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The Lowdown on Basic Employment Conditions for Small Business Owners

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

It’s so important that small business owners are aware of the legislation relating to basic employment conditions when taking on new staff. If you are dipping your toe in the water with employing staff for the first time, or you are looking to expand your team, this is a summary of the key facts.

Did you know that the moment an applicant unconditionally accepts your offer of a job, a contract of employment comes into existence?

Even if you don’t issue a written contract, you’re under a legal duty to provide all employees who will be employed with you for one month or more, with a written statement of main employment particulars within 2 months of the start of their employment with you.

The written statement is not itself the contract, but it can provide evidence of the terms and conditions of employment between you and the employee if there is a dispute later on.

Things to consider:

  • Verbal offers of employment are legally binding

  • It’s against the law to request information regarding an applicant’s health, sickness record or disability before making an offer.

  • You should make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment and selection process for any employees declaring a disability.

  • Employment offers can be subject to any pre-employment checks, such as:

o References

o Medicals

o Qualifications / Professional memberships

o DBS checks

o The right of applicants to work in the UK

I would strongly advise that your offers of employment, including pre-employment clauses which may result in an offer being withdrawn, are put in writing to the prospective employee.

Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2022:

  • For employees of 23 years’ and over: £9.50 per hour

  • For employees 21 – 22 years’: £9.18 per hour

  • For employees 18-20 years’: £6.83 per hour

  • For employees 16 – 17: £4.62 per hour

Holiday Entitlements

UK statutory holiday entitlements are as follows:

  • Full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 working weeks (28 days) per annum. This can include the 8 public holidays.

  • Holiday entitlements are pro-rata for part-time staff.

  • Casual/temporary workers and employees on zero-hours contracts are also entitled to pro-rata holiday leave for each hour worked up to the full-time equivalent.

Sick Pay Entitlements – Normal Sickness

From 6 April 2022 the rate for statutory sick pay (SSP) is £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks.

Minimum Employer Notice Periods

  • During the 1st month of employment, there is no statutory obligation to provide notice to an employee.

  • After 1 month’s employment, and for the first 2 years, employers must provide at least 1 weeks’ notice when terminating employment.

  • After 2 years’ employment, employers must provide AT LEAST an additional weeks’ notice for each year of employment, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

  • It is also important to remember that a fair and legal procedure must be followed prior to any termination.

Minimum Employee Notice Periods

  • After an employee has been with you a month, they must give you a minimum of 1 weeks’ notice.

  • The minimum statutory employee notice period doesn’t increase with their length of service.

Don’t waste valuable time scratching your head, trying to navigate these issues yourself; if you need advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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