employment law

A Guide to Disciplinary Action For Small Businesses

A Guide to Disciplinary Action For Small Businesses

Disciplinarily situations can arise in employment for variety of reasons which vary from business to business but usually relate to misconduct and/or poor performance. This can include: Behaviour/attitude at work Poor timekeeping Unexplained or unauthorised absence Health and safety breaches Inappropriate use of telephones, email and internet If there is an issue it’s important not to ignore it or do anything rash in the heat of the moment. If you are unsure about the best course of action then speak to a solicitor as if the disciplinary procedure is not handled correctly it may result in an employment tribunal claim. Informal action Informal action is often a very useful tool and may save time and resources depending on the severity of the conduct. The employee however should be aware tha... »

A Small Business Guide to Employment Contracts

A Small Business Guide to Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are a necessary part of employment for all businesses in the UK, setting out the terms under which you and your employee will be working. So many employers find themselves cobbling together terms from emails and other correspondence, without having any formal written arrangement. Not only is this a real hassle that wastes lots of time, it’s breaking the law. It’s a legal requirement that you provide the written terms of employment to your employee within eight weeks of their start date, giving you a bit of time to ensure everything is correct but also ensuring that everyone is on the same page. So, if you’ve taken on a new employee, what should you do if this is the first you’ve heard about this? First of all, don’t panic. Second, have a read of our guide to make sure ... »

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... »

Employment Law: The Basics

Employment Law: The Basics

If you run a business with staff, you need to know your employment law – it’s that simple. Keeping in touch with developments and developing smart policies in line with the law may seem tedious, but failing to do so can be disastrous for your business. In this article, you will find a helpful run-down of the basics of employment law in all the areas you will run into it as a business, and what to do when things go wrong. What should I be aware of when looking for staff? At the interview and selection stage, you must take care to avoid letting prejudice affect your decisions. Discrimination is illegal on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership (marital status), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. When int... »

A Small Business Guide to Handling Redundancies Safely

A Small Business Guide to Handling Redundancies Safely

No one likes to think about making redundancies, but if you’re running a small business, you might find that you can’t afford not to. At this level, major setbacks can come almost without warning – a sudden economic downturn, the loss of a primary buyer or client – and you may be forced to cut down on your surplus staff in order to stay afloat. Business mergers and moves to new premises can also put you in the unenviable position of having to let people go. Though making redundancies might be your only option, it is vital that you exercise utmost caution as you proceed through the process – if you’re careless you could find yourself pulled up in front of an employment tribunal, facing huge fines. You must ensure that the procedures you follow are fair, open, and airtight. Here we address w... »

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

It is a sad fact of business life that disputes between employees and employers are common. The majority of these disputes will play out at an employment tribunal. Even if you consider your relationship with your employees to be a harmonious one, and consider the likelihood of disputes to be low, it still pays to have a considered strategy for dealing with tribunals. Employment law is increasingly developing in favour of the needs of employees and with awards increasing, being unprepared for tribunals can see you losing out massively. A well-thought out plan will allow you to prepare and present the best possible defence of your actions, and prevent disgruntled employees from taking you to the cleaners. Here we cover the stages of the tribunal process, how to defend a case and prevent a di... »

How to Write an Employment Contract

How to Write an Employment Contract

A contract of employment exists as soon as you offer an applicant a job – regardless of whether it is in writing or not. Because of this, it is important to know what a reasonable employment contract should contain – a well-drafted one will ensure a member of staff understands their role perfectly and reduces the risk of disputes. As well as helping you draft an employment contract, this article will provide an overview of your own obligations towards an employee, and terms you can – and cannot – enforce in an employment contract. What are some basics I need to know about employment contracts? As mentioned above, a contract of employment comes into existence when you offer an applicant a job, regardless of whether it is in writing. You should therefore be wary of making a job offer before ... »

Employment Law Cost Puts Sole Traders off Expansion

A new survey of sole traders reveals that the cost of employee pension plans, sick leave and worker-friendly dismissal rules are deterring some small businesses from becoming employers, leading to calls by business organisations to exempt micro-firms from some employment rules. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) polled over 1,000 sole traders to find out what they really think about hiring people. Almost a third of respondents named the forthcoming compulsory pension payments to employees as their main barrier. From 2012 onwards, firms will have to start paying 3 per cent of each employee’s monthly salary into a pension pot — and manage employee contributions and the fund. Under the new law, businesses with fewer than 250 employees start contributing in 2014. Dr Adam Marsha... »

Health and Safety

Anderson Review calls for free Government Advice

An independent review has recommended that the Government introduces a free advice service for small firms on employment law and health and safety issues. According to small–business owner Sarah Anderson’s Government–backed report, the Anderson Review, three–quarters of small firms have paid for advice on employment law or health and safety regulations in the past. This equates to a total of £1.4 billion per year. “Many small businesses do not use and have no confidence in guidance from the Government. The vast majority of small businesses want to comply with the law. The Government should give them a cost effective and efficient way for them to do so.” said Anderson. Anderson has proposed the Government introduce a free advice service to help firm... »