What happens if your small business is taken to an employment tribunal?

Originally written by Partner Content on Small Business

No matter how well you run your business, there could come a moment when an employee takes you to an employment tribunal.

It’s a heart-sinking moment for any small business owner but you are not alone. Employment tribunal claims were up 26pc year on year in 2018/19 with 35,429 cases going to court. There was a 69pc increase in sex discrimination cases alone.

Some estimates suggest the annual cost to UK businesses of employment tribunal decisions could be more than £1bn.

An employee can take you to an employment tribunal over various issues, including pay, dismissal and discrimination. The tribunal is independent and will listen to both sides before deciding.

See also: Navigating the employment tribunals process

If you lose the case, you may have to pay compensation or reinstate the employee. If you win, in most cases, you will not be awarded compensation. But if the claimant acted unreasonably or their case had no hope of success, you can ask to have your costs covered.

And that doesn’t factor in the disruption to business continuity that tribunals can cause alongside loss of management time and hassle that being involved in a tribunal takes up.

How does an employment tribunal work?

Often, the first you will know about a claim is when the papers drop through your letterbox. What you will receive is called a Form ET1 – which is the form the employee filled in to make their claim.

Completing your ET3 response

You must prepare an official response to this form within 28 days and you can do this either in writing or online. The response is formally known as an ET3 and you will need to explain, among other things, whether you are resisting the claim and your grounds for doing so, and the procedures followed before your former employee was dismissed.

When completing the ET3 form, a clear but concise account of what the claim is about should be stated, so do keep it simple.

  • All the key events should be included but going into an enormous amount of detail should be avoided.
  • Number each paragraph for easy reference.

As employment law is so complex and the ET1/ET3 forms are crucial to any claim/defence, it is a good idea to have some professional help in preparing a case.

See also: Employment dismissals – How to avoid a tribunal

Case management stage

If your ET3 form is accepted, the claim then proceeds to the case management stage in which documents are exchanged and the date and length of the hearing is published.

Documents you need to bring

Preparing for a tribunal can be extremely time-consuming so make sure you give yourself enough time to do it properly. You will need to prepare documents and call witnesses where relevant, and you must give your ex-employee seven days’ notice of any documents which you will be relying on as part of your case.

Documents the tribunal will want to see include emails, letters or text messages between employee and employer, along with any copies of witness statements supporting the claim/defence.

Specifically, the tribunal will want to see:

  • a contract of employment
  • payslips
  • details of a pension scheme
  • notes from relevant meetings

What is document disclosure?

Disclosure is when both sides show each other the documents they have, which they think are relevant to the case.

Check the case management order that the tribunal has made. It will explain how and when disclosure should be done. Try not to miss this date because it can make it difficult to follow the rest of the timetable.

The order will usually say that you need to send a list of the documents you have. This means you list all the documents you have and attach a copy of any you think the respondent doesn’t already have.

Close up business man signing contract

Trial bundles

At the hearing the tribunal will need to have copies of the documents that the parties want to rely on. This is called the “trial bundle”.

Usually the tribunal requires a single “agreed” bundle. This simply means that the parties agree what documents go into the bundle – not that the contents are not disputed.

Organising the bundle

There is no standard format, but it is common practice to set it out in the following order, with an index at the front:

►Witness statements

  • Claimant’s witness statement
  • Claimant’s witnesses
  • Respondent’s witness statement
  • Respondent’s witnesses

►Pleadings

  • The ET1 and ET3 (and any requests and replies for further information on these)
  • Any relevant tribunal orders (usually the only relevant orders will be those issued as a result of a preliminary hearing, where particular legal issues have been decided)
  • Any relevant documents produced as a result of tribunal orders such as chronologies or lists of issues
  • Discrimination questions and replies

►Employment documents — in chronological order

  • Correspondence and emails
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Statements and other evidence taken in grievance hearing
  • Discrimination diary
  • Policies and procedures
  • Contracts

►Documents relating to compensation/remedy

  • Schedule of loss and documents relevant to financial loss (g. job applications, payslips)

Finishing the bundle

When the tribunal gives directions for the hearing it will give guidelines and a timetable for the preparation of the trial bundle.

