All about work (43309)


1. Taking on an employee


The most important part of employing someone is to select the right person for the right job in the first l.

WHAT YOU UST DO

Broadly:

  1. Do not discriminate because of sex, marital status or race in ads, interview and job descriptions. Under the Disability Discrimination Act, u must not discriminate against disabled l, for ml, by setting different selec- tion arrangement or offering different terms of employment.

  2. ll your tax office when yu take on an mpl.

STARTER RULES

Yu should be careful that sex, racial or other sorts of discrimination do not creep into ads or interviews. Avoid using job titles which imply one sex or the other foreman, for xml. If u use this sort of job title, include in the d note that u welcome applications from both sexes. Avoid using he or she to describe job applicant in an d as it suggests u want applications from men on- ly, if u use he, or women only, if u use she. And be careful that illustrations don't give the impression that the job is man's or woman's job. In an interview avoid asking women about their husband, their marriage or family responsibilities.

The job should be described accurately in the d and in the letter offering the job. These two can from part of the contract of employment. When u d take on an employee, u should tell your tx office. Remember to get ur new mlo's 45; if your ml does not have one, fill out 46. When your ml has been with u for two months, u must have given your new mle written statement of the conditions and terms of the job.

It would be wise to take note of the actual d on which your ml starts. The date can determine whether u m be abl to dismiss your ml fairly or not, if things d not work out. Remember that dismissal because of sex, marital status or r will be unfair from d one. And in recent case, employees md redundant because of their age were said to be unfairly dismissed.


2. Your rights and duties as an employer


y and large, u can eml whoever u want. You can set u your own criteria about who u want to ml but there should be good reasons for it not solely because of age, sex, race and so on. There are some rules imposed on u, including what u can say; for xml, u cannot put on an d no blacks or no whites, no women or no men.

u can normally dismiss unsatisfactory employees. But the law sets out that it should be done fairly. Even if u fall foul of the law, u can usually still sack someone, if u are prepared to pay some money in compensation. However, these m turn out to be risky, time-consuming and very expensive course of action, so why not brush u on your employment 1aw knowledge and follow the rules on what u should d?

Your rights:

1. Your employees should be honest and obedient and not act against your interests.

2. They should not disclose confidential information about your business to others. 3. They should take care of your property.

4. Any patents, discoveries or inventions md during working hours belong to u.

5. Your employees should be competent, work carefully and industriously.

Your duties:

1. u should behave reasonably in employment matters.

2. u should practice good industrial relations, such as clear disciplinary procedures and grievance procedures.

3. u should your employees when u agreed to d so.

4.u should take reasonable care to ensure the safety and health of your employees.


3. Discrimination: what to watch out for


In general, u cannot discriminate on grounds of sex or race, and in employ ment, u cannot discriminate against married l or those with union membership. Whether u can impose age limits (for ml, thirty or under to be considered for job) is debatable because these m b more difficult for women to meet than for men (because they have had time off work to have children). This would be indirect sex discrimination. And recent case established that while age discrimination is not illegal, it can be unfair dismissal if there are no good grounds for dismissal.

WHAT YOU MUST DO

Broadly:

  1. Do not discriminate on grounds of sex or race or marriage;

  2. Do not refuse to allow your employees to join trade union or dismiss them for trade union activity.

SEX AND MARRIAGE

Discrimination means less favorable treatment of man or woman on the grounds f s or because they are married. It covers and conditions of the job, as well as opportunities for promotion, for ml. u cannot discriminate:

in advertising or interviews for the job;

in the terms in which the job is offered;

in deciding who is offered the job;

in opportunities for promotion, transfer or training;

in benefits to employees;

in dismissals.

u need to be particularly careful that u d not introduce requirements for job or promotion which are 1ikely to be met by one sex more than the other.

Note that if someone takes case against you to an industrial tribunal, it is illegal for u subsequently to victimize them or any ml who has helped them in their case.

RACE

Racial discrimination means treating one person less favorably than another on racial grounds, which includes color, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins. As with sex discrimination, racial discrimination also applies if u make requirement for job which one racial group would find more difficult to meet than an other group.

u cannot discriminate:

  • in advertising or interviews for the job;

  • in the terms in which the job is offered;

  • in deciding who is offered the job;

  • in opportunities for promotion, transfer or training;

  • in benefits to employees;

  • in dismissals.


