` Whatever the size and nature of your business, you need to be aware of all aspects of the law and legislation. Make sure your company doesn’t fall foul of the law and make sure you’re clear on these four key areas of employment law:


British MP Phillip Davies caused controversy in June 2011 for suggesting that disabled workers should earn less than minimum wage. Understandably, this was met with anger from politicians and workers alike. It did however, highlight the importance of the minimum wage.

Within reason, you can pay your employees whatever you like. However, the wages must comply with minimum wage. Minimum wage varies depending on your age and, in America, the state you live in.

The wages you pay your employees must also be fair across the business. This means paying a wage that is based on the job being carries out, the position within the company and often the experience of the candidate.

Working Hours and Holiday

Businesses of any size need to ensure that employees working hours comply with the legislation in your county. This includes their contracted hours, as well as overtime so it’s a good idea to understand the law where you are. Your employees also need to take regular breaks from computer screens.

You also need to ensure that staff are offered adequate holidays, depending on if they are full or part time staff. You also need to make allowances for leave for a grievance or to look after a sick dependent. As an employer, you’re also required by law to consider any requests for flexible working hours.

Anti-Discriminatory Practice

As an employer you need to be up-to-date with the latest equality and diversity legislation, which covers everything from hiring to firing. Whether direct discrimination – e.g. not hiring someone because of their race – or indirect – only hiring people over 6ft, excluding many women – you risk a costly employment tribunal if you fail to comply.

Both you and your employees need to promote anti-discriminatory practice in the workplace. As the employer, you’re liable for any third party discrimination such as sexist or racist jokes made by member of staff.

Sick Leave

Sickness and sick leave is quite a difficult area of law to manage correctly. While all employees are entitled to time off due to illness, as the employer you need to monitor ‘sicknesses’ in case they are being used for an unauthorised absence.

If staff are taking long term sick leave, you need to honour their right to statutory sick pay (SSP). SSP is payable at a flat rate for up to 28 weeks for long term absence in the UK.

While these four aspects only cover a small part of employment law, it is advisable that both you and your employees know and understand the law and your rights. This will result in a much more harmonious workplace for everyone involved.

AThink your business could benefit from equality and diversity training? Contact 360 Diversity today and discover the benefits of diversity for your small business.