Employment and the Law
Employment is a form of law which is some of the most complex and most frequently amended and added to. With new regulations being introduced by the EU and amended by the Government, it is continuously changing.
Originally introduced to protect workers from unscrupulous employers, employment law has expanded and now encompasses all aspects of employment including:
- Employment rights – minimum wage, working hours, maternity and paternity rights, etc.
- Unfair, wrongful or constructive dismissals
- Employees rights when a business is purchased by another company (TUPE)
- Bullying, harassment, discrimination
When businesses form and start to employ people there is no requirement for them to have any knowledge of employment law – many employers pick it up as they go along and they often get it wrong, which can prove costly. When even one person is employed, a company immediately has to be aware of the relevant employment law.
What does a company need to do to comply with employment law?
Firstly, companies need to treat employees fairly and ensure that they do not discriminate against any employee in any way.
Part of treating employees fairly, but also protecting your business, is to ensure compliance with the basic employment law requirements, such as:
- Give your new employee a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment within eight weeks of starting work
- Ensure they receive their full payment entitlement, without deductions (unless deductions previously agreed in writing) at the agreed pay intervals by the agreed method of payment
- Ensure working conditions are reasonable, and that employees are treated with respect
- That employees receive paid holidays and their working hours are not above the legal limit
- Take action on grievances raised by your employees – don’t just ignore them
- Address any disciplinary issues using the recommended disciplinary best practice
- If you need to dismiss any employee for any reason, ensure dismissal is carried out using ACAS recommended dismissal procedures
Most important of all, keep written records of everything in connection with your employees – working hours, attendance, disciplinary issues, sickness record – you may well need to refer to any of these if an employee decides to take legal action against you.
If the employer/employee relationship breaks down, an employee may make a claim in an Employment Tribunal. There is no cost to the employee to make an application.
Employment Tribunals are independent judicial bodies set up to adjudicate on disagreements between workers and employers. There were 61,308 claims were raised from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015
As an employer, it can be very expensive for you to get Employment Law wrong.
It is far cheaper to get it right, by asking for help from an adviser who is a member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development). Within ibd there are a number of CIPD accredited advisers who can assist you with any question you may have.