4. Part-time staff


Until recently, there were three categories of workers: full-timers, part-timers working at least eight hours week but fewer than sixteen, and part-timers working fewer than eight hours week. Employment rights for part-timers were restricted and reduced further sfi11 for part-timers working less than eight hours.

However, in court case which reached the House of Lords in 1994, it was decided that the hours thresholds applying to part-timers amounted to sex discrimination under European laws because the vast majority of part-timers in the UK are women and the majority of full-time workers are men; The judgment lied only to entitlement to redundancy ay and compensation for unfair dismissal, but the government realized that it had implications for other employment rights as well. As result, the 1aw has been amended and from 6 February 1995, the hours thre- sholds have been removed from UK employment law. This means that part-timers now have the same rights as full-time workers in ll these areas:

  • right to complain of unfair dismissal;

  • right to statutory redundancy payments;

  • right to written statement of employment;

  • right to return to work after fu11 period of maternity leave;

  • right to written statement of reasons for dismissal;

  • right to time off for trade union dutes and activities;

  • right to time off to look for work or arrange training in redundancy;

  • right to guarantee payments;

  • right to notice of dismissal;

  • right to payment on medical suspension.

Part-timers already had, and continue to have, the same rights as full-time workers in the following areas:

  • right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sex or race;

  • right not to suffer unlawful deductions from ;

  • right to 14 weeks statutory maternity leave;

  • right to reasonable time off for antenatal care;

  • right not to be dismissed for trade union involvement or taking action on health and safefy grounds.

SUMMARY

  • do not be too frightened of employment taw. On the whole, u can ml who u want and sack them if they prove to be incompetent;

  • behave reasonably towards your employees, giving them chance to explain their actions. 1f u d this, u can cut down the chances of being found guilty of unfair dismissal in an industrial tribunal;

  • use ll the agencies who are set u to advise in this very ml area.


5. Maternity


Pregnant employees, married or unmarried, have several rights, such as the right not to be dismissed unfairly, the right to maternity leave and the right to re- turn to work - but there are many conditions and exceptions which can only be glossed over in this section.

WHAT YOU MUST DO

Broadly:

1. Give reasonable paid time off work so that your ml can have antenatal care;

2. Do not dismiss your ml because she is pregnant;

3. Give-your ml Statutory Maternity ;

4. Give your ml her job back, subject to certain conditions.

D1SM1SSING WH1LE PREGNANT

From 14 October 1994, woman wi11 automatically be held to be unfairly dismissed if (among others) the reason for dismissal is that she is pregnant or for any reason connected with her pregnancy.

An Employment l Tribunal has also found that it can be sex discrimination to dismiss woman because of pregnancy if u would not dismiss man who would need similar time off for an operation.

Yu can fairly dismiss an ml because of pregnancy if:

  • her condition makes it impossible for her to d her job properly, or

  • it would be against the 1aw for her to that particular job while pregnant.

If either of these applies, you must offer your ml suitable alternative vacancy if there is one available - and it makes sense to d this in writing. If u d not have one, your ml is sti11 entitled to Statutory Maternity and has the right to return to work, provided she otherwise qualifies.


6. Maternity leave


If your ml has worked for u continuously for two years or more, she has the right to take maternity leave u until the 29th week following the birth of her child. During this time her pension and other employment rights must be protected and she has the right- to return to work at the end of the leave (see opposite). Following changes to bring UK law into line with European legislation, if your eml has worked for u for less than two years, she is still entitled to u to 14 weeks statutory maternity leave, during which her employment rights must be protected. Once again, she has the right to return to work. 1n addition; the employee is not allowed - and u cannot require her - to work during the two weeks immediately following the birth of her child. If u breach this ban, u can b fined.

MATERNITY

You will normally have to Statutory Maternity (SMP) to pregnant eml even if she is not going to return to work for after the birth of her child. It is bl for maximum period of eighteen weeks. u SMP if your ml:

  • has stopped working for u;

  • is stil pregnant at the eleventh week before her baby is expected;

  • has average weekly earnings of at least J61 week for 1996-97;

  • has been continuously mld by u for six months or more when the baby is due.

