Employment law covers a wide range of subjects, from employment contracts to areas as diverse as discrimination, working hours, statutory pay and dismissal. The following employment law facts are essential for any business, however small.
- Businesses must check that employees and workers have the legal right to work in the UK (i.e. that they are a UK or EU citizen or have an appropriate work permit if they are non-UK/EU citizens).
- Employees are entitled to be given a written statement of employment terms within two months of starting work.
- Businesses can only change the terms of an employee's contract if the terms and conditions allow this and then only with the employee's agreement. Any changes must be confirmed in writing within one month of the change taking effect.
- An employment contract exists once a potential employee accepts an unconditional offer of employment, which may be before their employment commences.
- Employees and workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year, which for a full time employee will be 28 days; this entitlement includes any entitlement to public holidays. Holidays continue to accrue during sick leave and maternity/paternity leave etc.
- All employees and workers are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage relating to their age.
- All employers will be required to automatically enrol eligible employees and contribute to a workplace pension scheme by 2018.
- All employees and workers over the age of 18 are entitled to an uninterrupted 24 hour break in every 7 days (or an uninterrupted 48 hour break in every 14 days). Younger workers are entitled to an uninterrupted 48 hours break in every 7 days and to work no more than 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week and they cannot opt out of these limits, even if they want to.
- All employers, regardless of size must provide employees with written details of their disciplinary rules and procedures.
- All employees are entitled to be paid at least statutory sick pay when off work ill, unless an employer has good reason to believe that the employee is not genuinely ill or if the employee hasn't followed the employers notification requirements.
Many problems and disputes can be avoided by having well worded terms and conditions of employment and clear policies in a staff handbook and then making sure that the policies are always followed.
For more information on any of the essential facts listed above or if you need help in making sure that you have clearly defined policies to prevent problems from occurring, please give us a call.