The number of pages may be restricted, say, to 250 pages to prevent the bundle becoming too big. If the page limit is reached you will need to get the tribunal’s permission to increase the size or risk the judge refusing to read beyond that point.

The tribunal will normally ask for five copies of the bundle to be given to the tribunal and that the bundle be paginated — page numbered — and bound in a file or tagged together. There will also be directions as to when the bundle must be delivered to the tribunal — some require it in advance, others on the morning of the hearing.

What happens on the day of an employment tribunal?

If the case does reach a hearing, this will usually be heard by an employment judge sitting alone although some more complex cases will be heard by a full tribunal panel made up of a judge and two lay members.

When you arrive at the tribunal, be sure to observe the following:

  • Dress smartly
  • Avoid trainers and jeans
  • Switch off your mobile phone
  • Avoid chewing gum

On arrival, check in with the clerk who will ask both parties if they have a representative and for any documents, witness statements and a certificate from mediation service Acas to provide proof that both parties have spoken to them.

If there are no representatives present, any notes and evidence need to be brought to the tribunal by the parties themselves.

The parties will be asked to wait in a room until called and it is at this point that you, as an employer, could make a settlement offer to an employee.

Hearings are usually open to the public and can last anything from an hour to multiple days, during which the claimant, employer and their respective witnesses will give evidence and answer questions, both under cross-examination from the other side’s representative and from the employment judge.

The employee bringing the action sits on the right facing the tribunal panel and the employer on the left.

The case starts with the employee stating their case and giving evidence and then the employer is asked to respond.

Although the process of a tribunal is very straightforward and quite similar to a hearing in court, testimony is not given on oath. That means that neither party is asked to make an affirmation tell the truth under a penalty of perjury (as you would do in court).

However, always tell the truth. If the tribunal finds that a party has given false information, it could have an adverse effect on the claim or your defence.

What happens once the tribunal is over

At the end, the judgment and the reasons for it will be announced and a copy will be provided to both sides on the day or shortly afterwards.

If the employee wins, then the tribunal will indicate what steps can be taken to make compensation and give a time stipulation for this to be made. If this is not adhered to, then enforcement proceedings can be taken.

If the employee loses, then there is a 14-day window for the tribunal to be asked to reconsider. If there is further dissatisfaction with the result, then the employee can appeal.

The employer also has a right to appeal such a decision in the same way.

Key missteps that small businesses make that could open them up to losing an employment case – and how to avoid them

The best method of avoiding tribunals is to act reasonably and follow clear, transparent procedures which show your actions are justified.

Comply with all basic requirements of employment law, such as issuing statements of main terms and conditions and payslips. You need to make it clear that any claim will face an uphill struggle so that it looks less attractive and unprofitable.

Here are simple rules that will keep employers out of the worst kind of trouble:

  • If you do have to let staff go, make sure you have an objectively fair reason for doing so, ideally one that you can defend with documentary evidence
  • Check that disciplinary and grievance procedures for your staff comply with current employment legislation
  • Ensure that staff who deal with employee matters are fully trained in your company’s disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Keep a record of emails, letters, minutes of meetings, statements and any other material which may be needed to substantiate your company letting a member of staff go at a later date
  • Seek to resolve disciplinary and grievance problems promptly or consider using a mediator to help resolve disputes
  • Treat all staff fairly and with respect throughout the employment relationship, but especially on termination. That can be a tough ask, but employers achieving that are less likely to be sued

Dos

  • Issue terms and conditions within two months
  • Pay promptly and accurately
  • Make sure you follow correct procedures
  • Ensure that you are meeting your statutory and contractual requirements
  • Be fair, reasonable and consistent
  • Regularly review your recruitment and promotion procedures to make sure that they are fair and transparent
  • Deal with grievances quickly and fully

Don’ts

  • Withhold payments that are due
  • Ignore performance issues or grievances
  • Bypass procedures
  • Make decisions without investigating

Employment tribunal insurance

As we have seen, employment law is an absolute minefield for an employer to navigate on their own, and not following procedure is the most common reason for an employer going to tribunal.

