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Employment Law advice

Here to help keep you on the right side of employment law

Your employees are critical to the success of your organisation. It makes sense to protect them, and there's plenty of regulation to ensure everyone is treated well at work. However, employment law is often complex and regularly updated. Keeping on top of these changes can feel like a never-ending task. That's where we can help by:

  • Reducing the risk of claims
    Our highly qualified consultants will assist with all your employment law needs from recruitment to termination and everything in-between.
  • Supporting you to prepare for a tribunal
    We'll help you prepare necessary documentation both leading up to and for representation during an employment tribunal.
  • Managing tribunal costs
    Not only are tribunals time-consuming, but they can also be expensive. We can arrange an Employment Practices Liability Insurance Policy to enable your business to manage the cost.

How our employment law team can help

Our highly qualified employment law consultants are on hand to support you. We'll provide hands-on and commercially viable advice and assistance, either face-to-face or by phone and email. We'll help you navigate legislation and put in place procedures to protect you, your employees, and your business.

Human resources and employment law service

HR and employment law: external management support for your business
One of our employment law consultants will operate as your external human resources department. They can:

  • prepare contracts of employment, employee handbooks and ensure job descriptions are kept up to date
  • provide your business with a named advisor
  • provide help and assistance when dealing with complex issues relating to staff employment, including grievance, disciplinary, absence, TUPE, redundancy and termination
  • ensure that all contracts, handbooks, the advice provided and case files are contained within your online interactive platform Mercury
  • provide advice in writing
  • provide 24/7 cover
  • provide an indemnity for costs and awards arising from an employment tribunal.

Professional employment law advice
Our team of experts will give you practical advice on specific issues your business may face relating to HR management or employment law. This includes researching and investigating the situation if necessary.

Compliance review and contract support
We'll carry out a compliance review to ensure your business's core documents are fully compliant and up to date. We can also draft and provide the following documents tailored to your business needs:

  • contracts of employment
  • employee handbooks
  • job descriptions.

On-site consultancy
If you need help with a specific human resource management or employment law issue, our consultants will visit your business to work through the situation. Our tailored and personal approach includes support in disciplinary procedures, grievance procedures, redundancy, restructuring of terms and conditions of employment and managing change within the business.

Employment tribunal support
The support we offer for employment tribunal services involves negotiations and representation on all employment issues. This includes redundancy, unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, TUPE, all types of discrimination: Disability, Race, Sex and Age etc.

Specialist resources and training
You'll have access to an employment law document library to support you in your decision-making process. We can also help you by carrying out a gap analysis to identify areas where your team would benefit from additional specialist support. Should your team need upskilling in any areas, we're here to support you.

Dealing with ACAS early conciliation and preparing for tribunals

If you find yourself in a situation where the employment relationship has broken down, or there has been an application for ACAS early conciliation, we're here to help.

Our consultants will guide you through the process and carry out negotiations through ACAS to reach a satisfactory conclusion on your behalf.

We understand preparing for a tribunal can be time-consuming and stressful. Our consultants will assist you with documentation leading up to a tribunal. Where appropriate, we can respond to and prepare tribunal documentation up to and including representation at an employment tribunal.

Not only are tribunals time-consuming, but they can also be expensive. Our employment law assistance service can be supported by an employment practices liability insurance policy that protects against employment tribunal compensatory awards and representation costs. This gives the benefit of being able to fix the costs associated with employment tribunal claims whilst also giving you the flexibility to depart from best practice when the time is right.

Frequently asked questions

Q
I have an employee who is not up to the job can I dismiss them?
A
To avoid an unfair dismissal, it is important that you can identify a fair reason for the dismissal (there are 5 potentially fair reasons which you may rely on) and that you acted reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason. A dismissal of an employee who is not up to the job may potentially be fair on the grounds of either conduct or capability, depending on the circumstances. It would be important to ensure that you follow a fair procedure prior to dismissal, to help evidence that you have acted reasonably and in line with the legal requirements. Employees who have less than two years service are unable to bring a basic unfair dismissal claim, making dismissal much easier when this is the case. However, there are still a number of other claims an employee can bring at any stage of their employment (and in some cases, before their employment has even commenced). As such, we would always suggest seeking advice prior to dismissing an employee.
Q
I have an employee who is returning from maternity leave and is seeking flexible working. Do I have to agree to this?
A
A qualifying employee (that is an employee who has 26 weeks continuous employment) is entitled to make a request for flexible working. Only one request can be made in any 12 month period. Although there is no requirement to accept their request, there is a requirement to deal with the request in a reasonable manner and the employer must notify the outcome to the employee within a three-month decision period. The employer must be able to rely on at least one of eight specific business reasons should they wish to refuse the request. Whilst a failure to do so may result in a possible claim for a breach of the right to request flexible working, employers should also be mindful that it is open to women whose requests for flexible working are rejected to seek redress by making a sex discrimination claim. We would suggest having a clearly worded flexible working policy in place so that all employees are clear as to the procedure to be followed when making a request, and to always seek advice.
Q
How do we as a business calculate holiday entitlement and the amount of holiday pay?
A

Entitlement to annual leave is calculated in accordance with the Working Time Regulations 1998, which specifies that workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks annual leave.

Holiday pay should be based on an employee’s normal remuneration. All types of overtime, including voluntary, must be included when calculating a worker's statutory holiday pay entitlement, apart from overtime that is only worked on a genuinely occasional and infrequent basis. Commission and certain other types of payments should be included.

We can advise and calculate (providing practical examples) the entitlement for your employees or workers and, subject to the appropriate earnings information, the amount of holiday which should be paid.

Q
How can I tell if our contracts of employment are correct or up to date?
A

There are statutory requirements as to what information should be given to an employee in relation to terms of employment. As an employer, you are legally obliged to provide a basic written statement of the main terms and conditions, also known as the particulars of employment, within the first two months of an employee’s start date. That said, many employers tend to include additional clauses to help support the growth of the business and provide necessary clarity and consistency for both parties. It is also important to comply with the minimum statutory requirements in terms of pay, hours of work, annual leave etc.

We would suggest reviewing your employment contracts and handbook every 12 months, to ensure that they remain up to date and in line with the relevant legislation.

We can draft, review and update employee contracts and an employee handbook, tailoring this documentation to meet the needs of the business. We can also provide advice and assistance in relation to contractual changes and how to implement these within your business, helping to reduce the risk of potential claims.