Employment law changes to be aware of as a small business
Is your business affected by the changes in employment law?
We asked Rebecca Woolmington of HR Central to share her expertise in this field as we know it affects small businesses like us.
Upcoming employment law changes to be aware of as a small business and an employer of choice.
Some of the promises made in the Government’s Good Work Plan last year will strengthen workers rights in some areas. for you to retain your employees it will help to be aware of these common sense management and payment issues.
Here is a whistle stop tour of some of the proposed changes that may affect you as a small business owner.
Right to reasonable notice of work schedules and compensation for cancelled shifts
Under new proposed rules that are still under consultation until October 2019, workers would be entitled to “reasonable” notice of their work schedule. What would be considered “reasonable” is as yet undefined, but the government has indicated that employers would incur a penalty if they fail to do this. For small business scheduling work there could be an additional cost to the business.
If a worker’s shift or number of hours they are required to work are cut at the last minute the worker would be entitled to compensation, under a new rule referenced as the “one-sided flexibility”. The Government are considering what the level of compensation will be, but options currently being considered for the level of compensation awarded include: the amount the worker would have earned from the hours or shift; their national minimum wage rate multiplied by the number of hours cancelled; and a set multiple of their national minimum wage rate.
Worth ensuring that your contracts allow for your workers to carry out alternative tasks so if you don’t need them for the original work booked, you can use them elsewhere in the business.
Phased returns for workers on sick leave.
Employees returning from a period of sickness absence will be entitled to a flexible, phased return to work, with payments made from a combination of statutory sick pay and their wages.
The Government will also fine organisations that do not pay staff the SSP they are owed. Treat your staff right, look after their well being and ensure that you pay them what they are due. It is a poor reflection that the Government feels it necessary to put these sanctions in place, but also good that those organisations who don’t/won’t pay will be called to task. Having transparency about phased returns to work will benefit the employee and the employer alike. Sickness absence can be crippling for a small business.
Right to request workplace adjustments
Employees with health conditions will also be given the right to request workplace adjustments on health grounds. An organisation would have to demonstrate it has a legitimate business case for its decision if a request was refused. Ask your potential employees at interview what reasonable adjustments should be made, if any to accommodate their needs.
Parental leave and pay
New and expectant mums, and employees who have adopted or who are partaking in shared parental leave, will soon have better protection against being made redundant until six months from the date they return to work. The redundancy protection period will also apply from the point they inform the employer they are pregnant.
The government has acknowledged shared parental leave works differently to maternity and adoption leave in that it offers more flexibility around when the leave can be taken. The government are considering this when designing how protections can be implemented.
Parents of babies in neonatal care could receive neonatal leave and pay for as long as their baby is in hospital. One of the final consultations discussed as part of Theresa May’s government is seeking views on whether the rights should be targeted at the parents who are most in need of the additional time off work, such as those whose children have spent a minimum of two weeks in hospital or are most seriously ill; the consultation is considering whether this right should be from their first day of employment or after a qualifying period. Payment terms are yet to be decided.
Get to know your staff and be supportive of their personal situations, life balance and an understanding of your employee’s challenges outside of the workplace tends to generate loyalty.
The employment market is tough right now, be the employer of choice and treat your employees well from the moment they engage with you, this starts with the recruitment process.
For more help with untangling your responsibilities as an employer, please do consider calling Rebecca at HR Central to talk about your HR challenges.
At the Business Spa, each month, we tackle many of the issues faced by small business owners – why not come along and experience our SMILE (Support – Motivation – Inspiration – Learning – Expertise) for yourself.