A 6-point health-check for the employer

  • Posted

At Ashtons we work with a large number of owner-managed businesses and SMEs.

We regularly advise such businesses on a retainer basis providing cost certainty.

We work closely with a team of external HR consultants to provide hands-on support at your business should you need it.

As a business owner, we would recommend that you consider the following HR issues:

  • It is key to ensure that each of your employees has an up-to-date contract of employment. Key changes were made to the particulars that need to go into contracts of employment following the Good Work Plan in April 2020.  In addition, following the introduction of GDPR in 2018, it is important to ensure that your policies as regard data protection are up to date as part of your staff handbook or HR policies.  We would recommend that you ensure that your HR policies and staff handbook is noted down as being non-contractual so that if you do not follow them it cannot be said that you have breached the contract of the employee;
  • If you have a sales force or other key employees that you would not want to go and work for a competitor of yours taking their know-how and skill for a period of time, it is important to ensure that the restrictive covenants you have in their contract of employment are up to date. Case law has shown that if the restrictions were put in at a time the employee was very junior and not appropriate for that employee then it could be found that they are not appropriate at a later date when they are much more senior.  It is, therefore, sensible to ensure that these are reviewed and appropriate for the particular team.  It may well not be necessary for all of your employees to have restrictive covenants and simply just the ones that are of major concern to you.  If intellectual property is of importance, it is also sensible to ensure that the provisions you have around this do properly protect your intellectual property;
  • We recommend that managers are trained to spot basic HR issues such as grievances and what would constitute poor performance so that performance management or disciplinary action is appropriate. In this way it can avoid issues escalating and becoming larger issues.  If they are also able to spot if a matter constitutes unlawful discrimination this would be extremely helpful to avoid matters escalating further.  The larger the issue becomes the more expensive it will be for the business.   Avoiding matters escalating to becoming matters that need to be litigated in the Employment Tribunal will be beneficial to your business.  Should you receive an Employment Tribunal claim, it is important that this is dealt with as soon as possible and all relevant dates are noted.  We have recently dealt with an Employment Tribunal case for an owner-managed business where internal processes were ongoing so the Tribunal paperwork was not dealt with promptly which meant that various applications needed to be made to the Employment Tribunal as the response had not been submitted in time;
  • Holiday pay has been a real issue for owner-managed businesses in ensuring that the correct holiday pay is paid to various different types of individuals. It is important to ensure that you are paying holiday pay correctly in order to avoid any claims being made;
  • Changes have been made to rights in relation to flexible working, and it is therefore important to ensure that you are familiar with how to respond to flexible working requests to ensure that no complaints can be raised around this as, for example, a female employee could bring a Sex Discrimination Claim to say that they have been discriminated against on the basis that their flexible working request has been refused as it is known that women have more caring responsibilities than men;
  • Mental health issues in the workplace are very common and managers need to be equipped on how to deal with such issues and be able to signpost how help can be obtained as well as seek support on any reasonable adjustments that need to be made if the mental health condition constitutes a disability under the Equality Act.

We would be pleased to offer a free health check to any owner managed business in terms of reviewing your HR and employment law practices.

Contact our employment law solicitors & HR consultants today

If you have any questions regarding any of the issues raised in this article, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist HR and Employment Law team by using our online enquiry form or by calling 0330 191 5713. Click here to find out more about Ashtons HR Consulting.


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible or to speak to one of our experts call
    0330 404 0749

    I accept that my data will be held for the purpose of my enquiry in accordance with Ashtons
    Privacy Policy

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    How can we help?

    If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?