UK employment law is an essential consideration for any new business owner – especially when it comes to keeping your business covered. Put simply, every employee within a company should have a contract of employment that determines their employment rights, responsibilities, conditions and duties – and as an employer, it’s your duty to make sure your staff have everything they need. Compliance is key – and by keeping on top of your employer obligations, you can keep your business running smoothly and securely.
Follow health and safety regulations
Workplace law states that employers are responsible for managing health and safety procedures, in order to protect their workforce and others who may be affected by their business. As an employer, you must identify any risks within the workplace and carry out risk assessments wherever necessary. Employees must be protected from anything that may could potentially cause them harm, and should be briefed and trained on health and safety procedures to guarantee that risk management is conducted effectively.
Provide the employee with work
As an employer, you should provide your employees with work directly – unless the employee in question is paid by commission and therefore doesn’t receive work directly from you. This also covers part-time workers, as they have the same rights as full-time workers with regards to their contract of employment.
By law, employers must avoid all forms of discrimination within the workplace. It is unlawful to treat employees unfairly due to race, sexual identity, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy or nationality. Perceived discrimination including harassment, bullying, victimisation and direct and indirect discrimination – for example, not promoting an employee due to their race, age or gender – are illegal in the workplace and must be avoided at all costs.
Have disciplinary procedures
An employer should have disciplinary and complaint procedures in place to deal with issues occurring in the workplace. Employees should be aware of these procedures and be treated fairly in the event that an issue arises. Without these procedures, your business could face a potentially costly tribunal.
As an employer, it’s your duty to ensure that certain rules are adhered to, and clearly highlight the consequences of breaking these rules. Management and staff should all be made aware of both disciplinary and complaint procedures – and if an employee makes a formal complaint against the business or a fellow employee, this should be investigated thoroughly. It’s also essential for an employer to allow their employees to become a member of a trade union.
Pay in a correct and timely manner
You are, of course, required to pay your employees for all work completed. UK employment law states that every employee must be paid the minimum wage – and you’re contractually obliged to offer your staff paid holiday leave and occupational sick pay (depending on the contract of employment). Employees are allowed paid time off work for maternity/paternity leave, adoption, to carry out trade union work and to study (if aged 16 or 17).
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