Such are the demands of work on the founder/owner of an inflatable hire business, that it may be a while before formal employment contracts are organized and proper procedures are put in place. This however does not mean that an employment contract does not exist. Initially there must legally be a minimum statement of employment, and there are laws that apply if a proper contract has not been made.
Here are some rules and legal obligations that employers have to act upon if they are to employ someone:
Requirement to provide a Written Statement of Employment
All new employees by law must be supplied with a minimum Written Statement of Employment by the end of the first two months of their employment. Good business practice suggests that it should be given to them as soon as possible. Required details are:
* The trading, and full legal name of your company.
* Full name of your new employee.
* The date they commenced work with you.
* In the case that you might have taken over the business that your employee was working for – the date that employment commenced.
* The date they will be paid, at which rate and how it will be calculated.
* Their hours of employment.
* How much annual holiday and whether it includes public holidays.
* What the employee’s job title will be.
* The address of their workplace, a description if it is in more that one place and the address of you company office.
* Who is available to them in the event that they should wish to make a complaint, and the complaints procedure.
The following should be given to the worker either in the written statement or in a staff handbook. All employees should be able to have access to this.
* Information regarding sick pay, for instance; that the company will pay statutory sick pay.
* Whether the employment is permanent or temporary.
* Period required for termination of employment either by the company or the employee.
* Information about any pension scheme supplied by the company.
* Information about disciplinary procedures.
* Information about dismissal procedures.
* How employment terms might be affected by trade unions.
* Should the employee be required to work outside the UK for more than one month, any special terms which might apply.
Requirements of an Employment Contract
It is extremely prudent to have a full Contract of Employment, and staff handbook as opposed to just the basic written statement. To have this clearly set out can simplify any disputes that occur.
It is far better to put the maximum amount of detail in the staff handbook, as this can be updated when required. It requires a formal procedure to change a Contract of Employment.
A Contract of Employment clarifies details that may have been misunderstood in the job description or interview which may have otherwise become legally binding.
It is extremely advisable to have the contract checked over by lawyers, you will need to consult a specialist lawyer if you should ever need to change the terms.
* You must observe these regulations when employing people.
* You are not allowed to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the grounds of race, sex or marital status.
* You may positively discriminate in certain cases only, such as employing Chinese people to run a Chinese restaurant, or female carers to care for female clients, to respect their dignity. (Working for an inflatable hire company may involve some heavy lifting, so it is normally OK to positively discriminate and only employ men who are willing and capable of some heavy lifting. However, for administrative work in your hire business, then the discrimination laws will apply.
* During job interviews or appraisals, you should take care not to pry into the persons private affairs.
* You are obligated to show any applicant or employee any information that you have held on them, under the data protection act.
* You must only recruit those who live and are eligible to work in the UK.
* You are required to hold employers liability insurance. Contact a broker for more information and quotes.
* You are required to set a maximum of 48 hours in a working week, not including breaks. Your employees may decide to opt out of this.
* You are required to give your employees a minimum of four weeks annual leave, but this may include public holidays.
* If your employee works part-time then their holidays will be proportionate to the amount of days they work per week.
* Your workers must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.
* You must be prepared to make adjustments to your workplace for employees with disabilities. For instance you may be required to install ramps and allow flexible hours.
* You might be able to opt out if it can be proved that you are unable to afford it or it is totally impractical.
* Your workforce must be given a written statement of disciplinary and grievance procedures via their contract or staff handbook.
* You are required to give you employee maternity, paternity or adoption leave should they become a parent. They will be entitled to receive statutory Maternity or Paternity Pay. This is an amount weekly that the government decides and will be refunded to you via HM Revenue and Customs. Small companies also receive compensation payment also from the HMRC.
* Parents are entitled to unpaid parental leave in the first five years of their children’s birth, up to 13 weeks. You can decide to put off this leave for 6 month if it will adversely affect your business. If they take less than four weeks they must be allowed to return to their existing job. Should they take longer than four weeks you may provide them with work of similar status and pay when they return.
* Members of your workforce who have children under six or with a disability are entitled to ask for flexible working hours or job share. You may only reject this request if there is a sound business reason for doing so.
* Employees working flexi-hours must be given the same benefits pro rata as a full time worker.
* You must observe health and safety regulations in your working environment.
* Employees are entitled to join a trade union without being penalized.
Generally speaking rules and regulations in the UK are fair to both employee and employer. It is important to do your research thoroughly then you should avoid the pitfalls.
For further information go to these Government sites: www.tiger.gov.uk and www.businesslink.gov.uk
Please note that this report is provided for educational purposes only. The BIHA strongly recommend that before you employ anyone you should speak to an accountant or lawyer who specialises in employment law. They will also be able to keep you abreast of any changes in UK employment law, which could affect your inflatable hire business.
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