Regardless of the size of your business or the sector that you operate within, it is essential that you are aware of employment law rules and regulations.
A failure to follow or adhere to rules, policies and procedures could see you facing costly litigation and can damage your businesses’ reputation.
All businesses should be aware of ACAS who provide free information and guidance but also set down some of the key legal requirements and procedures employers much adhere to.
The key areas to consider in employment law
- Disciplinary and grievance management.
Employment tribunals regard the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievances as the minimum standard required when handling disciplinary or grievance processes. A failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice could result in a claim for unfair dismissal and an enhanced compensation award.
- Minimum wage.
All employers must pay the national minimum wage and the national living wage. How much an employee is entitled to depends on their age and whether they are an apprentice. The rates increase every April. Employers should also have a system which highlights when an employee moves into the next age bracket and is therefore entitled to a higher rate of pay.
- Family Leave.
Employees and some workers may be entitled to take family leave such as maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave, parental leave and parental bereavement leave. Each type of leave has eligibility requirements, and the employee may also be entitled to a statutory payment which the employer can choose to enhance.
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- Contracts of Employment.
A written statement of main terms must be issued on or before the first day of employment. It is often more practical to have one comprehensive contract of employment which contains all the contractual terms of employment.
- Working hours, rest breaks and holidays.
Employees and workers are entitled to minimum rest breaks, a maximum number of working hours and a minimum number of paid holidays per year.
All employees and workers are entitled to a pension which the employer is required to set up and contribute towards. An employer should obtain specialist advice in respect of this requirement.
- Flexible working requests.
All employees have the right to make a flexible working request to change their pattern of working or reduce their hours. These requests must be handled in a prescribed way.
- Equality Act 2010.
All workers, regardless of employment status are protected against unlawful discrimination due to one of the nine protected characteristics. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments to reduce any disadvantage experienced by employees who have a recognised disability. For more information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance
It is recommended that employers have a comprehensive employee handbook that contains information and policies on the above areas. You can obtain further information on the Gov.UK website as well as the ACAS website.
Adhering to basic legal rights is an important aspect of employing and managing staff. Staff who are treated fairly and consistently are more likely to remain with your business and be more productive and valuable as a result.
As an employer you are responsible for keeping up to date with all legal changes, providing training to your staff and implementing policies in accordance with the law.
Employment law isn’t something to be scared of but it is essential that you comply with the law, get professional, expert guidance and support from specialists to ensure you follow the rules.
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Employment Legislation is a complex area for any growing business and you must ensure you comply with the law - this is a brief overview Read >