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Employment law changes all British SME owner-managers should know

Real Business has hosted its first webinar, for which we focused on employment law, joined by PwC barrister and employment lawyer Tilly Harries.
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With a new year of business and growth potential straight ahead, these are the key employment law changes that SME leaders should know about in the form of a webinar from Real Business.

Alongside Tilly Harries, an employment lawyer at PwC, we ran through 2017 developments and the key employment law changes to bear in mind for 2018.

Harries selected the most important employment law changes from 2017 to begin with, one of which was the abolishment of tribunal fees – something she described as a “president Trump gets elected moment” as no professionals in her field saw it coming.

“Claimants are no longer required to pay a fee when putting in a tribunal claim or when it goes to hearing. Prior to that, they were expected to pay up to £1,200 to progress with cases,” she said.

The fees resulted in tribunal fees decreasing by up to 70 per cent, but the removal of fees, to the dismay of business leaders, has meant that some tribunals are making a revival. That said, the government is also required to pay fees back, including those made by employers.

“It’s going to become even more important than it was before to follow your procedures to ensure you have the right paperwork in place when dismissing employees, in terms of unfair dismissals, deductions from wages types of claims.”

Catch the webinar coverage in full below:

The gig economy and Uber were also discussed during the webinar and in terms of employment law changes surrounding that area, Harries offered a joke to make things clearer.

“What do a plumber, a mini cab driver and a bike courier all have in common? They are all workers and protected by UK employment law,” she said.

We all understand what an employee is, someone who works under an employment contract, and they have full employment law protection.

On the other end of the spectrum you have self-employed workers. They take financial risks upon themselves, when they will work and how much they will charge.

“In the middle, we have this strange category of worker,” she cautioned, “A worker is not an employee, but they are also not self-employed. Workers are entitled to holiday pay, national minimum and various other rights.”

These two areas of employment law changes alone make it clear just how aware SME leaders need to be looking at 2018, so be sure to watch our webinar in full.


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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

Real Business