Bosses make basic employment law blunders

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Employers are making basic employment law errors, according to a survey by Croner Consulting.

‘Top ten management myths’ is based on frequently asked questions to the employment law helplines at the business support firm.

Croner’s top 10 include:

1. Myth: There is not contract of employment if there’s nothing in writing.
Fact: Even a verbal contract is a binding agreement

2. Myth: Employees paid a monthly salary are entitled to one month’s notice of the termination of their employment
Fact: The minimum legal notice period is one week per year of service to a maximum of 12 weeks

3. Myth: Employees with less than one year’s service can be dismissed for any reason
Fact: There are now over 20 grounds where an unfair dismissal complaint can come from an employee with under one year’s service.

4. Myth: Making someone redundant is easier than dealing with performance issues
Fact: This course of action risks an unfair dismissal, especially if the worker is replaced shortly afterwards. Employers must show reasonable justification for a redundancy.

5. Myth: You can sack someone on the spot for gross misconduct without following any form of procedure
Fact: This leaves employers open to an unfair dismissal claim. Workers should be given the opportunity to present their case at a properly conducted meeting

6. Myth: Casual, agency and temporary workers never have employment status
Fact: Such workers may be classed as employees, especially if under the control of the ‘employer’ and working as part of the business

7. Myth: If an employee resigns without serving their necessary notice the employer is entitled not to pay them outstanding wages or holiday pay
Fact: Permission must be given by the employee via a signed written term

8. Myth: Employees must always be given bank holidays off work or receive additional pay for working them
Fact: Bank holidays are a matter of contract. There is no right to them, or for extra pay, unless otherwise agreed

9. Myth: Holidays do not accrue if the employee is on long-term sickness absence
Fact: Case law shows that even if the contract says otherwise, workers continue to be entitled to accrue and take holidays, even if sick, under the Working Time Regulations

10. Myth: An employer does not have to give the right of appeal if there is no one higher to hear the appeal
Fact: Even in such a case allowing a review is sensible. Failure to offer any appeal will render most dismissals unfair

In a warning to employers, Croner’s Richard Smith says: “Although commonly upheld, these myths are the equivalent of old wives’ tales. Employment hearsay is no basis on which to do business, which is why we are alerting employers to the most common misconceptions and misunderstandings which could catch them out.”

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