Sometimes, even when you think an employee has behaved in a way that anyone sensible would consider beyond the pale, such as stealing from your company, you may still find yourself at tribunal if proper procedure hasn’t been followed.

For employers, that’s the key thing – following proper procedures and processes, ensuring that you have evidence that you’ve done so.

But how can you be sure that your procedure is correct?

An outsourced HR expert such as Peninsula is always up to date with fast-changing employment law, and, because you pay for what you need, it can be cheaper than employing a full-time HR manager.

Employment tribunal insurance – available through Peninsula – will cover the cost of legal representation to help defend you against a claim.

Services Peninsula provides small businesses in an employment tribunal include:

  • Filling in and keeping on top of any tribunal documentation or paperwork
  • Dealing with all correspondence relating to proceedings
  • Interviewing witnesses if applicable
  • If a settlement can be reached, negotiating on your behalf
  • When it comes to the tribunal hearing, Peninsula will attend it and represent your company
  • In the event of an appeal, Peninsula will handle that as well
  • Throughout tribunal proceedings, Peninsula ensures you are kept up to date. After all, it’s not just your business, it’s your life.

Having employer insurance is a little like having a fire extinguisher in your workplace; you pray you’ll never need to use it, and most of the time you barely notice it’s there – but if the unthinkable should happen, you’ll be thankful you had it to hand.

Award-winning HR and health and safety support for small businesses. Arrange a free consultation with one of Peninsula’s local advisors today.

Further reading

Employment tribunal: How to navigate the process

What happens if your small business is taken to an employment tribunal?

Source: SmallBizUK

When should a small business think about outsourcing HR?

Originally written by Partner Content on Small Business

Like any other business, a small business – whether it’s a microbusiness with less than 10 employees or a fast-growing scale up – needs to take care of HR.

What does HR involve?

  • Staff recruitment and retention
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Training
  • Performance evaluation
  • Health and safety
  • Coping with long-term sickness
  • Employee relations issues including discrimination claims, redundancy, grievances and dismissals

However, all this can be difficult to manage for you, the overstretched business owner.

See also: Six HR mistakes start-ups make and how to avoid them

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees rarely have an HR team. Instead, a finance director who may have had some relevant experience in the dim-and-distant past is seconded to the role. Not only does this leave your small business wide open to legal challenges when HR procedures are not followed, doubling up like this reduces your FD’s productivity.

And if you yourself are handling HR, it takes time away from running your business and dents productivity – one of the biggest challenges facing any small business.

Let’s look at three of these responsibilities in more detail:

Recruiting and retaining staff

Finding and keeping talent is seen as the biggest headache for most small businesses, especially when larger companies can lure staff away with the promise of more benefits.

Long-term sickness

One of the worst nightmares for a small business is when a staff member is signed off for a significant period due to illness. What does the law say? Is the illness related to physical, mental or financial matters? What should the business do to guard its own interests but be fair to the employee, both legally and morally?

5 questions to ask if your small business needs to outsource HR

Generally speaking, the top three reasons cited for outsourcing HR are: access to up-to-date skills and knowledge, gaining better-quality support than the business is currently able to offer in-house, and costs saved.

Building a community that feels organic and genuinely valuable should be a goal of small business owners

The five questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • Do I have a high staff turnover rate? At a time when staff retention is at a premium, do I know why staff are leaving?
  • Are my staff records up to date and are they being stored properly? Rules surrounding the content and storage of employee files and the way businesses handle them are strict
  • Do my employees have a staff handbook and do all employees have access to it? Any staff handbook needs to have up-to-date procedures and best practice
  • Am I recruiting new staff as quickly as I would like? Do I need help with staff recruitment and retention?
  • Is there a performance review process in place?

If you think any of the above areas need work and resources you do not currently provide, it may be time to start thinking about outsourcing your HR and getting things under control.

