Horizon Solicitors support businesses at all stages of the employment lifecycle by providing and updating tailored employment contracts, role profiles, policies, procedures and handbooks to strengthen your core values, drive your business goals and objectives and boost employee engagement.
Recruitment, Compliance, Policies & Procedures
Horizon Solicitors can support business taking on their first employees by providing tailored employment contracts, policies, procedures and handbooks. We will bring our HR expertise to bear in helping you define your core skills, competencies, attributes and behaviours and will use these to shape your suite of employment documentation together with role profile or job descriptions.
Having the right people in the right roles is fundamental to the success of any business, and we will use your strategy and vision combined with the HR attributes we have identified, to help you design your interview selection process and procedures, to attract and retain the best people. We will ensure that you process is fair and reasonable and enshrines equal opportunity for all candidates.
If employees with access to confidential information, we can protect you staff from benefiting your competitors by drafting restrictive covenants to prevent your employees from poaching customers and staff and using confidential information if they leave you in the future.
Policies & Procedures
For more established businesses, we can review and update your employment documentation, to make sure it is fit for purpose and legally compliant.
Horizon will health check all of your existing contracts of employment, directors’ service agreements, staff handbooks, trade union collective agreements, policies and procedures. By conducting a complete review to ensure your documentation reflects your vision and values, is legally compliant and up to date and surpasses employment best practice, this also presents the opportunity to harmonise any different sets of terms and conditions you have inherited, to simplify management, administration and payroll.
We will ensure that your documentation is fit for purpose and helps drive your business goals and objectives.
Our drafting is clear and easy to understand and bespoke to your needs. This helps to boost employee engagement by removing any ambiguity, so everyone knows what is expected of them and the consequences for failing to do so.
We will put together an implementation plan, bringing the employees on board at an early stage to ensure their buy in, which will also be with your trade union if you have a recognition agreement. We will provide briefing notes / letters / and management coaching to ensure that employee relations remain strong through implementation and attend the consultation meetings as necessary throughout.
Compliance / Audits
A massive regulatory framework sits behind everything you do related to HR and from time to time particular elements become focus areas for the regulatory authorities and HMRC.
We want to help to take away the fear factor associated with a formal audit by uncovering potential issues and recommending proactive remedial action wherever possible.
Our focus is currently on helping you with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) audits being prioritised by HMRC, which could result in liability for 6 years’ worth of back pay, up to £20,000 penalty payments per employee (calculated at 200% of the underpayment) and reputational brand damage.
Last year Argos, Debenhams, John Lewis, Primark and Sports Direct were all named and shamed in the media for facing fines following breaches of the Regulations, but no-one is safe – small businesses have been named and shamed for total underpayments of less than £100.
Reputable businesses do not knowingly sell-out their employees by paying them less than the minimum wage, however, HMRC are catching businesses out for unconscious ‘technical’ breaches ~ for example where NMW employees face a deduction for company uniforms, or are forced to wait for 15 minutes post shift to undergo security checks (which is actually construed as ‘working time’). It can also happen due to legitimate and lawful deductions being made from gross pay such as salary sacrifice schemes for pensions and childcare, which all reduce gross pay for the purpose of HMRC calculations under the Regulations.
Technical breaches might also occur because of ambiguity in contracts of employment. The most common error is for you to believe your employees to be salaried workers but their contracts fail to include a precise number of hours in their records. HMRC will then argue that the employee is an ‘unmeasured worker’, which can make the resulting NMW calculation less favourable, as a yearly average is not used.
We can conduct a full and thorough review of all of your employment documentation and practices, including whether your agency workers have valid and enforceable contracts with your agency providers, to prevent any liability or brand damage coming back on you.
We can limit your exposure by taking proactive steps, come to a new Horizon.
We are happy to undertake this work for an agreed fixed fee, agreed with you at the outset.
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(Only by appointment)
St Peters Road