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With auto enrolment now well into its fifth year, you’re likely to be familiar with the workplace pension reforms and what they mean for you and your workers.

What some employers may not have thought much about is that, as a result of auto enrolment, millions of workers are getting a stake in companies around the world.

Choosing a pension scheme that invests your employee’s pensions suitably is therefore something every business owner will want to do.

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In 2016, the EU passed legislation governing the standards by which companies collect and secure personal data (so-called ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’).

The aim of this legislation was to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new General Data Protection Regulation lays down some fairly stringent requirements for both large and small businesses as regards data protection.

Although the UK subsequently voted to leave the EU, the UK government has since confirmed that it will abide by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect from 25 May 2018. To help UK businesses understand how they could be affected by the new laws, here’s a guide to the GDPR legislation. Continue…

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The roll-out of auto enrolment is well into its fifth year. Having started with the largest organisations back in October 2012, it’s now the turn of small and micro sized employers.

If you’re one of these, you’re in good company. During 2017, hundreds of thousands of organisations just like yours will need to get to grips with auto enrolment.

If you aren’t sure what it means for you and your workers, this step by step guide to Automatic Enrolment for small businesses, will put you on the right path.

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Figures from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) reveal that more than 95 per cent of the small employers required to put their staff into a workplace pension by June 2016 had complied with the law.

To the end of September, almost 257,000 employers had completed their automatic enrolment duties and enrolled over 6.7 million workers on to an auto enrolment pension scheme.

During the first quarter of 2017, the automatic enrolment legislation will step up a gear as more than 1 million small businesses will need to meet their automatic enrolment duties. And so with a busy time ahead, we asked Caroline Bateman of Enrolsme to offer her tips on how small business can set up an auto enrolment pension scheme in 2017, ‘stress free’; Continue…

Once a contract of employment is in place, notice has to be given by either party to the contract to end it. There are two types of notice periods; statutory notice and contractual notice.

As an employer, if you fail to give the correct notice when terminating an employment contract, you are in breach of contract. This could result in an appearance before the employment tribunal and you having to pay damages.

To help small business owners understand the law regarding notice periods, we asked HR expert, Peter Done of Peninsula Business Services to explain what employers’ need to know about giving notice to end an employment contract; Continue…

It is vitally important for business owners and managers to understand their duty to comply with UK fire safety regulations, as the consequences are potentially very serious.

All legislation regarding fire safety in business (non-domestic) premises in England and Wales are incorporated in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005. It provides clear guidance for those responsible for implementing safety precautions and procedures, including fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment.

Here, we look at who is ultimately responsible for fire safety on business premises, and lay out the steps that a ‘responsible person’ is obliged to take by law. Continue…

As smaller businesses prepare to put their plans for 2017 into practice, there’s one thing that should be on almost every small employer’s radar. I’d say auto enrolment is one of the most important things that employers right around the UK must deal with in 2017, it’s both a legal duty and an important staff benefit.

So what should be part of your auto enrolment thinking in the new year? We asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to share his insight and advice at this crucial time. Continue…

For many small employers, providing a workplace pension, because of Automatic Enrolment, will be brand new territory. With a wide range of providers to choose from, where do you begin? How do you narrow it down and make your selection?

It’s a similar process to hiring a new worker or signing up a new supplier. You look for signs of quality, assess whether they’re suitable for your company and a ‘good fit’ for your team.

So if you are looking to choose a pension provider for your new auto-enrolment pension scheme, here are five things to bear in mind when making your decision; Continue…

As we approach the fourth anniversary of auto enrolment, it seems that smaller employers are, for the most part, smoothly adapting to providing workplace pensions. However, some small businesses are struggling with some aspects of how auto enrolment works.

To help make sure you don’t get caught out by the common auto enrolment problems, we asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to share his advice on the five auto enrolment issues that business owners are asking about. Continue…

Many small business owners are now tackling Auto-Enrolment for the first time. The subject is throwing up lots of questions, and with deadlines looming, small businesses need to ensure they get their Auto-Enrolment Pension Scheme in place in time.

To help, we asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to answer 5 of the most common questions small businesses are asking about auto-enrolment pensions; Continue…

When you start taking on employees you will be faced with a fair amount of legal responsibilities. It’s important you understand all your obligations as an employer as if you don’t comply with UK employment law you can easily find yourself in front of an employment tribunal.

