HR · 21 July 2021

How employment law affects an organisations HR and business policies and practices

How Employment Law Affects An Organisations HR And Business Policies And Practices

Employment Law governs all aspects of the employee and employer relationship and can be seen right across every workplace in its HR and business policies and practices.

The relationship between employers and their employees is the foundation of any successful organisation. From hiring, contracts, working conditions, pay, grievances, entitlement to parental leave, business takeovers, employee relationships and more, Employment Law affects every single employee’s experience in the workplace but crucially sets the standards that HR and leadership teams must follow when it comes to managing matters that impact employees in the following broad areas:

  • Discipline, grievances and dismissal procedures
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Equal pay
  • Maternity and parental rights
  • Whistleblowing
  • Discrimination for age, sexual orientation, marital status, race, gender, religion, disability, pregnancy etc.
  • Health and safety regulations
  • TUPE and redundancy
  • Employment tribunals
  • Data protection
  • Holidays, working hours and pay
  • Terms and conditions of employment

What Is Employment Law?

Employment Law is designed to protect the rights of employees whilst ensuring that employers act fairly, responsibility and in line with statutory requirements set by the Law.

Employment Law sets out and governs what both parties can expect from each other, what employers can ask employees to do and what rights employees have at their place of work. It also sets the parameters for what should happen if either party falls short of their expectations.

The full guidance can be found under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The Role Of HR

Human Resources, or HR as it’s more commonly referred to, is a department that can be found in most workplaces. HR managers will be responsible for the overall safety, performance, working practices and wellbeing of employees, as well as ultimately ensuring that all Employment Laws are managed and upheld correctly.

This includes broad areas such as recruitment, getting new starters settled into their new role, ensuring that they are happy and treated fairly in the workplace without discrimination, ensuring on-going training needs are met, and of course making sure they are paid correctly.

In order to fulfil these core functions, HR professionals should have an excellent understanding of Employment Law and any relevant updates made to this. The Employment laws surrounding these broad areas provide guidance and how matters should be handled in the event of grievances and complaints between staff.

What Must Employers Do?

Employers must pay attention to and understand Employment Law in order to create, share and implement policies and procedures that govern and protect employees when fulfilling their roles.

These practices must align with Employment Law, as well as the objectives of the company, and should be shared with all staff.

Employers should: 

  • Understand and meet employer legal obligations under Employment Law
  • Proactively review and update policies to ensure the workplace is compliant
  • Ensure staff are updated with any new or updated HR & business policies
Any non-compliance, or employee complaints relating to business policies and practices must be taken seriously. If an employee or regulating body makes a legal challenge and is successful, this can incur hefty fines for an employer if they are found to be in breach of Employment Law.

The Role Of Business And HR Policies

If you take a look in any HR folder on the shared access drives at a place of work, you will find a staff handbook full of policies and procedures.

These documents are created to ensure that employers have standard procedures in place when dealing with common employee matters. They act as written guidance to ensure any issues are dealt with fairly and inline with Employment Laws.

They also ensure employees understand their employers’ handling of each area and will include clear descriptions of the topic they relate to along with the rights and responsibilities for employees and their managers.

Business policies and practices should be: 

  • Regularly updated
  • Centrally stored
  • Clearly communicated to staff during their induction and any subsequent updates shared

Policies And Practices Affected

Business should have their clear policies and practices outlined for the following broad areas:

  • Discipline, grievances and dismissal procedures
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Equal pay
  • Maternity and parental rights
  • Whistleblowing
  • Discrimination for age, sexual orientation, marital status, race, gender, religion, disability, pregnancy etc.
  • Health and safety regulations
  • TUPE and redundancy
  • Employment tribunals
  • Data protection
  • Holidays, working hours and pay
  • Terms and conditions of employment

In Summary

It’s clear to see that Employment Law impacts the organisation, delivery and review of all employee and employer interactions that could occur in the workplace each day. These are managed via the monitoring and review of business policies and practices.

In order to remain complaint, employers must ensure via their HR & Business Policies that:

  • Employment Law is proactively monitored and they are aware that any government changes that they will need to be act upon in a timely manner – this includes updating existing policies or creating new ones to reflect the changes.
  • Business Policies are regularly reviewed, updated and shared with all staff
  • Regular policy audits are conducted
  • HR staff and management teams responsible for employees attend regular reviews or training on how to meet the changing needs of Employment Laws.
  • Employees are trained on the importance of complying with the policies and practices set out

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