Employment law

Understanding Employment Law

  • Employment law is a broad area of the law that governs the relationship between employers and employees.
  • These laws cover hiring practices, wage rules, health and safety obligations, rights and responsibilities of both parties, and conditions for termination.
  • The two main categories of employment law in the UK are individual employment law (dealing with employee rights at work and through the contract for work) and collective employment law (dealing with the rights employees have to bargain collectively).

Legislation in Employment Law

  • The following acts lay the foundation of employment law in the UK:
    • The Employment Rights Act 1996, which includes aspects such as unfair dismissal, maternity rights, and redundancy payments.
    • The Equality Act 2010, which covers discrimination on grounds of protected characteristics like age, disability, gender, race, religion, or sexuality.
    • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which governs the responsibilities of employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees at work.
  • It’s crucial for recruitment administrators to understand the key legislation to maintain compliance in the recruitment process.

Fair Recruitment and Employment Law

  • Fair recruitment practices means treating all candidates equally and fairly, regardless of attributes such as their age, gender, race, religion, or disability.
  • Use the recruitment process to attract the best talent while adhering to the Equality Act 2010 to avoid discriminatory actions.

Contracts of Employment

  • A contract of employment exists as soon as a candidate accepts an unconditional offer for a job, even if it’s not in writing.
  • Recruiters must ensure the employee receives a written statement of the main terms within two months of starting.
  • Contractual terms include pay, hours, holiday entitlements, and notice periods while non-contractual terms are those deriving from statutes such as the right of women to take maternity leave.

Dealing with Claims and Employment Tribunals

  • Employees have the right to take their employer to an employment tribunal to resolve disputes about issues like unfair dismissal or discrimination.
  • As a recruiter, understand the process and possible outcomes of employment tribunals - hypothetically, your recruitment practices could be under scrutiny if a candidate alleges discrimination.

The Consequences of Non-compliance

  • Non-compliance with employment laws can result in penalties for the business, including fines, reputational damage and in severe cases, imprisonment.
  • Regular audits of recruitment practices can help reduce the risk of non-compliance.

Adapting to Changes in Employment Law

  • Employment law can shift over time due to changes in government, social attitudes, or significant court judgements.
  • Keeping up-to-date with these changes is a crucial responsibility for recruitment administrators.