Businesses of all sizes can struggle in dealing with issues arising from employment and discrimination legislation or employment contract quirks – but especially small businesses who often have no professional HR advice and support in place.
The Jersey Employment & Discrimination Tribunal regularly finds against small businesses, not just for unfair dismissal cases, but for claims arising from simple contractual failings that are breaches of various elements of Jersey legislation. These cases often involve awards of many hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds for issues such as failure to provide a statement of terms and conditions that satisfies the legal requirements, failure to provide appropriate payslips, and errors in calculating and paying holiday entitlements.
The recent case of Ricketts and Inline Group underlines this with some emphasis. The judgement identified that the business was in breach of four clauses of The Employment (Jersey)Law 2003 as amended (Articles 3 , 11, 13 and 51) resulting in them being required to pay £894.38 for unpaid wages, £937.75 for holiday pay and £888 for failure to provide adequate payslips. There was, unusually, a small offset relating to a counter claim, but the employer was still hit with a payment of £2,203.93.
The judgement also made reference to two clauses of the contract of employment used by the business that were not compliant with the law here in Jersey.
It is of course not surprising that small businesses, some of which may have only one person in an owner/manager capacity, are not familiar with the small print in Articles contained in what are inevitably very legalistic documents. They might also struggle to keep up with amendments and changes to the law.
WHAT DO BUSINESSES NEED TO KNOW
- That the legislation here in Jersey can be complex and difficult for employers to fully understand and keep up to date with changes to the laws.
- That a claim to the Employment Tribunal can be made by employees with usually with no risks or costs to the individual.
- That the administrative burden and financial costs of defending a Tribunal can be very considerable, often running to many thousands of pounds.
- That failure to provide clear and legal documentation to employees is not only against the law, but can create a noxious working culture which could result in poor performance and a high turnover rate of employees in what is already a difficult recruitment environment.
WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO DO
- If a start-up, make a modest investment and get professional advice and guidance on your contracts and handbooks.
- If an established business, get similar support in reviewing your documentation and processes and ensuring they are up to date and compliant.
- If you have an ongoing issue, it might not be too late for mediation to prevent an unnecessary and potentially more expensive tribunal claim being made
- If you think a Tribunal claim is possible or is lodged, get some expert help in managing the case.
HOW HR NOW CAN HELP
We have a team of experts in HR who are experienced in providing support and guidance to businesses of all sizes, in all sectors including many small or singlehanded companies. We can help you keep up to date as well as provide strategic or procedural help, and suggest cost-effective digital solutions which can save your time and money and improve the business efficiency.
We also have experts in mediation and excellent success rates in supporting tribunal cases.