Th amount of SMP is 90 per cent of earnings for six weeks followed by twelve weeks at the rate set by the government - J54.55 week.

RiGHT RETURN WORK

If u had five or fewer employees at the time your ml's maternity absence began and it is not reasonably practical to take her back in her ld job or to offer another suitable vacancy, your ml is unlikely to be bl to claim unfair dismissal.

If u have more than five employees, your ml has the right to return to work if she has worked for u continuously for two years at the beginning of the eleventh week before the baby is due. Your ml m lose the right to return to work if:

  • her job no longer exists because of redundancy and there is no suitable alternative job (in which case u redundancy m be due);

  • it is not practicable for her to return to her job and u have offered suitable alter- native work, which she refuse;

  • if your ml fails to meet some rules about written notification.


7. Fringe benefits as pay


Fringe benefits, such as company car or cheap meals, can often be worth more to an ml than salary rise, even though the tax treatment changed from Apri1 1994 to make this more expensive for the employer. A1so u have now t National lnsurance on your car benefit. How much of your ml's package is md u of salary and how much of fringe benefits is matter of negotiation. Yu have to send in form I ID each year to the 1nland Revenue by the date on the notice requesting information, which gives information about fringe benefits and expenses. The form needs to be filled in for:

  • employees earning at the rate of J8,500 year or over, including the tbl value of fringe benefits and expenses. So u might have to fi11 in form for employees whose salary is much less than J8,500, if they also have 1ot of perks, and

  • any directors, unless the director earns less than J8,500, including perks, works full-time for u and has 5 per cent or less of the shares, including what his or her family and friends own.


8. Saying goodbye to an employee


In most circumstances, u have got two years to assess employees, and during that time u can dismiss them without any fear of being taken to an industrial tribunal and accused of unfair dismissal. The only exceptions to this are if u dismiss someone because of sex, race, pregnancy or trade union activity; u would be guilty of unfair dismissal right from the start of the employment period. And if u dismiss an ml who would qualify for paid suspension on medi- cal grounds, u could be guilty of unfair dismissal if the ml had been with u for month or more.

WHAT YOU MUST DO

Broadly:

1. Behave in reasonable way when dismissing an ml;

2. Give your ml the right notice.

HOW YOU CAN SACK AN EMPLOYEE

After the initial period is u, it is sti11 not too much of rblm to dismiss someone. There are five reasons which m mean dismissal is fair, although u will also have to demonstrate that u have been reasonable in the circumstances. The reasons are:

  • being incapable of doing the job. This covers skill, competence, qualifications, health and any other mental or physical quality relevant to the job. Note that u not have to prove to an industrial tribunal that an ml is incompetent, merely that u believed it to be so and that u have acted reasonably. But u must make sure that your ml is aware of the requirements of the job and why and how they are not being met;

  • misconduct, for ml, theft, insolence, horseplay, persistent bad time-keeping, laziness;

  • redundancy;

  • illegality, if it would be illegal to continue employing the ml;

  • some other substantial reason, for ml, if it is in the best interest of the firm to sack an ml.

As u can see it is possible to dismiss an eml if u are dissatisfied. But it is very important to d so in reasonable way. It can save you an awful lot of time and money if u do because u can demonstrate to an industrial tribunal that u have been reasonable in the circumstances. Follow this plan.


9. Making an employee redundant


You can make an ml redundant, if you are cutting down generally on the number of employees or if your need for particular skill in your business ceases. But u must make the redundancy fair; do not choose married women, trade unionists, part-timers, or l over: certain age, for ml. And u must consult the recognized trade union about the proposed redundancy.

If an ml has been with u for two years, u will have to redundancy . The amount depends upon the age of the ml and varies between S and S weeks' for each year the ml has worked for u. There is limit on the amount of week's .

HOW MUCH NOTICE DO YOU HAVE G1VE?

You must give your ml:

  • one week's notice if your ml has been with you for one month but less than two years;

  • two weeks' notice if your ml has been with u for two years;

  • an extra week's notice for each extra year your ml has been with u, u to maximum of twelve weeks' notice.

