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Help Needed on Formulation of Grievance Policy
Human Resources » Policies & Samples


Chrm Message From: kannan_hrd Total Posts: 31 Join Date: 15/12/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 16/03/2007 01:23:36 Points: 155 Location: India

Dear All !!

Greetings with Best Wishes!!

We are preparing Grievance policy in our company. I would like to learn more about this from in market. So please share your knowledge and experience in formulation of this policy.

Regards

M.Krishnan

 

Chrm Message From: masterhr Total Posts: 32 Join Date: 15/12/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 18/03/2007 04:14:27 Points: 160 Location: India

Grievance-handling is a very important and sensitive area of the government’s work profile. It is, none-the-less, an area that is, at best, taken for granted and, at worst, grossly neglected by the service providers as it does not fall into the category of "urgent matters". Its importance is very often not appreciated by those who ought to recognise the value of grievances in order to develop a diagnosis of what ails a Government Ministry, Department or agency. There is, perhaps, a reasonable justification for this perception of the grievance-handling mechanism among the citizens at large. Every grievance points to a missed pulse beat somewhere in the organisation, and when grievance-prone areas are identified and analysed, it can frequently prevent "cardiac arrest" or avoid a "moment of truth" for the organisation. One does not have to await public interest litigations and contempt proceedings in a court of law before addressing grievances and grievance-prone areas.

There are specific factors that make for a sound complaints-handling system. It should ideally be accessible, simple, quick and fair. It should also respect confidentiality, be responsive, effective and accountable. It should provide feedback to management for systemic reform.

The mechanism for grievance-handling and its redress in the Government of India attempts to cover all these parameters through a set of guidelines issued by the nodal agency for poilicy formulation on grievance handling, namely, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).

Accessibility

Grievance-handling is decentralised and grievances are settled independently by each Ministry, Department or agency. There is a provision for accessibility of publicly notified Grievance Officers to meet the aggrieved persons at specified times and on specified days of the week. Telephone numbers and contact addresses of the Grievance Officers are widely publicised. Complaint boxes are placed at or near the reception desks. Information and Facilitation Counters (IFCs) have been set up by the organisations with a large public interface.

Simplicity

The streamlining of complaints-handling is essential and, though an outline of the Government’s requirements to assess a grievance is publicised, no strict proforma for application is laid down. Nodal agencies, like the DAPRG, the Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare (DP&PW) and the Directorate of Public Grievance (DPG) in the Cabinet Secretariat facilitate the setting up of grievance mechanisms by Government bodies and monitor the movement and disposal of individual grievances on a selective basis.

Speed

Time limits have to be fixed and notified for grievance-handling and final disposal by each organisation. The DAPRG has recommended 15 days for acknowledgement and three months for interim reply or final disposal and reply.

Fairness

It is not as easy as it sounds, as it requires balancing fairness towards the complainant with fairness towards the organisation and the individual complained against. Perception of fairness can vary sometimes even in the face of true impartiality. Transparency on the part of the decision-making and implementing authority goes a long way towards ensuring fairness.

Confidentiality

It needs to be maintained in all cases, particularly in matters such as dispute settlement in land-revenue or police cases. With the increasing use of information technology, provisions for maintaining confidentiality are being built into grievance software too.

A reply to any grievance must cover all points raised and not address the grievance partially. Moreover, if an application is rejected, the reasons for such rejection must be made explicit. If there is any follow-up action, it must be pursued. This is not to say that such consideration is to be given to frivolous or fictitious complaints or to those which are persistently repeated, despite a well argued final reply having been sent.

In order to be effective, the grievance redress mechanism should provide specific remedies. Remedies vary from compensations and refunds to repairs and replacements, from giving requisite information to tendering an apology. The concept of providing remedies requires a paradigm shift from an inherently defensive stance to one which is based on reaching out with goodwill to the aggrieved person. It also requires a degree of sensitive handling and can differ from case to case. Remedies also work towards ensuring both organisational and individual accountability.

An accountable grievance-handling system is open to scrutiny by clients, government and agency staff. Agencies can make their grievance redress mechanism more accountable by publishing information on the system and service delivery standards, and reporting on the outcomes of complaints and citizen satisfaction levels in annual reports and other public documents.

Grievances are an indicator of the agency’s health and require regular trend analysis. For this purpose, a monitoring mechanism is prescribed in each Government organisation and monitoring and evaluation is undertaken from time to time by the nodal agencies too. Recommendations for systemic changes are made on the basis of such analysis and lead to simplification or improvement of procedures.

