Basic Legal Requirements
This section is merely a guide to some of the practices which go to make up Employment Law. There are several parts to this section covering most of what all managers will have to deal with during their managerial careers. However, we suggest that you use the links to the various government agencies and professional bodies which offer far more in depth information than we could ever hope to provide here. If you have a particular employment issue which cannot be satisfied via the links provided, we strongly suggest seeking the services of a specialist employment lawyer such as www.pureemploymentlaw.co.uk.
You will also find more information within this section of the site on specific items, such as contracts of employment, disciplinary procedure, redundancy etc.
Jobs, training and promotion opportunities must be open to all regardless of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or to anyone undergoing or who has undergone gender reassignment.
Employers must also not discriminate against people on the grounds of disabilities (for example in recruitment or promotion) and you may have to make reasonable adjustments for staff who have a disability (for example, by altering workstations or altering the hours of work). For further information concerning Equal Opportunities, visit the following website:
Employee rights - Terms and Conditions
If employed for one month or more, an employee must be given a written statement of their main employment particulars. The statement must include their main terms and conditions including pay, holidays, details of notice, disciplinary and grievance procedures. It should be given to the employee within the first two months of their employment.
Part-time workers should be treated in the same way as comparable full-time workers in their terms and conditions including pay, pensions, holidays and training, save that their entitlement should be pro rata.
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)
Where an undertaking or part of an undertaking transfers from one employer to another it is likely that TUPE will apply. TUPE is also likely to apply where there is a change of service provider, for example in a contracting out situation, or where an outsourced contract transfers form one provider to another. When TUPE does apply, employees' transfer to the new employer on their existing terms and conditions and they also retain continuity of service.
Prior to the transfer, employers are required to consult either representatives of an appropriate recognised trade union or elected representatives of any employees affected by the transfer.
TUPE will not apply where a business is transferred by way of a share sale as there will be no change of employer.
Fair and Unfair Dismissal
Staff who have been dismissed can make a claim for unfair dismissal provided they have completed two years' service. No qualifying service is needed if the dismissal is for certain reasons, e.g. pregnancy. In situations where the employer has acted in a way which makes it impossible for the employee to continue working (for example, by exposing the person to unreasonable stress) an employee may resign and bring a claim for claim constructive dismissal.
Period of notice
The period of notice which an employee is entitled to receive to terminate their employment will be as set out in their contract of employment, but subject to the statutory minimum. The statutory minimum is one week for each year of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. If the contract is silent, they will be entitled to reasonable notice, again subject to the statutory minimum.
Employees have the right to belong or not to belong to a union, and the right not to be refused employment on the grounds of trade union membership or non membership.
Redundancy occurs where there is the closure of a business or the site where an employee works, or where the employer's requirement for a person to do a particular job has ceased or reduced.
Employees with at least 2 years' service are entitled to redundancy pay.
If employers are considering making 20 or more people redundant within a 90 day period, they have an obligation to enter into collective consultation for certain minimum periods (depending on the numbers affected|) with a trade union or elected employee representatives.
Holidays - Minimum Rights
There is a minimum right to paid holiday which is 28 days for an employee working 5 or more days per week. This figure includes the 8 Bank Holidays. It is quite common for employers to offer more than this. Part time workers accrue holiday on a pro rata basis.
Employers risk prosecution if they employ illegal workers. They can reduce this risk by making simple checks on new employees. They should ask to see a P45, P60 or payslip showing the NI number or a passport or one of a range of other documents specified by the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Department. They should make these checks for all employees. A helpline for employers is available.
Maternity, parental leave
For information on Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, Adoption Leave or Flexible Working, visit Website of the UK Government for up to date information on eligibility for all of the above types of leave. The site also contains a calculator, which will assist both employers and employees in determining relevant dates for maternity leave and other leave types.
Men and women must get the same pay for the same or like work and for work of equal value. The value of different jobs can be assessed using a suitable job evaluation scheme.
All employees must be given itemised pay statements showing payments, deductions, PAYE amounts, NI payments, pension payments etc.
National Minimum Wage
From 1 April 2017 the National Minimum Wage increased as follows:
- Adult rate (workers aged 25 and over) increased to £7.50p
- Rate for 21-24 year olds increased to £7.05p
- Rate for 18-20 year olds increased to £5.60p
- Development rate for 16-17 year olds increased to £4.05p
- Apprentice rate increased to £3.50p
For employees aged 16 or over, employer and employee National Insurance Contributions (NIC) become payable once earnings exceed the Earnings Threshold.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If an employee is sick for four or more consecutive days or more and they are otherwise entitled to SSP. Records should be kept of payments made and dates of sickness absence lasting at least four consecutive days.
Currently employers are able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay ('SSP') from HMRC, where the total SSP paid in a month exceeds 13% of their Class 1 National Insurance Contributions for that month. This has been called the 'Percentage Threshold Scheme'.
However, as part of the Government's review of health at work, it seems that the scheme is to be abolished. A draft order has been laid before Parliament and this was approved by the House of Lords on 12 February 2014. The order is expected to take effect on 6 April 2014.
Help and Advice
Employment Law is very confusing and invariable requires the services of a professional Human resources department, which many small businesses do not have. If you have an Employment issue which seems daunting, Pure Employment Law are offering users of the Transport's Friend website free initial advice. You can contact us on 01243 836840 or visit our website www.pureemploymentlaw.co.uk