Small Business Saturday Blog

How to get employment law right (and more) for small businesses

Thursday, November 19 at 11:40

Susan Clews, Chief Operations Officer at workplace experts, Acas, highlights our range of free workplace guidance for small firms.

Getting the employment law side of your business right is vital so you avoid potentially costly disputes. Acas are experts in this and plenty more besides, like what you should do to get the best from your people. Whether you’re looking to make your first hire or you’ve got a growing number of employees, Acas can help you and we’re proud to support Small Business Saturday.

Free small firm guides  
Written specifically for small businesses, we have step by step guides on some of the most common workplace issues from managing sick absence or a complaint, to how best to have potentially difficult conversations about performance. The guides are practical, concise, easy-to-understand and designed so they can be picked up and put down as you need them. The latest in the series is handling pay and wages.

The series, called Help For Small Firms covers:

  • how to recruit the best candidate for the job
  • drawing up their contract
  • settling them into the business
  • effectively managing their behaviour and performance
  • how to manage a complaint if they raise one - what HR would call a grievance
  • how to manage sickness and other kinds of absence from work; and
  • how to get the best out of staff.


Festive advice
One of the most common concerns we hear from employers at this time of year is how to keep the business running while managing requests from employees asking for time off. This is particularly difficult for small businesses with fewer staff to cover, particularly if this is one of your busiest times of the year. Acas has published Christmas guidance on managing the most common situations employers are faced with.

Other useful information for small firms

  • The new UK National Minimum Wage rates came into effect at the beginning of October. To find out the new rates visit www.acas.org.uk/nmw or view our NMW video.
  • If you’re faced with carrying out an investigation at work, we’ve recently published new guidance on conducting workplace investigations. It includes free tools and templates to help manage each stage of the process, no matter the size of your business.
  • If you employ younger workers – so under the age of 18 – you need to be aware that this group has different rights. Find out more here.
  • For up to date information on the latest employment law changes visit our website. 


Problems at work
We also understand that things can go wrong for many reasons. And if they do we have free services including early conciliation to help sort things out as quickly, fairly and painlessly as possible.

Where can I go for further help? 
Watch our video to find out who we are and what we do at www.acas.org.uk/aboutus or:

  • Call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100. The helpline is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential, so callers do not have to give their names.
  • Visit helpline online for the most frequently asked workplace concerns
  • Visit the Acas website for all the latest employment advice
  • Sign up to the free monthly Acas enewsletter for the latest employment legislation updates, HR guidance, free tools and tips

Acas will be supporting Small Business Saturday on 5 December. Follow Acas on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube.

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