Dealing with poor performance

Disciplinary and grievance matters

You may need to take disciplinary action against your PA in the case of poor performance or unsatisfactory performance – in other words when your PA is not doing the job in the way you want them to.

You should have written disciplinary rules and procedures to deal with employee performance and conduct and you must tell your PA about them. Your PA’s statement of written particulars does not need to include the written disciplinary rules and procedures, but it must say where they can be found.

Your rules must say what acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace is and what action you will take if the rules are broken. The rules should follow the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. You can find more about that, along with a link to the ACAS Code of Practice on GOV.UK.

Sometimes it will be your employee who is unhappy. If your employee has a concern or problem that they have not been able to resolve informally, they may make a formal grievance complaint to you which you will need to know how to handle. If things go beyond this, you can find information on being taken to an employment tribunal on GOV.UK.

Dealing with disciplinary matters and grievances can be particularly stressful and you should take as many steps as you can to prevent the problems arising in the first place, such as giving your PA a job description when they start working for you and making every effort to ensure that they understand what is expected of them. There is information on preventing problems in the ‘Managing your PA’ toolkit from Skills for Care.

You should also remember that often all it takes to sort out any problems is a chat or a quiet word. Further information on solving workplace disputes can be found on GOV.UK.

Further help

You should always get specialist advice and support before disciplining or dismissing someone. We tell you how to do this in our introductory page.

You can get further help from the ACAS website or by contacting their Helpline on 0300 123 1100 (text relay service 18001 0300 123 1100).

You can find out more about disciplinary procedures, including a sample disciplinary form, in the ‘Sorting out Problems’ Skills for Care toolkit.

If you have employer liability insurance, you may have access to a legal helpline who can help you with employment related issues.