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  • Sara Wilcock

Employment Law for Business Owners


When you are running a small business, you often end up wearing many hats or finding others in the company to delegate to. Which can mean that roles that should be dedicated to a professional, such as an accountant or an HR professional are done, with the best of intentions, but not always to the highest standard. It then follows that the roles that fall underneath each of these categories tend to split out into a number of sub-categories, all adding up to a lot of work, research and time. One of the most difficult hats to wear has to be that of HR manager, not only do you need to have the best interests of the business in mind, but also the best interests of your staff, and at the centre of everything you also need to be adhering to the rules, regulations and laws that govern business, so that you don’t disadvantage one area, person or group over another or do anything illegal. Of course, this isn’t easy, but then again, if you wanted easy, you probably wouldn’t have started a business! Within all these rules, regulations and laws there is one area that you may need more assistance with and that’s Employment Law. Getting it right is difficult, it’s a very complex area. Get it wrong and you could end up in a legal battle or at an Employment Tribunal. So, what does it mean to be keeping up with Employment Law and what does it do for Employer/Employee? Essentially, Employment Laws exist to govern/manage what employers/employees can expect from each other, what employers can ask employees to do and what employees’ rights at work are. This covers a range of topics which interlink and should form part of your polices, terms and conditions and handbook:– * Recruitment, Employees/workers status, Terms and Conditions of Employment, * Health and Safety, Holiday and Sick Entitlement/Pay, Maternity/Paternity parental/carers rights * Discrimination – Disability, Sex, Age, Sexual Orientation, Race, Religion & Beliefs and Equal Pay * Whistle-blowing, Grievance & Discipline, Dismissal, Redundancy, Bullying and Harassment, Employment Tribunals and Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE). As you can see, there are some very weighty topics, which if done correctly, can help your company’s brand and profile, as well as keep your business safe. As part of a companies corporate social responsibility, the more you embrace being open, transparent and consistent with your policies, the more staff will respect your organisation. A companies brand reputation can impinge on having the right internal image as much as the external one. Supporting and promoting how you your treat your staff goes further than just sticking to the letter of the Employment Laws. Being fair and consistent in your approach for all employees is one way of embracing this, but there is more to it than that. Ensuring that you understand and keep up with any changes or updates to the rules/regulations/laws, which can quite easily be missed will stand you in good stead. When writing employment contracts, for example, as it’s a legally binding document, you need to be certain that you cover all the right areas, such as pay, time-off (paid/unpaid), hours etc. A contract that is written well, and correctly, will give peace of mind to both you and your employee. Equally, when you need to change a contract – whether at the employees request (ie. going part-time/change of hours/flexible working agreement) or as employer you need to make changes you’ll need to make sure that you’ve taken any rules and regulations governing this plus updates or changes of the law into consideration, before asking an employee to sign it. So, how do you keep up with the changes, with hundreds of new court rulings, statutory instruments updates, etc. every year, since it’s such a time consuming and painstaking task. If you have a dedicated resource that is fully qualified and conversant in Employment Law then that’s great, however, if you have someone that is taking on this task alongside others without proper training, you could come unstuck. You could make sure that you get alerted when new rulings/updates come out, and read articles from knowledge experts. That would certainly go a long way towards your goal. However, there is one way to truly guarantee that you are able to protect your business and your staff, and that is to have a fully qualified, dedicated, CIPD HR professional on hand to look after this for you, so you don’t have to worry. By employing an outsourced HR professional, not only will you have their skills, knowledge and expertise on hand to assist you with all your HR needs, but they have the ability to remain impartial, to provide support to those in need and the ability to step back and view the overarching picture, without the emotional attachment. Which, when it comes to advising you and your business on the best way forwards, whether it’s short or long term recruitment plans, H&S training, ensuring your workers are all legally employed or dealing with redundancy, they are in the best position to not only understand and interpret the law, but guide you to make the best decisions for all involved. As, we said before, running a business isn’t always easy. The paperwork and rules and regulations can weigh heavily even on the most organised individuals. We want to help lighten your load and give you the opportunity to set aside your worries and allow us to take on your Employment Law, and HR needs. The question is, not what should you do, but what you shouldn’t do… you shouldn’t make do and mend, try to wear all these hats or have to worry that the member of staff currently undertaking it won’t make a mistake. Let us take on (the worry) this for you and make us your No.1 go-to HR resource. To find out more about how we can support you and your business t: 07891 045 526 or you can get in touch via our website: https://www.people4peoplehrconsultant.co.uk/get-in-touch