18 April 2019

Ignore existing and new employment law at your peril

Happy motivated staff, be it employees, workers or self-employed, are the ‘Holy Grail’ that any boss seeks.

While an organisation can invest in all the new technology and machinery it requires, unless those responsible for its operation are pulling in the same direction, then a business will never maximise its success. It is the same from the shop floor up to senior management level. Employees are the most valuable asset in your business.

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.

However, even the fairest managers will come unstuck if they implement changes or act without regard to employment law. With the fee now abolished for people to lodge Employment Tribunal claims, an increasing number of firms are becoming embroiled in unnecessary, expensive and lengthy Employment Tribunal claims.

In 2018, the UK saw a plethora of new case law and legislation - one of the most notable being the gig economy and self-employee workers’ rights. 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 and protection, employers should be more mindful than ever of the need to clearly distinguish true ‘self-employed’ individuals.

Meanwhile, this year and beyond sees the implementation of the Government-commissioned Taylor Review, which will see further clarity on the protection for workers, with those coming through agencies and on zero hours contracts being a focus.

Brexit will also see changes, with Parliament committed to aligning new legislation with present EU regulations - allaying fears among some that the UK will take a backward step in relation to employment rights when it exits Europe.

While some employers may see themselves constantly embroiled in employment and HR issues, it is an area of evolving law that no-one can afford to ignore. Even if a company is proved right in any case that comes their way, court claims are best avoided and taking sound advice from the outset will limit any risk of such.

For an informal chat or advice on any issue please contact Katie Davies on 01472 262626, email Katie.Davies@wilkinchapman.co.uk or visit wilkinchapman.co.uk

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