Employment Law: The Top 10 Things you Need to Know

If you are in the process of establishing a company in the United Kingdom, then there are specific things that you will need to be aware of regarding the rules and regulations that correspond to employment law in the United Kingdom.

Employment law encompasses a comprehensive scope of employee protections and employer obligations, including, but not limited to, employment contracts, working hours, statutory pay, and termination of employment.

If you comply with employment law, it will be easier for you to find and keep employees who are happy and productive, and it will also help you avoid costly disputes and claims brought before employment tribunals.

It’s important that you speak to an employment lawyer or solicitor if you have any questions or queries regarding what you need to do to be fully compliant with UK Employment Law.

These 10 key employment rules will help you get started on the right foot.

#1 When you hire your first employee, you are required to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as an employer prior to the first day that you pay that employee. You are required to process payroll and provide employees with payslips that detail their earnings both prior to and following the deduction of any applicable taxes and national insurance. Every time you make a payment to an employee, you are required to electronically report payroll information to HMRC and pay any taxes and national insurance that are due.

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#2 Before an employee begins working for you, you are obligated to confirm that they have the necessary approval to work in the UK by way of a relevant Visa and to keep a copy of any documentary evidence they present.

#3 Workers and employees have the right to a written contract with their employer. Changing the terms of an employment contract is only possible if you have previously reserved the right to do so, or if you have your employee's agreement or consent to make the change. Any modifications to the terms of the agreement need to be approved by both parties and put in writing within one month of the modification going into effect.

#4 Every worker, regardless of their employment status (casual, part-time, or agency), is entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage. Workers who are 23 years old or older are eligible for the National Living Wage, which is set at £9.50 per hour. There are four different rates for the hourly National Minimum wage: £9.18 for workers aged 21 and 22, £6.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 21 years old, £4.81 an hour for workers aged 16 and 17, and £4.81 an hour for apprentices aged 19 or younger who are in their first year of their apprenticeship. After this point, apprentices are expected to be paid according to the rate that corresponds to their age.

#5 Each year, employees are eligible for 5.6 weeks of paid vacation time off (at least 28 days a year for a full-time employee). Part-Time workers are entitled to the same number of paid holidays (pro-rata). The beginning of an employee's entitlement to paid time off in the form of holidays begins to accrue on the first day of employment and continues to do so even during leaves of absence such as those for maternity or illness.

#6 Despite the fact that the statutory sick pay (SSP) rate is £99.35 per week, many employers pay more. If you have reason to believe that your worker is not suffering from a genuine illness or if they fail to comply with your notification requirements, you have the right to refuse to pay them SSP.

#7 Every employer is required to "auto-enrol" their eligible workers into a workplace pension and make contributions to that pension. You are required to give your employees access to a contributory pension plan and make payments into their pension funds unless the employees take active steps to opt out of receiving these benefits.

#8 Employers are accountable for the well-being of their workforce, including remote workers who perform their duties in their own homes. The typical laws governing occupational health and safety are enforced.

#9 The disciplinary policies and procedures of every employer, regardless of how large the business is, are required to be documented in writing. There is something called the ACAS Code of Practice that lays out the fundamental criteria for what constitutes fairness and, in most circumstances, offers a benchmark for what constitutes reasonable behaviour.

#10 Every worker over the age of 18 is entitled to one day off per week, which amounts to 24 hours, and to work no more than 48 hours per week; however, they have the option to "opt out" of this limit. Workers who are younger than 18 are only allowed to put in a maximum of eight hours per day and forty hours per week. Even if they express a desire to do so, they would be unable to opt out of being subject to these limits.

Need some Help?

Employment Law can be confusing, with so many points to remember and so much you must do before you can even take on a member of staff for your business.

Employment solicitors are experienced in everything to do with Employment Law and can talk you through everything you need to know, ensuring that you are always legitimate, legal, and compliant.

Mishoura can put you in touch with an employment solicitor in your area – all you need to do is get in touch and let them do the rest. With access to teams of experienced solicitors across the UK, they can provide you with a concise list of reputable employment solicitors within 90 minutes of your consultation.

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