See also: The pros and cons of outsourcing for small businesses

Good HR boosts the bottom line of your business

HR is not simply a “nice to have” but is integral to future revenues of any small business.

Dealing with HR is hugely time consuming and having a staff member “double up” handling HR while doing their usual job takes away from what they should be doing.

Meanwhile, handling HR yourself takes attention and resources away from what you should be doing in leading your business.

When the amount of time you spend on HR administration eats into time better spent actually running your business, it’s time to consider outsourcing.

What do outsourced experts bring to HR management?

HR agencies such as Peninsula are experts in what they do and take the onus off you and your staff should any HR process goes wrong. They stay ahead of any trends and changes in HR.

Benefits include access to skills and knowledge, HR software enabling you to manage holidays and absences, calculating sick pay and maternity leave, and onboarding new employees.

Do you need a face-to-face service or remote support?

This entirely depends on where you are in your business journey. If you are a start-up and need help establishing systems, in-person support would be best, which you can scale back to remote support once systems are in place.

Hiring a full-time HR manager vs. outsourcing

Of course, you might think about hiring someone in house to be your HR manager. If you decide to hire a full-time HR manager, the average national HR manager salary is £43,000. This compares with around £1,200-£3,600 per year for fully outsourced HR management, including health and safety, payroll, etc.

Outsourcing HR is usually more cost effective than having a full-time salaried employee.

How much does outsourcing HR cost?

Outsourcing is a flexible option, which can be bought in on a fixed fee, monthly retainer or a daily rate.

4 things to factor into the cost of outsourcing HR

  • Size of your business (number of employees)
  • Type of support required and volume e.g. processing new joiners, leavers etc and generating contracts of employment
  • Number of hours needed on-site per month
  • Number of calls/emails per month

There is huge value in having HR management from experts who are ahead of the trends and whose aim will always be to give your business the best possible service. After all they want to retain you as a client.

Outsourcing HR ensures that your staff are in good hands and are being handled lawfully and appropriately.

Potential benefits of HR outsourcing

  • Reduced cost
  • Increased efficiency
  • Access to improved HR IT systems
  • Improved management information (metrics)
  • Access to HR expertise not available internally
  • Increased flexibility and speed of response
  • Reduced risk

Why waste your time spending far too long doing something badly, when you could pay someone to do it right first time, getting on with what you’re good at?

Award-winning HR and health and safety support for small businesses. Arrange a free consultation with one of Peninsula’s local advisors today.

Further reading

Five outsourcing trends for small businesses in 2019

When should a small business think about outsourcing HR?

Source: SmallBizUK

Should you be outsourcing health and safety for your small business?

Originally written by Partner Content on Small Business

As your small business grows, it’s easy to forget about some of the basics.

When staff numbers keep growing and profits increase, your time becomes even more stretched.

Which is when you might start to let some of the smaller things slip, like does your premises still have a suitable number of WCs? Are your staff overloading electricity sockets? Do you have enough first aiders to cover everyone?

Although such examples might seem quite inconsequential, they’re important. Because when something goes wrong, such as an employee suffers an injury with no first aiders available to help, a business risks facing legal action and a damaging penalty fine.

See also: How to fill the health and safety knowledge gap in your business

According to the Government, small business considers health and safety as its biggest regulatory headache and the most substantial obstacle to success.

Of course, no employer sets out to put staff at risk. We understand why safety in the work environment is not only important but also essential. We know that if we don’t provide a safe working environment for our employees and for those who use our facilities, the consequences can be devastating. It’s most often just a case of being unaware that a hazard even exists, let alone putting the entire workforce in danger. But when employers find out, it’s often too late.

Get clued-up on health and safety procedure

Small businesses face large fines

If a company has failed in its health and safety obligations, then large fines will result.

Financial penalties rose sharply from February 2016 with the introduction of new sentencing guidelines; the aim was to try to ensure employers take greater care and undertake their responsibilities more seriously.

