Tom Keighley

Member Article

Employment law a key concern for increasing number of businesses

Employment law is increasingly becoming a key concern for business owners.

The Forum of Private Business found that the single biggest issue for business owners calling the Forum’s legal helpline, during a five-week period between September and October, was employment law.

After 65% of calls were found to be focussed on the issue, the Forum has now launched a new guide to provide in depth focus on employment law.

Forum chief executive Phil Orford, said: “As with much of the legislation affecting small businesses, employment law can be a huge minefield and one of the main problems is that it is constantly changing, with new regulations coming in all the time.

“For example, some of the biggest recent changes came with the Agency Workers Regulations Act, which came into force in October along with a raft of other legal developments.

“The Act effectively gives temporary workers the same rights as permanent staff, significantly changing the requirements of business owners who rely on the flexible labour market.”

He added that putting in place watertight procedures should remain a key priority.

Employment tribunals can be costly for businesses, as 2009 figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that a single employment claim can cost an employer £1,800 on average, rising to £13,600 in management time, legal fees, staff replacements and potential awards if the claim proceeds to a tribunal.

Recent changes to the tribunal system, including extending the qualification period for the right to claim unfair dismissal extended from one to two years.

Mr Oxford added: “The proposed changes to the tribunal system are welcome, and overdue.

“Nevertheless, a tribunal situation is the last thing any small business wants to be involved in, so the message to all small business owners is to ensure that their HR and employment practices are up to date and follow the letter of the law.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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