Firm Advice - Our new package for employers.
Firm Advice is a tailor made employment package aimed at employers. We can keep employers informed on new legislation, review, update and draft documentation including contracts, forms and handbooks, offer a helpline for queries as they arise, advise on recruitment, redundancy, dismissal and all other HR issues. The package can be tailored to the employers specific needs and can be paid for monthly or as and when advice is required. The aim of this package is to make employment law advice affordable and ultimately prevent future claims!
- Eliminates the stress and burden of trying to keep up to date with employment law, interpreting what is required from you and implementing it in time.
- A complete review of all of your employment and HR paperwork, documentation, forms, and procedures to ensure that they are up to date with the law.
- Reviews the documentation and procedures that you have in place for recruitment, redundancy and dismissal to reduce the likelihood of claims.
- Drafts any documents that you may not currently have in place to ensure that you are compliant with the law, or a review of any existing documents.
- Drafts or reviews your company handbook to ensure that you are compliant with the law and also to minimise potential claims against you in the future.
- 12 hour helpline to assist you with any tricky situations and queries as they arise.
- Optional monthly payment option to spread the cost and provide instant and easily accessible employment protection.
- Optional indemnity insurance to help cover the cost of employment tribunal claims should they arise.
- A friendly professional team on hand to deal with your enquires.
- We can assist your business with all employment and HR issues, providing you with a safer and more certain future.
- We can ensure that you are up to date with all current legislation, and will assist you in cutting through the mountains of red tape and bureaucracy that surrounds employment law.
- We will also provide you with regular updates on the forthcoming changes and how to implement these into your business as and when they occur.
- We will review all of your current contracts of employment and staff handbook.
- We will redraft and amend the documentation as necessary.
- We will review all of your current practices and procedures, from recruitment to termination (and everything in between) to ensure that these are up to date with current legislation.
- By taking this proactive approach you will be able to plan ahead and budget for these changes allowing you to deal with them in the most economic way possible. We won’t let the red tape strangle your business.
- The main aim of this approach is a preventative measure, to reduce and help eliminate the possibility of future employment claims.
Our Help Line
Our employment package provides you with access to a 12 hour help line to the most up to date legally accurate information on employment law, provided by our experienced employment law team.
Employment issues such as maternity leave, disciplinary measures and retirement can be a minefield for businesses unaware of the statutory procedures involved. With our legal team on hand, we can guide you through each and every process. If you require, we can come on site and act for you to conduct any of these employment procedures on your behalf thus ensuring that you comply with all legislation and eliminate the risk of employees bring employment claims against your business.
A Bespoke Service
As your local team of solicitors we can amend this package and tailor it to the individual needs of your business.
Some of our clients have found it beneficial to instruct us on a monthly retainer thus allowing them to plan ahead and budget for legal costs. Alternatively, you may wish to instruct us as and when you feel necessary to deal with any employment issues that arise in your business.
If you would like to meet with our team to discuss your requirements please feel free to contact us. The members of our team can meet with you at your place of business or if you would prefer you can arrange an appointment to meet with us at any of our offices.
Quarterly News Letter, Covering topics including:
We will send you a quarterly e-news letter setting out any upcoming changes to the law and how these should be implemented within your business this will include advice and guidance on Acas Guidance, Equal Pay, Discrimination & Equal Opportunities, Job Descriptions, Recruitment and Advertising, Interviewing, Inductions, Employment Rights, Working Time Regulations , Statutory Sick Pay, Family Friendly Working, Unfair Dismissal, Redundancy, Current Case Law Updates.
In the event that your business faces industrial action our team with be on hand to defend any employment claim on your behalf. We will advise you on the merits of the claim against you, deal with the documentation and the procedural rules of the Employment Tribunal and we will advocate on your behalf at the tribunal.
Our specially trained and qualified advocacy and litigation service will ensure that your Employment Tribunal case is handled by our dedicated team from the beginning when the claim is issued through to the conclusion of the final hearing
As you will be aware not all problems can be prevented. However, we can advise you on how to reduce their effects.
