Hiring new staff is both costly and time-consuming, which is why it’s so easy to glide over the nitty-gritty just for the sake of getting it done. However, when it comes to hiring new members of staff, there are several areas where businesses need to ensure their HR process comply with UK laws and regulations. For any company that’s caught out, the costs can be severe.
“Questions over immigration status is a common issue among many blue-collar industries,” explains Debbie Mosley, founder of Dêmos HR Solutions. “If you’re found to have hired someone that doesn’t have the right to work in the UK, you can be imprisoned for up to 5 years and be forced to pay an unlimited fine.”
The right to work
“Many employers simply aren’t aware of their obligations or what they need to do,” Debbie explains. “Some businesses think that looking at a person’s driving license is enough, but it’s really not.
Employment legislation changes all the time. Just recently, changes were made to the right to work checks, which means that as of 1 July 2021, these checks need to be done differently for new European recruits. However, it’s important to take a blanket approach and conduct right to work checks on all new recruits, not just Europeans
“Even if you know your employee is British — even if you were at the birth of this particular employee — you still need to conduct the same checks to ensure they have the right to work in the UK,” Debbie explains. “Because if you’re only asking employees of a different race or ethnicity, then then you could potentially be discriminating against them because of where they’re from, which can have equally serious ramifications.”
Getting it right
When it comes to employment law, Debbie explains that it’s important to act proactively in order to get it right from the beginning.
“If you’ve been handed a disciplinary, then it’s important to consult an HR professional in order to move forwards and take the necessary action that will best deal with the issue. However, it’s better to work with HR proactively, to set good expectations from the start, and get good practices and procedures in place so as to limit disciplinaries arising. As the saying goes, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know,’ but employing someone comes with a whole raft of employment legislation and compliance issues.”