Are you aware of your legal obligations when employing staff in the UK?

This article sets out some of your key HR based legal obligations in running a small business. It also describes a range of off-the-shelf documents (such as employment contracts), which you will need to obtain in order to meet your legal obligations. If you need any more information or help in meeting these legal obligations, then please contact me.

Do all your employees have employment contracts?

All employees (who have been working for you for longer than one month are entitled to receive a written employment contract. This must be presented to the employee within 2 months of their start date.

There is also a statutory obligation for Company Directors to have an employment contract too, known as an Executive Director’s Contract.

Are you aware of the correct procedures to follow when disciplining or dismissing your staff?

There may be times when an employee is performing below expectation and at a level which is deemed unacceptable to your business or where there is conflict between 2 or more employees. A Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure sets out the steps you can take to manage such situations in a way that complies with legal requirements. A Disciplinary and Grievance procedure can be purchased from my document shop on the right.

You should consult an employment lawyer or HR professional before dismissing any employee.

Are you aware of the correct procedures to follow when downsizing your organization?

There may be a time that you may need to downsize your team due to a change in circumstance. There are statutory Redundancy Policys that need to be followed when making an employee redundant. You can purchase a legally compliant Redundancy Policy from my document shop.

Do you have an eye care policy which meets all your legal obligations to your staff?

Under the 1992 Health and Safety (Display Screen Regulations, Your company is obliged to provide the following for employees who regularly use display screens at work or need safety glasses in their work:
• A full eye examination from a qualified Optometrist
• Subsequent eye examinations at regular intervals
as specified by the examining Optometrist
• Basic glasses if they’re found necessary for VDU work
• Safety glasses if they’re found necessary for the work undertaken.

You can buy a Visual Display Policy here; using this policy will help you to meet your legal obligations.

Does your business have an employee handbook?

Although an employee handbook is not law, its existence and usage within a small business is accepted best practice. An employee handbook sets out the main policies and procedures that employees should follow and it is a vital HR and people management tool for the small business and start-up.

By having a good quality employee handbook, distributing it to employees and following it, you will be meeting many of your legal obligations related to having employees and you will also be following best practice in terms of managing employees.

An employee handbook can be purchased in my document shop

You may find that the employee handbook is a little generic and it is customary for employers (with the help of a HR professional) to adapt the handbook to suit your particular company.

Does your business conduct regular performance appraisals?

While a business is not legally obliged to have performance appraisals, the recommended way to manage performance is through a performance appraisal.

It is considered to be an objective and transparent way to manage performance (if implemented correctly). It involves the manager completing an appraisal form which assesses the employee’s performance against specific dimensions and objectives.

In some schemes, the employee also completes a self evaluation form against the same criteria. Next, the manager and employee meet and to discuss the individuals in what is known as the appraisal meeting.

Have you properly protected your confidential business data?

As an entrepreneur or small business you will need to hire other people to realise your dreams and meet your business goals. You should protect your inventions, ideas and competitive data, by having employees sign a confidentiality agreement.

This article sets out some of your key HR based legal obligations in running a small business. It also describes a range of off the shelf documents (such as employment contracts), which you will need to obtain in order to meet your legal obligations. If you need any more information or help in meeting these legal obligations, then please contact me.

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