Dealing With Addiction In The Workplace

employee suffering with substance addiction

If an employee is suffering with substance addiction, this can cause real problems for a small business so needs to be dealt with promptly. However, as with all issues relating to employment law, business owners must tackle the problem very carefully, so we asked employment lawyer, Sarah Chilton to explain how employers should navigate the issue. (more…)

What To Do if Someone Bad-Mouths Your Business

what to do if competitor makes defamatory comments or reviews

Starting a new business is never easy especially in this day and age, when you may well be competing with hundreds of others offering the same service or selling similar/identical items.

If someone bad-mouths your business, you can lose sales immediately and suffer long-term damage to your reputation. So what can you do, if this happens to your business? We asked, Amanda Hamilton, CEO of NALP, to explain. (more…)

Faulty or Unwanted Goods – What Are Your Customer’s Rights?

Consumer Rights Act - small business guide

If your business involves selling goods to customers you will, inevitably, need to deal with a percentage of customers that want to exchange items, or are seeking a refund.

As a small business, it’s really important to know what your legal rights and duties are when it comes to customers that have bought your goods. (more…)

How Mediation Can Help Your Business Avoid Going to Court

commercial mediation to settle dispute

If you run a business it’s inevitable that disputes will arise. Whether it’s problems with suppliers failing to meet their obligations, employee issues or non-payment by customers, when a dispute arises it can be difficult knowing how best to resolve the problem with the minimum of disruption, time and expense.

Taking the matter to court to resolve is costly and takes a long time, so we asked Tim Bennett of Fairlead Mediation to explain how businesses can use mediation to resolve disputes more effectively. (more…)

Everything You Need to Know About Unfair Dismissal

Advice on Unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal can cause big issues for any type of small business. Even business owners with the best intentions and excellent hiring abilities might be faced with dismissing an employee one day.

Here, we look at what classifies as unfair dismissal and explain how to prevent legal action in the face of a dismissal within your business. (more…)

How the Employment Tribunal works

Employment Tribunal - details and procedures

Are you an employer that is being taken to the Employment Tribunal by an employee for alleged sexual harassment or racial discrimination or for unfair dismissal?

Are you an employee that feels your job situation is untenable? If so, then here’s what to do. (more…)

Practical tips on navigating the patent process

Tips on the patent process

Starting your own business isn’t plain sailing. It throws lots of new challenges at us, each with their good, bad and ugly dimensions. And registering a patent is no different.

A lot of inventors with incredible ideas have fallen along the wayside, simply because they didn’t invest the time needed to successfully navigate the patent system.

Make a mistake at this point and you could end up doing all the hard work only for someone else to exploit later down the line. So if you want to protect your business idea or invention, you need to take the patent process seriously. (more…)

Keeping employee records: What small business owners need to know

the employee records employers should keep

The GDPR gives people more control over their personal information and requires organisations to clarify exactly where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is stored – and how it is used.

Less well-documented than data protection regulations, but no less important, are data retention regulations. To outline what your legal obligations are when it comes to keeping business records, we asked Paul Ravey of Access Records Management to explain.

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9 GDPR Myths – Busted

GDPR Fact or Myth?

The juggernaut that is GDPR has now come into force. We’ve known about this radical new change in privacy and data protection law for over two years and on 25th May it became law across the EU.

The past two years have allowed plenty of time for numerous myths to bubble up about the impact of the new rules on UK businesses. But which are the GDPR myths and which are GDPR facts? (more…)

9 Things small employers need to know about the GDPR

What small employers need to know about GDPR

Recent research has suggested that 39% of SMEs haven’t spent any time planning or preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over the last year.

With the clock ticking down rapidly to May 25 when the rules come into force, if you’re one of the small businesses that haven’t planned for GDPR, you need to prepare for its consequences right now.

The GDPR marks the start of a radical new data protection landscape, with significant penalties if your business doesn’t comply, so here are 9 key points small employers need to watch out for. (more…)

Why small businesses should embrace GDPR and be ready for May 25

GDPR Small business

Data is vital for many businesses looking to take their productivity and profitability to the next level. Yet according to our research, 56% of UK small businesses have concerns about their current data collection processes.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to become law in May 2018, every UK business needs to ensure that the way data is collected fully complies with the new laws.

