Businesses lose a lot of money through sickness absence, not all of it medically justified. While many of the issues can be handled on the basis of give and take, there are times when clear policies and decisive action are needed.
This is a basic guide prepared by the Technical Advisory service for members and their clients. It is an introduction only and should not be used as a definitive guide, since individual circumstances may vary. Specific advice should be obtained, where necessary.
Although some employees and employers can now choose to follow an alternative dispute resolution procedure, most employee complaints are still heard at an employment tribunal. You need to take tribunals seriously. If you have well-thought-out procedures, and follow them, you can prepare good evidence, making it easy to defend your actions.
BHP guide to...minimum wage and statutory pay obligation
Regulations covering minimum wages and statutory pay apply to almost every business.
It is illegal to pay less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) so you need to be clear about your responsibilities as an employer if you are going to minimise disruption to your business and prevent disputes arising.
Whether your business relies on innovative new products or just the strength of your reputation, it almost certainly involves some intellectual property. You need to use your own intellectual property as effectively as possible. You also need to be sure you are not infringing the rights of others.
BHP guide to...rights for working parents and carers
Given the number of changes to parental rights in recent years, employers could be forgiven for not knowing where they stand when one of their employees is pregnant or becomes responsible for a child. But with tribunals making large awards against employers who ignore the rules, you simply cannot afford to stick your head in the sand.
This guide outlines the main components of the Act and explains the offences in the legislation. It also summarises business’ responsibilities and how they can ensure that their own procedures comply with the demands of the law.
As an employer, you need to know about flexible working. The law says you must ‘consider seriously’ requests to work flexibly from employees with a child aged 16 or under, a child with disabilities under 18 and employees looking after an adult dependant. The Government plans to extend this right to all employees in 2014.
Faced with the mass of legislation, meeting your health and safety requirements can seem an enormous task. Fortunately, the most critical part of managing health and safety - risk assessment - is relatively straightforward.
A contract of employment exists as soon as an applicant accepts your offer of a post. A clear, reasonable contract helps ensure the employee understands what is expected and minimises the risk of disputes. At the same time, you need to understand what your contractual obligations are, and what terms you can (and cannot) enforce.
Some people think that the Internet is an unregulated free-for-all, but this is simply not the case. The law still applies, although in some areas its interpretation and effects are not entirely clear. And in some cases, such as Internet sales, there are additional laws that give consumers extra rights. The international nature of the Internet, and the ease with which information is copied and transmitted, can lead to additional problems.
Discrimination against employees on any grounds other than their ability to do the job is a bad idea — and could also be illegal. If an employee or potential employee brings a discrimination case against your business, you could be tied up in costly and time-consuming legalities for months. If they win, you could be liable for unlimited damages.
Looking after health, safety and welfare is not just a legal requirement - it makes commercial sense. Failing to manage health and safety properly can be far more costly than getting it right in the first place. While the sheer mass of legislation can be scary, most of it is straightforward and help and advice is widely available.
Redundancies can be a fact of life in the smaller business, where carrying surplus staff is a shortcut to disaster. A shift in the economic or business climate, a merger or a move to a new location can all make redundancies inevitable.