Conditions of Employment

Company Social Events

Company social events can be an effective means of acknowledging employees’ contributions within the organisation. However, they also have the potential to provide a context for inappropriate behaviour that could have serious repercussions. Employers must be aware that the party venue is basically an extension of the office and that they remain responsible for the well-being, protection and behaviour of employees during such events. Employers must be aware that the party venue is basically an extension .. Read more

Electronic Cigarettes in the Workplace

Employers should be aware of various basic but necessary conditions of employment that their employee's are entitled to, such as the right to work in a smoke free environment. Analysts believe the consumption of electronic cigarettes could surpass consumption of traditional cigarettes within the next decade. E-cigarettes currently fall into a regulatory grey area. Electronic cigarettes have not to date been covered by EU Tobacco Control legislation as the legislation does not deal with nicotine itself and this is the substance that is contained in the electronic cigarettes. The vast majority of existing .. Read more

Email and Internet

E-mail brings many benefits to companies in terms of its communications internally and externally, it also brings risks to the organisation, particularly where employees use it outside of their roles, as has been highlighted in recent media reports. For that reason it is necessary for every company to have a code of practice, which regulates and sets down specific rules for the use of e-mail and the internet within the company. The SFA has a sample “Email and Internet” policy for members to use as a .. Read more

Intoxicants / Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

This SFA have produced a guideline which aims to provide employers with information and guidance on intoxicants. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, introduced a new duty for employees. This duty stated that an employee must not be under the influence of intoxicants at work to the extent that they could endanger health and safety. Although this is specific duty for an employee, other provisions of the 2005 Act mean that the employer would also a duty in relation to intoxicants. The employer is expected to .. Read more

Personal Hygiene

In many cases, individuals are unaware they have a body odour problem that is affecting colleagues at work. Body odour is caused by bacteria on the skin and usually has two root causes, medical or personal hygiene. Experience suggests that swift action on the part of line managers is required to solve the problem however difficult broaching the sensitive subject of personal hygiene .. Read more

Severe and Inclement Weather

A company policy on absence due to bad or inclement weather should address the situation where employees are unable to attend work, or organisations do not have work available, due to weather-related circumstances outside of their control. Legally, employers do not have to pay employees for days that they do not work. However, it is important to be aware of any custom and practice in the organisation or contractual clause, which may override this position. Companies may need to examine situations where employee make an effort to come into work and are delayed or have to leave early in order to avail of limited public transport, or where weather conditions deteriorate during the working day. In certain instances it may be feasible for employees to do a certain amount of work from home rather than having to travel to company site. Where a site is no longer accessible employers need to consider the way to .. Read more

Social Media

Social media is the collective term for social and professional networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn), microblogs (e.g. Twitter), blogs, wikis, boards and other similar online fora. Social media is increasingly a part of everyday life and can serve a useful purpose in both personal and professional spheres. This form of media can blur the lines between the personal and the professional and there are some important points of consideration for employers in managing social media within the workplace. It is important for employers to draft a social media policy to ensure that it brings benefits to the business and does not encroach on employees’ freedom. A policy also ensures that .. Read more

Whistle Blowing

Most people will have heard of whistle blowing from the high-profile cases reported in the media. Whistle blowing occurs when an employee provides certain types of information, usually to the employer or a regulator, which has come to their attention through work. The whistle blower is usually not directly or personally affected by the danger or illegality. A whistle blowing or speaking up policy ultimately serves to protect the individual and the organisation. A whistle blowing policy is a support mechanism, which describes how employees are expected to behave should they find irregular activity happening in the organisation. It helps to protect the individual and the organisation. The value of a whistle blowing policy is to .. Read more