Employment Rights – Dispelling the Myth
The Employment process
With the economy improving, employers are increasingly recruiting more staff. In this article we examine some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the employment of staff. Mark Stigwood, Head of the Company and Commercial Team at solicitors Attwaters Jameson Hill, separates fact from fiction
Myth -‘We can advertise for a keen young trainee’
No. Your advert shouldn’t contain any statements, criteria or requirements that are discriminatory – that includes age limits and criteria that would put women, overseas national or older people at a disadvantage.
Myth – ‘At interview, we can ask people about their plans for a family’
You need to ensure that you don’t intentionally or unintentionally ask questions that discriminate against certain candidates. So asking about their family could be problematic as you could be seen as assuming that they would not be able to work longer hours. However, you are entitled to ask the question, ‘This job requires overtime and has an irregular work pattern, can you meet this requirement?’
Myth – ‘A verbal offer of a job isn’t binding, so I can change my mind’
No. A legal contract of employment exists if you offer a contract verbally. That’s why it’s a good idea not to make a verbal offer in an interview. You should keep interview notes so that if challenged you are able to explain why you chose one candidate over another. Applicants can request to see this information.
Myth – ‘Employees don’t need a written contract’
All employees need contractual information in writing. A new worker is entitled to a written statement of employment within their first two months of employment. This should give details of their terms of employment including salary, hours of work, holiday and sick leave entitlement.
Myth – ‘We’re a small employer, so we don’t have to pay the minimum wage’
No, this is a common misconception. All employers are required to pay the minimum wage of £6.50 an hour to staff aged 21 and over.