Many businesses see GDPR as a threat, but as Ian Woolley of Ensighten explains, it also brings opportunities that small businesses can capitalise on.

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Legal implications of copyright infringement

copyright law and infringement

Copyright infringement can be defined in numerous ways, some of which include piracy, theft and freebooting.

Legally, the term is used when an individual uses any works protected by copyright law, without permission, which then leads to the infringement of any exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder. (more…)

A small business guide to Fee for Intervention (FFI)

Whatever industry you’re in, Health & Safety is a critical part of running a business. And with substantial fines if you get it wrong, it’s not something to be taken lightly.

In 2015/16 alone, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and – in Scotland – the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) prosecuted 696 businesses, and of those cases almost all (95%) were convicted, amounting to a grand total of £38.3m worth of fines. The average fine? A potentially business-breaking £58,000.

Many of the HSE and COPFS’s prosecutions stemmed from material breaches uncovered during HSE inspections where a Fee for Intervention (FFI) was charged. To help you steer clear of nasty fines, we asked Health & Safety experts Citation to put together an in-depth guide on all things FFI. (more…)

A Guide to UK Outdoor Workwear Regulations

Guide to UK outdoor workwear regulations PPE

The UK has one of the most robust and exacting health and safety regulatory frameworks to be found anywhere in the world.

Compliance with the various H&S laws is crucial for employers and this is true of the regulations for the appropriate and correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for outdoor workers. (more…)

What small businesses need to know about the General Data Protection Regulation

Despite Brexit, the UK government has confirmed it will abide by the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is due to come into effect on 28 May 2018.

The aim of General Data Protection Regulation is to encourage companies across the European Union to think seriously about data protection. In practice, the new GDPR lays down some fairly stringent legislation, for both large and small businesses, governing the standards by which personal data is collected and stored.

To help UK businesses understand the new laws, and avoid the heavy punishments failure to abide by them bring, here’s a guide to the GDPR legislation. (more…)

Auto-Enrolment Pensions – Skip the jargon

auto enrolment pension - no jargon

If you work in the world of hairdressing you’ll know a lob from a wob, just like plumbers know the difference between an angle stop and a capillary connector.

For those of us who don’t work in these industries it’s complete gobbledegook. What are they talking about?

The pension industry is one place where jargon is rife, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With auto enrolment pension schemes meaning more employees taking out workplace pensions, we asked Paul Budgen of NEST, which has been set up by the government especially for auto enrolment, to outline the benefit of jargon-free pensions communications. (more…)

Two big reasons to choose a workplace pension scheme that invests responsibly

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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A step by step guide to auto enrolment for small employers staging in 2017

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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5 Tips for small businesses setting up an auto enrolment pension scheme in 2017

auto enrolment pension 2017

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’; (more…)

Statutory & Contractual Notice Periods: Advice for small businesses

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; (more…)

What are the compulsory fire safety regulations for UK businesses?

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. (more…)

Auto enrolment – What should be at the top of your 2017 ‘to do’ list?

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. (more…)

5 things to consider when choosing a pension scheme for your business

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; (more…)

5 Problems small businesses are having with auto enrolment

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. (more…)

Auto-Enrolment – 5 Common small business questions, answered

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; (more…)

Guide to Employment Contracts for Small Businesses

guide to employment contracts

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; (more…)

Why it’s Vital You Have Clear ‘Terms & Conditions’ for Your Business

setting Terms & Conditions for your business

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.

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. (more…)

A Guide to the National Living Wage for small business owners

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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Landmark Supreme Court ruling could see businesses prosecuted for employees’ negligent behaviour

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. (more…)

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 – 7 Key points for small businesses

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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Avoiding discrimination against employees with mental health problems

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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The new business laws affecting small businesses in 2016

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. (more…)

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

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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A Guide to Data protection for small businesses and start-ups

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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