A fatality or a serious accident now doesn’t even have to occur at a workplace under the new guidelines for considerable penalties to kick in.

In 2017/18 businesses were fined £72.6m for health and safety offences. Fines worth £1m or more for breaches of health and safety legislation have become the “new norm” within the UK. According to solicitors Clyde & Co, there were 19 cases with fines exceeding £1m imposed by the courts in the 12 months to October 31 2018.

See also: Employees in the workplace are not taking health and safety seriously

Reading up on health and safety legislation is time-consuming

The work of compliance is a minefield, with new and updated regulations constantly coming into effect and regularly causing a headache for businesses, especially for smaller firms that don’t have the capacity or budget to employ a dedicated employee to manage health and safety. With this in mind, the benefits to be gained from outsourcing to experts are immense. Outsourcing health and safety to a qualified expert frees up your time to focus on your core activities.

Outsourcing health and safety

Health and safety compliance is a legal requirement but beyond the scope of most small businesses to hire a full-time compliance officer. Outsourcing health and safety provides expert help on an as-and-when basis. A qualified outsourced expert may point out risks you were unaware of, shutting down possible legal action. Planning and pre-empting massively reduces risk.

A competent consultancy can also offer access to a collective pool of expertise from a team of qualified professionals at a touch of a button. Other outsourcing health and safety services that should be expected include routine visits and the completion of policies and other important documents that would otherwise have to be written in-house.

Employees need to be trained

Even if you are on top of employment law, every piece of legislation requires you as an employer to provide your workforce with appropriate information, training and supervision. This isn’t an option, it’s a legal requirement – no matter how small the business. However, this is often overlooked as an obligation, leaving your business open to accidents, legal action and reputation damage.

A health and safety specialist consultancy will be able to offer bespoke training courses, guaranteed to be hosted by experts covering a selection of specific topics to ensure legal requirements are met.

5 questions to ask if you need to outsource health and safety

  • Do you employ a competent person who helps you meet current health and safety standards?
  • Do you have a written health and safety policy statement setting out your company’s approach to ensure the safety of your employees? Any company with more than five employees needs to have one.
  • Has your small business carried out suitable and sufficient risk assessments in relation to all significant sources of harm (hazards) arising from its activities, and recorded the results?
  • Does your company have arrangements in place to report accidental injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) and keep records?
  • Has your company assessed the capabilities and training needs of all employees with regard to health and safety and provided adequate health and safety training?

If the answer is no to any of the above, you may not be fully legally compliant, and outsourcing could be hugely beneficial and the next logical step.

How much does outsourcing health and safety cost?

Health and safety cover from Peninsula can cost as little as £19.80 per employee per month if your business has five employees. The cost goes down the bigger your business.

Peninsula health and safety offers:

  • Bespoke documentation, policies and handbooks
  • 24-hour advice with crisis and incident support
  • Health and safety software platform
  • E-learning training
  • Annual review and risk assessment training
  • Optional insurance

Remember, it’s paramount that health and safety isn’t taken lightly or seen as optional expenditure. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places general health and safety duties on the employer and the consequences of not complying with regulations can be devastating, so it’s crucial businesses, including SMEs, cover themselves.

Award-winning HR and health and safety support for small businesses. Arrange a free consultation with one of Peninsula’s local advisors today.

Further reading

Health and safety checklist for small businesses – 9 things you need to do

Should you be outsourcing health and safety for your small business?

Source: SmallBizUK

Seven key types of small business employment contract

Originally written by Partner Content on Small Business

As a small business owner, your legal responsibilities when taking on staff can be somewhat daunting but with a little help you can soon understand what’s needed.

When you start taking on employees you will be faced with a fair amount of legal responsibilities. It’s important you understand all your obligations as an employer as if you don’t comply with UK employment law you can easily find yourself in front of an employment tribunal.

One of your first duties as a new employer is to ensure you comply with employment contract law.

See also: Five areas of employment law small businesses must be aware of

Full-time contracts

Employees are legally entitled to a written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment if their employment contract lasts at least one month or more.

