When you take on an employee, you and your business are responsible for ensuring that the employee is treated fairly under various forms of employment legislation. Employment legislation starts to be applicable the minute you design the recruitment advert through to the day the person is appointed to their last day of leaving and sometimes up to 6 months after (unless it’s a health and safety issue then it could be longer). I will address the following frequently asked questions:
What happens if you don’t comply to employment law? – Any employee can address any concerns they have about the way they are treated by the employer either with the employer, or with an Employment Tribunal usually after they leave. Although I have known individuals to make a claim to an Employment Tribunal,for it to succeed and the person remained in employment. Needless to say the employment relationship wasn’t good after that. An Employment Tribunal will make the decision if you have not complied correctly to employment legislation and you may be asked to pay a sum of money to the employee or even reinstate them back into their role. Employment Tribunals are not your only worry. An aggrieved employee or ex-employee can be a poisonous one. If they are an employee, they could talk about your and your business in a negative way in the workplace to colleagues and customers. If they are an ex-employee, they could do this to employees, customers, potential customers, trustees, the press, the community and so on. But this can all be avoided if you follow employment law, get a good HR Consultant on board and have water-tight clauses in your contracts of employment. We all know how reputational damage is hard to recover from.
How do I know what employment law is relevant and where can I get advice from? – You might never get your head around employment law. And you are not expected to. This is why HR Consultants and Employment Lawyers/Solicitors exist. They are the experts and give advice and guidance backed with indemnity insurance. If any advice they give causes you to lose a claim in an Employment Tribunal, you can be reassured that you can make a claim against them.
HR Consultants, who are they? – they are your first port of call when you need advice and guidance on employee issues. They are usually significantly cheaper than an Employment Lawyer/Solicitor (sometimes up to five times cheaper). They are as experienced on employment law, sometime more so. They are also usually very experienced managers that have done HR over many years in a range of sectors before becoming a Consultant. Therefore, they have been at the coal front and seen many of the employment issues first hand. A good HR Consultant will have a reputation to follow. Research them wisely, review their LinkedIn recommendations and any reviews on the internet. Finally make sure they will fit your business. Do they hold the same values? Have they got experience in your type of business or sector? Take your time when choosing one. You may wish to interview a few until you find the right one. Finally, Look for a CIPD qualified HR Consultant. Many HR Consultants specialise in a particular sector, so it’s much easier these days to find one that provides support in your sector. You would also want to make sure that your HR Consultant has indemnity insurance in place. I offer clients a free 1 hour consultation over the telephone or in person, for any clients that take up my services. I also have indemnity insurance and I uphold a record of none of my clients cases have ever ended up at an Employment Tribunal.
Employment Lawyers/Solicitors, who are they? – These are professionals that only practice employment law. They do not get involved with HR projects and HR initiatives like salary reviews, performance management programmes, payroll etc. This is the role of the HR Consultant in addition to providing HR advice and guidance. Employment Lawyers/Solicitors only give advice and guidance on employment issues, and usually it’s when you are at dismissal or Employment Tribunal stage. HR Consultants support you from the very start when you put out that recruitment advert.
How does a HR advice and guidance on employment law service work? – Once you’ve found a HR Consultancy firm or HR Consultant, they will begin to review your current HR policies and contracts of employment, they will get your compliant quite swiftly. They will be available to manager and staff that you choose, by telephone, email, skype/zoom as well as offer on-site meetings. Services can be provided ad-hoc so you pay the HR Consultant per hour, or you can agree a retained contract, a monthly or yearly agreement, where they give you a certain amount of dedicated time each month. Holding a retained contract usually works out cheaper for the client. I also offer my clients the opportunity to roll over up their unused hours up to 6-months, giving the option to use the hours for any HR project work. I recently had a client that rolled over 18 hours and I was then able to undertake a review of their appraisal programme, redesign it and launch it in that timeframe. Another client used their hours to review their workplace pension.
What else can HR Consultants do for your business? – HR Consultants come with a wealth of experience. This means they can not only provide you with the correct advice to help you deal with any employee issue, but they can help you to undertake project work, like salary review, performance management programmes, payroll processes, succession planning, management training and mentoring, employee satisfaction surveys, employee retention, recruitment, restructuring, redundancies, TUPE, cultural change and much more. A good HR Consultant will come with exceptional business knowledge and will add more value to your business than you realise you needed.
Call Tania De Bruler, HR Consultant, Specialised HR Solutions, to find out how I can provide support to your business:
Tel: 01905 317537