools, High Schools and Academies across Cumbria and Lancashire, acting as their HR department if they require us to.
Our bespoke, cost effective service means you know you have a dedicated team looking after all your HR and legal employment requirements. We also offer School payroll services for an extremely competitive fee.
We pride ourselves in collaboration, which means we really get to know you and are on call whenever you need us. We work hard to make the minefield that is schools HR and Payroll understandable, removing as much pressure from you where we can.
To be able to manage that so that it has the least effect on your school, you need to monitor when and why members of staff are off. Usually a member of staff will be off for a relatively short period of time very occasionally. However, it may be that when monitored, it shows that they are regularly having the odd day off.
To tackle this you need to have a “Back to Work” interview with them each and every time they come back to work.
This has a twofold purpose:-
1. It highlights if the member of staff is just taking days off because they feel like it; and
2. It highlights if there is an underlying issue with that member of staff, either in their home life or at work.
In respect of a member of staff that is regularly having a day off because they feel like it, you will need to take them through formal disciplinary proceedings, if an informal warning is not having the desired effect.
In respect of a member of staff with an underlying issue, it may be that you need to make adjustments to assist the member of staff in question regarding any issues they may have.
The other type of sickness is long term sickness.
This needs to be monitored so that you know when you should refer the member of staff to Occupational Health. Very often staff are not referred quickly enough which only prolongs their absence, putting continuing pressure on other members of staff and your school budget.
Regardless of the type of absence you should follow your Sickness Absence policy and take advice from us or your professional HR provider.
The suspension may only be ended by the Governing Body.
The Head Teacher and the LA if it has advisory rights, have the right to be present or represented at any meeting where a dismissal is being considered. If the head teacher is being considered for dismissal, the initial decision should be taken by at least three governors, or fewer if it it is not possible to identify three who have not been involved in the matter.
The governing body should provide the employee with reasons for the dismissal in advance of any hearing or appeal, such as complaints or allegations made against them.
Staff at risk of dismissal must be afforded the right to make representations and to appeal against their dismissal to a panel of at least three governors, or two if it is not possible to identify three who have not been involved in the matter. At least a week’s notice should be given and the member of staff can be accompanied by a union representative or colleague.
All dismissals, or potential dismissals, involving child welfare issues must be notified to the DBS, whether or not that person was dismissed or chose to leave.
The LA is responsible for dismissals where:
1.The school’s delegated budget has been suspended; or
2.The individual does not have the relevant qualifications to teach; or
3.Any restrictions have been imposed on the individual, such as inclusion on the children’s barred list.
Advice should always be taken before contemplating a dismissal.
There are often situations in schools where a permanent contract is not suitable.
They are used where the employment contract is to end on a particular date or upon the completion of a specific task, or the occurance (or non-occurance) of a specific event.
There is nothing wrong with using successive fixed term contracts as long as they are used properly and there is always a contract of employment in place reflecting that specific contract.
For example: Teaching Assistants are often given fixed term contracts to give one to one support to a particular pupil. It is important that their employment contract links them to that particular pupil to avoid the Teaching Assistant gaining permanent employment status in that role, which is not what was envisaged. If there was not a specific contract in place and the TA was moved to another fixed term role, when that pupil had left, without amending the contract, then their employment is likely to become permanent if they have been employed for 4 years or more.
Remember that fixed term workers have the right to claim unfair dismissal and will qualify for a redundancy payment if they have been employed for 2 years or more.
You should be aware of the worker’s continuous service date or you could find yourself in a situation where you employed somebody for a period of 6 or 12 months, thinking that they don’t have redundancy rights, but in fact they have come from another school and therefore have continuous employment from that school, which could well tip them over that two year period meaning that a redundancy payment would have to be paid out of your school’s budget.
If they had 10 years continuous service with their last school, the cost to your school when terminating their employment could be substantial!
Employees on fixed term contracts also have the right not be treated less favourably than comparable permanent employees.
Take advice if you are unsure about the use of fixed term contracts or are not clear about those fixed term contracts you already have in place.
We can give you support and advice regarding any fixed term contract issues you have may, or if you are contemplating introducing a fixed term contract.
“I would like to say how helpful, supportive and knowledgeable you have been throughout my whole wrongful disciplinary and subsequent ACAS procedure I have been through. Your responses to anything I have sent have been quick, professional and of such high quality, making me feel reassured in my position. Excellent all round, very much appreciated. Thank you”
Always available, aways solid and dependable advice. Thank you very much.
“I have worked closely with Gail and Clare for over 4 years, after they took over our HR and then our payroll. What I appreciate most is the personal service they provide, I can always pick up the phone and chat through any issues at any time. If I have a concern I am immediately reassured by their professional and approachable manner. I always feel that our school is their priority and our staff are real people to them, not just a payroll number.
Both Clare and Gail bend over backwards to fit into our schedules and provide a quick, accurate service. I would wholeheartedly recommend their brilliant professional, friendly service.”
“About 18 months ago we approached Gail Escolme Legal with regard to providing payroll services, as they already provided us with HR services. The professionalism and the way they handled the transfer from our existing provider was outstanding. Gail and Clare were there every step of the way guiding us through the process and ensuring a smooth transition.
In the twelve months they have been handling our payroll, the service we have received has been exceptional, something they consider to be the ‘norm’. Gail and Clare are always willing to help with any queries we have, including issues which were outstanding from our previous provider. They have certainly made my life easier in terms of processing payroll which is down to their dedication to getting things right first time.”
“When facing a business contract termination with potential issues, Gail helped me with advice for my preliminary meetings and then support through the early stages of my communications with the company concerned. As the case escalated to a more formal pressing of my claim, Gail took over the communication with expert advice and negotiation skills and finally a successful conclusion. I have no hesitation in recommending Gail Escolme Employment Law and am grateful for all Gail’s help and support in my case.”
CB Endmoor – Contract dispute
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“We have worked very successfully with Gail Escolme over a number of years on personnel issues. We prefer to handle most of this work in house, but where extra external professional advice is thought necessary Gail is always our first stop. This has resulted in a very cost effective approach to personnel management, but with the confidence of an experienced professional behind the scenes. Undoubtedly this has led to a significant improvement in performance across our operating companies and hence profitability and business success”.
Jim Walker Chief Executive Lake District Estates, Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ullswater ‘Steamers’
“Gail has worked with us for several years as our employment law specialist. We appreciate her clear and practical advice which is given in plain English rather than in legal jargon. She is professional but very approachable and having her expertise on hand is very reassuring in the ever changing world of employment legislation.’
Julie Chapman, HR and Finance Director, Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.
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“Gail helped me clearly and calmly through a stressful situation. Thank you.”