It is expected that all employers be familiar with the employment laws in their country. The last thing one want’s is to be blindsided by a clause on the law when they are sued. It is absolutely critical that one be clear about their roles and responsibilities towards each other.
This article highlights the various crucial points that you should keep an eye on when dealing with employee law.
1. Defining the parties
In any dispute there are parties and in the case of employment law, there are the employer and employee. If one is an employer, they must know the roles and responsibilities they have and those the employees have.
There are unique cases that need clarification and they are:
Employed V Self-employed- When one is an employed as worker in a given organization, they are employed. If the organization enlists one’s business to work for them, then the business owner is self-employed.
Part-time V Full-time-It depends on the contexts in which these terms are used. The organization one works for sets the official hours of work. A part-time employee is one that is employed to work fewer hours than a full-time employee. Since both types of employees sign contracts, in the eyes of the law, they are treated as equals.
Temporary V Permanent- These types of employees are based on the terms of the contract where temporary employee works for a fixed period of time whereas the permanent works for an indefinite amount of time.
2. Statutory Rights
These are clearly stated rules and framework for recruitment, drafting of the employment of the employment contract and cessation of employment. It covers the definition of terms. Below are the key terms one should keep an eye out on:
Minimum Pay – Pay for over 16s. This type of pay varies from age group to age group.
Equal Pay – Stipulates that pay for a woman should be similar to that of a man in a similar position.
Pay Slips – To be itemized and provided before or on the date of pay
Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave- Clearly stated under the law.
Sickness – Statutory sick pay entitlement
Off days in the event of a family day or illness. These are not paid for.
Whistleblowing – Protection for employees that disclose information other than that which would constitute breach of contract.
Pensions – Most employers must provide a stakeholder pension for their employees.
Dismissal & Disciplinary
Unfair Dismissal – Employers must have reasonable cause for employee dismissal and fair dismal procedure should be followed. Grounds for unfair dismissal include taking time off for parenting and union action et cetera.
Wrongful Dismissal – Adequate notice for dismissal must be provided unless the contract lapses.
Constructive Dismissal – where the employers breaks the terms of the contract between them and the employee thereby resulting in the latter’s dismissal.
Retirement – Clear guidelines for retirement.
It is absolutely vital that HR know the statutory rights to avoid the company getting entangled in prolonged legal disputes.
3. The Contract
It is important that the employer be clear in the terms and conditions of the contract. Clear penalties, rewards and quid pro quo should be observed when crafting the language of the contract.
Before the employee signs the contract, they must be clear about the terms and conditions themselves to avoid misunderstanding and conflict at the work place.
4. Trade Unions
Employers will be approached by trade unions for recognition. They must show that they have support of a minimum of 10 percent of your workforce. If they don’t, then employer is not obliged to recognize them.
If there are employees that members of a trade union, that should not be a basis for discrimination. Sometimes, they will call for industrial action which is subject for approval from the union. If one dismisses their employees during the period of industrial action, they risk being sued for unfair dismissal.
5. Health and Safety
It is expected of employer that they should provide a safe working environment for their employees. Regular assessments of the work environment should be done to ensure that compliance to the minimum health standards is maintained. Failure to comply, the employer risks legal action being taken against them.
Overall, it is absolutely vital that the employment laws in one’s country should be followed to the letter. This not only ensures harmony at the work place but also prevents instances of legal action being taken.