Acas publishes new advice on staff suspensions at work

Acas has published new advice on how to consider and handle staff suspensions at work.

A suspension is when an employer tells an employee to temporarily stop carrying out work.

An employer should only suspend someone if it's appropriate, such as:

  • suspending an employee while they carry out an investigation, if it's a serious situation and there's no alternative
  • medical suspension or pregnancy suspension to protect an employee's health and safety

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews said:

"Our advice will help employers understand when they can consider suspension and the support that they can offer them.

"Being suspended can be a stressful time for everyone. We have tips for employers on how they can support their employees' mental health and wellbeing as well as alternative options to suspension that may be more appropriate."

Acas advice is that an employer should consider each situation carefully before deciding whether to suspend someone and it is usually best to only use suspension in serious circumstances where there are no alternatives.

Alternative options to suspension can include arranging staff to temporarily:

  • change shifts
  • work in a different part of the organisation
  • work from home
  • work from a different office or site
  • stop doing part of their job – for example stop handling stock if you're investigating stock going missing
  • work with different customers or away from customers – for example if you're investigating a serious complaint from a customer
  • stop using a specific system or tool – for example removing access to the organisation's finance system if you're investigating a large amount of missing money

Employers should keep the reason for any temporary change confidential wherever possible and discuss with the employee what they will tell others at work about the temporary change.

Read Acas's advice on suspension during an investigation

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