This is a question I often get from my clients. In the world of HR where you need a paper trail of proof of everything, I would encourage you to use WhatsApp, but the secret lies in the how.
Employers and employees should use their own discretion to respect one another’s privacy and to determine the need and urgency of an instruction or message. It may appear unfair if an employer starts sending messages at 5am in the morning or late at night when the nature of the instructions is of such nature that it could have been given during working hours. Yes, I know, we are all guilty. In today’s day there is jut not enough time. Your employee may however ignore the WhatsApp message until office hours, unless of course it is an emergency in which case it would not be unreasonable to send a message outside of working hours.
The long and the short is that a WhatsApp message is nothing other than a written instruction and of course if it is in a WhatsApp group, there are witnesses who are aware of instructions given. I would advise that when you use WhatsApp as a form of communication that you implement a system where the employee confirms receipt of the instruction. But keep in mind there are barriers like a lack of data or a flat battery, so be sure to have a policy of how you will deal with this.
PRO TIP: Be mindful of when you send the instructions over WhatsApp to not intrude on your employee’s private time, as this may be seen as unlawful, depending of course on what you have negotiated with your employees.
Employees earning under the threshold may not work longer than 45 hours a week and they should have a daily rest period of 12 consecutive hours and responding to a message outside of official working hours, may be seen as carrying out a job. This does not include emergencies and can be negotiated depending on the scope of the employee’s job.
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