Sample Policy Statement. Principle: Introduction

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1 Disciplinary Policy Please note this is a guide to a policy and procedure. It is not meant to be directly copied and it is highly recommended that all members develop documents specific to their service and needs. This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other essentials required. Sample Policy Statement Named service is committed to treating all staff fairly and helping employees work to the best of their ability. However, there may be occasions when it may be necessary to practice the disciplinary procedures which are designed to protect the interests of both employees and the service. Principle: This policy is underpinned by Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 and the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1997 to Introduction 1. When work performance falls or if behaviour is unacceptable, the manager will discuss with the employee and ways to remedy the situation will be discussed together. 2. If work or behaviour continues to fall and there is a necessity for action, pre-disciplinary informal discussion will begin 3. Each case will be treated consistently and fairly with the disciplinary procedure will be strictly observed at all steps. The employee will be given the opportunity to provide their version of events and any extenuating circumstances will be considered. An employee s natural rights will be upheld at all times, and employees will have the right to: Know the case against him/her Reply Due consideration Representation Appeal

2 4. The manager is required to use their best efforts to: Provide feedback at early steps to encourage and support employees to improve Ensure that all cases are thoroughly investigated Avoid any discrimination Prepare carefully and be consistent Keep adequate records Adhere to this procedure 5. All disciplinary steps must begin within a reasonable timeframe. Breaches of rules and regulations will mean the initiation of Step 1 of the formal disciplinary procedure. If the service views an incident sufficiently seriously, the person may be dismissed immediately and the normal procedures will not apply. Sample Procedure INVESTIGATION Before beginning the disciplinary procedure, the service will ensure that the situation has been thoroughly investigated. This is a fact finding process and a gathering of detailed information as well as the carrying out of formal interviews, taking of written statements, etc. Proper investigation is an integral part of the process and on occasions may require employees to be suspended on full pay, whilst it is carried out. Suspension on pay is not considered to be an action taken under the disciplinary procedure; it is there to ensure that issues are dealt with in a fair and reasonable manner, and adequate protection given to all employees. Equally, the employee has the right to gather information in their defence, so they can present details if the decision is taken to invoke the disciplinary procedure. Once the investigation has been completed the manager will inform the employee of the findings and the outcome. Where the decision is taken to invoke the disciplinary procedure then the employee will be informed of the case against them, so they can respond in an informed manner at a disciplinary hearing. Where the decision is taken not to take disciplinary action, the employee will be counselled and details of the issue placed on the employee s personnel file for record keeping purposes. INFORMAL PRE-DISCIPLINARY COUNSELLING DISCUSSION Where appropriate, before using the formal disciplinary procedures a pre-disciplinary discussion will be held with the employee. Minor misconduct, poor performance or minor breaches of rules will normally result in informal discussion or advice being given by the Manager. If that approach is not successful, the service is likely to escalate it to the formal disciplinary procedure. STEPS IN THE FORMAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE This procedure will be used in cases of breaches of the rules or poor performance that have not been resolved by informal discussion or advice. Normally the procedure will follow the steps listed below, although it is acceptable to move directly to Steps 2, 3 or 4 if a case appears sufficiently serious. From the first formal step of the disciplinary procedure the manager and another service representative will be the presence. Employees are advised and have the option to have a colleague present.

3 At each step in the procedure a disciplinary meeting will be held where all the facts and any mitigating circumstances discussed. Where a warning is issued a copy will be placed on the employee s personnel file for the specified period. All warnings issued under this procedure will state clearly that the employee will be liable for further disciplinary action should their performance not improve or should there be a further breach of service rules. In the event of no further misdemeanours occurring and the performance improving, the warning will be removed and the employee s file will be clear. The employee will also be advised of their right to appeal against the decision to take disciplinary action. The steps in the disciplinary procedure are as follows: Step 1: Verbal Warning At the meeting an action plan including a scheduled time for improvement and date for reappraisal will be set. A record of the verbal warning will be given to the employee and a copy will be retained on the personnel file for 6 months unless there is repetition within the agreed review period. If there is no improvement in the situation, there will be a re-evaluation and an escalation to Step 2. This can happen before the end of the verbal warning period. Step 2: First Written Warning At the meeting an action plan including a scheduled time for improvement and date for reappraisal will be set. A record of the written warning will be given to the employee and a copy will be retained on the personnel file for 12 months unless there is repetition within the agreed review period. If there is no improvement in the situation, there will be a re-evaluation and an escalation to Step 3. This can happen before the end of the first written warning period. Step 3: Final Written Warning At the meeting, the final written warning, a copy of which will be given to the employee, will state clearly that the next step will be termination of employment if conduct and/or performance do not improve. Step 4: Suspension without pay In exceptional circumstances, dependent on the individual case, the service may exercise its discretion to suspend without pay. This is action short of dismissal. Step 5: Dismissal There are two alternative courses of action available at this step in the procedure, depending on the circumstances: A. An employee will be procedurally dismissed if they have failed to improve during the previous steps. Appropriate notice or payment in lieu of notice will be made. B. In an instance of gross misconduct an employee will be dismissed without going through the previous steps of the procedure. In these circumstances a full investigation will be conducted and a disciplinary meeting will be held which will follow the normal process and uphold an employee s natural rights. Due to the serious nature of the situation, such as the offences outlined under Gross Misconduct, the option of dismissal warrants serious consideration, and the process is likely to result in dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice. APPEALS At every step, the employee has the right to appeal in writing. In all cases of dismissal or demotion the manager/ owner will be considered as the final decision maker. If you wish to appeal you should do so in writing within five working days of the decision.

4 OFFENCES a) Misconduct The service will normally consider the following list of offences as misconduct and appropriate reason for initiating disciplinary action: Failure to follow the procedures in respect of absence due to sickness or injury Minor breach of the written statement of terms and conditions of employment Minor damage to service property Minor breach of service rules Minor failure to observe service policies or procedures Regular unreasonable and/or unexplained absences Poor time keeping Poor job performance These examples are not exhaustive or exclusive, and offences of a similar nature will be dealt with under this procedure. b) Gross Misconduct The following offences are examples of gross misconduct: Unauthorised use of the service assets and equipment. Insubordination e.g. refusal to carry out duties or obey reasonable instructions, except where employee safety may reasonably be in jeopardy Sexual harassment, harassment, bullying Serious breach of rules, policies or procedures, especially those designed to ensure safe operation Divulging or misusing confidential information Theft or unauthorised possession of any property or facilities of the service or of any employee of the service Consumption of alcohol or un-prescribed drugs, or intoxication by reason of drinks or drugs, which could affect work performance in any way or have an impact on other employees Having illegal drugs in the possession, custody or control of the employee while at work or on the service premises Defrauding or attempting to defraud the service, its families, suppliers or fellow employees Unauthorised or inappropriate use of , Internet and/or computer systems Falsification of any service records including reports, accounts, expenses claims or selfcertification forms Serious damage to service property Violent, dangerous or intimidatory conduct Gambling or money lending while at work or on the premises Using the company premises for unauthorized activities Conviction of any criminal offence which may render the employee unsuitable for employment Serious abuse of time-keeping and attendance procedures This list of examples is not exhaustive or exclusive, and offences of a similar nature will be dealt with under this procedure. Gross misconduct will result in the initiation or escalation of the service disciplinary procedure, and may result in immediate dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice.

5 This policy was agreed and adopted by (name of the childcare service). Date: Signed by: on behalf of management This policy will be reviewed on (insert date) in collaboration with staff and parents

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