Law

Our legal category looks at the business codes of practice, laws and regulations that affect small and medium businesses to help you ensure your company meets all the necessary legal requirements for running a small enterprise.

General Data Protection Regulation: How to Prepare

General Data Protection Regulation: How to Prepare

For UK businesses of all sizes, protecting personal data, both physically and electronically, has never been more important. The data protection landscape has changed rapidly in recent years and is heading for its biggest shake up in some time with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR outlines how the data of any EU citizen must be handled, wherever in the world the company in possession of this data operates, making it a truly global piece of legislation. It comes into force on 25 May 2018. The requirements stipulated in the new legislation range from stricter rules around securing consent for the use of personal information to, in some cases, the introduction of a designated data protection officer within the workplace. With just over a year to get ready, comp... »

Important Legal Dates For Small Businesses: 2017

Important Legal Dates For Small Businesses: 2017

Every year brings both new and exciting challenges for business owners, so it’s important to look to the future and arm yourself with the knowledge you need to keep your business competitive. Below are the key dates for upcoming employment law and more general legal changes that every small business owner should know about. Spring 2017 31 March – Article 50 This is the last day in the government’s self-imposed target that Article 50 is expected to be triggered, although it could happen before or after this date. The effect Brexit will have on employment law changes remains unclear. Theresa May reiterated her claim that workers’ rights will remain fully protected when revealing her 12 point Brexit plan, but further details are yet to be revealed. One positive – at least in the short term – ... »

Salary Sacrifice Schemes: What Next?

Salary Sacrifice Schemes: What Next?

Towards the end of 2016 The Finance Bill 2017 was published, containing provisions intended to eliminate tax advantages that many previously enjoyed through entering into salary sacrifice schemes. Salary sacrifice schemes are agreements undertaken between employers and employees to provide non-cash benefits. However, changes to such schemes, announced in November’s Autumn Statement, mean that employers who have these arrangements in place must prepare to adhere to the new legislation coming into effect from 6 April 2017. The change is due to the government’s concerns regarding an increase in the use of salary sacrifice arrangements, especially as employees effectively pay for the benefit themselves through the reduction in their gross pay. What changes are proposed? Consultation documents ... »

Small Business Data Protection Compliance: 3 Common Mistakes

Small Business Data Protection Compliance: 3 Common Mistakes

Data protection is a serious consideration for small businesses, but many businesses fail to seriously consider it as they’re busy selling to, and servicing clients. In my experience, I’ve come across situations where clients will keep thousands of documents in absolute disarray: no referencing system, no segmentation, no clear thought process beyond: “I need to store this piece of paper somewhere, and this box has room.” Often, they won’t have any idea what records they need to keep or destroy – or indeed, how to keep or destroy them. If it were merely disorganised, it might be understandable – but failing to properly store, organise, and secure documents can have severe consequences. A repeated failure to keep records in order can, for example, lead to penalties of up to £3,000 from HMRC... »

Want to Avoid Claims Against Your Small Business? This Simple Exercise Will Help

Want to Avoid Claims Against Your Small Business? This Simple Exercise Will Help

With legal disputes, as with most things, prevention is better than cure. So whilst I can’t offer a litigation antidote nor a cure-all for every dispute wound, there are some straight-forward measures that can help you to minimise the risk of claims against your business. As legal advisors, we are often brought into disputes part-way through the process. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, parties to litigation (and their advisers) can see where things went wrong and how they could have better protected themselves. Repeated exposure to such cases has left me with super-powerful fore-sight glasses. I now see litigation risks. Everywhere. They are so obvious to me that I’m sometimes shocked that other people can’t see them too. Yet my seeming affliction is a gift: a gift that can save you ... »

What You Need to Know: E-Commerce, Websites and The Law

What You Need to Know: E-Commerce, Websites and The Law

In the world we now live in, having a website or e-commerce site now goes hand in hand with running a successful business. Whether you use it as a platform to display your services, as an informational source or to sell from; a website is now absolutely key to business success. Without one, you’re certainly likely to be left lagging behind your competitors. The internet has allowed many businesses to start-up online rather than in traditional stores or office premises; enabling businesses to cut back on costs and reach audiences that were previously unreachable. However, along with revolutionising our lives, the internet has also revolutionised the laws required to safeguard this unknown territory. Running a website and in particular, selling goods online, comes with a set of regulations w... »

How to Combat Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

How to Combat Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

Harassment of a sexual nature is one of the most common forms of harassment and is specifically outlawed by the Equality Act 2010. Yet, despite increasing awareness of the problems it can cause in the workplace, sexual harassment still needs to be addressed as part of an ongoing dialogue between employers and staff. It is therefore essential for every business to consider ways they should plan to prevent and resolve any potential issues. Employees must know that there is a route they can take if they experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and that their complaint will be dealt with seriously and have no adverse effect on their future at the company. Suffering in silence Recent research from the Trades Union Congress and the Everyday Sexism Project has concluded that over half of wo... »

Suing: What you Need to Know as a Business

Suing: What you Need to Know as a Business

It would be nice to think that as a small business that you and your customers will keep agreements, pay on time and resolve any issues smoothly and amicably. However, sometimes conflict is inevitable, and whilst you should avoid going to court at all costs in these situations it is useful to know the procedure involved. In this article, you will find the key questions you should be asking as a business when relationships turn sour, accompanied by answers that should tell you what you need to know when suing someone as a business. Is it worth going to court? Going to court is stressful, expensive, time-consuming and distracting – even if you have a watertight case. You should never sue impulsively. Instead, try to step back, look at the situation rationally and weigh up the pros and cons o... »

Employment Law: An Introduction for Small Businesses

Employment Law: An Introduction for Small Businesses

Whilst employment law may seem like a complex and daunting topic, the issues are actually fairly simple for business looking to employee its first employee. As a business who is new to employment issues, you are only likely to run into a few specific areas in the early stages. This article covers the basics of employment law from the point of view of a beginner. We cover all the areas of law you are likely to encounter including contracts of employment, discrimination issues, sickness and sick pay and how to dismiss employees safely. If you need more information, see our employment law section, which includes in-depth articles on all of the topics we touch on here and much more. What do I need to know about employment contracts? Employment contracts are the agreement between you and the em... »

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