HR: The Importance of Keeping up-to-Date with UK Employment Law

I found this article relating to Employment Law which I thought may be of interest. So here it is for you

UK employment law is ever-changing and it is a full time job just keeping up with the latest legislation. Everything from working hours, holiday entitlement, health and safety in the workplace to equality and diversity issues are all covered by employment law and that‘s why it is so important for both workers and employers to know their rights and obligations.

Issues such as the national minimum wage, employment contracts and conditions and business transfers and takeovers (TUPE) rights are all very important pieces of legislation for companies that employ one or more people. Large corporations tend to employ HR specialists to ensure that they are up to date with the latest rules and regulations. However, smaller organisations including SMEs are also required to stay within the law and for them it may be more difficult to stay alert to the latest changes due to time and resource constraints.

If that is the case they should enlist the help of government funded agencies such as Business Link, or independent organisations such as ACAS to alert them to any relevant changes in legislation; after all ignorance is no defence when it comes to the law.

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In addition to employment Acts there are also Codes of Practice approved by Parliament, such as time off work for trade union duties that also impact on employers. So, knowing what you can and can’t do as an employer and your legal obligations to your workers is vitally important if you are to provide a legal and safe working environment. Most responsible employers adhere to employment law and understand its importance, although some do not and they end up being prosecuted.

The penalties for not adhering to relevant legislation vary according the offence. In the most extreme cases, such as cases involving the death of employees in the workplace, penalties can be severe and may include custodial sentences as well as heavy fines for company directors and other employees. However, other offences are dealt with less harshly. For example, under the Employment Act 2008 a company failing to pay its workers the national minimum wage is liable to a fine of 50% of the total underpayment, with the minimum fine set at £100 rising to a maximum of £5,000 in addition to paying the shortfall to their workers as arrears. Early payment reduces the fine by 50%.

But, if you are a company director the best way to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law is to keep up with the latest employment legislation. How you do that is down to you. There are plenty of organisations that offer the latest advice, so there is no excuse!
Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.
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