We have links directly with a specialist insurance brokers who can assist you in finding the most suitable insurance policy at the cheapest premium which will cover the risks that your business faces from employment claims.
The policies that can be provided will provide you with an indemnity for awards that the Employment Tribunal may make against your business and for the legal costs in defending the case.
You should bear in mind that even if you are successful in defending a claim in the Employment Tribunal you will still be unlikely to recover your costs and this can quickly become disproportionate to the value of the claim. With the indemnity policy in place your business can benefit from defending these claims successfully without damaging the reputation of your business, or incurring the significant costs normally experienced in doing so.
ACAS and CIPD
Comments from recent ACAS and CIPD Surveys (Chartered
The challenge of managing conflict at work is one familiar to workplaces of all sizes. However, it is likely that the burden is felt especially acutely in smaller workplaces without the formal external employment law support enjoyed by their larger workplace counterparts.
Recent figures show that businesses with between 50 and 249 employees; that is, medium sized enterprises generated 21 per cent of tribunal applications but accounted for only four per cent of aggregate employment.
“The dice is loaded against the small employer, if an individual goes to a lawyer they will always be able to find some flaw in your process even if the action taken is perfectly justified. We are the wrong size to have HR advice on tap as they do in larger companies and, at the end of the day, my priority is the business so we are more than likely to have made some slip up in the process. It’s a minefield” (Owner/manager, Waste Management)
Access to an out of hours legal advice help-line was an important benefit because, as employers’ representatives explained, their experience was that it was often in the hours after the normal working day that proprietors had the time to deal with employment issues.
“I have no problem with individuals having rights at work but at present the balance is in favour of the employee, not someone trying to run a business - you are always on the back foot.” (Finance Manager, Plant Hire )
“I am comforted to know that I can pick up the phone and get some advice from a real person who will talk me through things, provide me with a draft letter if that’s what it requires, provide me with a draft policy if I seek to have some employee policy.”
“What we want above all else is good ‘hands on’ practical advice, the ability to pick up the phone and talk through how to ctually approach a problem as well
as the legal considerations. My ideal would be to have someone that knew our situation that I could have access to when needed.”
(Children’s Charity - focus group)
Smaller organizations are much less likely to be successful (at an Employment tribunal) than larger organizations, with those employing 50 or fewer members of staff winning less than a quarter of tribunal claims.
The costs of a claim
The Employment Tribunals have seen a 42.78% increase in employment claims in 2008 from 2007 and a 65.55% increase since 2006.
The main areas of claim in 2008 were:
Equal pay 33.12%
Working Time Directive 29.43%
>Unfair Dismissal 21.63%
Unauthorised Deductions 18.27%
>Sex Discrimination 14.21%
>Breach of Contract 13.23%
The areas that saw an increase in the number of claims were
Disability Discrimination ;27.22%
Working Time Directive 57.05%
Sex Discrimination 88.82%
Equal Pay 263.13%
The average award made by the Employment Tribunals in 2008 was
£8,058 for Unfair Dismissal
£11,263 for sex discrimination
£14,566 for Race discrimination
£19,523 for Disability Discrimination
The awards above do not include the allowances awarded for loss of income or other costs incurred by the employee which can run into thousand s depending on when the case comes up before the Tribunal.
Also not included above are the legal fees incurred in defending an employment claim. These can be anything from £1,500 to £15,000 for a case - the average is £9,408. If the decision is appealed then clearly the costs can be much higher.
On average preparing for each employment tribunal hearing takes up 15 days on management time. Organisations devote on average more than 350 days in management and HR time a year in managing disciplinary and grievance cases and preparing for employment tribunal hearings.
The average employer typically faces annual costs associated with employment tribunal claims and hearings of £20,000. This doesn’t include the hidden costs generated by tribunal claims such as damage to employer brand, employee morale and productivity.