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You are here: Home » Archives for employment law

employment law

Making a contractual job offer to new employeeFollowing a successful recruitment and selection process, employers will be able to identify which candidates they wish to employ.

Making a job offer to the successful candidate appears to be a straightforward area of law, however, there are several factors that employers should consider to put themselves on the best path. Continue…

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job advert in newspaper

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business.

One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will be to write a job advert. However, there are legal implications, as well as practical concerns regarding the advertising of job vacancies, that employers need to be aware of.

If you get this crucial part of the recruitment process right, the next steps are more likely to go smoothly, but get it wrong and you could get into hot water.

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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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Fixed term employment contracts are generally seen by employers as those which “plug the gap” when their normal, permanent employees are absent for a period of time.

Fixed term contracts are useful tools for businesses who need to employ staff to cover short term peaks in business demands. But before employing staff on a fixed term contract, employers need to be aware of the rights fixed term employees have to ensure they are not at risk of a tribunal claim.

So to help make sure you don’t get caught out, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points of fixed term contracts for small businesses; 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…

Nearly all employers are aware of the legal requirement to give new employees a statement of their main terms once they start working for you.

For some small businesses this may be the only documentation they give staff, after all this meets their legal requirements. However, many employers can find that well-drafted and implemented employee handbooks are essential to safeguard their business.

To help you understand how an employee handbook can help both employers and employees, here’s what every small business owners needs to know about them; Continue…

No matter how successful your business has been with just you working in it, if you want to grow you will need to take on employees.

There are innumerable benefits of having employees. The right people will ease the workload on you and allow you take holidays. Good staff keep your business running day to day, so you can focus on the most important part of your role as the leader: growing the business.

But being an employer brings with it a wide range of responsibilities that are driven by statutory requirements. The law places certain obligations on employers to ensure the rights of their staff are adhered to. And you have a general ethical responsibility to look after your team and ensure they are fit, well and happy at work.

The majority of these responsibilities start from day one of employment and continue for the lifetime of the employment relationship. When you hire staff, some of your main responsibilities as an employer are;

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Having to carry out difficult conversations is an inevitable consequence of owning a business and being an employer. When most business owners start employing staff they often haven’t thought of the reality of becoming an employer and having to tackle workplace issues as they arise.

Employers often don’t have the confidence to successfully carry out difficult conversations but avoiding these, and leaving issues to fester, is likely to negatively impact the business and, whilst this may be avoided in a larger business, a lack of productivity, capability or incidents of misconduct can have a serious effect on the business as a whole.

As a small business employer, you can avoid this outcome by being prepared, and facing difficult conversations with confidence in your ability to come to a positive solution. Here’s how; Continue…

It’s safe to say that writing a health & safety plan isn’t one of the most exciting parts of starting a business. In fact, it’s something that many new business owners neglect to do.

A health and safety plan is a plan which outlines how health and safety protocol will work in your business. In an ideal world, it would be seen as something that goes alongside a business plan but, far too often, this is not the case and businesses end up neglecting it.

Planning for health and safety means more than just checking the law as you go to make sure you are following it. Rather, a health and safety plan is something that should be done in the early stages of business planning.
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Workplace diversity is a term which relates to the people who work for an organisation. It is often spoken about with reference to equal opportunities, and the two are intrinsically linked, but have varying perspectives.

Providing equal opportunities means ensuring that no individual is treated less favourably on the basis of who they are – that all decisions taken in relation to them are based on fact and merit alone.

So what are the benefits of workplace diversity to a small business and how can you achieve it? This guide provides you with the necessary advice. 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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When you employ staff you must give them a certain amount of annual leave, and pay them during this time.

If your employees work a set amount of hours, and received a fixed salary, calculating their annual leave entitlement and holiday pay is straightforward. However, if staff have irregular hours, work overtime, or receive commissions or bonuses then calculating holiday pay can get quite tricky.

To help new business owners and employers understand the regulations on calculating holiday pay, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points for small businesses;
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As an employer you are required by law to give your employees a certain number of days holiday during the year. The amount of annual leave employees are entitled to depends on several factors.

This guide to leave entitlement for small business owners explains the amount of holiday you are required by UK law to give your employees, and how to calculate this for workers not working a normal working week.

Also covered are the laws regarding bank holidays, carrying over unused leave days, imposing a period of annual leave on staff e.g. over the festive season, and when you can refuse employees’ requests to take holiday;

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People who run their own business have a multitude of priorities to contend with every day. When you’re in the thick of it, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple truth that the people you depend upon for your business’ success are, like you, only human. But they are, and it’s well worth taking a proactive approach to safeguarding their psychological wellbeing. It’s good business.

