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How to deal with workaholic employees

Author: Lynda Macdonald


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  • Make sure that the 48-hour average weekly limit is complied with and that any employees who are likely to exceed the limit have signed a document indicating their willingness to do so.
  • Recognise that an employer that condones an employee's excessive working hours may be in breach of the common law duty of care that is implied into every employee's contract of employment.
  • Adopt a practice of giving employees who fail to organise their own holiday dates written notification that they must take holidays on specified dates.
  • Formulate and implement a policy to manage employees' working hours and prevent excessive working.
  • Delegate responsibility to all line managers to ensure that the policy is translated into practice for all the staff they manage.
  • Conduct a review of employees' job responsibilities and duties in order to determine whether any employee is burdened with a workload that is not realistically achievable within a reasonable number of hours each week.
  • Be willing to introduce any necessary changes in terms of the level of support made available to employees before instructing them to reduce their working hours.
  • Once a policy to regulate working hours and holidays has been implemented, take steps to manage those employees who refuse without good reason to abide by the policy.