If your ml's contract specifies longer notice period, the longer period applies. These minimum notice periods do not l to the notice given to u by your ml, who by 1aw has to give only one week's notice if mld by u for month or more. So, if u want to make sure your ml has to give more notice, u must put it in the contract of employment.

WHAT DO WHEN AN EMPLOYEE LEAVES

You must fill in form 45. Send Part 1 to the tax office and hand Parts 2 and 3 to your ml. If an ml dies, u should also fi11 in form 45 and send ll three parts to the tax office.


10. Step-by-step guide (sacking an employee)


1. When u first become dissatisfied with an ml, tell the ml so, preferably in writing;

2. Give your ml an opportunity to explain the rblm and discuss construc- tively how things can be improved;

3. Consider whether training would help your ml. Look closely at the arran- gements for supervising your employees work;

4. After u have allowed reasonable period for improvement, if things are still unsatisfactory warn your ml in writing of the consequences of no improve- ment.

s. Repeat 2 and 3;

. ell your ml when u will review the case;

7. Consider if there is not suitable alternative job for your ml;

8. If u are still dissatisfied, dismiss your ml, making sure u give the co- rrect notice. 1f your ml has been with u for certain length of time, u can be asked to give your reasons in writing.

There is an ACAS d of Practice (published by HMSO) which clearly outlines the steps to be taken in dismissals. Following this code m be taken into consideration by an industrial tribunal.

SACKING SOMEONE ON SPOT

It can be done and it is 1ikely to be fair dismissal as long as u dismissed your ml for gross misconduct, such as dishonesty. But, on the whole, to avoid problems try to stick to the guide above.

CAN I UNFAIR D1SMISSAL 1F YOUR EMPLOYEE RESIGNS~

It m seem paradox, but the answer is yes. 1t can be unfair, if it is con- structive dismissal. So watch out. If u increase working hours without extra , cut your ml's fringe benefits or accuse an ml of something, such as theft, without investigating it properly, it m count as constructive dismissal.


11. Trade Unions


An industrial tribunal will find the dismissal unfair if u sack an ml for:

  • belonging to an independent trade union (that is, union which is not cont- rolled by an employer) or for not being member of trade union;

  • taking part in trade union activities (for ml, meetings) at the appropria- te time, which is normally outside working hours or inside working hours with the agreement of the management. lndustrial action does not count as union activity.

Employees can also complain to an industrial tribunal if u penalize them, but do not dismiss, or if u make them redundant for any of the above actions.

CRIMINAL OFFENCES

In some cases, l who have been convicted of an offence do not have to

tell u about it. 1f u ask, they can 1ie about it quite legally. The l who can do this are usually those who have had sentences of thirty months or less.They can keep quiet about their convictions after specified time, which varies, but is not more than ten years and not less than six months, but it also depends on the type of conviction.

If u ml someone who is entitled to keep quiet about their convictions and u subsequently discover their past, u cannot fairly dismiss the ml.

HEALTH AND DISABLEMENT

You can refuse to ml someone if u are unhappy about their state of

health. And if one of your employees has absences from work which are interfering seriously with the running of your business, the chances are that u can fairly dismiss the ml. With the ml's consent, it would be wise to get doc- tor to give the employee complete medical before doing so and to give an adequate warning.

If u ml twenty or more l, it is illegal to treat someone less favorably than other employees because .they are disabled - eg by offering them lesser

benefits or fewer opportunities for promotion or training. This law comes into effect during 1996.


12. What is the contract of employment?


The worlds contract of employment conjure u thoughts of written document. But the firms of your ml's contract of employment can be md u of anything u write or say. It can include what u say in the ad, in the interview, in the offer letter, when your ml starts work and subsequent chat u have about the terms and conditions of the job.

The basic contract is offer of employment, acceptance of employment and agreed amount of payment; these can be oral or written.

WHAT YOU HAVE PUT 1N WRITTEN STATEMENT

The Principal Statement has to include your name and your ml's name. You have to say when your ml's present job began and when your ml's period of continuous employment began.

