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The other week we were advising a client whose new employee had walked off and not returned citing that she hadn’t expected to be ask to do any cleaning.

It makes me think about what is a reasonable management instruction.

When we take a job and see the line in the Job Description, “any other duties as deemed reasonable” is it reasonable to ask someone to do cleaning?

In these COVID secure times, cleaning at work is now more than ever a priority for business owners and employers.  We are definitely doing more cleaning in our office and we strongly expect you are too.

In a related move, Tesco’s were recently in the headlines for the same reason. You can read the story here.

If you employ staff that you ask to undertake reasonable cleaning you must ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How would you feel being asked to do this?
  2. Are they equipped with the necessary PPE to do this work?
  3. Is it reasonable that they do this?
  4. Do they need additional training to do the work properly? (You’d be surprised folks!)
  5. When will they do this? Do you have reasonable expectations as to when and where this will take place during the normal course of their daily duties?

In many work places, antibacterial wipes are being used all day long to sanitise the workplace between deep cleans. Is this reasonable yes. Would it be reasonable to ask someone to use a new fogging machine you bought from Amazon without training? Probably not.

So what do you do if your employee is adamant that they didn’t come here to clean.

Well in childcare thats just the way it is. Ask yourself whether you need to make amends to your recruitment process to make sure that candidates are aware of the requirements of the role in 2020? Whether its wiping wet noses, to wiping food out of some little one’s hair, it’s all cleaning.

So long as you have ticked the boxes for training (don’t forget online courses exist for infection control), PPE, and time you are being reasonable. If the role is not for them it’s best you find out quickly. This is what happened with the client we mentioned above. We just confirmed her as a leaver and wished her well on her way.

If you need assistance with any aspect of managing your people, please do not hesitate to call us to speak to a HR Advisor 01527 909436.