As a small business owner, your legal responsibilities when taking on staff can be somewhat daunting but with a little help you can soon get your head around what’s needed.

One of your first duties as a new employer is to ensure you comply with employment contract law. To help you understand your legal obligations, here’s a guide to employment contracts for small business owners;

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New start-ups and small businesses often fail to give much thought to their standard “Terms and Conditions of Business” (T&Cs). That is, until there is a dispute with a customer, by which time it may be too late.

Business owners who are unaware of the importance of T&Cs can even find that they are conducting business on their customer’s Terms and Conditions of Business. This can happen when a customer successfully substitutes their own T&Cs for yours. If this is the case, you could be in for a very nasty shock when a customer complains.

To help make sure you protect your business, and only work on the basis of your Terms and Conditions of Business, we asked Sheren Thiara, of Wright Hassall Solicitors, to explain why T&Cs are so crucial for businesses and to give some practical advice on how you make sure the work you do is under your standard T&Cs.
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From 1st April, 2016 all employers will need to comply with the new National Minimum Wage regulations.

To help you understand exactly what the National Living Wage is, and what you need to do to comply with the new legislation, here’s a guide to the National Living Wage for small business owners;

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Businesses could be liable if an employee commits a negligent act while at work, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The landmark judgement, which was confirmed this week, will have considerable consequences on the way employers train and monitor their staff, according to North West law firm Kirwans, who say the judgement is “extremely significant” and one that could have far-reaching implications for businesses. Continue…

As all businesses and traders selling to consumers should know, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) came into force on 1 October 2015 and overhauled the UK’s legislation on selling goods and services to consumers.

It also introduced legislation on the sale of digital content for the first time (distinguishing digital content from goods and services) and re-clarified contractual terms that could be considered unfair when dealing with consumers.

In response to the Consumer Rights Act, all businesses should be updating their terms and conditions to ensure they reflect the new legislation. Other key points those selling to consumers need to consider, include;

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This guide explains exactly what a trade mark is, how you can use one to protect your business and how to go about registering a trade mark for your business;

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Mental health problems are often misunderstood, but as an employer it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees are treated fairly.

Some people may recover from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, or it may only have a minor effect, but if an employee’s mental health issues are severe enough to count as a disability, you will also have to consider your legal responsibilities towards them.

This guide outlines your duties and responsibilities to any staff with mental health problems, and helps to ensure that you don’t inadvertently discriminate against them.

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Whether you’re just starting up or currently running a small business, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the issues that you face on a daily basis.

With so much to do, one area that is often neglected by many is the law. A report last year found that 25% of SME’s have no idea they’re breaking the law, with many stating that the ever changing legislation and jargon filled manuscripts make it a confusing task.

But ignorance of the law could see you facing crippling fines or even a jail sentence, putting a painful dent into you finances and damaging your company’s reputation.

So with several good reasons for you to get to grips with business laws, this guide gives you practical advice on the major new legislation set to affect small businesses in 2016, and what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law. Continue…

Having to dismiss an employee is something many employers dread, due to the possibility that the dismissed employee may take them to an employment tribunal if they feel they weren’t treated fairly. This is why you should take care to act reasonably towards employees throughout the dismissal procedure.

So if you have a member of staff that you feel you may have to dismiss, this guide will hep you to understand how you can do this legally and without the unwanted fear, distraction or costs of appearing before an employment tribunal.

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Data protection is now a more onerous regime for small businesses, and this will only increase when the EU General Data Protection Regulation is implemented.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), can impose penalties of up to £500,000. A glance at the ICO website will tell you how seriously they view failures to comply, so it’s crucial that small businesses understand their obligations under the DPA when dealing with any personal data, whether it relates to customers, clients or employees.

But for start-ups and small businesses, who can’t afford the luxury of a dedicated data protection officer it’s hard to know where to start. We therefore asked Clare Edwards, of Hill Dickinson, to distil some of the complexities of the Data Protection Act, and to offer some practical tips for start-ups and small businesses when dealing with personal data;

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Guide to Auto Enrolment – 12 key facts small businesses need to know

November 30, 2015

Automatic enrolment is looming large on the horizon for hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the UK. With many small firms unfamiliar with company pensions, tackling auto enrolment (AE) can feel daunting, so this guide has been designed to help small business owners get to grips with the subject. It outlines they key issues for […]

What the changes in Health & Safety regulations from 1st October 2015 means for the self-employed

October 1, 2015

A change is afoot for the UK’s self-employed workers, and it’s good news for some 1.7million one-man bands! From 1st October 2015, if you are self-employed and your work activity poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public, then Health and Safety law will not apply […]

Health & Safety compliance for small businesses – where do you start?