Prevention being decidedly better than cure, it was decided to make the exercise of service delivery and grievance handling a proactive one by adopting the concept of the Citizens’ Charter initiated in UK in 1991. This was endorsed in 1998 and renamed Service First. The Service First Unit in the Cabinet Office in UK coordinates and monitors the implementation of the various national and local Charters in UK and issues the Charter Mark Award to service providers for excellence in performance. The Charter, whereever it has been adopted (for instance UK, Canada and Malaysia), continues to remain a non-justiciable document embodying the trust between the service provider and its user and it has proved to be an effective vehicle for information dissemination, indicating service delivery commitments and grievance redress mechanisms.

The word "citizen", as used in the Charters, is a generic term to indicate all the stakeholders to whom a service is available. It does not mean the public at large. The Citizens’ Charter, therefore, addresses its commitments directly to its users, stating standards of service, imparting information, providing a channel for grievance redress and an avenue for user evaluation and feedback. In the Indian adaptation of the Charter concept, the obligations of the users, if any, have also been added, because awareness building is a two-way street. On the one hand, there is the need to sensitise the service provider and, on the other, it is necessary to create a climate of civic and social responsibility among "citizens", not merely "consumers" or "customers".

There could be National and State-level Charters, which are in effect the parent Charters, with local agency or Charters at the cutting edge. This could evolve in such cases as the Charters for the users of the railways, telephones and posts. In some cases the concerned nodal Central Ministry may prepare a model

Charter which can then be adapted with local variations for individual agencies, such as hospitals, public distribution systems and educational institutions. These can be fine-tuned according to actual services delivered and local conditions. Further, at every annual review, more services or more stringent standards of services can be added. So far 61 Charters have been formulated by the Central Government agencies. Similarly, over 100 Charters have been issued by various States and Union Territories. These are at difference stages of implementation.

Implementation of the Charters by the respective organisations is a major task, covering vast distances and manpower. It, therefore, needs a monumental and sustained effort at training, orientation, publicity and awareness building, as well as regular and honest evaluation, to transform the Charter from a significant piece of paper into an instrument for changing long-entrenched values and mindset. Creating a platform of interests between the service provider and its users is the first step, balancing the strengths and constraints of the former against the reasonable expectations of the latter is the next. The success of each Charter depends largely on the accuracy with which that platform of common interest is targeted, thereby, endowing credibility on the service provider and creating confidence in the user.

masterhr

Chrm Message From: sinhaparna Total Posts: 35 Join Date: 15/12/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 18/03/2007 04:50:42 Points: 175 Location: India

Hello krishnan,

In industrial context the word grievance is used in industrial context to designate claims by workers of a Trade Union concerning their individual or collective rights under an applicable collective agreement, individual contract of employment, law, regulations, work rules, custom or usage. Such claims involve questions relating to the interpretation or application of the rules. The term “Grievance” is used in countries to designate this type of claim, while in some other countries reference is made to disputes over “right” or “legal” disputes.

The grounds for a grievance may be any measure or situation which concerns the relations between the employers and worker or which affects the conditions of employment of one or several workers in the undertaking when that measure or situation appears contrary to provisions of an applicable collective agreement or of an individual contract of employment, to work rules, to laws or regulations or to the custom or usage of the occupational branch of economy activity or country”.

Causes for Grievance

Grievances generally arise from the day to day working relations in an undertaking, usually a worker or trade union protest against or act or omission of management that is considered to violate worker rights. Grievances typically arise on such matters like discipline and dismissal, the payment of wages & other fringe benefits, working time, over time and time off entitlement, promotions, demotions and transfer, rights deriving from seniority, rights of supervisors and the Union officers, job classification problems, the relationship of works rules to the collective agreement and fulfillment of obligations relating to safety and health as laid down in the agreement. Such grievances, if not dealt with a procedure that secures the respect of parties, can result in embitterment of the working relationship and a climate of industrial strife.

Procedure for Settlement:

It has been widely recognized that there should be an appropriate procedure through which the grievances of workers may be submitted and settled. This recognition is based both on consideration of fairness and justice, which requires that workers’ claims regarding their rights should receive fair and impartial determination, and on the desire to remove from the area of power conflict a type of dispute that can properly be settled through authoritative determination of the respective rights and obligations of parties.

