Small businesses falling foul of employment law

New
research has revealed a lack of compliance with employment law and a disregard
for the most basic HR metrics among the UK’s small firms.

The
survey of more than 500 small businesses found that firms are leaving themselves
open to employment tribunals by failing to observe basic legal measures.

Website
OneClickHR polled companies with up to 500 staff and found that 40 per cent did
not make even the most rudimentary checks on new recruits, such as checking
passports or national insurance numbers.

A
further 60 per cent did not ask job candidates if they had unspent criminal
convictions before starting work at the organisation.

The
research also demonstrated a widespread breach of the working time regulations
with just under half the companies questioned not measuring the time employees
spend at work.

Sixty
per cent admitted that employees worked more than the legal maximum of 48 hours
a week and only 36 per cent of those had asked staff to sign an opt-out
agreement allowing them to exceed the limit.

Three-quarters
of employers do not perform compulsory risk assessments and 40 per cent don’t
offer staff health and safety training.

Small
firms are also missing out on cost savings by not using simple HR techniques
such as measuring absenteeism or the levels of staff turnover, the report said.

Helen
Goss, a solicitor at law firm Morgan Cole, said smaller organisations will find
it hard to toughen up procedures because of the lack of dedicated HR functions:
“Smaller companies often struggle to have a dedicated member of staff to deal
with HR simply because of financial constraints.

“It’s
largely a financial problem because this can cost companies dearly at
employment tribunals,” she said.

www.oneclickhr.com

By Ross Wigham

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