Expert advice eases employment law headaches

Employment prospects for small and medium-sized (SMEs) construction businesses are continuing to deteriorate, according to a new survey from a leading industry body.

The latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), published on 16 July, found that in the second quarter of 2012, 37 per cent of builders had reported lower employment levels.

It also found that 30 per cent of construction SMEs were expecting to reduce employment levels over the next six months.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB commented: “After four years of continuous recession in the SME construction sector we would hope to be seeing signs of a return to growth and new job creation, not ongoing heavy job losses.”

Lara Murray, an employment law specialist at Palmers and a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, said: “Employment legislation can be complex but, sadly, the FMB survey suggests more construction firms may need to get to grips with the law on issues such as redundancy over the coming months.

“At Palmers, we can guide employers that do need to scale back their workforce on what employment procedures they should be following and to continue to do so right through the process to ensure legal compliance and cost-effective outcomes.

“Alongside advice on redundancy issues, we also offer our Protection and Compliance Scheme (PACS), fixed price service designed to minimise the potential for employment disputes and their consequences for businesses.

“PACS is intended to help businesses avoid employment disputes by ensuring that they are operating to the best standards of employment practice and procedures, with an annual audit of key employment documents and procedures.

“It also offers a dedicated helpline, providing telephone advice from our expert solicitors to help businesses deal with any employment disputes swiftly and effectively. If, in spite of the support and advice provided, an employment tribunal claim does occur, PACS includes an insurance policy that provide cover for legal costs and most awards and settlements of up to £250,000 per claim. For more information on our employment law services, please contact us.”