May 2016 blog
How to – Comply with employment law
Employment regulations are important and useful all the time – not just when things go wrong. Their first and best use is to prevent problems happening in the first place. When there is a workplace issue, the rules make fixing the problem much easier. This is good news for both employer and employee.
Employment law protects the employers and their staff. The problem is the law expects the employer to have the procedures in place. The burden of proof in a dispute will generally fall on the employer. This means that the lion’s share of the planning must be done by them.
So, as an employer, what do you need to do?
Know the basics: Make sure you are covering the basics such as employment contracts, recording of time at work, payslips and the like.
Have a staff handbook of policies and procedures: Staff can’t know they have crossed the line unless they know where the line is. The handbook will cover policies on everything from holidays and sick leave to code of dress and internet usage, from harassment and bullying to confidentiality and competence, from communications to disciplinary.
Keep the policies up to date! Update them for changes in how the business operates or changes in the law.
Make sure your staff know the rules too: A stitch in time…that training day will pay dividends by avoiding problems down the line.
Get all staff to sign off on the policies: Staff should sign off on the policies when you hire them, and once a year after that.
Enforce the rules! Nothing annoys staff more than rules that are enforced selectively. You will end up with unequal treatment and very unhappy workers.
Always follow procedure: In the case of a problem, go to the handbook. Don’t be tempted to ignore procedure. In the event of a dispute, disregarding the process will go against you.
Be prepared for an inspection: Your business is liable to inspection by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). Failure to meet your obligations under the employment acts would lead to prosecution.
Don’t wait, get up to date now.