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HCR Law Events

19 July 2022

Hiring employees

Bringing new employees into your practice is a positive signal of increased growth. It is essential to not only recruit the right candidates for the role, but also to make sure you tick all the legal and compliance boxes to avoid costly mistakes.

Recruitment processes

As essential as it is to get the right candidate for your vacancy based on their core competencies, it is as important to evaluate how they will integrate into your existing team.

Making sure that you have several members of staff involved in the interview process, including application shifting, face to face interviews and other recruitment assessments – such as “personality testing” – will enable a full evaluation of candidates.

It is also key to ensure that your recruitment processes are free from discrimination. This should include job adverts, assessment criteria and access to your premises. Moderation of decision-making is advisable, as is a diverse panel of decision-makers.

Right to work checks

With the ever-increasing move towards a global workforce, many practices need to consider more than the basic legal requirements of right to work checks – which apply to all employees regardless of nationality – and may need to consider sponsorship and visa applications.

Failing to carry out right to work checks and/or having the right documentation in place increases the risk of employing illegal workers. This, in turn, can lead to enforcement action and hefty fines but may also risk the practice’s ability to obtain or retain a sponsor licence to allow the employment of non-EEA nationals – and possibly EEA nationals post-Brexit.

Does the practice need to put written contracts of employment in place for staff?

Employers are legally required to provide to their employees written terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting work, as set out in section one of the Employment Rights Act 1996, often referred to as “section one terms”

  • Names of employer and employee
  • Date employment started and date of continuous employment: these may be different if the employee was previously employed by an associated employer, or if they joined the practice by way of an acquisition which protected their length of employment
  • Pay, calculation method & pay intervals
  • Hours of work
  • Holiday entitlement & holiday pay
  • Sickness absence provisions
  • Job title and brief description of work
  • Notice periods – what is required from employer and employee
  • Place(s) of work
  • If not permanent role, the period it is expected to continue until (e.g. fixed term contract)
  • Any collective agreements
  • Pension entitlements
  • Disciplinary & grievance procedures
  • Information if expected to work outside UK for more than one month

It is not a legal requirement to set out these terms in a formal contract; an offer letter will suffice.

Failing to set out terms and conditions in writing exposes the practice to disputes but also gives rise to employment tribunal claims of failing to provide section one terms, attracting an award of up to four weeks’ pay.

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About the Author
Stephenie Malone, Legal Director

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