You, the employer, must provide the written statement within two calendar months of the employee starting work.

There are a number of things which an employment contract must include as legal requirements. These requirements are specified in the Employment Rights Act 1996. An employment contract must include:

  • The name of the employer and the employee
  • The employee’s start date, taking into consideration previous periods of employment which are counted
  • The job title and brief description
  • The pay which the employee will receive and how often it will be paid
  • The hours which the employee will work, the place of work and end date if applicable
  • The holiday, sick pay and pension entitlement provisions
  • The length of notice required from the employer and the employee
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures

An employer may include information on other terms and conditions relating to employment, for example, notification of absence procedures, information about benefits, etc. and it is useful to include these in a separate employee handbook.

If you don’t do this, the employee can make a claim at an employment tribunal where compensation of 2-4 weeks’ pay may be awarded.

Also, if the employee has to ask for their employment contract this is called, “asserting a statutory right”, which could give rise to another claim.

Other key types of small business employment contract

A full-time permanent employment contract is not the only option for an employer who wants to engage staff. There are a variety of contracts that can be used to reflect your needs as an employer.

Part-time contracts

Part-time employment can be appealing for those with childcare commitments, or other outside responsibilities.

A part-time worker works fewer contracted hours than a full-time employee.

However, part-time workers generally also hold permanent positions and their contracts contain many of the same details as their full-time counterparts. The number of hours they’re scheduled to work per week should be clearly visible within the contract but they may have the option to work overtime, if and when desired.

It’s important you don’t treat part-time staff any less favourably than your full-time colleagues.

This ruling is in the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. It’s otherwise known as the part-time workers regulations.

For example, part-time workers can receive the same amount of holiday as a comparable full-time worker on a pro-rata basis. The same principle also applies when it comes to calculating holiday pay for part-time workers.

Fixed-term contracts

This contract includes an end date at which the contract will terminate. These are often used for an employer who require staff to complete a specific project after which there is no need for an employee to remain, or they are used for maternity cover.

Fixed-term employees enjoy all the same rights and benefits as with any other employment contract, although factors such as holiday entitlement will depend on contract length.

Depending on the role, and an individual’s performance, fixed-term contracts can sometimes lead to longer-term positions.

Temporary contracts

Similar to fixed-term, temporary contracts are offered when a contract is not expected to become permanent. Benefits of temporary contracts include increased flexibility and the ability to manage work around study or other interests.

However, unlike fixed-term contracts, temporary contacts can be flexible when it comes to an end date.

Despite their short-term status, temporary workers are entitled to the same rights as any other member of staff.

See also: How to motivate employees on temporary contracts

Agency contracts

Agency staff have their contracts agreed and managed by a recruitment consultancy or employment agency. They usually work on a temporary basis, and the length of their contract will depend on your needs as an employer, as well as their availability.

It is the agency’s responsibility to make sure their employees’ rights are protected. However, National Insurance contributions (NICs) and statutory sick pay will be paid by you, the employer, to the agency.

And agency workers are entitled to the same rights as permanent employees after three months of continuous employment.

Freelancers and contributors

If you hire a freelancer, consultant or contractor it means that they are self-employed, which means they look after their own tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) and they might not be entitled to the same rights as full-time or part-time/fixed-contract workers. However, you are still responsible for their health and safety.

See also: The differences between freelancing and zero hours contracts

Zero-hour contracts

Also known as casual contracts, zero-hour contracts specify that an employee works only when required by you, the employer. This is a contract that provides the utmost flexibility to you the employer if you cannot guarantee any level of hours to be worked. As an employer, you are under no obligation to provide a set amount of hours to work. And, similarly, the employee does not have to accept any work that is offered to them.

Zero-hour workers are, however, entitled to the same annual leave as permanent workers, and the employer must pay them at least the National Minimum Wage to work. And you are still responsible for health and safety of staff on zero-hours contracts.

How do you draft different employment contracts?

A contract of employment is a vital element to the employment relationship which all businesses must provide, so it is important that employers provide contracts which reflect their company, policies and culture.

