Businesses encouraged to review employment matters ahead of new year
IN the current economic climate, it's important for businesses in all sectors to ensure their employment matters are dealt with in a manner which ensures good practice for them while promoting a balanced and fair work environment for their employees.
As we approach the beginning of 2023, it's a good time for employers to consider a review and refresh in relation to their employee matters.
Employers should always ensure that Contracts of Employment are in place for every employee and that all matters relating to wages are dealt with in the contract. Employers should also consider their staff handbook and any company policies pertaining to employment, ensuring that all employees have considered the information.
It is also good practice to document that employees have reviewed any staff handbook or company policies. Businesses should continually review their employment contracts and company policies to ensure they align and that they are up to date with any changes to legislation.
All businesses which operate on a staff rota basis should ensure that rotas are shared with all staff and that full records are kept of these and how they are shared. This will eliminate the possibility of any confusion on hours worked by employees when paying wages and helps with general efficiency as well as ease in considering hours worked by employees. This would be of particular importance to businesses in the hospitality sector.
All employees must be paid National Minimum Wage (NMW) or higher and businesses must be sure to update wages to ensure employees are paid at least that NMW if it increases. Employers should also be mindful of remuneration in situations where employees are working additional hours and have a system whereby employees can record time worked in addition to their normal hours and then receive payment or time in lieu for this work. It is imperative this information is documented and retained by employers. It is advisable that casual overtime arrangements are avoided and a system is put in place to ensure overtime is fully documented.
Another area businesses must carefully navigate in relation to the NMW would be any possible wage deductions for uniform costs or equipment etc. Any deduction from wages of this nature could effectively reduce wages to below the NMW and businesses need to be proactive in ensuring that this does not happen. Employers should be checking periodically to ensure that deductions do not reduce wage levels below the minimum threshold. Any request by employers either by inference or instruction to wear a specific set of clothing has a cost and can see wage levels fall below the NMW so keeping a check on this is important.
In addition to the National Minimum Wage, employers must ensure that pay slips are always provided to their employees in either an electronic or paper format. It is essential that employees can understand the breakdown of their wage and that employers hold evidence that this has been provided.
All businesses should keep a detailed record of all pay slips and how they have been distributed to employees as this provides clarity for businesses and their employees.
Record keeping is key for businesses of all sizes and ensuring that the NMW or above is paid to all employees without deduction is essential. Now is a good time for businesses to get a head start on the busy new year period and review their employment documentation and distribution methods to ensure all elements are compliant and up to date.
:: Linus Murray (email@example.com) is a partner of commercial law firm McKees (www.mckees-law.com) and specialises in providing corporate and commercial advice to clients in the leisure and hospitality sector.