What Employers should know about Employment Law How to avoid making ghastly mistakes that you later regret.
The things employers should never do <ul><li>Sack an employee on the spot without taking time to consider the legal consequences of their actions. </li></ul><ul><li>They should never act in anger or on the spur of the moment no matter what the provocation. </li></ul><ul><li>They should never write aggressive or ill considered emails to their staff or make inappropriate comments. </li></ul>
Never Touch <ul><li>Do not engage with horse play banter or make threats or inappropriate comments. </li></ul><ul><li>Such as about anyone’s sexuality or that you find “X” attractive etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not condone or permit physical contact between staff members even in good fun. Stamp it out. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not condone or permit the display of pornography even mild nudity in the work place. </li></ul><ul><li>Never condone, permit or accept any racial comments or slurs even in jokes. </li></ul>
What the employer must do <ul><li>Provide an employee with their Terms and Conditions of Employment or a Contract of employment within 2 months of them being employed. A failure to do so can result in a penalty of up to 4 weeks pay. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a safe working environment and a safe system of work </li></ul><ul><li>When dealing with job applications make sure that you write down the criteria for the job e.g. what the job is, what skills the person appointed must have, if they need experience it is relevant experience to the job and necessary (age discrimination). </li></ul><ul><li>You must not reject applicants on the basis of their sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age. </li></ul>
Legal Requirements <ul><li>All employees must be paid the minimum wage which is; </li></ul>16 and 17 year olds - £3.53 18 to 21 year olds - £4.77 22 and over - £5.73 This is in force from the 1st of October 2008.
Have a Grievance and a Disciplinary Procedure in place <ul><li>These systems must comply with the minimum standards under the Dispute Resolution Regulations. If they do not any dismissal will be automatically unfair if the employee has more than a year’s service. </li></ul>
Working Time Regulations <ul><li>An employee should not be required to work more than 48 hours per week on average over a 13 week reference period unless they have signed an “opt out agreement”. </li></ul><ul><li>This means you can ask an employee to work longer than 48 hours on some weeks as long as the average over the 13 week period does not exceed 48 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>An employee may opt out of this by signing an “Opt Out Agreement”. If they do sign such an Agreement they can give 13 weeks notice of opting back in again. </li></ul>
Days Off <ul><li>An employee has a minimum right to 2 rest days off per fortnight. They do not have to be taken consecutively or in the same week. </li></ul><ul><li>If they are in a retail shop or betting office they can refuse to work Sundays if they are a protected shop worker or an opted out shop worker. </li></ul><ul><li>In brief, if they are a shop worker/betting office worker and they have never agreed to work Sundays and their contractual hours do not require you to work Sundays then they are a protected shop worker. Other than this they can opt out as an opted out shop worker. </li></ul>
Rest <ul><li>Workers are entitled to an 11 hour break between shifts. </li></ul><ul><li>This means that on any rota there should be a gap of 11 hours rest unless the shift is a split shift within a 24 hour period and then there is an 11 hour break before the next shift. </li></ul><ul><li>There are exceptions to this for certain key employments or within the driving hours rules. </li></ul><ul><li>The main exception is emergency situations on rare occasions. </li></ul>
Holidays Minimum <ul><li>As from 1st October 2007 the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/2079 "boost the minimum holiday entitlement for most full time workers from 20 days a year to 24 days this October, and to 28 days from April 2009" (see 2007/06/12 - DTI Press Release "Extra holidays for up to six million workers" ). </li></ul><ul><li>Bank Holidays are included in the calculation so do not panic if the business is closed on bank holidays and staff get 20 additional days per annum then you will be compliant in April 2009 </li></ul>
When to take advice? <ul><li>If you are considering redundancy, dismissal or updating or getting Contracts of Employment or Employee Handbooks. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a complaint re child care, family time off, flexible working. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have an employee on long term sick or who may be Disabled. </li></ul><ul><li>Pregnancy, Maternity or any allegations of Discrimination. </li></ul>
What you can do to protect yourself from claims <ul><li>Keep records even if it’s just a diary of incidents that occur in work. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are considering taking disciplinary action get advice if you are unfamiliar with the process. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that a meeting which may have consequences to the employee is conducted with a witness, notes should be taken and the employee should be advised of whether the meeting is disciplinary in nature, they must be notified in advance in writing and have details of the allegations and be given the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or Union Representative. </li></ul>
Continued <ul><li>Never ignore complaints it’s better to record the details and actions taken and why. </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful do not assume that changes that are necessary for the needs of the business will be accepted, people have families. </li></ul>