Complying with the various regulatory frameworks in the UK should be a top priority for all businesses. Failure to comply can result in significant legal ramifications, potentially in the form of fines or other serious penalties.
One of the most important regulatory areas to be aware of is employment law. There are multiple different regulations, primarily designed to protect the rights of workers – navigating these regulations isn’t always an easy task, and there are some crucial things you need to be aware of as a business owner.
Contracts for employment
Businesses can avoid a lot of issues by taking care when drafting employment contracts. Employees need to be provided with a contract either before they start work or on the first day – it’s incredibly important that this is adhered to.
Employment contracts need to cover all the essential conditions of employment, including working hours, pay, notice periods, expectations, and the business’s disciplinary procedures. It’s also important that businesses distinguish between employees, contractors, and any other forms of workers in the relevant contracts.
National Minimum Wage
Since the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 was introduced, businesses in the UK have been required by law to pay employees at least either the national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW) depending on which they’re eligible to receive.
These rates change every year, and there are different rates depending on the age of the employer – it’s crucial that employers stay up to date with these changes, to avoid facing legal action.
Restrictions on working times
There are also certain legal restrictions on how long employees can be asked to work. These regulations stipulate maximum working hours, how often rest breaks need to be provided, and minimum limits on how much paid holiday leave needs to be provided.
Businesses have a duty to ensure that their employees aren’t working beyond these limits, maintaining strict records in order to be able to illustrate compliance.
Health and safety
Employees have a right to work in a safe, healthy environment, and it is the legal responsibility of businesses to provide such a working environment.
How businesses go about ensuring health and safety will differ from industry to industry, however, it will typically consist of carrying out risk assessments and then providing training and security equipment based on the findings of those assessments. Record keeping is also essential here, especially in the case that an incident does occur.
Abiding by employment laws isn’t something to be taken lightly. There are complex regulations in place for a reason, and businesses will often need to seek assistance in certain areas in order to ensure that they’re taking the right steps.
From risk assessment providers to employment law specialists, there are plenty of different resources out there that businesses can use to ensure that they remain on the right side of the law.
The regulatory frameworks in question are constantly evolving to catch up with the changing nature of work, most notably remote work in the modern day and age – it’s vital that businesses make an active effort to keep up with these changes, both to protect their workers and avoid any unnecessary legal repercussions.
HR Future Staff Writer