Essence of Model Grievance Procedure:

The three cardinal principles of grievance settlement, under the procedure, are;
1. Settlement at the lowest level,
2. Settlement as expeditiously as possible; and
3. Settlement to the satisfaction of the aggrieved

Like justice, grievance must not only be settled but also seem to be settled in the eyes of the aggrieved.

The Model Grievance Procedure has a three tier system for the settlement at the levels of the immediate supervisor; departmental or factory head; and a bipartite grievance committee representing the management and the union, with a provision for the arbitration appeal to the organization head, and a specified time limit for the resolution process.

Views of the National Commission on Labour

NCL has recommended that a formal grievance procedure should be introduced in units employing 100 or more workers and they are:

1. There should be a statutory backing for the formulation of an effective grievance procedure which should be simple, flexible, less cumbersome and more or less n the lines of Model Grievance Procedure,
2. It should be time bound and have a limited number of steps namely, approach to the immediate supervisory staff; appeal to the departmental head/manager; and appeal to the bipartite grievance committee representing management and the recognized Union.
3. A grievance procedure should be such that it gives a sense of satisfaction to the individual worker, ensures reasonable exercise of authority to the manager and a sense of participation to Unions,
4. The constitution of the grievance committee should have a provision that in case a unanimous decision is not possible, the unsettled grievance may be referred to arbitration. At the earlier stages the worker should be free to be represented by a co worker and later by an officer of the union, if one exists,
5. It should be introduced in all units employing 100 or more workers.

INDISCIPLINE/MISCONDUCT

Discipline is the employee self control which prompts him to willingly co- operates with the organizational standards, rules, objectives, etc.

Misconduct is the transgression of some established and definite rules where no discrimination is left to the employee. It is violation of rules. Any breach of these rules and discipline may amount to misconduct. It is an act or conduct which is prejudicial to the interest of the employer or is likely to impair the reputation of the employer or create unrest and can be performed even outside the premises of the establishment and beyond duty hours. It is for the management to determine in its Standing Orders as to what shall constitutes acts of misconduct and to define the quantum of punishment for them.

Causes of misconduct:

• Unfair labour practices and victimization on the part of employers, like wage diffentials, declaration of payment or non payment of bonus, wrongful works assignments, defective grievance procedure etc.,
• Bad service conditions, defective communications by superiors and ineffective leadership lead to indiscipline,
• Poverty, frustration, indebtedness, generally overshadow the minds of the workers, these agitate their minds and often result in indiscipline,
• Generally speaking absenteeism, insubordination, dishonesty and disloyalty, violation of plant rules, gambling, incompetence, damage to machine and property, strikes, etc., all lead to industrial indiscipline.

Remedial Measure for Acts of Indiscipline:

• Labour is most important factor of production. Therefore an Organization can prosper only if labour is properly motivated towards the attainment of specific goals. A more humane approach is necessary to motivate them.
• Each worker, as an individual, needs a fair or reasonable wage to maintain himself and his family in good health and spirits. So the wage should be adequate so that the worker may meet the economic needs of his family,
• He Trade Union leadership should be developed from within the rank and file of workers, who would understand their problems and put it up to the management in the right perspective.

Disciplinary Action:

Indiscipline is the result of many interrelated reasons- economic, psychological, social etc. It needs to be properly handled. The disciplinary action must conform to certain principles e.g.

• The principal of natural justice must guide all enquiries and actions. No biased person to conduct inquiry,
• The principal of impartiality or consistency must be followed,
• The disciplinary authority should offer full opportunity to the worker to defend himself.

Procedure for Punishment:

• Framing and Issuing of Charge sheet
• Receiving the defendants’ Explanation
• Issuing the notice of Inquiry
• Holding the Enquiry
• Findings of the Inquiry Officer
• Decision of the Disciplinary Authority
• Communication of the Order of Punishment

Termination of Employment:

• Voluntary abandonment of Service by the Employee
• Resignation by the employee
• Discharge by notice thereof given by the employer
• Discharge or dismissal by the employer as a punishment for misconduct,
• Retirement on reaching the age of superannuation

Type of Punishment Under Standing Orders:

1. Censure or Warning
2. Fines
3. Suspension
4. Dismissal

You may frame a policy after observing and taking into consideration these guidelines since obtaining a real corporate policy of this kind is a tough task.

Warm Regards

Aparna Sinha

 
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