Ready, steady – hire
Taking on an employee for the first time can be a challenging prospect for any business, even more so for start-ups who have no experience in employment matters. Companies often put all their time and energy into the growth of their business, while UK employment law falls by the wayside because it is perceived to be too time consuming.  

Red Tape Challenge
To assist in making this process easier, the government has launched an updated version of an online toolkit designed to assist start-ups with hiring staff for the first time, which was first launched last year in response to the Red Tape Challenge. The toolkit is part of the UK Government’s plan to deliver growth by breaking down barriers, boosting opportunities and creating the right conditions for businesses to start up and thrive.

The toolkit offers guidance on a number of issues including; setting pay, checking the new employee’s right to work in the UK, getting the right insurance, employment contracts and understanding tax requirements, as well as providing a downloadable template of a written statement of employment particulars.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (“ACAS”) has also published six new guides that employers can use in conjunction with the toolkit. These guides will ensure that small firms have access to information that will help with making sure the business complies with the law when hiring, managing people and dealing with complaints at work. Step-by-step guidance is given in relation to recruiting an employee, settling in a new employee, the new employee’s contract, managing a complaint at work, managing staff absence and how to get the best out of your staff.

Jo Swinson, the Employment Relations Minister, explained:
“We know that small businesses can find taking on staff a daunting prospect because of a lack of understanding of employment law. It is important to help employers better understand their responsibilities. This is why promoting the benefits of good communication, better management, and early dispute resolution is important as it can lead to the best outcomes for everyone and cut out the need for costly and stressful employment tribunals.”

Advice beyond the scope of the toolkit
Using the toolkit and the ACAS guidance will go a long way to ensuring that your business is compliant with UK employment law, however there will be circumstances in which it would be beneficial to obtain legal advice. For example, if you are concerned about protecting your intellectual property, or you want to offer an incentive arrangement to benefit staff as your business grows, or your preference is to engage consultants rather than employees.

Fox Williams’ Start-up Group provides all encompassing advice in relation to starting up your own business, including employment advice. Fox Williams’ reputation as market-leading City employment lawyers derives from the department’s ability to combine technical excellence with a pragmatic, down to earth approach – and deep industry knowledge. The firm advises employers in a whole range of sectors, with a particularly strong reputation as a specialist in the financial and professional services sectors.

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