HR jobs from Simply HR Jobs
Blog Social Careers Courses Topics

Posts tagged: job laws

HR practitioners’ guide to employment law

job interview bpsusThe area of employment law is vast and all good HR personnel should do their best to familiarise themselves with those aspects that directly apply to their work responsibilities. Listed here are the absolute basics that every HR worker needs to know, but further study should always be undertaken. Indeed, as we look towards seeing in another new year, it may be a better time than ever to keep up with changes in the law and to ensure a greater in depth knowledge of the issues.

Advertising for a position
The first potential problem comes with the advertisement for the job that the HR department needs to fill. Not only must there be no age or sex discrimination in the advert (unless a specific sex is required due to the nature of the job), but there are also considerations as to hourly wage and hours worked. The legal minimum wage must be met and the hours worked must comply with the Working Times Regulations. All workers also have the right to a minimum of 28 days of paid annual leave, pro rata for part time employees, although this can include bank and public holidays.

The interview stage
When interviewing for a position, further conditions must be met. Disability cannot be a reason to discriminate against an applicant and neither can sex, race, age, sexual orientation or religion. Candidates with equal qualifications and experience must be treated equally so as to avoid any hint of discrimination. Health checks should not be given to a disabled candidate without good reason unless all candidates are required to undergo the same checks. The need for such checks depends on the nature of the disability and the requirements of the job in question.

Job offers
If an unconditional offer of a job is made to a candidate, as soon as they have accepted that offer, a contract of employment exists between the company and the candidate. If the offer is subsequently withdrawn, the candidate may have cause to claim compensation. Conditional offers can be made whereby the candidate must meet certain conditions (such as satisfactory references or health checks), before an unconditional offer is made.

Payslips
Employed personnel are entitled to receive a pay slip, unless they are in one of a few professions, such as the police service. There are strict rules as to what the pay slip should show, such as the amount of wages (both net and gross), any fixed deductions (such as trade union subscriptions) and individual amount of other, variable deductions (such as tax).

Flexible working
Employees are also entitled to ask for flexible working if they have worked continuously for 26 weeks for the company and are the carer of a child or an adult who is a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative. Under the law, a request for flexible working must be given due consideration and should only be rejected if there are sound business reasons for doing so.

Rest breaks
Rest breaks are also part of an employee’s legal rights. The basic premise is that an adult worker who works for more than six hours at a stretch is entitled to a 20-minute rest break. This can be a lunch or a coffee break, but must be taken in the middle of the working day. Smoking breaks are not required by statute. Adult workers also have the right to a clear break of at least 11 hours between each working day period and an uninterrupted break from work of 24 hours per week, or 48 hours per fortnight. In the few instances where these rules do not apply, workers are still entitled to adequate rest of around 90 hours a week on average.

Working hours
Although in most circumstances there is a limit to the number of hours worked in a week (set at 48 hours), it is possible for a worker aged over 18 to voluntarily opt out of the limit. Opting out in this way must be voluntary and cannot be as part of an agreement with the whole workforce. Workers who refuse to sign an opt-out must not be treated unfairly and even those who do sign such an opt-out can cancel their agreement by giving at least 7 days’ notice.

An organisation’s HR management strategy should be aimed towards minimising financial risk and maximising the organisation’s return on investment. Put simply, this means getting the best out of the company’s human resources and ensuring that employment laws are adhered to, so as to minimise potential claims for compensation.

Photo: bpsusf