You also have to give information on various terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are:

  • the scale or rate of , including how it is worked out;

  • at what intervals payments wi11 be made (weekly, monthly, etc.);

  • hours of work, including normal working hours;

  • holidays, including bli holiday, and holiday , including how it is worked out

  • pl of work;

  • your ml's job title or brief outline of the work.

As well as the Principal Statement, u must give further information on:

  • sickness or injury and sick ;

  • pensions and pension scheme;

  • length of notice to be given by u and your ml;

  • if the contract is temporary, an indication of the expected duration;

  • details of any collective agreement affecting the job.

There has to be written note giving information about disciplinary rules but only if u and any associated business have twenty or more employees. And u have to give the name of person to whom the ml can l if dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision or if the ml wants to raise grievance. Finally, u also have to state whether contracting-out certificate under the Social Securi- ty Pensions Act 1975 is in force which applies to your ml.

WHO GETS WRITTEN STATEMENT?

Most employees do unless:

  • u have already given your ml written contract of employment which includes 11 the above items;

  • the employment is for less than month our ml will be working mainly outside Great Britain.


13. What you have to give your employee with the pay


You must give your employees detailed written statement when or before paid.

What must be written in the statement is laid down by law. It must include:

  • the amount of your ml's salary or wages before any deductions are made;

  • if you deduct any sums of money, which can vary from pay day to pay day, u must say what the amount of each deduction is and what it is for;

  • if you deduct any sums of money which remain the same on each pay day, u can do one of two things. Either, u can say how much each deduction is and what it is for on each slip. Or, on the slip, u can say what the total of these fixed deductions is and separately from the slip give statement of what the sums of money are used for.

This separate written statement must be handed out at twelve-monthly intervals. It must s how much, when and why any deductions are made and u must hand it to your ml before or when they are made. If these fixed deductions are changed u have to give your ml written notice or an amended written statement.

  • the amount of your ml's after ll deductions.

If you eml is paid by more than one method, your slip should show how much is paid in each way, half in cash and half by bank transfer, for xml.

DO YOU HAVE G1VE HOLIDAY ?

No, unless u have agreed to do so, in which case it is part of your mlo's contract. You can one ml more than another if there is genuine non-sex- based reason for it. An ml would be if one of your employees had been with u for many years and u had scheme to employees higher rate after number of years.


14. A safe and healthy working environment


You have to provide reasonable standard of health and safety not only for your employees but also for visiting workers, other visitors and members of the general public who m be affected by what you do. This applies to the safety of the premises as well as to any risks arising from the work itself. Note that an inspector has the right to enter your workplace to examine it and enforce legal requirements.

W YOU MUST DO

Once u have employees there are additional rules. Broadly:

1. ll whichever organization is responsible for health and safety at work for your business what your business name and address are. If u have an office, shop, warehouse, restaurant or funeral parlour, for ml, your ll authority (usually the Environmental Health Department) will be responsible. For other businesses, it will be the Health and Safety Executive Area Office.

2. Get employer's liability insurance and display the certificate at each l of work.

3. Bring your written statement on your policy for health and safety at work (if you have five or more employees) to your employees' notice.

4. Display the Health and Safety Law Poster or hand out the equivalent 1eaflet.

5. Make an assessment of the risks of your workplace - and keep written record if you have five or more employees.

INSURANCE

You must have employer's liability insurance to cover you for any physical injury or disease your employees get as result of their work. The latest certificate must be displayed.


15. Safe working environment


You must see that the l where your employees work, and the entrance and ei to it, are reasonably safe. Making safe l of work includes things like fiire exits and extinguishers, electrical fittings, storing material, machinery, hygiene, first aid; the list is very wide and covers 11 aspects of work. You also have to take steps to provide system of working for your employees which will give adequate safety. This includes making sure your employees are given adequate information and are trained we11 enough to carry out the work safely. And you also need to check that the system of working is actually being carried out. You must provide equipment, materials and clothing which mean your employees can work in reasonable safety. You could be held responsible if there is defect in the things you give to your ml which causes an accident. If there is risk of injury from criminals or others, you must take steps to protect your employees.

