Businesses looking to capitalise on the growing offshore sector must take note of existing and new employment law.

03 June 2019

The growth of the offshore wind industry across the Humber and Lincolnshire regions is providing ongoing opportunities for SMEs.

Just last month, it was revealed how energy giant Innogy is to site its longterm operations base on four-acres of land at Grimsby’s Royal Dock. With more than 70 jobs created, it will service the huge Triton Knoll offshore windfarm off the Lincolnshire coast, which features 90 of the world’s most powerful turbines.

Travelling across Lincolnshire the opportunity for regional firms is visible too, with huge swathes of land being unearthed to accommodate the 100km of cabling required to bring the captured power onshore – again from Triton Knoll.

LOOK AFTER YOUR STAFF

As organisations look to get, or expand, their foothold in this sector – possibly being SMEs as part of the supply chain – their conduct with regards to the employment of staff is imperative.

While an organisation can invest in new technology and machinery, unless those responsible for its operation are pulling in the same direction, then a business will never maximise its success.

With the above in mind, those in charge should, and must be one-step ahead when it comes to workplace relations, fair treatment for all and an ability to attract the right calibre of employees. A good employer will understand the balance between fairness for all and the structures and

practices that must be implemented to run a successful business.

CAUTION REQUIRED

However, even the fairest managers will come unstuck if they implement changes or act without regard to the law. With fees now abolished for people to lodge Employment Tribunal claims, firms are finding themselves increasingly embroiled in unnecessary, expensive and lengthy legal cases. Figures released by ACAS reveal that since the removal of the fees in July 2017 and last year, a 28 percent increase in total tribunal notifications had been recorded.

In 2018, the UK saw a plethora of new case law and legislation - that which covered the gig economy and self-employed workers’ rights most possibly the most notable. With two landmark cases, one involving a plumber (Pimlico) and the other being the army of Uber drivers, ruling that the individuals were actually ‘workers’ with additional rights, employers should be mindful of the need to clearly distinguish those who are true ‘self-employed’ individuals.

GOOD WORK PLAN

Meanwhile, this year and beyond sees the implementation of the Good Work Plan which came out of the Government’s Taylor Review and will see further protection for workers, with those coming through agencies and on zero hours contracts being a focus. Brexit, when and if it takes place, will also see changes, with Parliament committed to aligning new policies with present EU regulations.

SOUND ADVICE

For many employers, employment and HR issues can take up an inordinate amount of time and resource – especially when they are looking to win contracts, expand or diversify into the wind energy sector. However, it is vital and taking sound advice at the outset will avoid future complications.


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