Employment Tribunals Unlawful – What now for small businesses?
It was announced that it was unlawful to charge for Employment Tribunals and that any fees that had been paid would be refunded. The introduction of fees was to try and reduce the number of malicious claims. The fees were between £160 or £250 to submit a claim and a further £230 or £950 for the hearing fee. It had reduced the claims by 70% but I did wonder how many employees were unable to make a legitimate claim simply because they couldn’t afford to do so.
So what happens now, well anyone that feels that they have a claim is able to submit it and they don’t have to pay a fee. We all know that with the internet everyone can find information in a matter of seconds. But how relevant to a situation is that information is the question. In my experience, no employee relations situation is ever the same.
From some reviewing cases involving small businesses, the majority of cases are due to lack of understanding rather than malicious intent. So how can you as a small business make sure you are doing the right thing by your employees.
Review Strike whilst the iron is hot, make sure you get your contracts, personnel files, policies and procedures reviewed if they haven’t been in the last twelve months.
Process Even for small businesses, it is important that you have some basic processes in place. These could be just a word document that you keep adding to – it doesn’t have to be flashy. It would just outline simply or example how you expect an employee to answer the phone or how long it should take to respond to an email. If you give your employees clear expectations they will know what is expected.
Also if you do any in-house training – in my opinion, if there is no signature it hasn’t happened.
Remember – get your employees to sign to say they have received any training. I offer a HR Heathcheck to make sure you are protecting your employees and your business.