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Employment law and HR issues - the misconceptions of a small business owner - Myth No.1
This is the first of our myth-shattering series of blogs about practical employment law and HR issues and business.
We often think that we can sort out problems for ourselves, or manage our businesses without any specialist outside help or advice. After all, what is the internet for? There is a whole “Wiki” of information out there at our mousepaw-tips and it is free. We can just download what we need, and there is no need to pay lawyers for old rope.
But is that right? And how much do you put your business at risk by fumbling your way through the employment law minefield with no map or metal detector? It’s true, there is a lot of information to be had for free, but the source and the quality will vary. How would you know whether it is incomplete, inaccurate or out of date? The ACAS (http://www.acas.org.uk) and DirectGov (http://www.direct.gov.uk) websites are pretty reliable but not comprehensive. The Business Link website (http://www.businesslink.gov.uk) is a little more in depth, but when you have a specific question about an individual employment issue, or need some practical help, then that is when online information is of limited use.
Let’s look at it another way. We get our boilers serviced annually by a qualified person. When it breaks down, or blows up, we call out an expert to fix it. Most of us non-plumbers would think it foolhardy to try and tackle a problem like that with a bit of bumbling DIY.
Likewise, we get our teeth checked every now and then by a dentist. Of course we know how to look after our teeth in the meantime, but we still sometimes get tooth decay. When that happens, and we have raging toothache, how many of us try a bit of home extraction surgery? No, we go and see a dentist – an experienced and qualified expert in their chosen field.
So, we do our best to look after our homes and our health, we take sensible precautions and consult experts if disasters happen. Why then, do many business-owners think that they should not give their business the same level of care and attention?
In fact, many employee-related disasters can be prevented by getting proper contracts, policies and HR systems in place. This investment in employment law and HR provisions will save you money in the long run. And when personnel problems do arise, you should seek help and guidance from HR advisers and employment lawyers – the experts who can talk you through the practical and legal solutions. In short, they can help you take care of your business.
Gelbergs Solicitors is based in Islington, London N1 and offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary HR advice and employment law service to employers. We would be happy to hear from any business owners who would like a free assessment of their employment contracts, and HR policies and procedures.
Call us on 020 7226 0570 and ask for Emmajane Taylor-Moran or Jane Manville. Our website can be found at http://www.gelbergs.co.uk and twitter at @gelbergs.