HR: Separating Facts from Fiction

Becoming an employer can be daunting. Trying to manage a business AND navigate your way through the minefield that is our nation’s employment law can be a real nightmare.

In order to keep a business going, owners and managers can be so focused on looking after customers, selling and cash-flow, that it isn’t unusual for shortcuts and assumptions to be made when it comes to employing staff. But missing those important details when it comes to employment can lead to big problems further down the line.

Here are 5 of the most common myths that often catch employers out.

Fiction: Part-time, agency and temporary workers have fewer rights than full time or permanent employees.

Fact: All workers should be classed as employees. If such a worker is working as part of an organisation and is under the control of that organisation they, therefore, gain employment rights. The longer the worker is employed for by the company the more likely they are to have employment rights. Part-time workers have the right not to be treated less favourably than a full-time worker doing the same or similar work when it comes to the terms of employment – including holidays,
pension benefits, training etc.

Fiction: When an employee resigns without notice the
employer is entitled not to pay them their outstanding wages or holiday entitlement.

Fact: If the employee is due outstanding wages or holidays you would be required to pay these unless you have a written term stating otherwise. You may wish to detail this in the
contract of employment, but it would need to be worded clearly.

Fiction: Sick employees can’t be contacted.

Fact: This is not only fiction but in fact, you have a duty of care as an employer to keep in touch to see how your
employee is doing. However, contact should not be constant and should be focused on their well-being and not their

Fiction: Staff must be given Bank Holidays off or receive
additional pay to work on a Bank Holiday.

Fact: Bank Holidays are a contractual matter. The majority of contracts will state how many holidays an employee is due, inclusive of Bank Holidays. There is no legal right to take
them on the specific date or get paid for them. If the
employee works on the Bank Holiday date they would
simply take a day’s holiday on another date that suits the business.

Fiction: If a an employee is on long-term sick leave the
business will close.

Fact: If an employee is on long-term sick leave there are many options available to the employer to ensure their business is not damaged. Before considering dismissing a sick employee, a reasonable employer should consider whether any
reasonable adjustments would enable them to return to work. This may involve changing their work environment, contracted hours or position in the business. If no suitable arrangement can be made there is a process to go through before dismissal. We would advise getting professional advice before undertaking any dismissal process.

If you have any HR or Employment Law questions, we’re here to help.

We offer advice, bespoke support and project work
covering everything from the fundamentals of HR and
Employment Law to more complex issues which will let you focus on what you are best at – running your business!

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