If you’re taking on staff for the first time, it’s crucial to get to grips with employment law. Employment law encompasses dozens of different laws and acts in relation to the rights of employees, including disability discrimination, senior employees’ rights, health and safety and contracts to name but a few.
Due to the complexity of this legislation, medium to large companies often choose to Human Resource advisers to make sure that all the procedures are watertight in terms of the law and how they treat and deal with employees and their disputes. Employing a permanent HR Advisor can be costly especially for small businesses that is where LBJ Consultants can help we will be your HR Partner there when you need us to assist you.
Some of the basic things to consider and make sure that you adhere to include the statutory rights of an employee.
These rights cover a multitude of directives and responsibilities for the employer to adhere to.
These include the right to a written contract, an itemised pay slip, to be paid at least the national minimum wage, the right to at least 28 days paid holidays (including bank holidays) and, in some cases, paid maternity leave. Failure to comply can leave employers with hefty fines and costs to attend any subsequent Employment Tribunal.
Agency/Self Employed workers
The rules and regulations are different again for workers who are not classed as employees, such as agency workers or self-employed workers.
Most workers are still however entitled to a number of rights, such as the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, limits on working time and for their employer to adhere to health and safety regulations.
For best practices, employers should consider producing an employee handbook.
This can provide guidelines for new employees and also be a standard reference point to help resolve any disputes that may occur within the business. Drafting employee handbooks is also something that we can assist all new and existing businesses with, call us on 041 319 8191 to discuss.
Contracts of employment are important for both the employer and the employee, and again it is vital that it corresponds to the relevant employment laws.
The contract should set out the employee’s duties, responsibilities, rights and employment conditions. According to the government website, ‘as soon as someone accepts a job offer they have a contract with their employer’; it doesn’t have to be a written contract.
Here is a quick overview of other responsibilities for employers in relation to employment law
As an employer you are required to give each employee a written and itemised pay statement which details gross salary, any deductions made and the employee’s net pay.
Employees are entitled to statutory sick pay commencing on the fourth consecutive day they do not attend work due to illness.
A new law means that by 2018 employers must automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if the employee is aged between 22 and pension age, if they earn more than £10,000 per year and if they work in the UK.
Employers are also responsible for their employees’ wellbeing at work. This includes health and safety responsibilities and compliance, issues relating to discrimination, bullying, maternity/paternity and adoption leave.
Employers should also provide detailed job descriptions to their employees, which clearly state what is expected from the employee in respect to their duties.
Employers must comply with the Health and Safety Act, which in practical terms means that you must, where applicable, carry out a thorough risk assessment, have a health and safety policy and a paper-trail for recording injuries and accidents at work.
Employers should also have liability insurance and have dismissal, disciplinary and grievance rules set out in writing we can assist you in drafting up these policies e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employees are also entitled to time off for a number of different reasons and in the event of certain circumstances/occurrences. For example, emergency leave and maternity leave should be available in addition to standard holiday entitlements.
Employees are also eligible to ask for flexibility in terms of working hours. Expanding a business and employing new staff should be an exciting prospect; however, it’s important to make sure that you and your company adhere to all the necessary laws and regulations when taking and employing a growing team.
Recruiting employees: What to know
The biggest and often scariest decision is when to make that giant leap into recruiting new staff.
When you are first starting out, and it is just you, it is much easier to make those slightly risky business decisions – it’s your business and you have the gut instinct of what will pay off – the sleepless nights truly begin when you know that somebody else’s financial stability lies in your hands.
In every business – ours included – you need to know that the full team is working towards the right goal, everybody needs to be able to stand up and pull their own weight. As any business, we have learnt from past mistakes with recruiting and find that following a few golden rules always helps.
Test candidates properly
The level of testing for each position should reflect the position involved, however, don’t neglect the basics Don’t be bamboozled into hiring a charismatic interviewee only to find out they can’t perform basic tasks on the job!
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Approach recruitment with caution – each and every employee is as important as the next. You could use temporary-to-permanent contracts for a number of reasons. Starting out by offering a temporary contract gives both parties the chance to check each other out and for those hungry to go the extra mile, it’s a chance for them to really stand apart from the crowd and shine, driven by the ultimate goal of a full-time role.
The likelihood is that you will employ somebody that is an enthusiastic team member, but make sure that all new employees arrive with a probationary period written into their contract. This means that if the relationship isn’t working, you are able to let them go with little impact on the business, or hefty cost. If you do have to let somebody go at the end of the probationary period, hold an exit interview where you can discuss what went wrong. Don’t let the interview be clouded by emotion, especially if poor behaviour is involved.
If your small business has the time to dedicate to training and development, then you will find that you will be able to mould your new employees to your business requirements. Treat them well and you will have a hungry, talented employee, dedicated to the success of your company. If you simply don’t have time to invest in staff development, and let’s face it finding the right people really does takes time, then you can contact us and we will help you through the whole recruitment process: issuing ads, rifling through CVs, setting up first interviews, being stood up at first interviews, organising the second, it goes on and on…
Take the emotion out of recruitment. A gut-instinct is important; we all know it’s the guiding principle for entrepreneurs – or else we’d still be working unhappily for someone else. But you also need someone who is smart.
As a result, we always test your candidates. The depth of testing is proportional to the position but always includes problem solving. We’ve been bowled over in the past by an amazing interviewee, only to find out by day two that the candidate can’t read, write or follow a process. Only make an offer once you’re happy with the black-and-white results of a criteria designed by you and LBJ to identify the skills you need.
Bring in new blood
You need to know basic HR principles to navigate it all successfully that’s when we can be there to support you and your business. But most importantly you have to keep focused on what’s right for you and what’s right for your business. No matter how busy you are, you must retain the single-minded end-goal-in-sight attitude you’ve applied to your business, to recruitment. Don’t settle, look at the employment options available and choose carefully.
We can help you in all your HR requirements working in partnership with you taking the strain away from you over dealing with all employee issues which will allow you to concentrate on making your business more successful. Call us now on 0141 319 8191 or e-mail us on email@example.com to make an appointment.