Today we attended a seminar to learn more about the complexity of Employment Law and how important it is to small businesses; presented by Peninsula and hosted by Goringe Accountants Ltd. The seminar covered areas such as legislation, tribunals and health & safety. It allowed us to consider these areas from a Human Resources Management (HRM) point of view and how best to deal with different operational issues.
A point repeatedly mentioned was of ‘good management’. If implemented it would be able to minimise risks for the business and to ensure the fair treatment of employees. Sticking to procedures and policies rigidly will avoid anyone bringing a case against the business. In the short term the extra documentation and time will seem like a nuisance, however in the long term it will save the business time and money. An employment tribunal will inevitably be timely and expensive causing severe disruption for the business. Therefore avoiding such tribunals will ensure the business continues to operate as normal.
Discrimination is an area to step carefully with; particularly important to consider when recruiting for your business. You must create an environment that is equally fair for everyone regardless of age, sex, religion, disability and future plans. Common areas of discrimination mentioned were not recruiting a female candidate due to the likeliness of pregnancy, or wanting to dismiss an employee due to old age. These breaches can have serious implications for businesses. With fines sometimes running into the millions of pounds, extra care must be taken on these sensitive issues.
Establishing Key Polices And Procedures
Establishing company policies and procedures is key to ensuring good management of the work force from an Employment Law prospective. Setting a precedent throughout the organisation and sticking to it is essential to avoid any discrepancies and floodgates from occurring.
For example, if you set the policy of paying employees for 5 days of sick leave annually and you pay one employee for 10 days of sick leave, other employees will come to expect this as standard procedure. Therefore communication with employees of these policies is crucial. Letting them know their rights and where they stand ensures a good employee-employer relationship.
Creating a system that informs employees and sets guidelines that will be enforced throughout the business will help to avoid disputes, save time, money and enhance internal relationships. Employment Law and Health & Safety is therefore an area that needs to be considered for any business.