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…)
With the inevitable ups and downs a small business faces, there may be times when you need to lose some staff.
To stay on the right side of UK employment laws, employers must understand how to carry out the redundancy procedure correctly, so here’s a step-by-step guide to the redundancy process, and how to negotiate it safely. (more…)
All workers are entitled to receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave. Whilst this is a benefit for staff, employers can find themselves struggling to manage staff holidays around their business needs.
To help make sure your business runs smoothly, here is an overview of how to successfully manage staff holidays. (more…)
The statutory right to request flexible working is available to all employees who complete 26 weeks of continuous employment.
Whilst flexible working is certainly becoming a more common feature in the workplace, it could stand to become even more significant in 2019 as discussions continue around whether employers will be required to state whether positions can be worked flexibly in job advertisements.
In the meantime, 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; (more…)
It is common for individuals to exaggerate or embellish certain aspects of their CV when applying for a role, however employers can be faced with a serious problem if it turns out the person they hired does not have the experience or qualifications needed to carry out the job at hand.
So what can you do if after you’ve hired an employee, you subsequently find out they lied on their CV? (more…)
No matter how successful your business has been with just you working in it, if you want to grow you’ll need to employ people.
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. (more…)
Company reviews left on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed can be a great way for your organisation to build a positive reputation and help in efforts to recruit new talent.
However, there is always the risk that staff may leave negative reviews on these websites, which can have a very different impact altogether. (more…)
Following 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. (more…)
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…)
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…)
It would be fair to say that employment status has been a contentious issue in recent times as business owners and staff in various sectors dispute the true nature of their respective working arrangements.
As a business owner it is important that you are familiar with the differences between the three main categories of employment (employee, worker and self-employed) as this will help determine the rights of the individual and the obligations you have towards them. (more…)
From the removal of tribunal fees to widespread claims regarding sexual harassment, 2017 has been a busy year in employment law. Although employers might hope for a quieter 2018, it’s looking likely that there will be a number of issues that are prevalent throughout the year, amid the on-going uncertainty of Brexit.
With this in mind, Alan Price, Employment Law Director at Peninsula highlights 5 key employment law issues that businesses will need to address in 2018; (more…)
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.
Employers liability insurance is a type of business insurance policy that virtually all firms employing someone must take out.
The fines for not having a suitable policy can be huge, so here’s what every business owner needs to know about employers liability insurance. (more…)
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.
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; (more…)
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…)
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; (more…)
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; (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
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;
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;
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; (more…)
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;
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;
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.
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…)
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 competing demand placed on them can increase the chances of mistakes being made. These can damage morale, lead to high employee turnover and possibly see you facing an employment tribunal. Here are 7 of the most common HR mistakes small business owners make, but can easily be avoided; (more…)
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, ignored and isolated. More than a third of employees who had experienced bullying said that it continued for over a year.
Dealing with all types of bullying behaviour quickly and effectively is key for employers to restore morale, productivity and attendance within their organisation and maintaining positive work relationships between employees and managers alike.
In this guide, Peter Done, MD of employment law specialists, Peninsula Business Services explains how to spot, and tackle any instances of bullying in your small business;
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.
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 employees can be treated immediately if they have an accident or feel ill. The regulations apply to businesses of every size, even if you have fewer than five employees, so this means you need to have First Aid Kits available to treat staff injuries and illnesses.
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 to you.
So are you one of the sole traders that no longer has to worry about complying with Health & Safety legislation? (more…)
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 prosecutions being over £30,000, it can be very costly if you don’t stay on the right side of the law. With so much at stake, we asked Louise Hosking of Hosking Associates to explain what small businesses need to do; (more…)
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 rightly feeling nervous about the new legislation.
Lord Wolfson, the boss of Next, for example has stated that prices at the retailer could be driven up by the legislation, which would mean an extra £27million being spent on wages each year. Similar soundings have come from businesses like Whitbread, owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, too – warning that the National Living Wage would cost them an extra £20million.
All businesses with employees will be affected, but those that employ staff with pay rates at, or near the existing minimum wage will be hit hardest. So what can employers do to prepare themselves for the National Minimum Wage legislation? (more…)
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: (more…)