As an employer, you need to be aware of and compliant with UK Employment Law.
Employment Law covers a vast area, from contracts and dismissal to workplace environments and discrimination. Complying with Employment Law keeps your employees happy, can improve productivity, and also saves you the cost and stress of employment tribunal claims.
At We Talk Law, we think it’s worthwhile for employers to seek legal advice to ensure you’re operating within the law. That’s why we have put this guide together to introduce the scope of the law, show you how to stay compliant with Employment Law, and to illustrate some of the areas you need to be aware of as an employer.
Every employee needs a contract, and we recommend putting it in writing. Employers are also legally obliged to provide a written statement of your terms and conditions. If you want to make a change to your terms, you must agree the changes with your employees, or it may constitute a breach of contract.
Regardless of the contract that you provide, employers have a legal duty to comply with statutory requirements. These include the minimum wage, hours that can be worked (as per Working Time Regulations, which outline maximum working hours), annual paid holiday entitlements and breaks.
UK Employment Law gives employees a wide range of rights, and it’s the duty of employers to respect and uphold these. These include ensuring your employees are in a healthy and safe working environment, allowing them to belong to a trade union, and providing itemised pay statements.
Pregnant women and new mothers also have the right to time off before and after giving birth. If they have been employed for a long enough period, they can also qualify for statutory maternity pay. Similar rights apply to adoptive parents and new fathers.
It’s illegal to discriminate against an employee on the basis of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin, beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or chosen gender. If an employee has been discriminated against, they have the right to claim illegal discrimination, and an employment tribunal can award unlimited damages.
Employers will need to have a written disciplinary and grievance procedure that is fair, transparent, and readily available to your employees. You also need to have a written dismissal procedure, and in the event of a dismissal or making an employee redundant, you need to treat them reasonably and fairly. If you’re a larger business, and wish to make major changes, employees must be informed and involved before and during making them.
We hope this short guide has given you a good introduction to the requirements of UK Employment Law, and shown you how to keep your business compliant. If you need further advice, or want a legal health check, then talk We Talk Law on 0203 002 4898. Or email us at [email protected]. We’re on hand 7 days a week, and our expert employment solicitors are always happy to help.