It is hardly surprising that businesses of all sizes are looking at ways of reducing costs and making savings during these tough economic times. Employment Law is one area where businesses often waste huge amounts of time and money on unnecessary paperwork. Employment Law doesn’t have to be complicated. Free, practical advice and easy-to-use tools, are available to all businesses at www.businesslink.gov.uk/employingpeople However small your organisation, record-keeping is important. But with a few simple steps you can ensure record-keeping costs are kept to a minimum and at the same time ensure that you aren’t doing more than you need to. Here are some points to help you understand what is required:
Taking on new staff Employers must provide every new employee with a written statement of their key terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting their job. Often businesses spend money attempting to meet statutory obligations. However, when taking on new staff you don’t need to duplicate your own standard employment contract with a separate written statement. Use the written statement tool at www.businesslink.gov.uk/writtenstatement and you can create one basic document that will meet your legal requirements. It’s quick and easy to do and will include all the required terms and conditions. National minimum wage The National Minimum Wage doesn’t require additional paperwork but many businesses over-comply, spending money on additional but unnecessary record-keeping. Employers are required to keep a record of minimum wage payments to show that they are paying their employees at least the minimum wage but they don’t need to keep separate or special records. For many employers their existing payroll and business records will be sufficient. For practical advice on the minimum wage visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/employingpeople Working Time Directive Under the Working Time Regulations workers cannot be made to work for more than 48 hours per week (calculated as an average over a 17 week period), unless they choose to opt out.
Employers are required to keep records to demonstrate that the 48 hour limit has been respected. In many cases – for example where employees are hourly-paid, or where they are required to clock in and out of the workplace – records of time worked will already be maintained and these will satisfy the working time statutory requirement. Employers are also required to keep updated lists of opted out workers. They can save time and money doing this by using the free, opt-out proforma agreement at www.businesslink.gov.uk/workingtimeflowchart It may seem tedious keeping hold of employees’ records but by law you are required to file certain documents for a set amount of time. It is advisable to keep records for six years. This period of time will cover any legal action that may be brought against you, including National Minimum Wage claims and contractual claims.

Successful record-keeping enables you to meet all your legal requirements and helps you cut costs, reduce paperwork and improve performance. For free, practical advice on how to save time and money on record keeping, visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/employingpeople or contact your local Business Link on 0845 600 9 006.