Conservative MP Phillip Davies came in fire in June 2011 for suggesting that disabled workers should earn less than minimum wage. Naturally, this caused outcry amongst politicians on all sides of the fence. But it did raise some important questions about minimum wage.
While you are loosely at liberty to pay your workers whatever you like, it must comply with minimum wage. Minimum wage is dependent on age and presently stands at £4.98 for 18-20 yr olds, and £6.08 for workers aged 21 and over.
Along with making sure your pay rates with the national minimum wage comply, you should keep them fair across the whole business. This involves offering a wage based on the job and place within the company, not a persons gender.
The Equality Work 2010 looks at every aspect of discrimination - from hiring to firing. As a small business owner it is vital you are up-to-date with the latest equality and diversity legislation.
Discrimination can be present in two forms; direct and indirect. Direct is not hiring someone because of their race or gender. Indirect discrimination is applying an unwanted condition to employment e.g. you have to be over 6ft tall, excluding many women.
As the owner of a small business, you are also liable for any third party discrimination that takes place. Whether it is your employees or clients making sexist or racist jokes, you are responsible in an employment tribunal.
3) Working Hours and Leave
Ensuring you comply with legal restrictions with regards to employees' working hours and keep is important for any small business. Failing to do so could lead to pricey employment tribunals and a negative reputation.
Make sure your employees work fair hours, and take regular breaks from computers. Also, they are entitled to fair holidays, sick pay and leave. This can include taking a day off to attend a funeral or nurse an ill dependent. You are also legally required to consider requests from employees regarding flexible working patterns seriously.
4) Sickness and Sick Pay
There is plenty of guidance and strict laws about sick leave and pay. It is important to strike the balance between treating unwell employees fairly, and monitoring occasions where 'sickness' is being used to cover an unauthorised absence. As an employer, you should respect your employees' entitlement to statutory unwell pay (SSP). SSP is payable in a flat rate for to 28 weeks for long term absence up.
It is vital that as a small business, you are aware of the law and latest adjustments to legislation fully. It can prove extremely pricey for your business should you fail to comply.
For more information check: Employment Law Lawyers and Employment Law Solicitors Brighton.