October 1, 2015

When you are starting a business, sitting down and grappling with Health & Safety legislation isn’t one of your top priorities. It’s fair to say that it’s not one of the more exciting parts of running your own business, and it doesn’t bring in any money. However, with the average fine for Health & Safety […]

What small businesses can do to manage the extra costs of the National Living Wage

September 28, 2015

In April 2016 the National Living Wage legislation will come in to force. From this date all employers will be required to pay staff over the age of 25, a minimum rate of £7.20 per hour. With experts suggesting that National Living Wage (NLW) could be a step into the unknown, many business owners are […]

How to prepare for and handle an employee grievance

September 1, 2015

Being an employer comes with all manner of responsibilities, not least ensuring the happiness and safety of your staff. So when an employee approaches you, or the person responsible for HR within your organisation, with a problem or complaint (a grievance) you need to ensure you have the necessary procedures in place to resolve the […]

What is a confidentiality agreement or ‘NDA’ and when might a small business use one?

August 4, 2015

Picture the scene. You’ve spent years developing an amazing new product, the likes of which has never been seen before. It will truly revolutionise the market and give your competitors many sleepless nights of agonising worry. But it all depends on you shocking the world by announcing your new product at the annual trade fair. […]

Automatic Enrolment – small businesses urged to act

July 10, 2015

As 2015 progresses, increasing numbers of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) – those employing up to 30 members of staff – are getting closer to their automatic enrolment staging date, where they will be required to enrol staff into a workplace pension scheme. Hundreds of thousands of small employers across the UK will have […]

What does ‘Shared Parental Leave’ mean for your business?

July 3, 2015

New parental leave legislation came into effect in April 2015, giving men and women the option to share child care over the course of a year. Increased flexibility provided by shared parental leave will enable more men to be involved in child care and bond with their babies. It will also give women the freedom […]

Intellectual Property – A summary of IP law for small businesses

March 18, 2015

As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of the phrase “Intellectual Property”, or IP as it’s commonly referred to. But studies show that despite knowing what Intellectual Property is, many small businesses assume that protecting their Intellectual Property is only something that larger, well-known businesses need to worry about. The fact is that IP […]

Guide to Copyright Law – What is protected?

October 11, 2014

Copyright law is one of the key areas of intellectual property protection. In the UK, protection applies automatically once the work is created, so there is nothing further that needs to be done by an owner in order to obtain all the benefits of protection. In this article we step through the different types of […]

Why it is important to have a Partnership Agreement

October 11, 2014

Business is all about partnerships – public-private partnerships, supplier relationships, collaboration with colleagues and competitors, and of course the way you work with your customers. So it’s never a good thing when you find your closest partnership – that with the fellow leaders of your business – has begun to break down. It’s the same […]

Employers’ guide to employee holiday and leave entitlement

July 3, 2014

The Summer holidays are fast approaching and if you are an employer, you may soon be inundated with holiday forms from your workforce, as staff begin to prepare for their holidays. Although a lot of businesses have a workforce structure that enables adequate cover during holiday season, there are some that struggle due to the […]

Don’t let a divorce ruin your business

June 26, 2014

There’s no doubt that entrepreneurs need spark, grit, creativity and a huge amount of drive and commitment. However, adversity can be a helpful companion to an entrepreneur: it may be the catalyst for that light-bulb moment or it may create resilience.

Trade Marks – Limit your risk by protecting your brand

December 19, 2012

A limited company is by definition limited in its risk. Its legal status separates the business from its owner’s personal assets.  So for a limited company not to trade mark its company name and brand is to increase business risks that could be avoided relatively easily and cheaply.

How to enforce a County Court Judgment

July 25, 2012

You see County Court Judgments, or CCJs, mentioned on debt-related adverts all the time, but what are they, and how do you enforce one?

Discrimination law – the winds of change

April 3, 2012

There is a wind of change blowing through employment law landscape.  Employers need to think carefully during all stages of the employment relationship before taking any steps.