Your Guide to the Silly Season – 8 Things to Remember

As the end of the year approaches, the silly season is well and truly in full swing and this means a few things – holidays, sun, festive cheer and of course, parties.

Work parties are a terrific way to interact with your colleagues and to celebrate and reward your employees for their hard work throughout the year. When organising your work function, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

Things To Consider for Work Parties

Of late, there have been some interesting cases in the media surrounding incidents at work-related events. In order to fully understand your obligations and avoid a difficult scenario, below are some steps to consider to help protect you and your employees.

  1. Provide all employees with a clear Code of Conduct and business policies, outlining exactly what is expected from them, including any disciplinary action should these standards not be met.
  2. In the policy and Code of Conduct, make reference to behaviour at work functions and/or third party events where employees may be representing the company.
  3. Prior to any work function, ensure employees are aware that the Code of Conduct is to be adhered to at all times, including any non-work related after-party.
  4. As you have a duty of care to all employees, and this includes work functions, always supply food and inform the venue that responsible service of alcohol must be enforced and/or, monitor the consumption yourself and limit accordingly.
  5. If you are faced with a situation, talk with the employee/s involved as soon as you are made aware of the incident, ensuring no accusatory stance is taken.
  6. Make sure you follow the correct protocols and investigate the issue. Once the outcome is determined, carry out the appropriate procedures, which can include written warnings.
  7. To help smooth over any situation and in the interest of maintaining workplace relationships, where applicable, recommend a meeting with all employees involved in the incident, in order to work towards a satisfactory outcome.
  8. Employers are not required to pay for taxis home however, this does help to make sure all employees are safe. Another alternative is to encourage a buddy system, whereby people who live close to each other can share the journey home.

Unfortunately, clear boundaries around the responsibilities of employees at work functions are not visibly defined so it is best to be aware and prepared for any scenarios.

Employsure is on hand to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your responsibilities and requirements as an employer this festive season. As Australia’s leading specialist in employment relations and workplace health and safety, we will ensure your workplace is fair and safe by advising on policies, procedures, code of conduct, as well as any current employment-related matter you may be experiencing.

Written by: Employsure