If you’re not an expert, employment law can seem like a bit of a minefield. GWL Solicitors explains that this needn’t be the case, though, with some tips to help you get by…

We understand that employment law can seem complex, and that it can be difficult to keep up-to-date with all of the constant changes. Sometimes, SMEs can be nervous about making decisions that might result in them ending up in an employment tribunal. This is particularly so given the Supreme Court’s recent decision to abolish employment tribunal fees which has made it easier – and free – for staff to bring claims.

However, employment law does not have to be a burden. Having a good system in place doesn’t need to be expensive and can actually improve the morale of your staff – and therefore improve the overall performance of your business.

  1. Employment law health-check. 

Check your contracts of employment, staff handbook and any other employment related policies and procedures to ensure that they are legally compliant. If you don’t have these important documents in place then don’t panic, but do ensure that you make an effort to have them in place as soon as possible! This will help to reduce the risk of claims against your business.

  1. Keep policies and procedures up-to-date

Employment law is a very dynamic area of law and is constantly evolving. Rather than paying to have new documents drafted every couple of years we recommend that you have a system in place whereby all your documentation is kept up-to-date and remains legally compliant. Not only will this save you money, but it will also help to reduce the risk of claims against your business in the long-run.

  1. Easy access to advice

Ensure that you have access to a suitably qualified employment law solicitor or HR adviser that you can rely on to provide you with day-to-day advice and support as and when you need it. Unlike other areas of law, it is difficult to plan ahead with employment law. Issues can arise unexpectedly and require immediate attention. It is best to obtain good advice early on to avoid having to defend claims at a later date.

  1. Keep your knowledge up-to-date

It is good practice to try and keep up-to-date with changes in employment law. We would recommend participating in local workshops, registering with Acas for its useful free online tutorials and/or signing up to a good quality monthly employment law newsletter.

  1. Insurance cover

Compensation for unfair dismissal claims can exceed £80,000, whilst awards for discrimination and whistle-blowing are unlimited. Moreover, legal fees for defending employment tribunal claims can soon add up. For an affordable monthly subscription there are various insurance policies available, some of which offer cover for legal costs, compensation and the cost of a barrister to deal with a hearing.

If you would like to discuss anything contained within this article – including our HR Guy Employment Protection Package – or you would like to arrange a free no obligation consultation, please feel free to contact our employment law solicitor, Steven Davies on 0151 236 7171 or at: sjd@gwl.co.uk.

GWL Solicitors is the successful union of several highly respected firms that have been providing legal services throughout the North West for many years, with offices in Liverpool city centre and Heswall, on the Wirral.