There are stressful times in virtually every business, and we all know it’s virtually impossible to run a business and not get stressed at all. However, too much stress is bad for us.

And for business owners it can be a double-whammy. It can cause more significant mental health problems for you as an individual and also affect your ability to successfully manage and run your business.

To help business owners understand more about stress, how to spot the symptoms and how to tackle it, we asked Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services, AXA PPP healthcare to share some of his knowledge and advice on the subject with ByteStart; Continue…

Nobody goes into business to make staff redundant. However, it is a task that many business owners will need to undertake at some point

Redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee, but it is vital that you get this procedure right as failure to do so could result in an unfair dismissal claim at the employment tribunal.

Here’s a step by step guide to the redundancy process, and how to negotiate it safely.
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Statutory flexible working rights become available widely to all employees when they complete 26 weeks of continuous employment.

Previously, a request to work flexibly had to be made for the purposes of taking care of dependents e.g. children, however, this requirement has now been removed, giving all employees the right to request flexible working regardless of their care responsibilities.

This means that all of your employees, provided they meet the length of service criteria, can potentially seek to exercise their statutory rights to request flexible working.

Here’s what every small business owner needs to know about flexible working rights, and how to handle flexible working requests from staff so that you don’t end up in front of an Employment Tribunal; Continue…

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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Despite every effort, even the best-run businesses may encounter disciplinary problems with employees from time to time.

Although it is always best to focus on effective management practice and preventative measures, having clear and fair disciplinary procedures is a good first step in avoiding difficult employment tribunals.

Here’s what you need to consider, the procedures you need to put in place and the steps to follow when it comes to disciplinary matters;

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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…

7 Common HR Mistakes small businesses need to avoid making

February 15, 2016

Running a successful small business is a balancing act, which requires business owners to be in five different places all at once, whilst also mastering the art of embodying multiple roles in order to service all aspects of their business. Whilst, unfortunately this is just a fact of life for many small business owners, the […]

A guide to dealing with workplace bullying

February 10, 2016

Workplace bullying can take on different forms, including verbal or written, cyber bullying. In a survey conducted by the charity Family Lives, almost three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed who had experienced bullying at work said that the bullying was verbal and included threats, while a similarly high proportion (60%) felt the bullying was social, for example being excluded, […]

Dismissing a member of staff – what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law

February 2, 2016

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 […]

First Aid Kits: What does your business need?

January 29, 2016

As a business owner, the welfare of your staff will naturally be a key concern. Health and safety is just one of many concerns for small businesses, both in terms protecting employees and complying with the law. The government’s Health and Safety Regulations state that employers must provide “adequate and appropriate” equipment that ensures injured […]

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 […]

Can you fire an employee and get thanked by them for doing it?

September 14, 2015

The short answer is yes. But most business owners and managers seem to think that it is currently impossible to fire anyone, let alone be thanked for doing so. Too many owners and managers hold these two beliefs about firing staff:

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 […]

Disability in the workplace – what small businesses can do to manage it

July 15, 2015

Disability in the workplace is a very contentious issue, and something that we certainly wouldn’t be able to definitively cover here. However, what we can do is to help you as an employer to understand how to behave with care and attention – so as to avoid getting into any grief when it comes to […]

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 […]

What is employers liability insurance, and is my business legally required to have cover?

June 4, 2015

Employers liability insurance is a type of business insurance policy that virtually all firms employing someone must take out. As an employer, the health and safety of your employees when they are working for you is your responsibility. Having an employers liability insurance policy ensures that your business has a minimum level of protection should […]

Taking on an employee for the first time – 4 things you must get right

February 17, 2015

If you are taking on a new employee, you need to be aware of a whole range of issues. With staff come a range of responsibilities that you, as an employer, are required to fulfil. Taking on the first employee in your small business is something you should take real care doing. What many employers […]

Employment law changes businesses can expect in 2015

December 17, 2014

With 2015 fast approaching, an important year in the political calendar, employers are sure to be turning their mind to preparing for any changes set to come in over the next few months. It’s clear, if last year is anything to go by, employment law will not remain the same for very long and so […]

Employers’ guide to managing sick leave

October 11, 2014

As a small business owner, it is likely that you will have had at least a couple of employees call in sick this winter and with the cold weather expected to last a while longer, sick leave may become a HR issue that you deal with well into Spring.

Flexible working rights for all employees – what small businesses need to know

August 22, 2014

In June 2014, flexible working requests became a universal right. Anyone with 26 weeks of continuous employment can now ask to work flexibly for any reason. The repercussions for small businesses, in which each employee may be vital to day-to-day operations, could be significant.