Engaging staff, contracts & HR policies
When you choose to take on staff in the UK you will need to decide whether they will be employees, workers or self-employed. This will affect their employment rights, your obligations as employer and the way they treated for tax purposes.
Note too that whilst we talk about ‘UK’ law there are differences in the laws in England & Wales and those in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
We can help you determine the most appropriate way to engage the staff you intend to have working for you in the UK and then to understand your minimum statutory obligations as an organisation.
Both employees and workers are now entitled to a written statement of their terms and conditions before they start work. The law sets out the minimum information that must be provided, such as job title or description; place of work; pay; benefits; hours; holiday; notice periods, training entitlements and requirements. They must also receive details of where to access information such as disciplinary and grievance procedures, pensions and any sick pay arrangements. We can help you understand your minimum statutory obligations and share our knowledge of current best practice.
Once you have decided on the terms of your offer of employment we can provide you with a suitable UK compliant contract and the HR policies and procedures you require as well as those that may be also desirable given the nature of your business.
Pensions and employee benefits
If you are engaging an employee in the UK for the first time you will need help understanding your obligations under the current auto enrolment pension rules. We can put you in touch with our partners who can advise you on your legal obligations and help set up a suitable pension scheme for your employees.
Similarly, we work with partners who can advise on the options available to you in terms of employee benefits, including private medical insurance, income protection, life assurance and critical illness insurance and also the relevant tax implications.
You will also want to consider putting in place employers’ liability insurance which is designed to protect employers from compensation costs for illness or injury arising from the work your employees do for you. There is a legal requirement if your business employs one or more people and you can be fined for failing to comply. We can also refer you on for advice on the best policy for your business.
Managing the employment relationship
Whether it is help inducting a new employee, appraising your existing staff, dealing with a disciplinary or grievance matter, planning and bringing about a business reorganisation, making redundancies or dealing with any other day to day HR and employment matter, we can help guide you through the process so that you can ensure that you remain compliant with the relevant UK employment laws.
If you need additional personnel on the ground here in the UK, whether it’s conducting a difficult meeting or hearing a disciplinary or grievance appeal, for example, we can help or refer you to one of our well regarded and experienced HR professionals to assist you whilst we remain your legal advisers, ensuring therefore that you are fully supported throughout the matter.
Our team of lawyers are all highly experienced in advising on the wide range of employment matters. Please refer to our HR and Employment Law page for more information.
The UK has rules in place to prevent businesses from employing illegal workers. It is a criminal offence if you know or have reasonable cause to know that you have employed an illegal worker and you may be fined or face imprisonment. It is essential therefore that you carry out right to work checks on all staff you are employing in the UK, even if you believe they are UK citizens.
From 1 January 2021 the UK will have left the EU. Whilst we do not expect any change to employment laws in the UK after Brexit, there will be a change in the rights of non-UK citizens to live and work in the UK. At the moment, citizens of EEA member states, Switzerland and their family members can live, work and study in the UK with no restrictions and with access to social security, education, pensions and healthcare. Anyone seeking to enter the UK from 1 January 2021 will need to apply under new immigration rules and may need a visa. Employers will need to have in place the necessary sponsor licence so that they can assign a certificate of sponsorship to the individual looking to apply for a work visa.
We can help you understand your obligations under the current immigration laws pre and post Brexit and support you through any immigration process you may need to engage in. Please refer to our Immigration Services pages for more information.
Feedback from our clients
I have worked with Joanna for a number of years… I have always received extremely clear, concise and pragmatic legal advice. Joanna is professional and creative with a great sensitivity to the situation and cultural context. Her guidance and direction is second to none..
Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient work on this negotiation but most of all for communicating the various issues to me in such an understandable and most of all friendly way.