When recruiting an employer relies on information, mostly derived from applicants themselves who have a vested interest in the success of their application. It has been estimated that over 50% of people do not complete application forms accurately. This is particularly the case in terms of claims regarding qualifications or skills, since applicants know that the likelihood of such claims being checked is remote.

This is so even for senior jobs - an executive selection agency found that around 11% of those applying for jobs paying £50,000 p.a. or more, falsified their qualifications in some way. In RECRUITMENT it is suggested that all appointments should be made conditional and subject to:

a. a probationary period;

b. receipt of a clear criminal record; and

c. receipt of REFERENCES satisfactory to the employer.

This might be refined to gain confirmation of qualifications claimed.

Suggested Requirements
1. Requesting with their Application that applicants submit evidence of qualifications. Alternatively, it could be stated on the application form that it is the policy of the employer to check claims.

2. The declaration on the application form that all information is accurate could be extended so that applicants specifically stipulate that all qualifications claimed are valid. A warning could be included indicating that fraudulently claiming qualifications is gross misconduct.

3. Requiring the applicant to provide details of all previous employers for, at least, the previous 6 years so that REFERENCES can be taken up, and indicate that the employer's policy is to take up all references. A survey by accountants Ernst & Young revealed that almost 50% of the UK's largest employers experienced at least one fraud in an 18 month period and 70% of these involved employees, mainly staff whose references had not been checked.

4. Stipulate that not only are qualifications checked and false claims will lead to dismissal, but also that if the employer has suffered loss as a result of the appointment, that damages may be claimed against the applicant.

Study Leave
It is very often in the interests of the employer that employees should be qualified either on recruitment or follow certain courses during employment. To that end many, particularly larger, employers encourage employees to undertake courses of study allowing paid or unpaid time off, making a contribution to books, examination fees etc. Since 1st September 1999, employers are legally required to allow 16-18 year olds paid leave to continue their studies where they have not achieved the required level of attainment, namely:

  • 5 GCSEs grades A-C; or

  • one intermediate level GNVQ or GSVQ at level 2; or

  • one NVQ or SVQ at level 2.

  • The time off must be reasonable 'in the circumstances' and subject to the requirements of the business. The costs of the course of study are not required to be borne by the employer and employers allowing time off should check that the employee does actually attend the course (since no doubt some employees will try to abuse the right).

    Included in the detail of the 2002 budget were proposals to offer free training courses for employees who lack basic or level 2 NVQ qualifications and to introduce an entitlement for employees to have paid time off to attend such training and to give employers a right to claim compensation for the time involved in allowing employees to attend such training. Such claims are inferred to be offered to small employers at a rate of 150% of the actual wage costs of those involved (to provide recompense for the possible increased costs of providing alternative cover).

    Employers must also allow paid time off for Union Learning Representatives (ULR). ULR's (who have to be nominated by their Union to the employer) are expected to give advice, information and encouragement about training and learning to other employees. However, each employer can formalise the manner of the provision of such advice - and set down the time allowed for such work - and if required to set up such a system would probably be wise to do so. The Code (published by ACAS) suggests the advice sessions should be held in private.