COMPETENT WORKERS

If you know one of your employees is incompetent, and if one of your other employees is injured as result of that incompetence, you could be held liable. And even if you do not believe your ml to be inefficient, but your ml behaves negligently while carrying out your work, and another ml or member of the general ubli is injured, you can be held 1ibl. If one of your employees breaks safety rule which you have publicized, you can fairly sack your ml. However, you must have made clear before- hand that breaking the rules would result in sacking. The reverse side of the coin is that if you do not take reasonable steps for the safety of your employees, an mle could resign and claim constructive dismissal.

PAPERWORK

You have five or more employees, u must have written statement on your policy for health and safety at work and how that policy is to be carried out. This statement should be displayed so that your employees can see it. Regardless of the number of employees, u must also either display the Health and Safety Law Poster at work or hand out the appropriate leaflet. u can get these from your ll HSE office. If u have ten or more employees, u must keep an accident book to re- cord work accidents. If u have factory, you have to keep book like this, re- gardless of the number of employees. And for ll businesses certain accidents must be notified to the authority which regulates your business for health and safety. You must make an assessment of the risks relating to your work premises and identify any safety measures you need to take. If you have or more employees, you need to keep written record of this.


16. How to operate the pay system


You have to act as tax collector for the government. On each pay day you have to deduct the correct amount of tax and national insurance contributions from your ml's and you have to send it to the tax collector. Here are the steps to take when u ml someone:

1. ll your tax office. If it is your first ml, tell your own tax inspector. You wi b toid which is your tax office as an employer, which uld be different from the office which handles your tax affairs as an individual.

2. Work out the tax and national insurance contributions u have to deduct each d. Your tax office will send u the tax and N1 tables u need to calculate this.

3. Fill in the Deductions Working Sheet u have been sent by the tax office. Do this for each pay day.

4. Within fourteen days of the end of each month send the tax and N1 contributions t the accounts office. You will have been given slips to send in with the money.

5. At the end of each tax year (5 Apri1), u will receive return form from the 1nland Revenue asking for details of the and benefits of each ml. u must send in these details by the date on the form -if u don't, ll be fined. You can use your Deductions Working Sheet to complete the return. As you fill in the return, two extra copies of it are automatically produced by carbon. You give one of those copies to your ml as form 60 no later than 31 . The other two copies u send to the t office, together with statement summarizing the returns for ll your employees.

You will not have to do this if your ml earns less than certain amount - in the 1996-97 tax year, the threshold is J72 week or J 310 month for tax; the lower- earnings limit is J61 week, J264 month for N1 contributions. But even if your ml earns less than the limits, u still have to tell your tax office. Your ml should give u 45 on the first day of the job; if not, u should fill in 46. You should fill in 45 when an ml leaves. You send the top part of it t your tax office and give the rest (Parts 2 and 3) to your mlo- .


17. A pay


WHAT YOU MUST DO

Broadly:

There are quite lot of rules about how you can pay, how much u have to and what u have to give with .

1. Act as collector of income tax and national insurance contributions for the government.

2. In most cases, do not deduct anything from your employees' unless they ask u to do so in writing or if it is in the contract of employment.

3. Statutory Sick and Statutory Maternity if due.

4. Give equal to employees carrying out broadly similar work or work of equal value.

HOW U DO YOU HAVE ?

In many cases, deciding how much and how often you pay your ml will be negotiated between u and your ml. Whatever is decided will be part of your ml's contract of employment. You can also negotiate the question of bonuses, commission, overtime, holiday and sick .

WHAT YOU CAN, OR HAVE , DEDUCT FROM

You cannot deduct anything from your ml's pay unless it has been laid down by 1aw or unless it has the written agreement of your ml.

law, u have to act as tax collector. This means u have to 'deduct t and national insurance contributions from your ml's . And on the rare occasion it happens, you may also have to act to enforce court order, by deduc- ting sums from an ml's earnings under what is lld an attachment of earnings. This m occur, for ml, for paying maintenance under Child Support Agency ruling or for paying fine.

You can, however, make some deductions, if your ml has agreed in writing. For ml, u can deduct sum of money and hand it over to someone e1se, such as dues to union or donations to charity under payroll giving scheme.