Friday, 29 February 2008

In good hands?

If you're an employer leaving your staff in charge while you're away from the office, you must protect yourself.

Stuart Haynes, from our Commercial Team, said: “Directors have responsibilities not only to the company, their employees and shareholders, but in law too. And if you’re leaving someone else in charge in your absence, you must set clear boundaries for what they can and cannot do, otherwise it will be you who is personally liable for any mistakes.”

He said it was vital to make sure all the necessary paperwork was in place before the employer left the office – risk assessments, a health and safety policy, up-to-date accident records, and liability insurance.

“And before you leave, make sure there are explicit instructions as to what employees can and cannot do but beware, in most cases you will not be able to recover any losses the company has suffered. Explain to the staff in charge that no orders above a certain level or of a particular type can be placed in your absence, and put this in writing.

“You should also try to avoid leaving too many key responsibilities to just one person, aim to spread the risks by sharing them out. The best advice is to set clear boundaries before you leave, and that way everyone will know exactly where they stand, and you can enjoy your break without worrying about what you’ll find when you get back.”