Employee Law: Are You Clued Up On The Risks?

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Running a successful business cannot be done without the presence of a strong team. Even if your business began as a one man/one woman job many years ago, chances are that since its expansion, you have needed to bring more and more people on board to help with the everyday running. Having a strong team behind you can also make your business much more vibrant. Different people bring different ideas and viewpoints to the table – plus working with others is typically much more fun than just working on your own. But being the head of a team, and being an employer, can also cause you a number of issues too. You have a legal standing to uphold as an employer, and employee law can be complicated and hard to keep tabs on. If you have a case brought to you by an employee or a former employee, it can be terrible PR for your company and could stop future candidates applying to work for you. Here are some of the top areas of employee law you may run into issues with, and what you can do to keep everyone at your business happy.  

Wages

When you take on employees, you need to be realistic about the amount of money you pay them. It is not helpful for the business if a huge proportion of any profit you make goes on paying your staff. But equally, you need to abide by the law regarding your country’s living wage. Almost every employee is required to be paid the National Living Wage, so familiarize yourself with what it is where you are based. However, wages and salaries should be subjective. If you are earning $90,000 a year (personally) from your company, paying your employees minimum wage is out of the question.

Gross misconduct

Many employers fall into hot water when calling an employee out for gross misconduct, because what constitutes ‘gross misconduct’ wasn’t laid out in the contracts. When it comes to a case of misconduct, it is often your word against your employees. This can be incredibly difficult to sort out internally, especially if there is bad blood (the last thing you want is for said employee to spin the story into a PR nightmare for you). Hire an attorney to protect your rights and make sure any trial you attend has court recorders present so that you can refer to any statements made in court at a later date. As long as you have concrete evidence of the misconduct, you should stand a good chance of winning.

Pregnancy and leave

Employees who are pregnant are typically entitled to paid maternity leave, the duration of which can vary from workplace to workplace. However, there has been much talk recently about female employees feeling discriminated against when they became pregnant – many felt as though their jobs were not safe. Employee discrimination can be terrible for your business, and every worker deserves to be able to come back to their job once maternity leave is over. Make sure your HR team is on the ball and able to find maternity cover quickly and easily, so you don’t have to worry while your team member is away.

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