ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has recently published updated advice on the steps employers should consider whenever suspending an employee from work, writes Rhian Radia, Partner and Head of the Employment team at solicitors Bishop and Sewell.
Suspension occurs when an employer tells an employee to temporarily stop carrying out work. An employer should only suspend someone if it’s appropriate, such as:
- suspending an employee while they carry out an investigation, if it’s a serious situation and there’s no alternative, or
- medical suspension or pregnancy suspension to protect an employee’s health and safety.
ACAS Chief Executive, Susan Clews said: “Our advice will help employers understand when they can consider suspension and the support that they can offer them.
“Being suspended can be a stressful time for everyone. We have tips for employers on how they can support their employees’ mental health and wellbeing as well as alternative options to suspension that may be more appropriate.”
ACAS’ advice is that an employer should consider each situation carefully before deciding whether to suspend someone and it is usually best to only use suspension in serious circumstances where there are no alternatives.
Alternative options to suspension can include arranging staff to temporarily:
- change shifts
- work in a different part of the organisation
- work from home
- work from a different office or site
- stop doing part of their job – for example stop handling stock if you’re investigating stock going missing
- work with different customers or away from customers – for example if you’re investigating a serious complaint from a customer
- stop using a specific system or tool – for example removing access to the organisation’s finance system if you’re investigating a large amount of missing money.
Employers should keep the reason for any temporary change confidential wherever possible and discuss with the employee what they will tell others at work about the temporary change.
Contact our Employment Team
For initial advice or to arrange a meeting with one of our Employment team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 020 7631 4141 quoting Ref CB355 and ask to speak to our Employment team.
The above is accurate as at 24 November 2022. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.