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SMEs ‘Cannot Afford To Ignore HR Concerns’

Survey Highlights Worries Over Handling Of Employment Matters


Small businesses have been urged by employment law experts to take steps to ensure they are meeting their HR responsibilities effectively, after new research suggested many firms on that scale are concerned about their ability to handle such matters.

According to a poll of 2,000 managing directors in a variety of sectors across the UK undertaken by office supplies firm Viking, 56 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises have concerns over HR issues.

This statistic was found to rise to 70 per cent in the West Midlands, with issues including compliance with legislation, salary and disciplinary matters found to be primary concerns.

Such research has been met with concern by employment lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who are now calling the small business community to work quickly to address any concerns they do have.

Glenn Hayes, a Partner and expert in employment law at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Compliance with legal issues surrounding HR is an absolute requisite for businesses of all sizes, so to see findings which indicate many small firms do not know where they stand on such matters is a major concern.

“The importance of these issues cannot be overstated, as taking an informed approach to the handling of matters related to the workforce is absolutely paramount.

“This is particularly true when you consider that companies with clear documented contracts and policies, as well as firms which have sought advice and support as and when they need it, are in a much stronger position than those that choose to bury their heads in the sand given that a Tribunal award could be catastrophic, particularly for a small business.

“Getting vital legal support on HR issues puts an employer in a much better position in terms of compliance, while it also means they are taking necessary steps towards avoiding the costly issues which can arise in tribunal claims.”

Glenn added that there are options available for small firms with doubts around HR Issues, including Irwin Mitchell’s IMHRplus package which is a fixed fee retainer service providing employment advice and representation as well as insurance for any Tribunal awards.

He explained: “SMEs should not think their size is a barrier to getting the legal advice they need as packages like our own IMHRplus service allows companies with all kinds of resources to ensure they can get support on important issues when they need it.

“We would encourage any businesses with doubts about such issues to consider their options and seek advice as soon as possible.”