Employment Law: What You Need to Know as a Small Business Owner

Employment Law: What You Need to Know as a Small Business Owner

Employment Law: What You Need to Know as a Small Business Owner – Huge numbers of people discovered new hobbies during the lockdown, and with restrictions continuing to ease across the UK some have decided to turn those passions into a new careers.

With the circumstances and priorities changing for many individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, a new wave of independent businesses has swept across the country.

If you’re also keen to take your working life in a different direction by starting your own business, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of.

One of the biggest areas to be aware of if you’ll be hiring staff for the first time in employment law. Here are a few key points to consider.

Statutory rights

As an employer, it is essential to adhere to any worker’s statutory rights.

These include being paid the national minimum wage, a minimum level of paid holiday, sufficient length of rest breaks, protection against unlawful discrimination and many more.

To ensure you and your staff are aware of what is expected, it could be worth collating all the information into an employee handbook.

When navigating unfamiliar territory like this, though, it can be beneficial to rely upon the support of employment law solicitors to ensure you are doing everything by the book.


All employees are also entitled to a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment, which is usually set out in their contract.

This must be provided on or before their first day of work and should include their job title, hours and days of work, salary and explain their entitlement to any paid leave such as holidays and sick pay.

If you want to be sure you’ve decided to hire the right person you can include details about a probationary period in their contract. This enables you to terminate their employment at shorter notice if things don’t work out.


The rights surrounding freelance workers are not as stringent as they are with contracted workers, but there are still many you should adhere to.

The primary points to focus on are paying them at least the minimum wage, following limits on working time and not exposing them to any health and safety issues.

A version of your newly created employee handbook could be tailored for freelance workers to ensure you are both on the same page.

Other things to consider

Payslips: All workers are entitled to a written, itemised payslip that details their gross salary and any deductions.

Pensions: As of 2018, all UK employers must automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they are between 22 and pension age and earn more than £10,000.

Health and safety: Employers must adhere to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, meaning a risk assessment is required and any injuries and accidents in the workplace are recorded.

Long-term leave: Employees are allowed time off in addition to paid holiday in certain circumstances, like maternity/paternity and adoption leave.

Poppy Watt

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