General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 – surely as a small business I do not need to worry about this new regulation?

All organisations regardless of size or sector need to be compliant; this may appear daunting but in fact with a clear action plan and thorough audit, Guildford HR can support you with compliance. Compliance is important to avoid heavy fines, but more importantly to protect your business reputation. You can find out more here.

I run a small business, do I really need a contract of employment?

All employers are legally required to give their employees what is known as a “statement of main terms”.

If these are not given to the employee within 2 months of their start date, the employee could make a claim for compensation.

These do not need to be complicated but there are certain terms that must be included. We recommend these are issued with the job offer letter.

Do I need a Staff Handbook?

You do not need to legally supply a handbook; however, we recommend you supply a simple summary of how you want your new employee to represent your business. It is also a really useful place to discuss how the business operates, health and safety topics, as well as any general HR policies and procedures.

The document can be a traditional staff handbook, but it does not need to be formal or really detailed. We can tailor a document to your business and it could be framed as a welcome pack for the new employee.

What Maternity Leave do I need to offer?

All pregnant employees are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks’ maternity leave.

An employer must not allow an employee to work during the immediate period of 2 weeks after the birth; if the employee works in a factory this is then 4 weeks. This is called Compulsory Maternity Leave.

What is Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML)?

All women are entitled to Ordinary Maternity Leave regardless of their length of service or hours of work. This is for a maximum of 26 weeks, and includes the Compulsory Maternity Leave.

Ordinary Maternity Leave can start from the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth.

What do I have to pay my employee during Maternity Leave?

When your employee is on maternity leave they are entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment that they would have had if they were not on maternity leave.

In terms of pay the employer has to pay statutory maternity pay, the amount of which changes every April. Refer to https://www.gov.uk/maternity-paternity-calculator. If you prefer we can also tell you we will just need some basic facts on the employee’s current pay, hours and length of service.

What is Paternity Leave?

Fathers (husband/partner/civil partner) are entitled to take a single period of 2 weeks paternity leave. This starts on the date the baby is born, provided that the employee has 26 weeks service by the end of the 15th week, before the child is born.

What is Adoption Leave?

Adoption leave is available to all employees regardless of length of service.

The earliest date that adoption leave can begin is 14 days before the expected date of the placement of the child. It cannot be taken by someone who is adopting a step child.

It is important that an employer understands that all of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment are protected during this period. Please ring us for more information.

What is Parental Leave?

This is a complex area so we recommend that you contact us with the particular request you have received and we will talk you through what this may mean to your business, and what your legal obligations are. As with all people discussions we advise you to deal with this quickly, but do talk to us first before you discuss with your employee.

My business is not doing as well as it was and I need to make some of the team redundant how do I do this?

As a small business you will know your employees well, but also you need to protect your business for the future, this is a complex area and we strongly recommend you get professional advice. This can be supplied as a simple guide, or we can support you and manage the entire process including communications with your employees.

I am convinced a member of the team is stealing from my business and I want to dismiss them – but a friend told me I can not just do that, is that true?

We would need to understand the circumstances better, so please call us so we can take you step by step through what you need to consider.

An employee is always ringing in sick; I want to dismiss them – what do I need to do?

Sickness absence is a major frustration to a small business, but it is important that you consider all the facts before you look at dismissal. Please supply us with the background, and we will give you guidance, alternatively we can have a conversation with your employee for you.

Holidays – how do I calculate the right number of holidays for my part time workers?

It is very sensible for you to check the calculation as it will be dependent on the contract of employment, public holidays and hours worked. We have a simple calculator that we can use with you to make sure this is accurate.

Illegal workers – substantial fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker – worse case you could be sent to jail.

According to the UK Government website "You can be sent to jail for 5 years and pay an unlimited fine if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ didn’t have the right to work in the UK".

It is very straightforward to protect you and your business, we can give you guidance over the phone on what checks you need to take to ensure your employees have the right to work in the UK. As a small business this administrative burden can be taken away from you and we can manage this for you. Including follow up in future years to ensure work Visas are up to date.

Pension – I have heard even small businesses now have to have a pension scheme is that true?

The government introduced auto enrolment a few years ago, and small businesses are now included, we would need to know your circumstances first before we could give you more information.

This website is also useful:

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/the-essential-guide-for-automatic-enrolment.pdf.

Health and Safety – I am concerned about what my legal duties are?

Health and Safety is a broad topic and covers employees as well as customers. Employees who are home workers also need to be considered.

It is important you have a clear Fire evacuation plan, Health and Safety policies and procedures, supported by regular audits. There are several legal/mandatory requirements too, it does differ dependent upon what type of business you are running; so please give us a call. We work with a National H&S provider, who can complete on site reviews, and can support you if you have an incident with your business.