Small business owners have several options when it comes to sourcing a small business employment contract template. Here are the four most common routes and their main advantages and disadvantages:

Draft your own small business employment contract

The best way to get a contract which you can use with your employees is to draft one from scratch.

Pros: A self-drafted contract will be tailored to fit your company and reflect the policies and practices implemented in your workplace.

Cons: It may be time-consuming and some employers may not be aware off all the legal requirements which govern a contract.

Download an employment contract online

There are many legal websites out there which can offer an employment contract through a simple download.

Pros: A much quicker and easier method than creating your own contract. You can have a contract on hand within a few minutes after a quick search and a few clicks.

Cons: The legal substance of contracts can quickly become outdated, and it can be extremely hard verifying whether the document you have downloaded is legally compliant. Even if the employment contract template you find is recent, it is often a mystery who the author is and whether they have any legal background and knowledge.

These types of general contracts will not fit most businesses and industry specific requirements.

Employ a solicitor

A small business employment contract drafted through an employment lawyer can be a reliable solution.

Pros: Solicitor drafted contracts are made to reflect your business. Solicitors have a profound knowledge of the law in the area in which they specialise and will be aware of industry-specific requirements. Employers can be sure that the contract they receive will be legally compliant.

Cons: This method may be costly and may not suit small businesses which may not be able to afford the fees.

Use an HR Consultancy

HR consultancies – such as Peninsula– work with a number of businesses in a variety of sectors and can provide a wide range of services to companies of all sizes.

Pros: Businesses can benefit from the different expertise and knowledge of a number of advisers. Contracts are drafted quickly as advisers are kept up to date with legislation. Contracts are also tailored to each company, understanding their business and reflecting their nature. As businesses are often long-term clients, contracts are updated when legal changes come into force, so businesses can be assured their documentation complies with all current employment regulations.

Cons: Some consultancies only offer one-off services such as drafting initial employment contracts with no follow-through if a small business employment contract needs to be redrafted or employment legislation changes.

Award-winning HR and health and safety support for small businesses. Arrange a free consultation with one of Peninsula’s local advisors today.

Seven key types of small business employment contract

Source: SmallBizUK

Labour to offer 2.5bn interest-free loans to help small businesses switch to electric vehicles

Originally written by Timothy Adler on Small Business

Labour will introduce 2.5 million interest-free loans to help small businesses, sole traders and low-income households to buy electric cars. 

Speaking on the BBC Today programme, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the loans of up to £35,000 would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on a loan, with individuals saving up to £5,000 over time. 

McDonnell said: “This will stimulate the automotive industry, it will sustain jobs in the conversion from fossil fuels to electric but actually it will create new jobs as well. 

So this is beneficial in terms of the climate, it is beneficial for those people who want to convert their carbon-fuel powered car into an electric vehicle that is sustainable. 

“At same time it will help support the automotive industry and create jobs. Those jobs are in areas where we have had real issues, particularly with Brexit.” 

The interest-free loans will require participation in a mass trial of Vehicle-2-Grid technology that will allow the UK to transition to renewable energy. 

This new technology will allow electric cars to store excess energy from the national grid, smoothing energy supply from renewable sources. 

Today, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey will announce at the Labour Party conference in Brighton that, if elected, it will build a national network of electric vehicle charging point at a cost of £3.5bn.  

The rollout of rapid-charging stations on motorways and urban streets would be enough for more than 21m cars in the next decade, and, the party said, would remove one of the biggest obstacles to electric car ownership and create 3,000 skilled jobs for electricians and engineers. 

Combined with its interest-free loan offer, together the measures are forecast that electric cars make up two-thirds of the total UK fleet by 2030.  

The investment required will come from the £250bn national transformation fund planned by the shadow chancellor to rebalance infrastructure projects away from the south, a “large proportion” of which will go directly to green infrastructure projects. 

Read more

Preparing your business for the electric revolution

Labour to offer 2.5bn interest-free loans to help small businesses switch to electric vehicles

Source: SmallBizUK